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Instant Pot Ultra – Women’s Health |

Instant Pot Ultra – Women’s Health

Hi, my name is Jessie Van Amburg, and I am an Instant Pot addict.

(Hi, Jessie.)


I never thought it would come to this. I’m not really a gadget person—partly because I prefer to do things myself (hello, Virgo!) and partly because my tiny apartment’s tiny kitchen doesn’t have room for accessories like slow cookers, food processors, and blenders. Hell, I don’t even have a toaster.

But that changed when my mom gave me an Instant Pot for Christmas. “It’ll be great!” she said. “It’s like a slow cooker, but SO much faster!”


That definitely perked my ears up. I had always wanted to make a slow cooker work (think of all the pulled pork and chilis and stews I could be eating!), but they’re…well, slow. I don’t want a dinner that takes six to eight hours to make…I want a dinner that takes 40 minutes, tops, to make. Which makes the Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker that uses steam to cook food in mere minutes—an extremely appealing option.

My mom gave me the Instant Pot Ultra, which is different from the original Duo model and slightly more expensive at $150. It features an LED screen with a dial to choose from the cooking options rather than the Duo’s buttons, and the steam valve has a separate button to press if you want to “quick release” the steam (forcing the machine to de-pressurize faster, which lets you to open the lid of the machine and get into your food sooner).

Other major differences: an “Altitude” setting that automatically adjusts recipes for you (since air pressure is different at different altitudes), a “Sterilize” function that makes it easier to sterilize baby bottles or utensils, and new “Egg” and “Cake” programs. Yeah, you can bake a cake in this thing! (I have not done this yet.)

But what I love about it: It makes cooking dinner on weeknights, for the most part, way easier. After learning the unique kinks of the system (such as learning to factor in time for the machine to pressurize, and de-pressurize), I’ve been able to make so many different, delicious meals in it.

Some of my favorites:

Easy Shredded Salsa Chicken

Recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, SkinnyTaste.

This is the easiest thing on a weeknight (or for meal-prep): Put a pound of seasoned boneless, skinless chicken breast in the Instant Pot, cover with a cup of your favorite salsa, then cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. When it’s done, shred the meat with two forks and you have a TON of delicious, flavorful chicken to use in tacos, tostadas, salads, and more.

It’s also really, really good dumped on top of cauliflower mac and cheese…so I’ve heard…

In a slow cooker, this would probably take six hours. I can make it with my Instant Pot in under an hour.

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe also from SkinnyTaste (sorry, I just love her).

I love cooking Indian food at home, and this was a fun one to try in the IP—and one that I’ve made a few times. I personally add more spices than this calls for, but otherwise it’s a pretty seamless recipe that requires very little cleanup—all the sautéing and everything is done inside the Instant Pot, too.

Pressure Cooker Mushroom Risotto

Recipe from Serious Eats.

I love risotto, but I don’t like cooking it myself. It’s so fussy—so much time stirring on the stove instead of watching Netflix. This risotto recipe creates a super creamy, insanely rich-tasting dish, without having to watch your rice for what feels like hours.

Granted, not everything with the IP is a breeze. It took me several tries to get hard-boiled eggs right, and sometimes recipes take longer than expected when something is a “natural release” meaning, you wait for the machine to release steam and de-pressurize on its own, rather than forcing the steam out with the “quick release” button. A soup that I made once took 20 minutes to let the steam out naturally—a.k.a. I had to wait an extra 20 minutes to eat.

But when all’s said and done, I used my Instant Pot at least once a week. It’s there for me every Sunday when I’m meal prepping lunches for the work week, and it’s there for me on weeknights when I want to cook but don’t want to take up a long time (or dirty too many dishes). And while I haven’t even made use of any of the more advanced features on it (that “cake” thing is def intriguing), I can’t wait to give them a spin.

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