Gift Idea: Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker

slow-cookerHappy Thursday! As it’s getting down to the wire for holiday gift-buying, especially once you factor in shipping, wrapping, etc., Amazon comes through as always. I happened to find this great thread where readers were talking about their favorite kitchen gadgets, and one of the things mentioned was the Instant Pot. I don’t have one yet, but I keep hearing amazing things about them, and as someone who is into slow cooking myself I think this would be a really good gift for anyone else who’s a fan. It’s only $79 (list price $119) for this 7-in-1 that’s a combined slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker (plus other functions), and it’s eligible for Prime shipping. (Can anyone recommend an Instant Pot cookbook?) Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker



  1. I love this thing. I’m eating yogurt I made in mine right now. (But I’m not sure that all models have the yogurt function.) I don’t know about a cookbook, but and are great places to get recipes. Oh, and Kenji Lopez-Alt has a lot of pressure cooker recipes on Serious Eats, too.

    • Anonymous :

      +1 Instant Pot has changed my life!
      It comes with a thin recipe booklet and more importantly – a table that explains the basics, e.g. proportion and cook time for various foods. Their website has the same information + recipe blogs that I used successfully.
      I recommend Nom Nom Paleo for Instant Pot recipes in addition to the links CMT gave.

    • I just got one and am obsessed.

      • I would like to get one and see if I can make a FONDUE in it. My grandmother told me that men will be very interested in me if I can prove I can cook a FONDUE. Does anyone in the HIVE use this to make FONDUE? If not, does anyone know how to make a FONDUE? If you can P’ost a receipe, that would be great, as I MUST be able to show Grandma Leyeh that I am makeing progress in landing a man THIS YEAR! FOOEY!

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      For pressure cooking, I really recommend all of Lorna Sass’s books. Great taste and very clear directions.

    • SF Lawyer :

      I think the pressure cooker is useful for things like speeding up an all-day cooking-fest – but I don’t find it useful for regular have-to-get-dinner-on-the-table-after-work nights. It’s definitely not set it and forget it like the slow cooker is – instead, you have to pay attention to it. I was excited about it but haven’t really used it and now it just takes up space.

      • I disagree and use it for last second meals all the time. Brown meat/sausage/veggies, dump in a box of pasta/rice/other grain, add sauce and water, set for 5 minutes and serve.

        • SF Lawyer :

          Good to know! Are there more detailed instructions anywhere?

          • There’s an Instant Pot group on Facebook that is searchable and has great ideas. For pasta dishes, any pasta will do just cook for half the time recommended for stovetop and quick release pressure. The ratio for sauce is one standard jar of sauce and 1.5 jars of water. Make sure the pasta is covered with liquid.

  2. Farewell, the Limited :

    Following up on comments yesterday and this morning about the Limited, I noticed L Brands no longer lists the Limited as one of it’s brands on it’s website. I’m another one sad about this, as they were one of the few brands that always seemed to fit me correctly (although not that sad, as I picked up a bunch of hugely discounted stuff). Looks like stuff is going pretty fast today – if you’re planning to pick something up, I’d do it soon.

    • Anonymous :

      Friendly reminder that this is a great time to use your Amex Return Protection! I ordered everything I was interested in and any things that don’t work out I can file a claim for.

    • I have a friend that works for L Brands and she told me a couple years ago that The Limited was no longer part of L Brands, so I don’t think that is related to the current concerns.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m weirdly sad about this. I’ve been a customer for 20 years, starting with when The Limited Too was all the rage in elementary school.

      Does anyone know when the retail stores are closing? I won’t buy online if I can’t return but I can make a trip to the mall this weekend…

      • All purchases, in store and online, cannot be returned unless you purchased before yesterday.

        The mall stores will be closing on the 30th or 31st, according to the sales associate I spoke to yesterday.

        They think there might be a buyer, but they are basically liquidating before then and shutting down store operations. Mall staff know when their last day is.

    • Wait…did I miss something, is the Limited closing!???

      • Anonymous :

        They haven’t officially announced it, but it certainly appears so. They’re laying off people at their corporate HQ, the interim CEO just left and all merchandise online is 70-80% off with the caveat that all sales are final.

  3. I’ve been hestitating on pulling the trigger on the Breville version of this for a while…and all the cold weather is making this extra tempting.

  4. Rasika and Zaytinya review :

    Me and my mother were in Washington DC last week on vacation. I am an Indian living in CA for many years and my mom is visiting me. We went on a sightseeing trip to Washington DC and New York. As I saw recommendations here for Rasika and Zaytinya and I made a point to dine in both places.

    I made the reservation at Rasika West End, however our lyft driver had dropped us off at Penn Quarter. We didn’t know we were at a different location. They couldn’t pull up our reservation, but they immediately seated us at a table. That was the beginning of good service and service remained excellent for rest of the night while we were there.

    However, I was very disappointed with the food. We ordered papad which was served with couple of chutneys, panneer tikka kebab, chicken biryani and a dessert (I think date and toffee cake). All the items tasted very average except biryani which was worse. Biryani rice was over cooked, almost mushy, overly spiced and had chicken without much flavor. I don’t know if they messed up our order or that is how they make it. I couldn’t beleive that it has such high ratings in tripadvsior, opentable etc.

    However Zaytinya was a different story. We ordered a salad with lots of citrus fruits, hummus, crispy eggplant, tzatziki and walnut ice cream. Salad and dessert were fantastic and I will remember for a long time. Hummus, Eggplant and tzatziki were very fresh and good. Service was excellent as well. I can see this restaurant getting such good reviews.

    • Anonymous :

      This really reads like an ad for the second place.

    • Sorry you didn’t like Rasika! It’s my favorite restaurant in DC. You didn’t try the palak chat? When my husband and I go we each get a full order of it.

      • Midwestern Indian-American :

        +1 The palak chat is where it’s at. How do they fry spinach so perfectly? It’s miraculous.

      • jumpingjack :

        I’m also sad you didn’t like Rasika. It’s considered by some (including the Washington Posts’ food critic) to be one of the best Indian restaurants in the country. Sounds like you hit an off night. I was recently in London and I made a point to eat at a top-rated Indian restaurant. It made me miss Rasika.
        Zaytinya is another one of my favorites.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Another Indian here. Rasika is quite disappointing, especially on special nights (e.g., New Year’s), and Zaytinya is great. Try Jaleo.

      • I thought jaleo was meh. Made me wish I was at amada in philly. Plus there were drunk ladies puking in the restroom at jaleo. Classy.

  5. Miami r e t t e :

    I was born in Miami and have lived here my whole life. I just had to travel for work for a conference, it was my first time outside of the state of Florida. The conference was in a city called Winnipeg, in Canada. When I was there the temperature was below zero F and there were snow storms. I have never seen snow before and was really excited to see it until I actually did. The snow was so cold and wet, my feet and clothes were wet all the time, the roads were dangerous, the wind blew the snow everywhere making it hard to see and knocking me over and the cold made me numb even with the coats people from the conference lent out of town guests. Don’t get me wrong, the people of Winnipeg were wonderful and everywhere we went people were so kind and hospitable. But the weather was the worst thing ever. It probably sounds stupid but I could never live somewhere where it’s cold in the winter and there is snow. It’s so normal to people in Winnipeg that nothing stopped and everyone went on with their day like normal. I didn’t even want to leave my hotel room because of the cold. I tip my hat to all of you that live in cold places, you are a lot stronger than I am.

    • Ha I just moved to FL a year ago from the Northeast (though it’s no Winnipeg, that’s for sure) and find “winter” down here so depressing. It’s not the holidays to me if you can wear t-shirts and shorts. I hate everything about it. The worst part is that there are only 3-4 months of relatively nice weather until it gets blazing hot and humid again :(

    • There is a lot to be said for having four seasons. I am from CA and now in the Northeast. Yes, sometimes the winter days suck (like the -20 windchill today), but then spring and fall are so beautiful and perfect. And then for summer, you actually feel more energized to go out and do things because you know it’s short.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I live in the Midwest and like seasons, too, but winter could stand to be much, much shorter. Like, if we got some nice pretty snow around Christmas, and then it melted and it stayed around 40 degrees until March.

    • Nothing against Winnipeg but I think it’s kind of sad that you finally got to leave Florida and you visited Winnipeg! I hope more travel (to more exciting places) is in your future. :)

      • Winterpeg is really nice in the summer though!

        Not in Winnipeg, I have 0F/feels like 15F weather today. I’m already sick of winter and it’s only December. This does not bode well for the next 4 months.

    • Anonymous :

      See, I would go insane if I lived in Miami with no seasons. Even California drove me crazy in that aspect and it gets much chillier in NorCal in the winter than it does in Miami.

    • TO Lawyer :

      You get used to it. Ya being that cold sucks but you learn to appreciate things that come with winter – winter sports, cute boots/scarves/jackets, spiked hot chocolate and then you really appreciate the other 3 seasons. I will never give up an opportunity to be outside (even if it’s just a patio or a walk) in the summer.

      • This! I have never lived anywhere nearly as cold as Canada, but I moved from Texas to a state that has four distinct seasons and I love spring and summer in a way I never thought possible.

    • lawsuited :

      Well, you could live in a place like Winnipeg because if you lived there you would figure out the cold weather and be fine. I immigrated to Canada from a hot African country, and I’ve adapted. So have tons of other immigrants from hot climates. It’s really fine, I promise.

    • Winnipegger CPA :

      Wow we sure have a reputation!! Yes the winters can be nasty; that’s the reason for Canada Goose jackets, Sorel boots, block heaters for the car, snowblower, etc. Hopefully you have a chance to visit us in the summer as it is the complete opposite! Glad you found the people friendly. I escaped for a few years during my articling years but came back home because I missed the peeps.

  6. I’ve got one and it’s fine. I haven’t quite figured out the timing and ratios for rice. One thing that is a little misleading on recipes is cook time. A cook time may be 15 minutes, but that doesn’t include the time necessary to bring the machine to pressure (10-15 minutes) or the time to do a natural release of pressure (say another 10 minutes). But, that entire cook time is basically hands-off so there’s that benefit.

  7. I need a gift recommendation for a 40th birthday for a friend. He’s very intellectual and very geeky – so he reads a lot and also plays video games and makes things with his 3D printer. I looked on thinkgeek but couldnt decide on a gift. Doesn’t drink beverages or caffeine so most of the mugs etc. don’t really work as he won’t use them. Toys and puzzles where you make something would interest him, but they seem out of my budget (>$50). He likes Star Wars, Star Trek, GoT, WoW etc. but I can’t pick any one single thing because his range is very wide (and includes a lot of scifi I haven’t even heard of). Ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      Amazon Dot?

    • How does he feel about boardgames?

      I have a spouse like this, and one day when I have a larger birthday budget I’m getting him a drone…

    • Star Trek hoodie. Pick the red one, and it means he dies when they land on the strange planet.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe a lock pick set and a lock or two, or a clear lock?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      He sounds a lot like my husband. I got a ton of gift suggestions on Tuesday’s afternoon thread (the Gift Idea: Vetiver 46 Liquid Balm thread) that might help.

    • WorkingMom :

      Have you checked out uncommon goods? I tend to find really unique gifts for people of all kinds on that site. Your friend sounds somewhat like me, and I often see things there that I would like for myself!

    • Anonymous :

      Is he single? ;)

      • Haha no, he’s happily married for many years to my best friend. But I totally get the question, he’s a great guy!

    • Check out the Fascinations/Metal Earth models on Amazon. My husband has all the Batman ones and quite enjoys them. Might get a few of the Star Wars ones, or Iron Man, or just take a browse, they’ve got bunches of nerd subjects.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Find out what kind of filament he uses in his 3D printer and order a roll. This ALWAYS makes my wife happy.

    • Thanks all! I ended up going with the Fascinations/Metal Earth puzzles recommended by Mary. How interesting! Didn’t know such a thing existed and I feel like trying it out myself!

    • Babyweight :

      The Atlas Obscura book.

  8. Sloan Sabbith :

    What are the best recipes people have found for Instant Pot? I made some risotto in it a few weeks ago that was awesome.

    • I really like this green chili recipe

  9. Anonymous :

    I have a slow cooker already. My friends all tell me I NEED an InstaPot, but none of them can clearly articulate what it will do that a slow cooker can’t. Can anyone explain?

    • Pressure cook! It’s faster and better than slow cooking. I realize I’m starting to sound like a Serious Eats shill here, but they do explain things well:

    • It can replicate the results of a slow cooker in 20-30 minutes. It’s also a rice cooker.

    • I’m still getting the hang out mine.

      I like that you can sear with the Instant Pot instead of needing to dirty a separate pan. I like that I can pressure cooker legumes without soaking first. I plan to make yogurt with mine.

      I can get firmer meat with pressure cooking too. I made chicken breast recently that was cooked but stayed in one piece.

  10. Anonymous :

    For people who are looking for inspiration for where to travel in the US, this is a good resource:
    I have the international 1,000 Places to See Before You Die book too, and I like that one but many of its entries are very broad (for example, NYC is just one entry). This one breaks down various things you should do in NYC, etc.

  11. On this topic, can you use recipes for an Instant Pot in a regular stove-top pressure cooker? I love the idea of mine, but rarely use it because I don’t have a lot of recipes and the whole part where you can’t look at the food while it’s cooking always scares me. But there seems to be a lot out there for these things.

    • I mostly use my pressure cooker to cook things to mush, rather than to make a full meal. I realize that sounds strange, but examples are to pressure cook lentils (hard dry beans) and then to separately fry onions etc in a pan and add the cooked lentils.
      Similarly I’d use it to cook rice, but will stirfry veggies with soy sauce separately and throw in the cooked rice and mix.
      So it isnt a one-pot meal, but it greatly reduces the cook time (chop and stir fry takes <10 minutes, mix pre cooked rice or beans and it's done).

    • I think electric pressure cookers tend to cook at a lower pressure than stove top ones, so for stove top pressure cookers, you would reduce the cooking time.

  12. I love my instant pot! The pressure cooker function has made life so much easier, last week we had homemade beef stew in less than an hour, including prep time. You can use regular stove top pressure cooker recipes, just know you need to add 20 % more time as electric pressure cookers do not build up as much pressure as traditional stove-top pressure cookers. So, for example, if the recipe calls for 10 minutes of pressure cooking, using the instant pot you would cook for 12 minutes.

  13. Simple gift idea inspired in part by this s!te, so I wanted to share!

    I am very close with my nieces and nephews, but they live across the country. For Christmas, I am getting the oldest one a stationery set, fun gelly pens, stickers, and stamps and we are going to be pen pals!! I will admit part of it is selfish in that I can’t wait to get adorable letters from her, but I am so excited and I think she will love it! When I was growing up, I loved things that my aunts did with me individually, and I know she is starting to feel the oldest child neglect, so I thought I would do something that would make her feel special for being the oldest (and most advanced with her reading/writing skills of her siblings)!

    • Anonymous :

      This is nice; I would have loved this!

    • My aunt did this with me as a child, and it was the most wonderful thing.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      That’s such a good idea! Knowing nothing about kids, what age would be appropriate to start doing something like this?

      • She is almost 7. She writes and reads but I asked her mom anyway and she confirmed she would love it. Incidentally, up until now, I send her cards and talk to just her on the phone/facetime, but now that she is writing in school, I thought now she could participate in writing back!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Sounds perfect! I’ll stick with my current system of sending my nieces and nephews postcards but try to remember to add this in once they are a bit older.

  14. I love mine. I think any meat comes out much better than in tue crock pit, especially chicken. Tender and juicy v dry and stringy. You can easily adapt any crock pot recipe to the instant pot when you get the hang if it. Grains come out perfectly too. No more soggy quinoa!

  15. Anonymous :

    Kind of weird etiquette question: I know there is a big contingent of non-huggers out there. I’m not a touchy-feely person at all, even with my family, but I have become a hugger on greeting and parting in certain professional situations and friendly ones too (with friends, but not besties). Sometimes I kiss cheeks instead in a professional acquaintance (husband’s family is from southern Europe). Situations I’m thinking of are colleagues at our small office’s holiday party, their spouses, a former colleague. . .

    I don’t know what to do instead – a handshake feels awkward, but I know some of these people must be like, “ugh, don’t hug me”, because I know so many people hate it.

    What do you all do? Could an arm pat take its place?

    (this sounds ridiculous, but I am a little uncertain since touching other people generally is not my nature otherwise)

    • Anonymous :

      Shake hands. It isn’t awkward at all. Or, just say “bye! It was so nice to see you!” With a smile.

      • +1

        I have friends that don’t like to be hugged, and I’m not a hugger in professional situations. I just say “bye”, smile, wave, and leave. It’s really not awkward.

    • In professional situations, I’m handshake only.
      In social situations with people I know professionally, there are more hugs. I’ve received a few cheek kisses along with hugs from older gentlemen, but it wasn’t awkward. Friends are hugs or nothing.
      Could you do the handshake with both hands? Or handshake with an arm pat? It conveys warmth but isn’t as invasive as a hug.
      I’m in the south if it matters.

    • I’m not a hugger. Please don’t touch me. If you feel we must touch, please only shake my hand.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 When people hug me, I (involuntarily) only sort of pat-pat them on the back keeping clear of any chest contact, and they will complain that my hug wasn’t enthusiastic enough. And I’m like, you are lucky that I’m not face-punching you.

        J/k. Sort of.

    • Marshmallow :

      I’m totally a hugger but do not hug in professional situations unless the other person goes for the hug first. Handshakes are appropriate and won’t make anyone uncomfortable.

    • What kind of professional situation are you hugging at? Like after a meeting? Or a team dinner at night? The only people I hug from the work space are people who I also consider friends outside the office and even then they or I will only initiate a hug if we’re out socially — if we’re out to dinner with just us or at each others’ homes. We wouldn’t hug after the work Christmas party bc then what does that mean — you hug EVERY co worker there?

      • Anonymous :

        No, no, sorry – I’m not hugging at work per se; it’s generally social or quasi-social settings with colleagues – holiday parties, out of town coworkers who come by the office to say hello, after a deal-related dinner – etc.

        • This seems like a bit much — and I’m not anti hugging at all. Do you REALLY have a personal relationship with ALL of these people that hugging? If you don’t, you don’t know who is ok with being hugged and who is politely putting up with it but annoyed. These are all scenarios in which I’ll hug people — and even then it’ll be my 2-3 work friends; so I’d hug them — shake hands/say bye to everyone else — and leave. If as I’m shaking hands, someone else feels “left out” bc they saw me hug a friend, I presume they’d make some kind of first move to initiate.

          • Anonymous :

            So interesting! Glad I asked. Seems I’ve swung the wrong way in an attempt to avoid awkwardness. Now I can awkwardly not hug people and see if they notice or are offended… thanks all.

      • Wildkitten :

        I hugged in an interview this week. Twice. It’s been a shitty year.

    • lost academic :

      The warm handshake and clasp of the arm seems to do it for me. I’m also a hugger but have to rein it in with respect to colleagues.

  16. Anonymous :

    Any recs for a winery or half-day wine tasting tour in Rome or the very nearby countryside? We only have 3 days in Rome, so I don’t think we want to take a full day out for a trip to Tuscany, but I need something to break up all that history. I’m not a serious oenophile, just looking to have a glass or two and some light bites in a pretty setting.

  17. Marshmallow :

    I might be too late in the day for many responses, but what are your favorite host gifts? I want to branch out from wine or a candle. I’m thinking maybe nice kitchen towels? Fancy chocolates?

    • Only consumable things. Wine or chocolate basically. Flowers as a distant third. Nothing I have to feel guilty about throwing away or re-gifting when it doesn’t match my style.

    • I like giving fancy salsa

    • Anonymous :

      Fruits? I’d appreciate a nice basket of oranges, apples, or pears more than wine (I don’t drink) or chocolate. Local flavored honeys or jams would be nice too.

      This being said, I come from an Asian culture where the standard go-to host gift is a box of nice quality fruit, especially in the winter.

    • numbersmouse :

      Nice olive oil + sometimes you can find calendar kitchen towels, which work great as gifts for this time of year.

  18. Does anyone have any experience negotiating a lease break on a home or apartment rental? Especially when you’re renting from an individual and not a property management company?

    We need to relocate for my husband’s job, and we will need to move with 10-months left on a 2-year lease. In our HCOL city, we could be on the hook for $50,00 over the next 10 months if our home doesn’t rent (I believe it will, but still, that number gives me massive anxiety). We will be giving our landlords 2.5 months notice. Any advice or tips from those who have done this before would be appreciated.

    • I’m not trying to be rude, but have you already confirmed that your lease doesn’t have a standard early termination penalty clause? Most residential leases require a payout of 2-3 months if you break early, but few require the balance of the lease term.

      • Apartment leases with corporate owners and deeper pockets tend to have those early termination clauses. The single family homes we looked at that had individual owners didn’t have such provisions.

      • Yes, unfortunately we don’t have that kind of clause in our lease.

    • We broke our lease early, although not 10 months early. The owner put it on the market during that time and we were super cooperative about accommodating showings- we made sure it was really clean, left with the dogs while people were there, and just generally tried to get what we could to get a new person in there ASAP. Ultimately, he decide to keep it as a rental. Could you offer to work with the landlord to find a substitute tenant? That’s helpful for an individual owner, especially one who is out of town.

      • Yes, we plan to help show the property and try to make it as easy as possible on the owners (they are local but never come by). Hopefully, with us offering to help find a replacement and giving 2.5 months notice, they’ll be amenable to working with us and not keeping us on the hook for all 10 months.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you told your landlord you need to move early? They’ll probably be more accommodating than you think. I broke a lease once with very few consequences. I was asked to try to find renters, although I never did, and I just moved out.

      • Not yet, but I’m in the process of drafting the email to let them know, and I wanted to to ask here to see if there was anything I should think of or consider before firing it off. I’m hoping that they’ll be understanding, considering our move is due to job loss (my husband, our main breadwinner, was laid off and his new job is 50+ miles away).

    • It depends on the state, but in some states, the LL has a duty to attempt to re-let. So you should check your state for that too.

    • We did this. Under our lease terms, we were on the hook for rent until the end of the term unless new tenants rented at the same rent that we were paying. I thought that the landlord could probably find new tenants, but the dollar amount was scary (we had 7 months left). We ended up offering the landlord 1 months rent and to keep our security deposit (another month of rent), if we could move out early with a release of all further obligations. That way, the landlord ended up ahead if they rented the place out again in less than 2 months, and we were able to move on without worrying about being on the hook for 7 months of rent. For us, throwing a bit of money on the front end seemed better than having to stress out until new tenants were found. I hope your landlord is reasonable. If they are, and you are too, then you can probably work out something. Good luck!

  19. I need bootie help (as in the shoes)…not the booty. I try to be fashionable but sometimes I feel like I just miss the mark. I own the following shoes without the buckle and I love them. I wear them with practically everything – skirts and dresses with black tights,bootcut jeans and dress pants. I’ve never worn them with skinny jeans because I don’t know how. I work in a business casual workplace. Are these considered fashionable? All the booties I see around are chunky heeled which looks too casual to me for a professional services firm. I’m thinking of buying these buckle ones as a replacement? Do these read “old”? I am 33.


    • I’m 32. I have a pair like those without the buckle. They seem fairly classic to me. (But what do I know?)

    • I don’t think they look “old.” I personally much prefer shoes without non-functioning buckles. I mainly replied because I disagree that block heels are necessarily too casual for a business casual professional services workplace. For example, these block heel booties would be totally fine in my business casual law firm:

      • OP here. I agree, those are pretty dressy. Most of the block heels I see in that style are wood so that’s what I was thinking of…I think it’s the wood that makes them too casual. I just don’t think im into the block heel look in general for dressier shoes…they remind me of those dated square toed heels from the late 90s and early 2000.

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