Is an Instant Pot 8 Quart worth it? Read a detailed list of pros and cons from an initial skeptic. I tried a lot of recipes and here is what I think!
If you still haven’t purchased an Instant Pot and you’re looking to learn a bit more about them before jumping on the bandwagon, enjoy this thoughtful review that will answer all of your Instant Pot-related questions.
What is an Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is a convenient, time-saving appliance that does everything from sauteing your food to speed (pressure) cooking it, slow cooking it, making yogurt, and more. There are so many functions included on the Instant Pot and so many different buttons that you may never actually need to use them all, but it’s nice to know that the options exist.
Instant Pot works by using the food and liquids inside to create a pressurized seal that helps to cook food much more quickly than if you were to cook them with any other method. This is great for things like frozen meats or dried beans because it can drastically reduce the cooking time by hours.
Instant Pot Vs. Other Electric Pressure Cookers
Instant Pots are name-brand electric pressure cookers but there are several other types of pressure cookers out there that do similar functions as well. Some pressure cookers work on the stovetop and are not electric at all, allowing them to reach an even stronger pressure. But unless you’re doing commercial work, you’ll find that an Instant Pot is perfectly capable of handling any at-home chef’s needs.
Why Should You Purchase An Instant Pot?
If any of these reasons sound familiar, you may just find that an Instant Pot is worth the investment.
- You often forget to plan dinner until the last minute.
- You find yourself ordering takeout or stopping at the drive-through on the way home because you don’t want to cook.
- You have a lot of kitchen appliances that can only do one thing. With all of the features an Instant Pot offers, it can save space by removing other single-use appliances from your life.
- Doing dishes is a chore you’d rather pay someone to do than to do yourself. With an Instant Pot, you can cook elaborate meals with minimal dishes involved.
What Size Instant Pot Do I Need?
This will truly depend upon your household size and lifestyle. For a single person or a two-person family, you may find that a 2 or 4-quart Instant Pot is more than plenty, while a larger family will require something more.
A 6 quart is most commonly used in recipes online, making it a standard go-to for most people.
For a family of 4, using an 8-quart-sized Instant Pot is great because you can cook much larger portions inside.
I have had both a 6-quart Instant Pot and an 8-quart Instant Pot. The 8-quart Instant Pot was too big for our family. If there isn’t enough food and liquid in the Instant Pot, you’ll get a burn notice.
How Many Instant Pot Features Do I Need?
- Pressure cook–Most commonly used. Cooks food very quickly.
- Slow cook – I do not like the slow cooking option on the Instant Pot. It only heats from the bottom whereas Slow Cookers head from the bottom and sides. Because of this, slow cooking in the Instant Pot will be drastically different than a slow cooker.
- Rice cooker– Tender and fluffy rice in minutes.
- Yogurt maker– Create your own homemade yogurt with just the press of a few buttons.
- Sauté pan– Similar to cooking your food on the stovetop. It is smaller than most pans, I wouldn’t use it in place of the stovetop.
- Food warmer – I really like using the Instant Pot as a double boiler for melting dipping chocolate because it keeps the heat even and the chocolate perfectly melted.
- Cake Maker– you can do everything from bake cakes to proofing bread dough in your Instant Pot, so don’t feel like it’s only good for dinner. There are a lot of possibilities!
Smart Pressure Cooking?
If you enjoy cool electronics and gadgets then you’ll enjoy that there is an Instant Pot option with wifi connectivity.
High and Low Pressure?
While you’re more likely to use high pressure for your recipes, the low-pressure option exists too. Low pressure is usually best for more delicate food recipes, and it cooks foods at 5-7psi, whereas high pressure cooks them at 10-12 psi.
Auto Keep Warm?
After your recipe has finished cooking for the set amount of time, it will automatically turn to a “keep warm” function while slowly releasing the pressure from the pot. This is called a natural pressure release. Even after the pressure has been removed from the pot, it will remain warm so you can open and enjoy your food when you want without fear of it becoming cold.
Is The Instant Pot Worth It?
The Instant Pot can be worth it if you plan to use any of the features or use it in place of other appliances. The biggest thing to consider would be the size you need for yourself or your family.
How To Choose The Right Instant Pot?
To select the perfect Instant Pot for your and your family’s needs, you will need to consider what you plan on doing with it. Is it just going to be for small batches of food when you’re home alone and looking for a fast and simple meal, or do you plan to eventually cook roasts for dinner entertaining? If you think you’ll be cooking larger portions of food, look at the larger Instant Pot’s.
Next, look at the features. Which ones will you actually be using? Which ones would you like to use?
Now, look at the reviews. Look at the good reviews and the one-star ones too. Sometimes one-star reviews are user errors, shipping issues, or something easily avoidable so don’t just look at pressure cookers with 5-star reviews because there could be some real gems in the 3 star or 4 star rated ones too.
Compare the Instant Pots that fit your size needs, have the features you want, and that have a majority of positive reviews. Make a list of these Instant Pots, and then figure out which ones will be easiest to fit within your budget. Select the one that meets all your criteria and enjoy!
Instant Pot Buying FAQs
Yes, you can use this Instant Pot to cook smaller batches of food or larger portions as well. In my experience, this is hit and miss and not always successful. The time needed to come to pressure and depressurize is minimal and cooking time doesn’t change for most recipes, but you should refer to the tested recipe that you choose to confirm this and recipes will vary.
Yes, using an Instant Pot is a great way to get fluffy cooked rice without an actual rice cooker. The time needed to cook your rice can be similar to a rice cooker.
An Instant Pot can easily replace your yogurt maker if you purchase an Instant Pot that has the “yogurt” feature. The Instant Pot will keep your pot of yogurt warmed at a low temp and pressurized so that it turns out perfectly after a few hours.
You could do this if you wanted to. By plugging in the Instant Pot and setting it to the “keep warm” setting you can have it rest on the table for people to self serve at a potluck.
Is Pressure Cooking Safe?
Pressure cooking is a safe method for cooking your food when following tested recipes and user manual guidelines. While the rare occasion of the lid exploding off of the cooker has happened before, it’s usually due to an appliance defect or user error.
A lot of Instant Pots also have error messages and “kill switches” to turn off automatically if they detect something is burning or going wrong, making it even safer now than when they first started appearing on the market.
Can I Seal Canning Jars In An Instant Pot?
No. An Instant Pot is a pressure COOKER, not a pressure CANNER, and it is not a safe and tested method for safely canning any recipe. While you may be able to make safe and tested jams or jellies inside of it, you cannot can with it and will need to stick to the approved water bath or pressure canning methods.
What Accessories Will I Need For The Instant Pot?
Technically speaking you can get by just fine with the trivet that your Instant Pot comes with and nothing more. But for more recipe fun and adventuring, getting added accessories can really open you up to more options.
There are Air fryer lids to give your food a crisp crust, egg racks, silicone molds for egg bites and cupcakes, 6-inch springform baking rounds for cakes and cheesecakes, and so much more. These are optional and all sold separately with many of them being available for purchase on Amazon.
Is 8 QT Instant Pot Too Big?
The Instant Pot 8 Quart is quite large. While the appliance itself may be a bit big and difficult to store within your home if you’re limited on space, it can be worth it if you need one that large. I had a hard time finding a cabinet large enough to store it in our kitchen that had limited storage space.
How Many People Does An 8 Quart Instant Pot Cook For?
It is big enough that I can make a recipe to feed 8-10 people.
Advantages of Instant Pot 8 Quart
I really like the saute feature. It makes browning meat or veggies easier before pressure cooking them. It takes a very short amount of time to cook a large amount of food.
Instant Pot 8 Quart Cons
A bummer about the size is that it isn’t comparable to an 8-quart slow cooker. It is tall instead of long and oblong, which makes roasting awkward cuts of meat impossible without cutting them. And as I mentioned before, I don’t like how Instant Pot’s slow cook.
It’s also hard for dishes like this Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie, the long shape of the large slow cooker makes the ratio of filling to biscuit right, and the Instant Pot 8 Quart just wouldn’t have that.
The last thing I dislike about the Instant Pot is that the insert is difficult to clean. The insert is stainless steel, but it is very different from the stainless pots and pans I cook with almost daily. Food sticks more (llike in a bad way, not the good stainless steel pan stick), it is pretty lightweight, and the measurements on the insert are unhelpful. So far, it has come clean with scrubbing and no staining.
Do I Recommend the Instant Pot 8 Quart?
Overall, yes. I would recommend the Instant Pot 8 Quart 7-in-1 if you are interested in getting one. However, if you don’t need the biggest size, I’d go with the 6-quart instead. I traded my 8-quart for the 6-quart and I’m happy I did.
I think any Instant Pot is an amazing option for a college student with limited or no kitchen space. It is versatile and would allow them to make some easy but healthy and amazing dishes right in their dorm room. I would have killed for something like this in college!.