Spend a little time on Facebook and the words “Instant Pot” will likely come up on your feed—the speedy pressure cookers have a devoted following amongst home chefs. Modern iterations of the classic pressure cooker have seen a spike in popularity since 2016 almost solely thanks to social media. It’s easy to see why the device is getting so much love: It does a lot and does it quickly, by sealing and building up highly concentrated steam pressure, which cooks food faster. But many pressure cookers have slow-cooker functions too, an added bonus for those who love the smell of beef stew gradually cooking over the course of an afternoon.
We put a variety of pressure cookers to the test—the whole chicken test—starting with the actual Instant Pot brand and extending to other home/kitchen brand versions of the electric pressure cooker. All of the units tested were able to take a 3-ish-lb bird from raw to cooked within about 45 minutes (25 of actual cooking, the rest spent on browning and building and releasing pressure). What made the winning device stand apart was ease of use and overall flexibility in the kitchen. It turns out the Instant Pot brand has a cult following for a reason—it could do the most and was user-friendly, with Cuisinart’s simpler CPC-600 coming in a close (and lower-priced at $69.99) second.
BUY: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, $100; www.amazon.com
The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 has a detailed control panel and 10 different safety mechanisms to regulate the steam buildup and release. We also like that the included steam rack has handles, which makes lifting out things like, say, whole cooked chickens, and pork ribs easier. The dishwasher-safe inner pot is made from stainless steel and features cup-by-cup measurements which makes it simpler to put in exactly the right amount of ingredients. We used the product expressly for pressure cooking, but love that it’s also able to slow cook (so we can save some counter space and put our crock pot away), make rice and yogurt, and also sautee, steam, and warm. It allows us to cook meals during the busy weeknights that we previously only had time to make on the weekends. Looks like we're going to have to join the over 464,000 members of Facebook's Instant Pot Community group—we're sold.
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Wins for: Ease of use, Quality of Cooking, and Diverse Capabilities
- Simple manual functionality plus 14 micro-processor controlled programs
- Easy to clean
- 10 safety mechanisms
See the rest of InStyle's 2017 Best of Tech picks here.