Instant Pot 101: How Do I Get Started?

How To Choose Your First Instant Pot

I remember when my mom got our first microwave. It was a revolutionary kitchen appliance that promised full meals in minutes- everything from a popcorn snack to a turkey dinner with chocolate cake for dessert. It promised mothers everywhere that their days of slaving away in the kitchen were over. (Granted, those cakes didn’t turn out that great. But, still! You didn’t have to turn on the oven!)

Why am I thinking about revolutionary kitchen appliances? Because we now have one for OUR generation. Forget the Keurig with coffee at the touch of a button. (Wait, don’t forget about that, God bless coffee.) Ninja blenders that make everything known to man into a smoothie? Meh. Let’s talk about the big one. The one EVERYONE is talking about:

THE INSTANT POT.

I’ve seen buzz building about the Instant Pot for a while now. I’ve seen people raving about it, how it makes the best food in half the time. I thought about getting one on Black Friday but didn’t make the leap. It’s a pressure cooker, you see, and that thought can be intimidating.

Our household was recently given an Instant Pot for Christmas (Thanks again, Uncle Matt!) and can I tell you—IT IS EVERYTHING I EVER HOPED IT COULD BE. My friends and family all know about the Instant Pot because I can’t stop raving about it.

I tell random guests at Target, my workplace, about the Instant Pot.

I post recipes on Facebook.

I may be obsessed.

So when Dakotapam suggested I guest blog with her about the Instant Pot, I jumped at the chance. I’m so excited to share my knowledge with all of you—I mean, I already talk about the Instant Pot with perfect strangers, so I may as well keep it going!

Today I’d like to give you an introduction to the Instant Pot. What exactly is it? Which Instant Pot is Right for me? Where do you get one?

WHAT IS AN INSTANT POT?

From the Instant Pot website:

The Instant Pot incorporates the functions of five cooking appliances into one: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. It speeds up cooking by 2-6 times using up to 70% less energy, and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion.

There are different types and sizes of Instant Pots. They come in three sizes: 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. There are four different model types:

  •  Instant Pot(R) Duo Series is a 7-in-1 programmable cooker, built on our best selling Lux series.The Duo Series combines the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge maker, steamer, sauté/browning, yogurt maker and warmer.
  •  Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker is the next evolution in the Duo Series, the number 1 selling product in the Instant Pot® Family. The Duo Plus kitchen appliance combinesthe functions of a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer.
  •  Ultra 10-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Cooker is the next generation in kitchen appliances. Designed for the home chef looking for a greater degree of customization and control for even greater precision cooking.
  • Instant Pot Smart is a revolutionary Smartcooker with Bluetooth® allowing programming and monitoring from smartphones or tablets. It speeds up cooking by 2-6 times using up to 70% less energy, and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion.

How To Choose Your First Instant Pot

WHICH INSTANT POT IS RIGHT FOR ME?

First of all, you have to choose the size of your pot. If you’re single or are married with no children, go with the 3 quart. You’ll make smaller amounts of food, plus you probably don’t need the extra size. However, if you’d like to cook bigger amounts and have leftovers, go for the 6 quart. I have a family of five and have found that the 6 quart is plenty big enough for us. However, if you have a larger family like Dakotapam, you’re going to want to go for the 8 quart. (Some people have all three- just depends on what you want to cook!) Now that I’ve become comfortable with my first Instant Pot, I’m really considering getting the 3 quart—I think it would be perfect to have the main dish in my 6 quart, and my side dish in the 3 quart!

Once you settle on the size of your pot, you need to choose the model. Each model has different features, and with more features, they get more expensive. I was the most comfortable starting with the original model, as I was a beginner. I can see how the Ultra or the Bluetooth models are great, though— there are lots of fun extra features on them! I’d highly recommend going to the Instant Pot Website and really reading about each model, and making your decision based on that.

Note: There are also “off” brand Instant Pots out there, but I HIGHLY recommend getting the Instant Pot brand. (I’m not getting paid to say that, by the way, I just really believe in the company!) Their pots have been tested and have really been the ones that work the best.

WHERE DO I BUY AN INSTANT POT?

Instant Pots can be found at a variety of stores and also online. Target, Kohls, Wal-Mart, Bed-Bath and Beyond, and Best Buy all carry Instant Pots. They are popular, though, and if you want to go right out and buy one you might have to go from store to store, as many places are out of stock right now. If you’re willing to wait a couple days, go with Amazon.com. Most Instant Pots at Amazon are on Prime, so they’ll be at your door in a couple days. Plus, there are tons of accessories on Amazon as well! (More on that in another post!) Plus, while you’re waiting for your Instant Pot to arrive, you can do plenty of recipe research on Pinterest!

I’ve seen many people purchase an Instant Pot and then say they wait weeks, even months to try it out. It may seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you that it really is easy! I’ll be back every week to help you get to know your own Instant Pot, and before you know it, you’ll be cooking delicious meals in it every day, and wondering why you even have a stove. Next week we will explore places to find recipes, as well as some easy first timer recipes for you.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments as well!

Have fun picking out your Instant Pot this week!

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Written by Esther Burns
I'm a pastor's wife and mom to three great kids. I am also Dakotapam's bestie, a Target lady, and an Instant Pot Wizard!