My slow cooker is kaput and I’m thinking of getting a multicooker to replace it. I realize from serious eats that it is not a good replacement for a slow cooker, due to shape and size, etc. But, I have a suspicion I may use it more often than my slow cooker. My question is should I buy this super cheap off-brand one from Best Buy or hold out for the name-brand InstaPot? The reviews are good from the Best Buy website, but I’ve read somewhere that there are recipes devoted specifically to the InstaPot, which may not be adaptable to other multicookers?
I’m jealous. I can’t justify an IP as all the separate components that I own are still fine. Here’s one at Target for $60. I’m sure they must have different “models” at different prices. Hopefully people will guide you…and me vicariously!
Hi, @ChineseChou! I’ve got an InstantPot myself, and am pretty happy with it. However, I’m a member of a couple of different Facebook groups for InstantPot-style cooking. I’ve seen many posts from folks who own models not made by InstantPot, and these folks are perfectly happy. With regards to recipe adaptations, so long as you have High Pressure or Manual, you’ll be okay with general usage. It’s if you are interested in yogurt-making, sterilize, sauté, et al…that’s where you would run into some trouble. From what I’ve read, you’ll specifically need one with a yogurt function in order to make yogurt. There’s been some discussion on the InstantPot - Recipes, Techniques & Questions thread on whether or not the Sauté function works well or not, but there’s a wealth of information there if you decide to make a purchase. Hope this helps!
I don’t know that the Instant Pot does anything unique. Maybe some of the cooking modes I never use aren’t available with other brands.
Thanks! That’s great to know. Also good to know that it’s Instant Pot and not InstaPot. I read the entirety of that InstantPot thread! It convinced me to take the plunge. I figure $40 is a low enough entry fee to start messing around with something everyone tells me is amazing. Risotto is going to be one of the first things I try.
I don’t know about amazing, but a pressure cooker that turns itself off is a lot more practical than the old-fashioned kind.
It has made my weekday cooking a lot easier…that qualifies as amazing to me.
Agree. A pressure cooker that turns itself off (and that you can walk away from!) is a huge benefit/difference. That difference is what made me take the plunge.
You are going to have a lot of fun playing - go for it!
The one thing I would advise is, is that since there are so any instant pots and fewer of the Best Buy store brand pots - buy at least one extra set of the silicone sealing rings now. They do take on smells so you may want to be able to swap them out, while you can still get them.
After I clean and dry my rings, I throw them in a ziplock with baking soda. Helps with the aroma issues.
Thanks for the advice! I don’t see silicon rings for the 8 quart so I may be doing the baking soda trick often. THIS is why I ask this forum!
FWIW, America’s Test Kitchen did a review of multi-cookers that aired on the Splendid Table podcast. They recommend the Fagor Lux Multi Cooker. Among the reasons cited were better slow cooking capability and an alert that tells the user if it isn’t sealed properly. If you’re looking for something to replace your slow cooker, the Fagor Lux might be worth checking out. Link to the podcast below.
Great minds listen to the same podcasts! I literally just finished that segment as I was getting to work. The Fagor (which is now a different brand because the company went under) is too rich for my blood. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be an acolyte of the Church of the Instant Pot. I am more griller than braiser in my normal life. But, if it can make rice in 15 minutes versus 30 minutes on the quick setting on my zojirushi, I’ll use it at least twice a week.
Okay, that is brilliant! I will pass that on to my friend who bought an extra set of rings just because of the smell.
The cooker just got delivered today. Right on time for a weekend of messing around. What should my inaugural dish be? Nothing too difficult. I am easily discouraged.
Get a chunk of quality pork shoulder / butt that will fit snugly. Put 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound in pot with 1/4 cup of water, add pork, set pot for 90 minutes.
@robert ‘s idea is great. I would spice it, too…along the lines of pulled pork and with a dash of liquid smoke, if you’re into smoke. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce and some Hawaiian rolls as sliders or brioche for full on sandwiches.
Cheater Chicken Tikka Masala is great, too…pour some cheater/store-bought masala sauce in with some boneless, skinless thighs and set it to High Pressure for 15 minutes.
I also think risotto is a great idea. Set it and then forget it.
I’m a fan Natural Pressure Release. To quicken the natural pressure release, I grab some ice packs and set it on the lid. I only use quick release if I’m in a hurry…just be careful because the steam from an immediate quick release is no joke…my son quick released our chicken tikka masala from last week, and while the pot was less than half full, I was told it was a violent amount of steam with some of the masala sauce coming out because of the high pressure.
I cook the pork plain so that I can use it for multiple dishes with different seasonings.
Unless I’m making chile verde with fresh tomatillos.
@nashwill has a great pork shoulder recipe and the ingredients would be great in the IP also I’m sure.
Nice seasonings. I wouldn’t bother cutting slits or for that matter crushing the garlic or fennel. I’d just put them at the bottom of the pot and the pressure will push the flavor into the meat.
Searing will add Maillard-reaction flavors, but when using a pressure cooker I don’t bother. I’d just put everything but the pork in the pot, put the pork on top, and cook for 90 minutes.