What is the Instant Pot? Is it truly the most revolutionary item to come to the kitchen since the pot and the pan?

Created in Canada, the Instant Pot has taken the U.S. by storm after popping up in the food scene quickly and explosively. The all-in-one appliance claims to do almost everything you can imagine: slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, pressure cooking, stewing, yogurt-making, and more. With all this appliance claims to do, it has the potential to revolutionize the entire functionality of your kitchen.  Still, the standard size and model, the six quart 7-in-1 Instant Pot, retails for $100 on Amazon, a hefty price tag that may require some thought. 

How does the Instant Pot Work?

Although the Instant Pot is versatile and can be useful for many different modes of cooking, it primarily acts as an electric pressure cooker. In the pressure cooker, water can boil at up to 120°C instead of 100°C, which allows the appliance to cook food very quickly.

The Instant Pot has three major components—the outer pot, the inner pot, and the cover. When you hit one of the buttons on the outer control panel, the signal turns on the heat source that warms the contents of the inner pot. The air-tight seal from the cover forces the air inside the pot to heat up very quickly.  As the gas expands, its pressure increases.  Once the maximum heat and pressure are reached, or the food is done cooking, the heat source will turn off. 

What's All the Hype About?

It's easy to understand the excitement of the Instant Pot's growing fanbase. The pot does it all: it eliminates kitchen appliance clutter, cuts cooking time and energy use by up to 70%, saves money and preserves the nutrition and taste of food. The Amazon reviews are stellar (4.5 star rating with 29,000 reviews)–people just can't stop raving about the practicality of this pot.

According to one happy customer, "I didn't fully appreciate, until several days in, just how amazing this aspect of the Instant Pot is: you can start something cooking in it, and then *walk away* - even leave the house, and it will finish cooking just like you instructed, and be *perfectly done*, and then it will *keep it warm for up to 10 hours*!"

How Can You Get Started?

With one online search, you can easily find a plethora of recipes that suit all sorts of dietary needs. But, understandably, the number of ideas can be overwhelming. However, there is no need to fear–this short list of beginner-friendly Instant Pot recipes is a great starting point.

4 Ingredient BBQ Ribs - Amy + Jacky, pressurecookrecipes.com

Lentil Curry - Well Plated by Erin, wellplated.com

Thai Chicken Rice Bowls - Wonder Mom Wannabe, wondermomwannabe.com

Crispy Carnitas - Gimme Some Oven, gimmesomeoven.com

Creamy Mac and Cheese - Family Fresh Meals, familyfreshmeals.com

Vegan Baked Beans - The Viet Vegan, thevietvegan.com

Giant Japanese-Style Pancakes - Kirbie's Cravings, kirbiecravings.com

Molten Lava Cakes - Simple Pressure Cooker Meals, simplepressurecookermeals.com

Easy No-Tahini Hummus - 365 Days of Slowing Cooking + Pressure Cooking, 365daysofcrockpot.com

Hard/Soft Boiled Eggs - Julie Harrington, julieharringtonrd.com

So, Is it Worth Buying as a Student?

So, is the Instant Pot really the savior of time, money and flavor it claims to be?  

YES. Everyone needs this appliance in their kitchen.  Although the six-quart or eight-quart sizes may seem intimidating or impractical for a small kitchen, the Instant Pot also comes in mini sizes. The practicality of an appliance from which you can just *walk away* without worrying is invaluable to busy students. Whether its popping in a cut of meat in the morning before class, making a stew for a potluck or maybe just sautéing some bacon without the hassle of a stove, the possibilities are endless.