PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Instant Pot is all the rage right now in home cooking.
However, last week, the company alerted customers about a potential problem with one model in particular.
The makers of Instant Pot say they have received a few reports of the Gem 65 8-in-1 model overheating and melting on the bottom.
They think the problem affects only a small number of the appliances with these specific codes: 1728, 1730, 1731, 1734 and 1746.
You can find that code in the lower right corner of the silver label on the bottom of the pot.
If you have one of the affected “Instant Pots”, the company wants you to stop using it until they can send out information on how to get a replacement.
It is important to note this is not a recall.
The Gem 65 is just one of many versions of the Instant Pot.
Because they’re so popular right now and they promise to cook just about anything in a fraction of the time of traditional cooking methods, we recently bought one to test for KDKA’s “Does It Really Do That?” segment.
The model we purchased is the Ultra 60 10-in-1.
It is not part of the company’s alert, and we tried it out several days before the alert was posted.
So, the Instant Pot claims to be the faster, easier, smarter way to cook just about anything.
But, does it really do that?
Sarah Souri and her husband, Ron Graczyzk, are like a lot of couples these days. They like to enjoy dinner together, but finding time to prepare it can be challenging. Although Ron does a lot of the cooking, they thought an Instant Pot – a combination crockpot/pressure cooker could solve their problems.
The infomercial that advertises the pot claims, “whatever your food preference or taste, Instant Pot can make family meals happen with the simple push of a button, thanks to the micro controlled, Instant Pot is amazingly simple to use.”
The ad says, the pot cooks two to six times faster than traditional methods and can even replace other kitchen gadgets, like a Crock-Pot or rice cooker.
There are a lot of parts, pieces and instructions inside the box. Sarah Souri was our product tester.
For our first challenge, we decided to test basic pot roast with carrots and potatoes. Ron cooked his the traditional way in the oven – for a total of four hours. Meanwhile, Sarah and KDKA-TV’s Lynne Hayes-Freeland prepared one following step-by-step instructions in the Instant Pot.
Once the meat was prepped, sautéed and browned, the actual cooking time in the Instant Pot was 55 minutes on pressure cooker mode.
The next step was to release the pressure and add in the carrots and potatoes – for an additional 30 minutes.
So, after about 90 minutes total, the meal was done.
Ron, who had a head start, was ready to dive in, too. Sarah immediately noticed a color difference.
“I think that one, the colors are more vibrant. That’s the Instant Pot one, and this one looks a little overcooked,” she said.
But, the real difference is in the taste. We both agreed the taste was good, but the oven-cooked roast was a little more tender.
Although, it did have a chance to rest in its juices for a bit longer so that could make a difference.
Next up, we tried Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot.
Dry pasta, water, milk and butter. Cook for four minutes and again, release the pressure.
The pressure release was a little messy this time, but we kept going, adding the cheeses until they were melted.
The pasta for the mac and cheese did cook in four minutes but it took 15 minutes for the pot to pressurize, so it could begin cooking.
We thought the idea of getting mac and cheese in just four minutes was a little misleading, but it is still faster than in an oven. As far as the taste, both Sarah and Lynne thought it was great.
Next up was dessert. We decided to keep it simple with a chocolate cake mix divided in half. One part in the oven, the second in the Instant Pot.
The oven cake baked for 25 minutes then cooled. The Instant Pot cook time was about the same, but the cake then had to sit inside the pot for another 20 minutes before taking it out.
In all, it took about the same amount time for both. However, we were both surprised at how different they looked. The oven-baked cake looked like traditional layered cake. The one in the Instant Pot, looked more like a fudge brownie. Again, it comes down to personal taste.
Sarah preferred the Instant Pot cake, while Lynne preferred the oven-baked cake.
Sara made a second attempt on the cake. This time they seemed a lot more similar in appearance and taste.
So, after a roast with vegetables, mac and cheese and chocolate cake, the only thing left for Sarah to decide was does the Instant Pot really save time on healthier cooking options?
Does it really do that?
“I would say, it does do that,” she said.
Again, the model we tested was the Ultra 60 10-in-1.
We bought it online for $150, plus tax.
Depending on the model, the Instant Pot ranges in price from $65 to $180.