A couple of years ago I succumbed to the Instant Pot fever, which turned out to become one of the most successful kitchen appliances in recent years. The Instant Pot became extremely popular in the “plant-based” world because it’s a great tool to prepare beans and other vegetarian dishes fast.
A few months ago I had to replace a small part on my Instant Pot and then ordered the wrong one. It turned out to be an excellent opportunity to try another kitchen appliance.
The Instant Pot was my first pressure cooker. And as you probably know, it’s an electric, automatic pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are much more common in other parts of the world. In Latin American and India, almost every household owns one.
The Instant Pot became very successful because it’s a pressure cooker without the so-called hassles of pressure cookers: having to watch the cooking process to make sure not to overcook.
But I decided I was ready to try a real pressure cooker — because the Instant Pot takes quite of bit of counter-top space. And I wanted something smaller than the Instant Pot that I have. Once I fixed my Instant Pot, I could keep it for bigger batches or running both pressure cookers at the same time.
I had heard great things about the Swiss-made pressure cooker Kuhn-Rikon, and that it was an appliance so well made that it could last for decades. Finally, I settled for the “Made in Germany” Fissler, which is rated as the best pressure cooker available.
Check it out here:
After using the Fissler pressure cooker for a while, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever go back to my Instant Pot, except in the cases that I’ve mentioned above.
Why I Switched From the Instant Pot to a Fissler
1) It’s faster. A stove-top pressure cooker like the Fissler is faster, for two main reasons: It doesn’t rely on an external heat source provided by the puny electric plate of an electrical appliance but transfers heat much faster from your gas or electric stove. Secondly, the top pressure reached by the Fissler is higher. For example, I usually cook black beans for 30 minutes in the Instant Pot, and only 22 in the Fissler. But it also takes less time to reach the desired pressure. The Fissler is truly FAST. Faster to reach pressure, faster to cook, faster to depressurize, and faster to clean!
2) Depressurizing is a breeze with the Fissler. I always thought the valve of the Instant Pot was a little clunky. If you let the Pot depressurize on its own, it’s okay. But if you “fast-release” the steam, it makes a big mess. I was shocked when I used the Fissler for the first time, as it was much easier to release pressure. You just press on the release button, and you can control how fast the steam releases from the sides of the pot. It’s easier, faster and makes no mess. The slow release is also much quicker. You also have a third option to depressurize, which is to run cold water on top of the pot.
3) The Instant Pot takes up too much space. If you think about it, the Instant Pot would make much more sense for someone who doesn’t have a stove. You can plug it and use it. That’s one significant advantage to use in small spaces, such as in a tiny house. But if you have a stove, it is using an extra source of heat from its internal heating components instead of using a much more efficient heat source that you already have: your stove-top. For this reason, an Instant Pot is clunkier.
3) All the programming modes of the Instant Pot are just for show. The Instant Pot is loaded with features, but most of them make no sense. What is the difference between the “soup” and the “bean” mode or the “manual” mode? In reality, it’s all about the pressure reached in the pot. There’s no need to have all kinds of complicated modes. Whether you put it in “bean” or “manual” mode makes no difference — it’s just a marketing strategy on the part of the makers of the Instant Pot to make it seem like the product is more sophisticated than it needs to be. The Fissler has just two modes: high or low pressure. Delicate foods will cook under lower pressure, and tougher items like beans will cook under high pressure. What truly matters is the cooking time, not the particular mode.
4) The 4.8 Quart Fissler just the right size. The standard Instant Pot is too big. Most reviews will tell you to get a massive pot so that you can make broth. But I find that for everyday use, the 4.8-quart size is the best. You can make a batch of beans or some soup in a flash, and it’s a breeze to clean the pot afterward.
5) The Fissler is a better-made product that will last for decades. I have no idea how long an Instant Pot can last, but it’s clear that all the electronic components make it more fragile. The Fissler pressure cooker, in comparison, is German engineering in your kitchen. It’s a product without unnecessary features designed to last.
Do I still recommend the Instant Pot?
I still think that it’s a good product and a good “first-time” pressure cooker. It’s also a perfect product for someone living somewhere without a stovetop, needing an appliance to cook healthy foods. However, I’m much more satisfied with the Fissler pressure cooker and think it’s a wiser long-term investment.
One reason that I had an Instant Pot is that you don’t need to watch it. It’s electric with an integrated timer, so you can indeed “set it and go.”
However, as I just mentioned, as pressure cookers go, the Instant Pot is not very fast. In fact, it’s rather slow. The Fissler is truly fast, but you have to watch it.
For me, it’s not a big deal because cooking in it takes less than 20-25 minutes, even for tough beans like chickpeas. So I just set a timer on my iPhone and make sure I don’t leave the house while cooking!
If you already have an Instant Pot and you’re happy with it, then keep it.
If you’re somewhat frustrated with the Instant Pot and its cooking speed or other limitations or were in the market for a pressure cooker, then I would strongly advise getting the Fissler 4.8 Quart instead. The size is just right. It’s fast, reliable, super safe, and truly delivers on its promise of “fast cooking.”