Yustens versus the Instant Pot.  Who will win?

I received an Instant Pot for Christmas.  I was super pumped about the possibilities it held.  You’ve heard how amazing these things are right?  “Cook a 5 course Thanksgiving dinner for 12 in under 17 minutes.”  No? Fine, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously the hype is impressive.  Talk to anyone that has an Instant Pot and uses it.  They love it.  They use it almost daily.  The possibilities are endless!

Did you notice I said, “the people who actually use it” – that is also because the Instant Pot tends to come packaged with a bit intimidation right in the box, and I have heard many people just let it sit in the box or on their shelf and are too nervous to try this strange new contraption.

I will admit I really didn’t know what I was doing and I will admit I was a bit intimated, but I was determined to figure it out.  I gave myself a deadline of one week to make something, anything in it.  So, I started asking others if they had one of these silver beasts and what tips they had.  Then I convinced Jason that he needed to help me and we were one step closer.  A little back up never hurt, right?

One of the ideas that captured me about this magical machine was the ability to cook frozen foods fast.  I love my Crock Pot.   I use it all the time, but in order to have tasty food from the Crock Pot, one must remember to start cooking it early enough in the day.  Well….that is not always my strong point.    So, the idea of being able to actually make a decent dinner from something on hand, from my freezer was intriguing.

I laugh at the comment that the Instant Pot is great for cooking rice and boiled eggs.  As fantastic as that is, I didn’t want another space consuming appliance simply to cook eggs and rice.  Nope.  So what was I going to cook in my new contraption?  I am happy to proclaim that over the past few weeks I have used the Instant Pot several times.   Here is what I have cooked so far:

Beef stew with carrots and potatoes

This YouTube video was helpful.

Everything veggie soup, based on Leanne Ely’s Mitochondria Miracle Soup

The great thing about this soup is you can use whatever veggies you wish.  Don’t stress over the strict recipe.  Throw them in, cook them up, and leave it chunky or mix up with an immersion blender.

Frozen ground turkey


Turkey breast


Chicken breasts

Good stuff.  One comment:  I tend to like my chicken on the dryer side, and since you cook everything with liquid in the Instant Pot,  your food will be more moist.  So, if you’re like most people, and not like me – it’ll be a good thing.

Pork chops

Really pleased how well these turned out. I actually got compliments on them.  I’m not a good enough cook to receive many rave reviews from my food critics.

Kielbasa, potatoes, and sauerkraut

The kielbasa would have been more flavorful if I would have sauteed it before I cooked it with everything else.  You can use the saute’ feature right in the Instant Pot.  Basically, it’s like using a frying pan on your stove top.

Boiled eggs….I had to see what the hype was all about, right?

I guess eggs can be stacked on top of each other and you can make as many as will fit in your Instant Pot, but the rack that came with mine has holes that are too big.  So, I was only able to make six eggs.  I don’t think the Instant pot saved me any time, but the fancy thing was…that the eggs peeled super easy.  This is probably the reason people rave about making boiled eggs in the Instant Pot.

*This is the biggest tip I have about the Instant Pot….and makes it a little less “instant” than I realized.  It may only take 15 minutes (or whatever the recipe calls for) to cook your food, but before that timer evens starts….it has to build up the pressure.  That alone can take 20 minutes or more.  So, yes everything can all be cooked relatively fast and in one pot, but that pressure accumulating time needs to be factored in as well.  I was a little perplexed the first time.  Now you know.

When the time is up and you need to release the pressure – BE CAREFUL!   I have witnessed the steam shoot up to about 4 feet in the air.  You need to make sure you don’t have it underneath a cupboard and defiantly keep your face and hands and any other body parts out of the way.

If you let the contents sit after it is done cooking the pressure will drop naturally, but sometimes you don’t do that.  Sometimes you use the quick release, for veggies and things you don’t want to get mushy, but also when you just need the time to be faster.  I found this article helpful on being able to help tell the difference when to use natural release or the quick release.

Clean up is pretty simple.  Take the pot out the base and wash it up.  Wash the lid by taking out the rubber ring and washing it and then wiping down the lid.

Actually, I have found the best tool for figuring out this not-so-hard-after-all device has been YouTube.  I appreciate being able to see someone doing it versus just reading a recipe.

Looking for more resources?  InstantPot.com  and of course there is a whole community of Instant Pot lovers and sharers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/InstantPotCommunity/.

I think we won the duel against our Instant Pot…I think you will too.  You just need to give it a try.

I do appreciate this new gadget and it is getting a lot less intimidating to me.  I’d like to learn more.  What are your tips, tricks, and favorite recipes you use with your Instant Pot?


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