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Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker (Do You Really Need That Instant Pot?)

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The Instant Pot thing is all the rage. You’d think pressure cooking was the greatest new invention since travel to outer space. Take a chill pill, people, my grandma had a pressure cooker.

I did not buy into the Instant Pot craze. I have, instead, invested in a slightly less pretty, less fancy, but still perfectly more than adequate for my purposes, Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker. Let me tell you about its simple features.

Essentially, the main difference between the Cuisinart and the Instant Pot is that the Instant Pot comes with zillions of preprogrammed settings for rice, slow cooking, soups, sauces, and yogurt. But with just a bit of Googling (or consulting the Cuisinart Instruction Booklet) you can make most of these things with the Cuisinart as well. You just have to use your brain a bit. You’ll be fine.

You can use the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker two different ways. One is as a traditional pressure cooker, on either the High or Low settings, depending on what you are cooking and how you want to cook it. You just choose the setting that you want, and for how many minutes you want it to pressure cook. You can also use the inner pot with the lid open to saute, brown or simmer. I love the versatility of these two features; I feel like this pot could almost replace your whole kitchen in a pinch. Say, during a remodel or something. You could brown your meat in the pot, then throw in the rest of the ingredients for chili and let the pressure cooking feature do the rest! So many options, only one dirty pot!

Since I am not remodeling my kitchen, I typically don’t use the Saute/Simmer/Browning feature as much as I could. I have a stove right there, so I just use it. But the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker is there for me if I need it, so that’s a comfort.

I primarily use my Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker for food prep. This baby can cook unsoaked beans in under 45 minutes, start to finish! I also often buy bags of frozen chicken, so when I get home I’ll dump the whole bag (still frozen) into my Cuisinart, and then, poof!, chicken that falls apart like its been in the slow cooker all day, ready in about half an hour. I take out what I need, then freeze the rest to use later in the week.

I have also tested the Cuisinart’s rice-cooking abilities quite extensively. It totally does the job, and only takes about 15-20 minutes. The rice comes out perfectly fluffy and sticky. Just be sure to rinse the rice beforehand, but my Japanese friends gave it their stamp of approval, so you can’t beat that. We were able to get rid of our rice cooker after obtaining the Cuisinart. Hooray for fewer appliances cluttering up my kitchen!

One edge that the Instant Pot does have over my Cuisinart is the slow cooker setting. I had hoped that the Cuisinart would be able to fully replace both my slow cooker and rice cooker, but it just doesn’t meet my standards for slow cooking. It technically doesn’t even have a slow cooking option, but you can set it to High or Low pressure for up to 99 minutes. I tried making some pulled pork this way, but it just couldn’t cook that large of a chunk of meat very well in that amount of time. You can still make a mean chili or beef stew dish, but I personally like to throw everything into the slow cooker in the morning and not have to think about it for the rest of the day. So if you’re looking for a pressure cooker that can replace your slow cooker, you might need to look elsewhere. In some ways, it’s just as well for me, because I often need the rice cooker and slow cooker function at the same time, so I would need both appliances anyway.

Overall, though, I really love my Cuisinart! I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of the potential that it has for time-saving cooking. But as it is, I no longer have to babysit my beans whilst they soak and then simmer for whole afternoons at a time. Nor do I have to defrost my frozen chicken in the microwave, preheat the oven, and then wait for it to bake every night before dinner! I just dump it in the pot, and I’m done!

The Instruction Booklet for the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker also comes with a recipe book to get you started on your pressure cooking journey! Buy one for yourself! Buy one for your mother! Your sister! Your cousin-in-law-thrice-removed! You all need one. You won’t regret it!

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