Instant Success

If you talk to more than one or two people about cooking, you've probably heard of the Instant Pot. You might even have one yourself. Introduced in 2010, these electronic pressure cookers capable of also acting as rice cookers, slow cookers, and yogurt makers caught a wave of interest and rode it to success in the last half of 2016.

While it can be found at traditional brick and mortar stores like Walmart, Target, and Kohls, the bulk of the Instant Pot sales out there happen at online retail giant Amazon's website. Last July, they offered a 30% discount off its normal hundred dollar price tag on the seller's exclusive Prime Day and over 200,000 units were sold on that day alone. Building on that move, they offered more discounts on Black Friday and sold still more units. The moves resulted in the Instant Pot Duo becoming Amazon's top-selling item in the U.S. market. That's really impressive for a company that does no television or print advertising!

So why does it sell so well? It's simple. It's a great appliance that does what it says it will and has built a following among home chefs. And anyone who knows people who love to cook knows they are not shy about sharing secrets. Whether it's jotting down a good recipe on an index card or letting friends know about a good deal on a great set of knives, cooks like the share the secrets of the great meals that grace their tables. So when you get the hang of a clever appliance like the Instant Pot and tender stews are less than an hour away or the creamiest macaroni and cheese can be enjoyed in about 10 minutes, it's hard not to sing its praises.

I'm no different. Since acquiring mine on Prime Day last July, several friends and family members have picked up one of their own and we've been known to share recipes and ideas on how to use them for everything from making stock to steaming custards. I even helped a friend outfit his solar-powered tiny house with one to help round out his kitchen needs. When you have a need for a small footprint and a light power draw, lose the stove and oven and learn to make your meals with a grill and an Instant Pot! Nearly all of his cooking needs get covered there.

Now, once you get the hang of cooking with the Instant Pot, you're likely to get pretty good at tweaking your favorite recipes to use it. However, when you first start out, I recommend using some recipes designed for it so you can get some familiarity with the appliance. I love the recipes you can find at Hip Pressure Cooking and The Prairie Homestead, but a quick search for "Instant Pot recipes" will get you a lifetime of options!

You may have noticed that I've begun including some Instant Pot recipes on this site as well. When possible, I try to include instructions for the Instant Pot as well as more traditional slow cooker, stove, and oven instructions. I recognize that not all followers have one available and I want delicious food to be within reach of everyone choosing to peruse the recipes here. But for those lucky enough to have an Instant Pot in their kitchens, I like to help them take advantage of the time saving it offers. Besides, when it comes to several dishes, the texture that results from a pressure-cooked dish versus slow simmering can actually be quite superior. In short, if you have the opportunity to add the Instant Pot to your kitchen collection, I highly recommend it!

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