I’ve you’ve been following my blog posts for the past few weeks, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting more about using my Instant Pot. We happen to love our Instant Pot, and I’ve been using mine to cook up all sorts of delicious treats. (You can get my recipe for making delicious Creme Brûlée in your Instant Pot by following the link below!)
In response to these Instant Pot-centric blog posts, we’ve received quite a lot of comments and emails! One of the most common questions people seem to have is how an Instant Pot compares to a slow cooker. So today I wanted to address that question, and clearly outline the ways that Instant Pots and slow cookers differ. My hope is that by the end of the post, you have all the information you could ever want about what an Instant Pot does, and whether you could use one in your own kitchen. :-)
An Introduction To The Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. There are other electric pressure cookers on the market, but the Instant Pot is unique because of its additional features. (For instance, you can sauté foods right in your Instant Pot using the “Sauté” function. Most other electric pressure cookers don’t have a feature like this.)
Not only is the Instant Pot packed with features, but it’s also safer than a standard stovetop pressure cooker. The Instant Pot actually has 10 different safety mechanisms and fail-safes, which ensure that the pot doesn’t get overly pressurized. (You can read more about the safety features of the Instant Pot by following this link.)
How An Instant Pot Works
Like many other cooking methods, the Instant Pot produces a lot of steam during the cooking process. But rather than allowing the steam to escape, the steam is trapped inside which pressurizes the pot. Things under pressure cook faster and retain more moisture, resulting in tender, moist food in a shorter period of time than other methods.
How A Slow Cooker Works
Slow cookers are also electric cooking appliances, but they don’t build up pressure during the cooking process. The lid keeps the steam somewhat contained, but a lot of the overall moisture gets lost to evaporation. No pressure buildup means less moisture overall, and a longer cooking time (hence the name “slow cooker!”)
Comparing An Instant Pot To A Slow Cooker
An Instant Pot has several useful features, including steam, sauté, and warming options. It also has a slow cooker function, which heats the pot but doesn’t pressurize it, just like a slow cooker. (That’s right, an Instant Pot could replace your slow cooker entirely!) It can also cook rice and yogurt, and you can cook food straight from the freezer.
Slow cookers are quite useful for easy, “set-it-and-forget-it” meals. However, you do have to have the forethought to get everything set up in the morning so that it can cook while you’re gone during the day. So if you’re not much of a planner, you may be better suited to the speed and convenience of an Instant Pot.
But one great thing about slow cookers is how simple they are. You just toss your food inside, turn it on, and that’s it! The Instant Pot has several buttons that control different functions, and it can take time in the beginning to learn what they all do. And the Instant Pot needs to pressurize before cooking and de-pressurize after cooking, which can take some getting used to.
Another edge that slow cookers have over Instant Pots is that they’re inexpensive. An Instant Pot will run you between $80 and $150 depending on the model you choose, so it does require a financial investment. But with how frequently I’ve used my Instant Pot since I bought it a few months ago, it’s well worth the money in my opinion.
More Instant Pot Resources
Finally, I thought I’d share a few of the more popular Instant Pot posts I’ve written recently. So if you’d like to learn more about what you can make in an Instant Pot, I highly recommend checking out the links below!