Is the Instant Pot worth the hype? We tested it 8 different ways

2017-04-15 16:23:55 by RoOz
News Media Jennifer Garner 

Is the Instant Pot worth the hype? We tested it 8 different ways Chatelaine 1 day ago This innocuous, Canadian-designed small kitchen appliance first came to our attention last year when it made a big splash on Amazon Prime day, selling over 200,000 units in the U.S. (in one day!). It was just the first wave of people going gaga over the $165 Instant Pot , a one-size-fits-all kitchen gadget promising to do everything from slow cooking to sautéing, steaming, stewing and yogurt-making (and more). There’s no question about some of its abilities — perfect soft and hard-boiled eggs are incredibly easy using its pressure cooker function. And the convenience of an all-in-one cooker that saves space in the cupboards and time in the kitchen does have advantages — especially if you don’t already own a slow cooker or pressure cooker. But does it really perform all the tasks of your beloved slow cooker, stewing pots or sauté pans? We decided to put the hype to the test in the Chatelaine Kitchen, trying out 6 key functions — plus a 10-minute risotto and 3-minute steel-cut oats. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Faux-tisserie chicken with dilly potatoes. 1. The Pressure Cooking experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. pressure cooker Test recipe: Faux-tisserie chicken with dilly potatoes Pressure cooker: 50 min Instant Pot: 1 hour 20 min Assessment: Browning the chicken took double the time in the Instant Pot, and the pot needed to be cleaned to remove the over-done bits at the bottom, so a lot of flavour was lost from the final result. It also needed double the time to boil down the remaining sauce in the pot. Verdict: Both were tasty, but for speed and maximum flavour, the pressure cooker took this round. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Chicken mulligatawny soup. 2. The Low-and-Slow Experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. slow cooker Test recipe: Chicken mulligatawny soup Slow cooker Total time: 8 hours (on low) Instant Pot Total time: 4 hours 15 min (on high), 8 hours 15 min (on low) Assessment: The Instant Pot did well on both its high and low slow cooker settings, yielding delicious soup in almost half the time. Verdict: Well played, Instant Pot. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Wild rice salad. 3. The Perfect Rice Experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. rice cooker Test Recipe: Perfect Brown Rice, from the Instant Pot manual. Total time: 38 min Assessment: The finished rice was well-cooked with a nice bite to it, and was done in slightly less than 40 mins, the average amount of it takes a rice cooker to turn out a finished product. Verdict: Again, the Instant Pot delivers. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Stout-braised beef stew. 4. The Hearty Stew Experiment Match-up: Instant pot vs. stovetop Test recipe: Stout-braised beef stew Large pot (on stovetop) Total time: 3 hours Instant Pot Total time: 2 hours Assessment: It took one hour less to stew the dish in the Instant Pot because of the pressure cooker element of the pot, allowing the meat to cook faster. But as it doesn’t allow regular stewing (cooking the meat low and slow for flavour), you lose some tenderness. Verdict: We prefer the results of low and slow cooking in a stovetop pot — but can’t ignore the convenience of the Instant Pot’s speediness. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Herb and wine chicken. 5. The Sauté Experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. frying pan Test Recipe: Rosemary-garlic chicken Frying pan Total time: 20 min Instant Pot Total time: 35 min Assessment: In the Instant Pot, the chicken breasts browned in the same time as in a frying pan. But it took about 10-15 minutes longer to cook them through, yielding slightly dry chicken (but a flavourful sauce!). Verdict: Hard to beat a frying pan — it’s easier and achieves better results. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Istockphoto 6. The Steamed Veggie Experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. vegetable steamer Test Recipe: Steamed fresh broccoli florets, from the Instant pot recipe manual. Instant pot Total time: 12 min Assessment: The directions for steaming are simple and the broccoli had a bright green colour and was perfectly tender-crisp. Verdict: Honestly, we could go either way. © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Osso bucco with instant creamy risotto. 7. The Quickie Risotto Experiment Match-up: Instant Pot vs. pressure cooker Test Recipe: Instant Creamy Risotto Pressure cooker Total time: 20 min Instant Pot Total time: 30 min Assessment: With the Instant Pot’s pressure cooker function, it took 10 minutes longer than the pressure cooker to finish the risotto (versus 30 minutes of cook time for a stovetop version). The final taste and texture were very comparable, giving you a risotto with great al dente bite. Verdict: If you’re skipping a traditional stovetop risotto, the Instant Pot gets the job done (only a bit slower than a pressure cooker). © Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Fruit and nut oatmeal. 8. The Superfast Steel-Cut Oats Experiment Match up: Instant Pot vs. stovetop Test Recipe: Three-min steel-cut oats, from the Instant Pot recipe manual Instant Pot Total time: 23 – 25 min Stovetop Total cooking time: 30-40 minutes Assessment: The oats were not overly mushy and retained a nice texture. They did indeed take three minutes to cook, however, it took 10 min for pressure to build in the pot and 10 min to keep warm before safely releasing the pressure, so this adds at least 20 minutes to the total time it takes to make, from start to finish. No stirring, though! Verdict: Instant Pot, you’ve done it again. So, is the Instant Pot worth the hype? You may not want to toss away your old slow-cooker, but if you’re in the market for a new one or a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot does both well (even if you don’t find yourself using the bevy of alternate options that often). We wouldn’t reach for it to replace our sauté pans, though. Go to MSN Home

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