There was a time when giving a kitchen appliance as a gift was seen as a slight. Now, the world’s most popular smart cooker and sibling appliances consistently tops Christmas gift lists – and in the US has been one of Amazon’s top Black Friday kitchen appliance buys for more than a decade. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about – it’s because Instant Pot life really is transformative.
We are all feeling it – the juggle struggle is real – and there just never seems to be enough time to do anything properly. Which is exactly why the Instant Pot was developed – it takes care of cooking while you take care of other tasks (or watch your series or water your plants).
Unlike slow cookers and pressure cookers from days past, the Instant Pot (which both slow and pressure cooks) has an all-important Sauté function which means you can braise onions or soup bases and seal meat in the pot before you begin your cooking process of choice (no transfers between pans and pots necessary).
Plus, once your food is finished cooking, it automatically sets to the Keep Warm function and waits for when you’re ready to serve. It’s these kinds of 21st century cooking considerations that set the Instant Pot aside – it’s like the designers have listened to what cooks want and created it (which they have). Case in point: engineer Robert Wang, the person who created the Instant Pot in 2010, heard consumers wanted a Yoghurt function – so it was included in subsequent models and now there are millions of Instagram posts devoted to Instant Pot yoghurt-making alone. Let’s not even start on the Porridge pre-set that can start and finish the cooking process while you’re just waking up.
Fun Fact: Every official photograph of an Instant Pot features the unit timer set to 5:20 — a series of numbers that, when spoken aloud, sounds like “I love you” in Mandarin, creator Robert Wang’s birth language.
Smart Technology Does All The Work
On the subject of functions, here’s why the Instant Pot gets it right for millions of devotees around the world: it really works. It’s that simple. There are up to 15 pre-set functions (eg. for soup, rice or stew) allowing you to press a button or two and walk away, while manual settings let you pick and choose how you’d like to cook something and for how long: this comes in handy when you have the hang of it and start adjusting your favourite stovetop or oven recipes for the Instant Pot.
For the people by the people
One of the interesting elements of the Instant Pot phenomenon has been the growth of the brand’s community of fans (some would call it a cult) who have driven much of the Instant Pot’s success story. Within a year of the brand launching, US Facebook user groups were in their millions and South Africa’s official Facebook page alone has 30 000 active members.
Though the brand has its own website and a sizable bank of recipe content and appliance information available for free to the public, it is user-generated content that drives much of the excitement around varying models. Bloggers and professional cooks have built entire careers, YouTube and Tiktok channels and Instagram feeds, based on their Instant Pot findings. In South Africa, celeb food blogger Alida Ryder (@simplydelicious) clocked an astonishing 150 000 hits of her Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry recipe within 24 hours of publishing it on her website Simply Delicious.
What can an Instant Pot do?
- Slow Cook
- Pressure Cook
- Make Rice
- Proof Dough
- Keep Warm
- Sous Vide
Apart from speed and convenience, food made in the Instant Pot tastes better and enhances flavours. Plus, you can make almost everything from the easiest, no-fail cheesecake, to succulent ribs, tender roast chickens and perfect rice every time!
Fry Buy(s) of the Year
You’ve probably seen the memes – ‘Did you even survive 2020/2021 if you didn’t buy an air fryer?’ The Instant Vortex Air Fryer is a good reason why this hits home – the term “air fryer” has been searched over 40,000 times a month in South Africa alone! Being able to marry their pioneering appliance knowledge with consumer demands means that Instant Pot has developed a range of cost effective Air Fryers hat tick all the most important boxes – best cooking performance and biggest capacity, easy to use and clean, plus a beautiful design to complement your kitchen countertop.
The Instant Vortex Air Fryer comes in at under R2700 and is currently available in two models, the 4-in-1 and 6-in-1, both with a 5.7L capacity.
One of the clinchers that makes the Vortex stand out is its large, practical shape – the rectangular basket fits an entire meal (chicken, roast potatoes and veggies in it), and it is also easy to clean. The proven electricity cost savings are significant as oven pre-heating times are eliminated.
In a nutshell, anything a traditional oven can do, an Instant Vortex Air Fryer or Vortex Plus (its brand new stainless steel sibling) can do better – with less mess, fuss, time and electricity.
A New Instant Pot Innovation
The latest addition to the Vortex Air Fryer family is the Instant Vortex Oven which easily fits on a kitchen counter and includes a rotisserie function (hello perfectly roasted chicken and lamb) plus a tumble basket for the crispiest French fries (without the grease or guilt of deep fried). With the Vortex Oven and Vortex Plus you can even make your own biltong or dried fruit thanks to the new Dehydrate function which allows the low temperatures to run at long periods of time.
The new Vortex Oven is compact yet roomy (it has a 9.5L capacity) – it’s ideal for those scaling down and perfect if you’re starting out. And if you’re already on team Instant Pot, there’s no doubt it’s already at the top of the Christmas Gift List for 2021.
6 Air Fryer Surprises:
Perfectly cooked with half the hassle
- Samoosas – Spray with canola/coconut oil, set to Air Fry at 180° for 15 minutes, shaking once halfway
- Marinated Chicken Wings – Air Fry at 190° for 12 minutes shaking once halfway
- Baked Brie – Bake at 180° for 8 minutes
- Roast Root Vegetables – Roast for 18 minutes at 190°
- Toasted Cheese Sandwiches – Air Fry, 180° for 3-5 minutes
- Seared Steak – Air Fry 190°, 10 minutes
But wait…there’s MORE
We know the Instant Pot and the Vortex are the kitchen appliances du jour but did you know there is also an Instant hybrid that combines both technologies?
The Instant DuoCrisp + Air Fryer combines the best of both essential gadgets in one. You can go from pressure cooking to air frying just by switching the lid. A total kitchen game changer! DM/ML
Available online. Click here for Black Friday Instant Pot deals