Why I Sold Both of My Instant Pots

published Jan 23, 2024
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Credit: Maria Midoes

I admit it: I am a kitchen appliance junkie. I have been for more than a decade, since I fell in love with cooking. I want to buy nearly everything that comes on the market, but actually only buy the ones I hope I will use on a regular basis.

So when I first heard about the Instant Pot years ago, right before Christmas, you can bet I asked for one right away as a gift. After hearing how many people loved it (and watching countless videos and reading reviews online), I just knew I would get a lot of use out of it — especially considering I follow a plant-based diet. In fact, I was so sure I would love it that I bought my mom one, too.

Credit: Kelli Foster

My Journey with the Instant Pot

When I first got the Instant Pot, I dove right into the instruction manual and bought three other cookbooks that were catered to Instant Pot users. I had an arsenal of helpful instructions, detailing how to use the machine.

Unfortunately, after a few months of testing out the Instant Pot with more than 30 or so different dishes — ranging from soups to stews, rice to oatmeal, plus potatoes, lentils, quinoa, and even dairy-free yogurt — I was highly disappointed. These weren’t new recipes to me. As someone who already loved to cook, they were dishes I’ve made over and over again. I spent time figuring out how the recipes needed to be adjusted for the Instant Pot and was disappointed every single time. I could have just made these dishes my usual way without the Instant Pot.

Then, I Got Another One

And guess what? My mom (who doesn’t eat a plant-based diet and used her Instant Pot to cook meat stews and soups), was also incredibly disappointed with her Instant Pot. So after a year of trying our new Instant Pots out, I was highly disappointed and ready to sell mine. Then my mom generously said I could “have” hers to sell, too, which was her way of nicely saying she didn’t want it anymore.

It frustrated me that we both hated a machine so many people loved. Being stubborn and determined, I kept both of them for another six months just hoping I’d fall in love with them. Finally, I gave up. I took to Craigslist and sold both of our Instant Pots pretty easily and quickly and never looked back.

Why I Sold Both of My Instant Pots

1. The Instant Pot doesn’t cook things as quickly as it seems.

While you can supposedly cook recipes such as potatoes, soup, stews, rice, and more in a shorter amount of time, there’s a major catch: For most recipes, you have to wait for the machine to properly release the pressure slowly. Some recipes can be released manually, of course, but not all of them can. I realized that by the time the pressure was released through a slow release, certain dishes didn’t take that much less time than an oven or stovetop method would have. I suppose if I was someone who worked away from the home, perhaps it would have been convenient, but I work from home so that wasn’t an issue, and in that case, I’d just as soon use my slow cooker.

2. Food from a slow cooker tastes better than food from the Instant Pot.

No matter what I made, everything in the Instant Pot tasted bland or “off” compared to how the exact recipe tasted in my slow cooker. I thought it might just be me, but members of my family said the same thing about all the Instant Pot meals I served them.

The Instant Pot also made my food taste too “watery” no matter how many times I adjusted the liquid and the seasonings. This problem doesn’t happen in my mini or large slow cooker at all. I’ve also heard many other people say the same thing about their Instant Pot, but they still use it for the convenience. Of course, I have heard other people say they love the flavor of their Instant Pot meals. To each her own on this, I suppose.

3. Many of my recipes burned on the bottom.

This was a big deal-breaker for me. All of my recipes seemed to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot even when I used the right water-to-ingredient ratio. I realize I could use cooking spray or oil, but I eat an oil-free diet and don’t see the point in adding oil to recipes just because I want to use the Instant Pot. I have also never had this issue when using my slow cooker or stovetop methods.

4. The Instant Pot became an unnecessary appliance taking up space in my pantry.

The Instant Pot is safe and effective at cooking food thoroughly, but I found that the downfalls of the machine didn’t justify its space in the kitchen.

The Bottom Line: The Instant Pot Just Wasn’t for Me

All in all, I’m not knockin’ the Instant Pot or all the wonderful users out there who love it. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t love or use your Instant Pot as much as you wish you did or thought you would, I’m here to let you know you’re not alone.

This post originally published on The Kitchn. Read it there: Why I Sold Both of My Instant Pots