If you got together with family and friends this holiday season, there is a pretty good chance you got to witness yet another person join the cult of Instant Pot fanatics. The Instant Pot topped foodie Christmas lists, dominating black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and selling out quickly in stores nationwide.

From the outside, this appliance looks like your average electric pressure cooker. So, what's the big deal? Once you get started using it, you'll discover the multitude of ways the Instant Pot makes cooking a breeze. Whether you want to cook up a quick batch of soup or spend the weekend making homemade yogurt, this space effective appliance could essentially replace the rest of your kitchen.

Where Did It Come From?

In 2009, a group of Canadian technology veterans got together to found Instant Pot. With the goal to create something that would improve the quality of food produced by professional chefs and busy moms alike, they created a genius appliance that would soon take over kitchens across the country. Their first version of the product released functioned as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. As if that wasn't enough, they continued to develop Instant Pots that could be used to do things like ferment yogurt and sauté veggies. Newer versions can do all that plus more, like bake cakes, hard boil eggs, and even sterilize kitchen supplies. Their most recent product will even connect to bluetooth, allowing you to monitor your food from your phone.

The company is hoping to change the future of food. They aim to make it possible for anyone to get a well-balanced, home-made meal on the table in minutes. Will this redirect the current trend away from cooking and toward take-out? I certainly hope so.

Is It Really Worth All the Hype?

...Yes. I have yet to find a negative review for this kitchen lifesaver. Browse through the Amazon reviews, take a look at the Facebook community, or just google up the Instant Pot to find a stream of consistently positive remarks by devout Instant Pot users. Check out your favorite food blogs and cooking sites and you'll see the diverse and growing community obsessing over this appliance. From serious home cooks to food bloggers to beginners, everyone is loving the Instant Pot. 

Not only can the Instant Pot perform almost any kitchen task, it is dependable, super speedy, easy to use, and it saves a ton of energy. On average, the Instant Pot will save 70% of the energy you usually use to boil, sauté and steam your food. Since it's a pressure cooker, it preserves flavor, nutrients, and moisture like nothing else, making super tasty and healthy meals possible in just minutes.

So yeah, the appliance that is said to replace up to 10 kitchen appliances really does work, and it's rapidly growing fan base proves its diverse functionality and practicality in any kitchen. 

How Does It Work Exactly?

In order to achieve high temperatures, the tight seal created in the Instant Pot creates differs in the amount of pressure, which changes the boiling point of what's in the pot. This allows you to trap in steam that escapes, and infuse it right back into your food. Say goodbye to pots boiling over and staining your stove, and hello to the most tender and moist shredded chicken you've ever tasted.

How does this thing not explode you may wonder? With all that pressure and at such high temperatures, you might be scared to be anywhere near the Instant Pot when it's on, but fear not. The little hole in the top of the pot allows any excess steam to escape, keeping your ceiling clean and your kitchen safe.

Once you have added your ingredients, you can pretty much let the Instant Pot do its thing. Since it is electric rather than stovetop, it will automatically change temperatures as necessary to maintain the optimal cooking environment for your food.

Where Do I Even Start?

So you have opened the box, pulled out the magic silver device, and plugged it in. Now what? The options are endless. You could start with the Instant Pot recipe app, which features basics like rice, lasagna, and baked chicken. From there, you could check out sites like Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Delish, and even Buzzfeed for some more inspiration. Once you have fallen in love, invest in one of the many cookbooks solely devoted to Instant Pot recipes.

Of course, you can make soups and stews, perfectly creamy beans, and quick-cooked root veggies. Once you start thinking beyond the Instant Pot's pressure cooker abilities, you will discover that it can do so much more. Hard-boil a batch of eggs for brunch, make a simple pie, cook a batch of grains, throw together some homemade hummus, or whip up some fresh greek yogurt with your brand new Instant Pot. 

No matter who you are, what your schedule looks like, or what you like to eat, the Instant Pot will change the way you cook. It will make busy nights easier and more interesting, and it will expand your cooking abilities. If you got one this Holiday Season, prepare to join the passionate bunch that is already raving about the Instant Pot, and don't wait another minute to pull it out and get started.