Why I Hate My Instant Pot

Instant Pot

Based on the glowing reviews and recommendations of, like, every friend I have, I asked for—and received—an Instant Pot for Christmas last year. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) After just over four months of owning it, I’d like to invite everyone over for tea, or wine, or water, or hard liquor—whatever, I’m not picky, and ask youall something. Have I done something to offend you? Did I neglect to notice and effusively compliment a new haircut? Did I accidentally offer unsolicited parenting advice? Did I inadvertently one-up you when you were sharing one of your child’s accomplishments? Did I miss my turn to bring snacks? Because if one of these things didn’t happen, then kindly explain to me your motivation for recommending this kitchen gadget from hell.

Oh, Instant Pot, how do I hate you? Let me count the ways.

First, YOU ARE NOT F*CKING INSTANT. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT. Nothing cooks quickly in this thing. Now, I don’t know that anything actually cooks more slowly than it would using any other method, but still. “Instant” is a complete and total LIE. Someone should sue. Not me because all my time is sucked up by non-instant cooking, but someone.

Second, you are not intuitive. I detest things that require manuals and instructions to use. I had to look up directions for some funky button in my new car the other day and was about ready to take that sucker back to the dealer and return it. If I can’t figure it out on my own, it’s too complicated. What makes the Instant Pot in particular even worse, though, is that it has nicely labeled buttons for things, but you can’t actually use them for the things. The rice button? Nope. Only good for one kind of rice, and it’s the kind no one eats; as a matter of fact, the included recipe book has three separate recipes to cook three different varieties of plain rice, none of which use the rice button. And if you can get over the fact that you need a manual to operate your non-Instant Pot, the included manual is completely unhelpful. It is so unhelpful that there is a thriving market of books about how to use your Instant Pot. Instant Pot cookbooks all include, to greater or lesser degrees, instruction sections on how to use the machine in the first place. Perhaps that is because the manual that comes with the Instant Pot is a basic Microsoft Word document created using the program’s default settings. It does not inspire confidence.

Third, ACCESSORIES ARE NOT INCLUDED. If you opened this on Christmas, you would be as disappointed as a kid opening a toy without batteries. Here are some examples. Unless you’re slow cooking in your Instant Pot (in which case, save yourself the money, the slow cooker you have is fine), you’re going to need more than one inner pot—and there are different kinds, too. You know, just like the set of regular pots you have to cook food on your regular non-instant stove, but whatever. Anyway. It’s also suggested that you have special silicone mitts to remove the hot inner pot. Don’t forget the lids: there’s a glass lid for when you’re sautéing and a silicone lid for storing leftovers. And I’m sure you’ve heard of all the amazing things you can make in the Instant Pot, right? Cake and cheesecake? Need a springform pan. Bread? Need a loaf pan. Harboiled eggs? Need an egg rack to keep them from being lopsided. Steamed vegetables? Yeah, they threw in a rack when you bought the pot, but you’re really gonna need a basket. Finally, lesson learned the hard way: you’ll absolutely need extra sealing rings, unless your six-year-old enjoys cumin-flavored apple-cinnamon oatmeal. Mine didn’t, but you do you. So basically, you get this relatively inexpensive gadget and then you have to rebuy your entire kitchen to fit inside its little 6-quart prison. Nice.

Fourth, to quote our friend Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” (I’m dating myself, aren’t I? That’s okay! It’s a 25th anniversary!) Anyway, Instant Pot, there are so many crazy things you can make, it’s like people haven’t stopped to think about whether you should make them. Cough syrup, dog food, hard lotion bars, salves, limoncello, and wine. Yes, WINE. And while you’d think that last one would be cause for celebration everywhere, think about the fact that there are people who dedicate their lives—people whose families have dedicated generations—to the art of winemaking, and decide if you want your wine to come from anything that has the word “Instant” (no matter how much of a lie it is) anywhere near it.

So, yeah. I hate this pot. Coco’s Mamá Imelda has her devil box and I have mine. And if I could smash the Instant Pot with a shoe I would. Unfortunately, the damn thing is wicked good at jasmine rice.

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Christina lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at her local library, and does both volunteer and paid work as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.


  1. I do all the cooking for my wife and I and got a new Instant Pot 10 the other week and I haven’t used it yet. The more I read on their Facebook page, the more I thought of just returning it without using it since I don’t see any real advantage to it.

    I was hoping to be able to cook dried beans without presoaking so long because it is a so-called pressure cooker but every recipe I see on their Facebook page says to pre-soak overnight. Then there are various recipes for them where the comments say they “came out too hard” …” add more water” … “change the time”. What is easy about that? If I have to soak them overnight, I can put them in a crock-pot and get great results every time!
    I often put a layer of small potatoes, baby carrots, and a roast layered and seasoned in a slow-cooker and it comes out perfectly every time without even having to look at it. The notes I see on recipes on their Facebook page talk about cutting the veggies to right size, so they don’t turn to mush, adjusting pressures and times, etc.

    I can hard boil eggs that are easy to peel perfectly every time on a stove top without messing with settings or “tweaking” anything. The yolk never gets green from overcooking either. I don’t even care it they are fresh eggs. (Some places tell you that older eggs peel easier after hard boiling.) With all the “tips” about making them come out right using the Instant Pot, it seems like building an atomic bomb would be easier!

    From everything I’ve been reading, this thing seems to be a solution that is hunting for a problem.

    I tried posting the above comments on their Facebook page and the moderator rejected it, saying it would “result in too many negative comments!” In other words…They only allow positive stuff!

    I suppose if you don’t know any better, you will think it’s a great thing. I’m returning mine tomorrow but at least I didn’t use it first. Let some other sucker buy it.

  2. I’ve been thrilled with my Power Cooker for about a year now, and finally decided to cave to the Instant Pot hype and “upgrade” my pressure cooker. HA!
    It took nearly twice as long to build pressure, the “keep warm” function is somehow confusing and shuts itself off after 10 hours (I made a stew after work for the next day and fell asleep, woke up to it OFF), another time it switched itself from the HIGH setting of WARM to MEDIUM (which it supposed to be 145 degrees, but when I checked temp with thermometer, it was only 134! gross) Cleaning is so much more tedious than the power cooker, and all those recipes I was intrigued by, need those damn special tools!
    The ONLY things that Instant Pot has that I wish my Power Cooker had, yogurt maker and STAINLESS STEEL INNER POT! that’s it.
    I’ll stick to my Power Cooker with it’s simplicity, efficient design and delicious teflon coating my food 😛

  3. Totally hate this thing! It was given as a gift from someone who “loves” it.
    Husband has made several things in the giant pressure cooker that takes up the counter top. He loves it and what he cooked in it. I did not care for his creations. Ick! I made chicken piccata and found I spent more time using this beast then it would of to make on the stove and less mess! The chicken was chewy string after following the directions completely. Now to wash up the pot without a struggle. I will give it another go on a pot roast. My slow cooker works great on many things. Throw it all in before leaving in the morning and done by dinner.

  4. My “five minute water test” has so far taken over an hour. How long will it take to cook the pot roast for dinner tonight? The cook time says “60 minutes. Should I plan for 2 hours? 3?

    I would be a lot less annoyed if they just SAID it would take so long, instead of saying “five minutes”.

    I agree, someone should sue.

    I think I am going to hate mine as much as you hate yours.

  5. Christina, thank you for your article. Was skeptical about one appliance doing so many things as good as reported, but I ordered one because I believed the lies. Ruined my Christmas week up to New Years fighting with the thing. Had been feeling bad about sending it back until people at UPS store said they see a lot of these going back. My food tastes so much better when I use the correct appliance. I’m not afraid of using my antiquated pressure cooker. Why should I wait 20 minutes for an Instant Pot to come up to pressure when my pressure cooker does it in 5 minutes. My slow cooker makes food taste so much better. My rice cooks perfectly in a pan, and yogurt is a breeze in a yogurt maker. Why oh why did I think that all of the cooking skills I have acquired over the years could be replicated in one pot! Ridiculous!

  6. I have zero extra accessories and use mine just fine. All you need is the manual button and a recipe. It’s the easiest thing ever to use. Set it and leave. Much easier than standing over a stove or heating up the kitchen with an oven. Everything I cook in it turns out wonderful and in 1/2 the time. ????????‍♀️


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