The newest Instant Pot is $200 - we tested it out to see if the price increase is worth it
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- Instant Pot has garnered a cult-like following for their pressure cookers that promise easy, delicious, healthy meals in a snap.
- The brand just released their newest and most expensive model, the Instant Pot Max, which retails for $200.
- We tested out the Instant Pot Max to see how it compares to older models and if it's worth the higher price tag.
Since moving into my tiny New York City apartment, my home-cooked meals have become a little lackluster. With just enough counter space for approximately one large cutting board, prepping lots of ingredients and dirtying lots of dishes in the name of a delicious, well-rounded meal is ultimately a hassle. Understandably, I've resorted to lots of egg scrambles, frozen meals, and excuses to order takeout.Recently overcome with the infectious "new year, new me" attitude, I've taken on some lofty goals - like saving money and eating better by cooking at home. So, when the opportunity to test out the new Instant Pot Max presented itself, I jumped on it- in the name of self-betterment, of course.
My Insider Picks team members rave about Instant Pots, but they aren't the only ones - the brand has garnered a cult-like following for helping people make delicious meals with ease and efficiency. Given all the hype, I was excited to test one out for myself.
The Instant Pot Max is the brand's newest model, boasting a few new features and a price tag that's about $50 more than the next "best" model, the Instant Pot Ultra.
What's new about the Instant Pox Max?
Like the other models, the Max aims to replace many of your most commonly used kitchen appliances. On the Max specifically, the settings are: Pressure Cooker, Pressure Canner, Sous Vide, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté/Searing pan, Steamer, Yogurt Maker, and Food Warmer. This breadth of uses allows you to make just about anything in the Max, from a decadent chicken risotto to a fudgy chocolate cake.
The most noticeable of the updates is the look of the pot itself. The Max sports an LCD touchscreen, which not only makes for a sleeker display, but makes controlling the device pretty seamless as well. While older models require you to manually control the pressure release valves, the Max has an automatic pressure release valve. Users can choose how they want to release pressure (naturally or with a quick burst) on the touch screen, which is definitely an added bonus in terms of safety.
More serious chefs can try their hand at canning and sous vide, two new features made possible by the heat capacity of the pot. What really stands out is the claims that the Max can seriously decrease cooking time. The Max is the first 15 psi electric pressure cooker on the market, which, in pressure cooker jargon, really just means it can come to pressure faster than previous models, which should make the whole cooking process faster.
My experience cooking with the Max:
I'm new to pressure cookers, but I found the Max extremely easy to use. To test, I settled on making pulled pork- it's something I would never attempt to make in the oven, but have heard lots of great things about making it in the Instant Pot. I threw in some white onion, a pork tenderloin rubbed with an array of spices, and lastly a few cups of Coca-Cola (it might sound weird, but I was following a recipe here). I set it to the "pressure cook" setting on high for an hour, as my recipe suggested. Within about thirty minutes, a sweet and spicy scent filled the air - and I was suddenly ravenous. During the last ten minutes of the cycle, I set the pot to QR (quick release), which, you guessed it, releases the pressure quickly.
Since this was my first foray into Instant Pot territory, I let everything sit for an extra minute or two just to make sure all of the pressure was released. When I opened the lid, I was pleased to see the pork was cooked perfectly. My roommate and I went to pull it with two small forks, but even a slotted spoon did the trick - it was that tender. The meal was amazing, but what impressed me most was how efficient this pot made the cooking process. About 20 minutes spent prepping ingredients and 10 minutes cleaning my dirty dishes were all I needed to get enough pulled pork for a week's worth of lunches or dinners - not just for me, but for my roommate too.
My meal was delicious, the cleanup was fast and easy, and I have pulled pork leftovers for days - it's everything I wanted to get from this experience. Will I be using the Max again? Yes! While it's definitely the largest cooking appliance I have, it makes batch-cooking healthy meals easy, efficient, and totally worth the space it takes up in my kitchen. But, I think many of Instant Pot's other models would have given me the same delicious results.
If you want to expand your cooking repertoire and experiment with canning and sous vide cooking, then the Max might be for you. If your current pot is a little out of date, or you like having the newest gadgets, you'll appreciate the shiny, new features on the Max. On the other hand, if you're trying to save some money, you don't have to spend $200 to experience the benefits of pressure cooking - you can frequently find older Instant Pot models on sale, sometimes even for less than $100.
I think an Instant Pot is a worthy investment and the breadth of models can help you pick the right one for your budget and lifestyle. For now, I'll be brainstorming what I'm going to whip up next.
Shop the Instant Pot Max, $200, available at Amazon and Williams Sonoma.
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