9 Professional Chefs Share How They Really Feel About Instant Pots

It may seem like everyone you know got the same gift for the holidays, and it may also seem like they're all using that gift to conquer the intimidating New Year's resolution of cooking more. We're, of course, talking about the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot, a pressure cooker that can make everything from beef stew and rice to yogurt and hard-boiled eggs in, well, an instant, has become the trendiest kitchen gadget around in the past few years. Its quickness and versatility are especially appealing to millennials, many of whom we now know are suffering from burnout, and therefore don't have the time or energy to create elaborate meals the "old fashioned" way on a regular basis. However, what makes the Instant Pot so popular for home cooks looking for shortcuts, might be exactly what makes the gadget unappealing for serious chefs.
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To find out how professional chefs really feel about the Instant Pot and its current trendy moment, we asked nine chefs to share their thoughts on the machine. Do they think it is a helpful invention that encourages more people to cook? Or, do they discourage home cooks from learning certain important kitchen skills? Would these chefs ever use an Instant Pot in their own kitchens? Check out their responses, ahead.
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Photographed by Melissa Hom.
"Yes, I have an InstaPot. I equate it with my beloved pressure cooker except that it's electric. It gives me an additional cooking area, especially when I'm preparing large holiday meals. I love it, because it produces big flavor in less time." — Carla Hall, author of Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration
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Photographed by Matt Kurkowski.
"I didn't have much of an opinion until I saw Kat Kinisman and her series of instant pot videos, I’m on board for anything she does! I think anything that gets people cooking in their own homes is valuable. It's a catalyst to get people cooking and learning. From there, what else could you make? Learning how to follow a simple recipe builds confidence to tackling a more challenging one... I’m seriously considering getting one for my spouse, who has just started learning how to cook. Anything that means I have dinner when I get home from work at night is a big win in our house." Karen Akunowicz, James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of Fox & the Knife in Boston, MA
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Photo: Courtesy of Maiko Kyogoku.
"I had never heard of an Instant Pot before — and was, at first, pretty against using it when I saw it on my boyfriend's kitchen counter. A pot that does everything sounds too easy! And it diminishes the fun (at least for me) in owning all the different gadgets and tools that one can potentially use in a kitchen. But, for my boyfriend — who isn't as comfortable in the kitchen — whipping up meals has become quick and easy with the Instant Pot. And, as a father, it's great for him on a busy weeknight! We recently made chili from the Food52 Instant Pot cookbook (which I'd bought him for the holidays) and dinner was ready in no time. We've also made mashed potatoes, which was as described: instant! For those who might be hesitant in the kitchen, or who have little time and want to make a nice meal — the Instant Pot is a great one-stop-shop tool. I'm now a fan!" Maiko Kyogoku, owner of Bessou in New York, NY
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Photographed by Amelia J Moore Photography.
"I think Instant Pots encourage cooking at home because they cut down the prep time. I find that most people are just intimidated by the time it takes to prepare a full meal for their family, so they stray away and go for the convenience of eating out instead... In India, a pressure cooker was a requirement of any kitchen and my grandmother taught me how to use one at a young age. Now, it's important to me that my kids get a healthy, homemade meal and with my crazy schedule, an Instant Pot makes it happen on a more regular basis." — Maneet Chauhan, featured judge on Chopped and Worst Cooks In America and co-owner and executive chef at Chauhan Ale and Masala House in Nashville, TN
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"I think any appliance that makes cooking easy, interesting, and convenient is always a plus! People are attracted to the idea of an Instant Pot because it helps get healthful food options onto the dinner table quicker without using a microwave... I do not use an Instapot actually! To be quite honest, you'll often find that chefs don't always have the fanciest tools because if we did, it'd be a never ending series of purchases and we'd have no counter space left. I remember working my first job in a super fancy restaurant kitchen and being surprised to see that the appliances and equipment were quite primitive (some things even being half-broken!), but the food was still top-notch. Ever since then, I realized that sometimes less is more with kitchen equipment. — Chloe Coscarelli, vegan chef, author of Chloe Flavor, and participant in BACARDÍ’s Beach Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern at this year's Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival
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"Purely from a health perspective I think the Instapot is awesome. Connective tissue from the load-bearing muscles in beef and lamb contain lots of collagen and minerals that are made available for digestion through long, slow cooking. These proteins and minerals are key for human health and are not widely available in the American diet, where we are typically served quick-grill cuts like steak and chicken breast. Anything that makes America braise again is good news in my book!" — Anya Fernald, sustainable food expert and co-founder and CEO of Belcampo
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Photographed by Daniel Muller.
"I think Instant Pots are great — anything that gets people into the kitchen, making something that nourishes them is amazing. Working long hours as a chef means that I don't always have the luxury of time for making long-cooking foods. But I love using the Instant Pot to mimic that taste and feeling of something that cooked all day. I would never judge someone's choice to cook a certain way — just get in the kitchen." — Angela Garbacz, owner and head pastry chef of Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, NE
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Photographed by Mikey Pozarik.
"I personally don't use an Instant Pot and would not purchase one because I already have too many gadgets and my cooking habits are set in their ways. However, I'm definitely all about tools that help people get home cooked meals quickly and seamlessly to their tables. Cooking with an Instant Pot is better than ordering in every night, so I would definitely support that!" — Eden Grinshpan, chef and co-founder of Dez in New York, New York
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Photographed by Colin Raney.
"I've heard of the Instant Pot but must confess I don't actually have one! I hear it can pressure cook, slow cook, and sous vide. I hear chefs and home cooks swear by it. I have a pressure cooker and sous vide at work, and rarely cook at home, but if I had an instant pot...I'd use it!"

"I don't have stats on if the Instant Pot is encouraging more cooking / learning in the kitchen, but I think with any invention, it challenges folks both savvy and not, to rethink and reshape their cooking habits. At the least we may suppose more people are learning how to use the Instant Pot, and hopefully that is a technique, if not a few techniques, and multiple opportunities for learning and evolving. From what I hear and read, Instant Pot is supposed to save you time, and based on testimonials, it does. Do some people skip steps of learning how to cook a dish as a result? Perhaps...but perhaps they also learn about why the Instant Pot is able to help them produce foods such as yogurt."

"I don't have one...yet! But now I'm more curious than ever and would like to see how unbreakable they are, so I may consider it for use in my restaurant! We 'can't have nice things' (see our KitchenAid graveyard) so if it's easily breakable, it will have to be kept for home experimentation....unless they have an excellent warranty program!" — Tracy Chang, chef and owner of PAGU in Cambridge, MA
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