What Is The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Did you get an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or “Instapot” to help with getting dinner on the table? Not sure what the Instapot is or how to use it? Are you looking for Instapot reviews or recipes you can use in your Instant Pot?

You’re in luck.

For starters, the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Instapot is, it’s a modern version of a pressure cooker.

As a devout slow cooker user–I’ve got three of them–plus a regular rice cooker user, we recently converted to owning the Instant Pot pressure cooker. I started by using it to make rice. However, recently I did use it to make butternut squash soup in under an hour. It was amazing.

Also, we’ve been making our dogs’ food from scratch, and the Instant Pot lets us cook the meat and vegetables we feed them in about 40 minutes. It really makes cooking so much easier.

instant pot reviews recipes what is instapot

Anyway, I’m not an expert on Instant Pot for pressure cooking. My friend Erin Chase is. So, I decided to talk to her about the Instant Pot pressure cooker and what you need to know.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or Instapot

You may remember that I once did a Q&A with Erin, founder of $5 Dinners. I’ve reprinted most of it below. In addition to that, she recently provided her own Instapot reviews. How? She answered some questions about the Instapot.

This article explains how to clean an Instant Pot.

Below is Erin’s review on the Instapot.

Q: What is the Instant Pot pressure cooker aka Instapot?

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Instant Pot is a new generation of electric pressure cookers that you don’t have to worry will blow up in your kitchen. It works by heating and pressurizing food.

Once the pressure and heat builds inside of the machine to a certain point, it switches to on and off heat so your food continues to cook. Once cooked the pressure is released and your dinner is ready.

Erin wrote a book on Instapot cooking! It’s called Freezer Meals in an Instant.

Q: I already own multiple slow cookers, a rice cooker and more. Why would I need an Instapot?

The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker or electric pressure cooker (EPC) is another great tool in your kitchen to help you save time and help make getting dinner on the table easier. And usually faster, too, than a slow cooker.

The Instant Pot very well may send my slow cooker into retirement. Slowly over the past year, the Instant Pot has started to take over and is now being used at least 2 times a week.

On occasion, 3 times a week. I’m still using my slow cooker, yes. But now our schedule is needing more Instant Pot meals.

instapot reviews

Q: OK, so let’s talk about your favorite dishes you can make in your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker versus your slow cooker?

I prefer the slow cooker for shredded meats and roasts that become shredded beef/pork. Like shredded chicken or pulled pork.

I’ve made these in the Instant Pot and they are great, but I prefer the softer, more tenderized version from being slow cooked for 8 hours on low. I still love slow cooker roasts for shredded meats because the meat is so tender, and falls apart. Yes, the Instant Pot has a slow cook function, but the cooking time is only 4 hours. So that’s something to consider with your cooking schedule.

As far as Instapot recipes go, I prefer the Instant Pot for roasts that will be sliced as roasts. They cook much faster and much softer than the oven, but aren’t as fall apart tender as the slow cooker. Which makes them perfect for slicing and serving a “roast beef” style meat.

Instant Pot pressure cooker recipe favorites

Other foods that I prefer in the Instant Pot and my favorite Instapot recipes include:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Steel cut oatmeal
  • Steamed salmon
  • Steamed veggies
  • Brown rice
  • Roasts for slicing
  • Whole chicken
  • Dried beans

This preferred list is based on the dramatic increase in cooking time, as well as being “hands off” – set and forget kind of cooking. That’s just what this busy mama needs!

Here are 5 super easy slow cooker recipes to try out.

Cooking and Eating Healthier

Are you looking to change how you eat and cook? If so, let me share a bit more about Erin from my Q&A with her.

When she started Five Dollar Dinners, “I didn’t plan on starting a business when I started sharing what we were eating, and what I was buying and spending at the grocery store. The website grew so quickly, because everyone was looking for help, ideas and inspiration for healthful but frugal meal ideas.” The notion of five dollar dinners really resonated with people.

Creating $5Dinners

Once Erin started creating $5 dinners for a family of four (she herself has a family of six–with four sons!), she couldn’t stop. “I have this little problem where I can’t spend full price for ingredients,” says Erin. “I love playing the ‘sales game’ and mixing and matching ingredients to make a great meal.”

Like my family Erin discovered that eating at home saves a lot of money. Also, focusing on the grocery budget could make a big difference in a family’s entire budget.

Here’s my own version of five dollar dinners: First, I start by overcooking at dinner. This provides lots of money-saving options.

My husband and girls can take leftovers for lunch the next day. In addition, we can have leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner.

Or, we can use those leftovers in a new dish the next night. Finally, we can freeze those leftovers so we could eat on the cheap on another night when there is no time to cook.

Kid-Friendly Menus

As a mother herself–Erin has a family of six, with four boys–she knew that her $5 dinners had to meet a number of criteria. Not only did they need to be budget-friendly but they also had to be kid-approved. So she created what she calls super family friendly meals.

“I have active boys and they have ferocious appetites. Only one is a ‘picky eater’ but he’s really only picky about a few foods,” she says. Even her picky eater has expanded his palette because of Erin’s yummy recipes. “I love serving their favorites like sloppy joes and curries–yes, they love Thai food!”

Check out these must-have Instant Pot accessories.


  1. I have a different brand my husband got me three years ago but works like the InstaPot. I love it. I can peel whole potatoes and cook in it and then make mashed potatoes or potato salad. I cook all kinds of cheap meats in mine and they are so tender.

    My favorite recipe is mac and beef. Just put the dry pasta, sauce, and cooked meat in the pressure cooker and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. It’s awesome.

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