Whats the Distinction Between a Pressure Cooker and an Instant Pot?

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Kitchen Appliances

Which one will you choose for your kitchen – a traditional pressure cooker or the Instant Pot?
paulvision-Getty Images/Instant Brands/HowStuffWorks

Occasionally, the hype around a kitchen gadget can spread like wildfire, dominating countertops across the nation for years.

The latest kitchen tool that resonates with amateur cooks and professionals alike is the Instant Pot – an all-in-one next-gen pressure cooker that is now one of the bestselling small kitchen appliances in the world. Let’s find out about the inventors of each device and how they are used.

Who is the Creator of the Instant Pot?

After being ousted from a start-up he co-founded, entrepreneur and physician Robert J. Wang joined forces with two tech-savvy friends in 2008 to simplify the pressure cooking process. Dr. Wang put in over $300,000 of his own money, and his team spent 18 months perfecting a device with the same “set it and forget it” characteristics of a Crock-Pot. The first version of the Instant Pot was launched on Amazon in October 2010.

As of 2018, the Instant Pot has generated more than $400 million, while inspiring hundreds of cookbooks and hundreds of thousands of fans on Facebook. So, how does this wonder machine differ from a standard pressure cooker and why has it achieved cult-like status throughout North America? To get to the bottom of these questions, one must go back almost 400 years to the year 1679.

Who is the Inventor of the Pressure Cooker?

Denis Papin was a French-born British physicist who is credited with inventing both the first cylinder and piston steam engine and the pressure cooker. His invention was simple enough: a “closed vessel with a tightly fitting lid that confines the steam until a high pressure is generated, raising the boiling point of the water considerably.” A safety valve (which Papin also invented) stopped leaks and prevented explosions.

An early version of the commercial pressure cooker was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, while the first home-use unit was made available six years later, in 1945. Pressure cookers work by keeping extremely hot water and vapor in a confined space, maintaining the internal temperature of the vessel, thus speeding up the cooking time for food that usually takes a long time to prepare.

What is the Contrast Between a Pressure Cooker and an Instant Pot?

The difference between a standard pressure cooker and the Instant Pot comes down to ease of use, technology, and control. While traditional pressure cookers were often prone to explosion, causing mess and injury, the Instant Pot is designed with safety mechanisms that make it much safer to use. There are currently four generations of the Instant Pot available, each more advanced than the previous. By incorporating digital controls into the design of the Instant Pot, users have a seemingly infinite amount of control over their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. So, what can one specifically do with one of these clever devices? Anything. According to the product description, with the push of one button, users can make “ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts and more” at a rate of up to six times faster than the standard method of cooking.

The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that combines the functions of a pressure cooker, slow-cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker in one. It is widely used at home and in restaurants due to the level of control it offers, especially with newer models that include Alexa integration and WiFi connectivity. Making anything from stew to yogurt is incredibly easy, and the device is user-friendly with innovative intelligence not matched by many other kitchen devices. The features of the Instant Pot make it approachable and useful for busy people and families who still want homemade meals. When compared to a slow cooker, the Instant Pot significantly reduces preparation time and offers a range of cooking functions to cook different foods. An Instant Pot quickly brings frozen food to a safe temperature, making it ideal for cooking frozen meat. The safety features of Instant Pots make them much safer to use and far more user-friendly than traditional pressure cookers. Most people prefer the Instant Pot over traditional pressure cookers due to its usability, technology, and safety features. The device is highly recommended by chefs and users alike, as it cuts down on prep time and keeps the kitchen space free from clutter.


1. What is a pressure cooker and how does it work?

A pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that cooks food under high pressure. It works by trapping steam inside the pot, which raises the pressure and temperature. This allows food to cook faster and more evenly than traditional cooking methods.

2. What is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker that has become popular in recent years. It is a multi-functional appliance that can also be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more.

3. What are the main differences between a pressure cooker and an Instant Pot?

The main difference between a pressure cooker and an Instant Pot is that an Instant Pot is an electric appliance, while a pressure cooker can be either electric or stove-top. Instant Pots also have more functions than traditional pressure cookers, making them more versatile in the kitchen.

4. Are there any safety concerns with using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot?

While pressure cookers and Instant Pots are generally safe to use, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper precautions. This includes releasing pressure before opening the lid, not overfilling the pot, and using caution when handling hot food.

5. What are some benefits of using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot?

Using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot can save time and energy in the kitchen, as well as help retain nutrients in food. They are also great for cooking tough cuts of meat and making soups and stews.

6. Can I use an Instant Pot as a regular pressure cooker?

Yes, an Instant Pot can be used as a regular pressure cooker. However, it is important to follow the instructions for the specific model to ensure safe and proper use.

7. What types of foods can be cooked in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot?

Pressure cookers and Instant Pots can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, including meats, grains, vegetables, and even desserts. They are particularly useful for cooking beans and rice, as well as making soups and stews.

8. Are there any disadvantages to using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot?

One potential disadvantage of using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot is that they can be more difficult to clean than traditional pots and pans. Additionally, some people may find the noise and steam generated by the appliance to be unsettling.

9. Is an Instant Pot worth the investment?

Whether or not an Instant Pot is worth the investment depends on individual cooking needs and preferences. For those who frequently cook meals that require long cooking times, or who enjoy experimenting with different cooking methods, an Instant Pot can be a great addition to the kitchen.

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