10384252.jpgWhen I cook a big meal for an occasion like Easter, I go all out. Although a lot of people are Team Ham at Easter, I always prepare a traditional turkey and all of the extras including stuffing, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. The only difference between Christmas and Easter are the way I prepare the sides. I might add some fresh whole cranberries to the stuffing, and I’ve been known to garnish the sweet potatoes with a few mini chocolate eggs, just for fun.

The only problem I’ve had when making a dinner that big? My stove can only go so far. If I have a turkey in the oven, I have to figure out the timing of when I can cook the sweet potatoes. If I choose to do scalloped potatoes instead of mashed, I need the oven for that too.

This Easter is going to be different, because after reviewing the Instant Pot Smart Pressure Cooker, I’m pretty much the biggest fan of pressure cookers. Not only will having an Instant Pot make creating your Easter dinner easier than you thought possible, it’s such a versatile, easy to use appliance you’ll leave it on your counter and use it every day. Best of all? It’s a smart pressure cooker, so you can connect to an app on your smartphone and monitor what you’re cooking or start a recipe from wherever you are.

Appearance & SpecificationsInstant Pot Pressure Cooker.jpg

The Instant Pot pressure cooker looks a lot like a slow cooker. It’s around the same size as a standard slow cooker, and it’s about the same weight. On the front face of the Instant Pot is a digital display and 7 pre-set buttons. The presets let you select what type of food you’ll be cooking, and you can also choose to sauté, cook manually, or use the delay timer so you can delay the start time of what you’re cooking by up to 24 hours.

There are also 14 built-in smart programs or recipes, and those recipes are available through the Instant Pot app.

When you unpack the Instant Pot you’ll find the stainless steel cooking pot, a steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon, and a measuring cup. You’ll also find two rubber oven mitts for protection when removing the handle and opening up the steam vent.

Instant Pot App.jpgTesting the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

I have a standard slow cooker, and I use it at Easter to hold the extra stuffing I make. When the turkey is finished . I scoop the stuffing out of the bird and put it in the slow cooker to stay warm until it’s time to eat.

For all of the other dishes I make, I use my stove and my oven. As I mentioned before, it can be really hard to juggle that many dishes at one time. That’s why the Instant Pot is so incredibly handy, and although I had read the rave reviews before I tried it, I had to use it myself to see how much time it can save you making a big meal.

Anything you make on your stove you can make in your Instant Pot, and even better, it actually cooks certain foods even faster.

The first dish I made with the Instant Pot was roast beef. My brother and his family were over for the weekend and I was all ready to cook it in the oven. The only problem was that it was 3 pm before I even thought to put it in, so the roast wouldn’t be ready until 5 at the earliest.

I had the Instant Pot all set up and ready to go, and I had downloaded the Instant Pot app and synced it to my phone. I’d like to take a moment to say that syncing to the Instant Pot was instant too: I’ve tried a lot of different Bluetooth devices and I’ve never had my phone find and pair that fast. Once it was paired, I could see everything that was going on with the Instant Pot. I had turned it on sauté to brown the outsides of the roast and I could watch the temperature rising on the phone.

Although I was really skeptical about the short cooking time, I browned the sides of the roast and set the Instant Pot for 30 minutes of high pressure. When the timer went off I slowly released the steam. It took a long time to release the steam, maybe 1 to 2 minutes, and when I added the carrots and potatoes I set it for another 15 minutes.

Instant-Pot-review.jpgIf you’ve ever had a pot roast come out dry or tough like I have, you’ll really appreciate what the Instant Pot can do is such a short time. It was shocking how good that pot roast was, and I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a roast that well. Even my brother, who loves to criticize my cooking, had to compliment me on that roast.

The Instant Pot is great for main dishes, but for me the real shining moment was when I made potatoes in it. All I had to do is add some small potatoes, a cup of chicken stock, and a few spices. I turned it on and set the pressure to high for 15 minutes. When I released the steam and opened the pot, I had perfectly done potatoes. Because I always make some type of potatoes at Easter, having an Instant Pot on the counter means I free up space on the stove.

I did a quick video of the Instant Pot in action, and because Easter is right around the corner, I decided to hard-boil some eggs for the kids to decorate. I had to collect the eggs from a few reluctant chickens before I could use them, so I found cooking them up in the Instant Pot was the easiest part of the process.

As you can see, all I had to do was tap the recipe on the Instant Pot app and it cooked perfect hard-boiled eggs in less than 10 minutes. The way the shell peeled off the egg after was nothing short of magical. I couldn’t believe how easily they peeled and how perfectly cooked they were. We ended up eating them all that day, so I’ll be hoarding my eggs for a few more days to make a big batch for colouring.

Instant Pot Review.jpgClean Up

The Instant Pot interior bowl pops out for easy clean up, and because of how handy it is, I found myself removing the food I cooked, putting it on a platter, washing the bowl, then using it for some other dish. You can put the bowl in the dishwasher too, and the rice spoon and spatula wipe down quickly in the sink.

With only one pot to brown, steam, slow cook, or pressure cook, you don’t have a ton of dishes to to. That’s a definite plus in my book.

Conclusion

Why have I never used a pressure cooker before? It’s one of those things where I feel as though I’ve really missed out, and especially with Easter and family coming for a big dinner, there is no question that I’ll be bringing one home to stay. It’s so easy to use, and the only thing I had difficulty mastering was getting the lid on properly and releasing the steam. It only took once to get the hang of it, and after it was smooth sailing.

I’m not afraid to admit I’m sort of obsessed with the Instant Pot now. Every day I walk up to it and wonder what I can make next. It’s literally like having two stovetops in your kitchen, and it’s perfect for juggling multiple dishes if you cook big meals at Easter and Christmas. After using it I found myself wishing I had one in University, because I definitely wouldn’t have spent as much time in the cafeteria if I did.

The app connects seamlessly to the Instant Pot, and although I’ve always been up on new tech I found myself in awe of how you can just tap a recipe and have it cook for you. When I was making the roast I had to run out and grab something from the store, but I could keep an eye on how long the Instant Pot had left to cook and how it was doing right from my phone.

From instant breakfast to Easter dinners and every side dish you can think of, the Instant Pot really delivers. Take a look at the Instant Pot Smart Pressure Cooker on Bestbuy.ca right now. Once you try it, you’ll love it as much as I do.

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