Are Instant Pots worth it?

My Instant Pot
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I love to cook. But using an Instant Pot?

Everybody’s got their style and methods.

Me? I’ve always thought of myself as a basic, primitive cook: food in pot or pan over fire, or in the oven.

No fancy countertop cookers for me, and I scoffed at rice cookers.

“How awful that someone can’t cook rice,” I used to say, until I burned a pot of rice because I was on the phone. And then because I answered the door. And, finally, just because.

There’s nothing worse than a pot of burned rice, so I sprung for the cheapest rice cooker I could find, just in case it was as silly an appliance as I thought.

But I fell in love with it.

I got perfect rice every single time from a small appliance that cost me about $25.

And so my culinary life went on in a sweet haze of lovely brown rice cooked in the rice cooker, and pots and pans over fire or in the oven, until I started hearing about the Instant Pot, a high-tech, mostly pressure cooker.

First one friend, then another, in a post-Christmas stream, extolled the virtues of the Instant Pot, the countertop cooker that would do everything from stir fry to cheesecake, pasteurizing milk and slow-cooking roasts along the way. Easy to use, easy to clean, it sounded like a dream come true, which made me awfully suspicious.

“Can’t be,” I said to myself.

But so many people with Instant Pots loved, loved, loved them.

It was when I read that it delivered perfect rice that I started thinking there might be something to it.

Clinching the deal was that it also made perfect hard-boiled eggs. Every single time.

As much as I cook, and as well as I think I cook, I’ve never, ever had success with hard-boiled eggs — hence my mastery of the tasty egg salad sandwich. And it’s sad because I really, really like plain hard-boiled eggs.

I tried boiling for 22 minutes and plunging the eggs into an ice bath. I’ve steamed. I’ve boiled 13 minutes and covered and let sit. I’ve added baking soda. I’ve added vinegar. And I’ve always found myself at war when it came to peeling time, always ending up with a torn and cratered egg that looked as appetizing as, well, a torn crater, with a blue sulphur ring around the yolk. Not appetizing at all.

So I jumped in with both feet and bought an Instant Pot.

“If this passes the hard-boiled egg test, I’m sold,” I told myself.

My pot, which looks an awful like a short R2-D2 to me, had an egg setting.

With the help of my husband because the pressure cooker part terrified me, we put six eggs and a cup of water into the pot, pressed the egg button, and waited.

After a couple sweet little beeps, the steam built up quickly. The five-minute pressure cooking cycle sped by. A few more sweet beeps, and we released the steam.

The eggs went into some ice water for a couple minutes to make them cool enough to handle, and my husband got the honor of peeling the first one.

I couldn’t see what he was doing, but when he was finished he held up the result of our endeavor.

The egg — beautiful and shiny, without a ding or dimple, looked like it was made of marble. Because of cooking under pressure, the egg’s shell practically slid off, leaving a perfect orb for us to admire.

I cut it open.

Our jaws dropped.

It was a picture-perfect hard-boiled egg; I felt like I could go toe-to-toe with Martha Stewart.

I don’t think my culinary life will ever be the same. This feels like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Do you have a favorite Instant Pot recipe? Feel free to share here by leaving a comment below.

About Maria Stuart 81 Articles
Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse.

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