The latest trend in kitchen appliances? Multifunctional electric pressure cookers. It's sexier than it sounds, trust us (or the thousands of converts who can't stop raving about it). Instant Pot is just one brand of the kitchen appliance that boasts seven-in-one functions (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute/browning, yogurt maker, and steamer and warmer); Cuisinart, Gourmia, and Breville offer their own iterations.
Reviewers make this thing sound like a culinary superhero, and the major draw seems to be the time it saves—it claims to cut cooking time by up to 70 percent. So if your slow cooker is, well, too slow, the Instant Pot might be for you. The Instant Pot DUO ($70 to $130, depending on size) is the best-seller that's earned a frenzy of five-star ratings and nearly 20,000 Amazon reviews, but the company also just introduced a new model, the Instant Pot Ultra ($150), which comes with a fancy digital display screen.
BUY NOW: Instant Pot Ultra ($150; .com)
You can supposedly throw in frozen meat, and it will come out perfectly cooked in 30 minutes—the reason Scary Mommy dubbed the device "the holy grail of motherhood." Don't eat meat? The Instant Pot can steam a bulking batch of heavy veggies in about that time, too, and with quicker cleanup, reports Buzzfeed.
While it's cooking, you don't need to babysit the appliance, either. It's outfitted with temperature- and pressure-monitoring sensors prevents under- or overcooking food.
The downside? It's bulky, it's not terribly cheap (anywhere from $99-$250 on Amazon), and you likely already have appliances that can do the same jobs just fine. In practice, the New York Times reports that the appliance works best for soups, stews, beans, risotto, and meats like pork shoulder, lamb shanks, and steamed chicken breast. Throw your whole chicken into the oven instead, and sauté your vegetables on the stove.
But if super-speedy, healthy, and evenly-cooked meals appeal to you, go ahead and order: There are plenty of great recipes on Pinterest to try if you do.
BUY NOW: Instant Pot DUO80 ($130; .com)