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Instant Pot Alternative

The best Instant Pot may not be an Instant Pot at all!

I’ve previously written about cooking with an electronic pressure cooker, specifically the Instant Pot. What many don’t realize is that this is absolutely NOT the only product out there for this sort of cooking. And, it may not be the best one to suit your needs.

Case in point – we were given a Cuisinart CPC-600 by a relative that was moving and downsizing. It’s much more basic than the Instant Pot Duo that we own. It has fewer features, but we only use the most basic things anyhow. Last night, we used it for the first time to make a favorite recipe – Black Bean Burrito Bowls w/ Chicken. Mmmm. 🙂

Overview

The Cuisinart has, as mentioned, only the most basic features and settings. It will saute, cook on low pressure, cook on high pressure, and has a timer. The Instant Pot Duo has a variety of specific settings that coordinate with things like making yogurt or chili, but we’ve never needed these even when we make chili.

Cooking “Pot”

In the Instant Pot Duo, as with most (all?) of their models, the internal cooking pot is stainless steel. After each use, clean up can be time-consuming. We usually use something like Barkeeper’s Friend to get everything off of the metal. The Cuisinart uses a ceramic non-stick pot that cleans up significantly more easily.

Sealing Ring

Essentially, both products use the same system here. There’s a silicone ring that you attach to the lid. This ring is what allows the unit to build pressure when the lid is installed. Both products are susceptible to the silicone rings picking up the odors of the foods that are cooked inside, so having a few of them for different kinds of foods probably makes sense.

Saute Setting

In my experience and opinion, the Instant Pot Duo saute temperature is too high. Pretty much everything that we’ve cooked in the Instant Pot Duo requires saute to start. Recipes often begin with onions, garlic, peppers, or some combination of those. And in just about every case, it doesn’t take long to go from almost done to browned/burnt. Using the Cuisinart for the first time last night, I found that the saute setting worked exceptionally well. The onions and garlic were softened and cooked without being browned at all. I was very happy with how well this worked, especially for my first endeavor with the unit.

Overall

Not everyone needs a lot of bells and whistles in order to use these kinds of units to cook great meals, and this is a perfect example of that. The meal came out great and we know now that we have two distinct units that we can use. Not only does this open up more flexibility for the “one-pot meals”, but it also allows us to potentially even use both of them at once to cook entirely different parts of the meal. If you’re considering a device like this, look at all of the options that are out there and don’t assume that you have to limit yourself to just one model or brand!

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