How much time can an Instant Pot save you?

How much time can an Instant Pot save you?

One of the main selling points of the Instant Pot is the time it will save you. But just how much time is that? This is a non scientific (and slightly silly) post calculating the time saving possibilities offered by pressure cooking with the Instant Pot.

How much time can you save using the Instant Pot to cook?

The amount of time you can save depends on what you’re cooking and how often, but lets compare the time of some common foods:

Brown rice

  • Cooking time in Instant Pot ~30 mins (including time for natural release).
  • Timing on the hob/stove ~60 mins (based on this guide).
  • Time saved ~ 30 mins or 50%

30 mins saved on cooking brown rice isn’t bad. Especially if it means you eat more brown rice instead of white rice and don’t waste money on ‘instant’ or ‘quick cook’ rice.

Hey, 30 mins isn’t bad! But I think we can do even better – how about some beans?

Cooking beans

It’s super easy to cook beans in the Instant Pot and much quicker than traditional cooking:

  • Black beans: 1-1.5 hours on the stove (and that’s after soaking them for 6+ hours) vs. 20-25 mins in the Instant Pot (dried) or 10-15 mins (soaked).
  • Time saved: ~60 mins – not bad.
  • Chickpeas: 1.25-1.5 hours on the stove (soaked) vs. Instant Pot timings of 35-40 mins (dried) or 20-25 mins (soaked).
  • Time saved: ~65 mins (comparing soaked cooking).

So by cooking beans in the Instant Pot, we’ve managed to save over an hour (that’s not even including the time you’d spend soaking the beans before stove cooking), and we’ve also saved a whole lot of hassle. We no longer have to worry about planning ahead and remembering to soak beans for hours! See our cooking times for a guide to cooking beans in the Instant Pot.

But rice or beans on their own don’t make a meal. So lets compare something a bit more substantial…

Curry

How much time can we save cooking a simple curry? This Aloo Gobi recipe includes instructions for Instant Pot and cooking on the stove.

  • Cooking time in Instant Pot ~7 mins
  • Cooking time on the hob/stove ~ 14 mins
  • Time saved ~ 7 mins or 50%

Wow! A whole 7 minutes…

Okay, this might not sound like much, but remember, the original recipe didn’t take so long either – so we’ve still managed to halve the cooking time. The other key thing to remember in these calculations is active vs passive time.

Active vs. Passive Time:

Even though cooking in the Instant Pot doesn’t always make a huge overall time saving, it does make a big difference in how much time you have to be actively involved. The great thing about the Instant Pot is once the lid is on and you’ve set the timer you can go away and do something else – unlike cooking on the stove where you’ll need to spend time stirring and keeping an eye on the pan.

You can even delay the start of cooking in the instant pot so you have food ready at a certain time. For example, you could set your timer, settle down on the sofa to watch a film, and come back 2 hours later to a perfectly cooked dinner! What could be better than that.

How much time can the Instant Pot save you in total?

Whilst the calculations above give a handy insight in to the time saving possibilities, most people don’t just use their Instant Pot once. So how much time will using the Instant Pot save you once you’re using it in your day-to-day life?

In these calculations we’ve been pretty conservative, recognising that not everyone will use their Instant Pot for every meal, or even every day; let’s see how much time you can save even with moderate usage…

…in a week

Let’s say in a week you save 60 mins by cooking beans in the Instant Pot, 30 mins cooking some rice, and you also make two other meals which save around 15 mins each. In this imaginary week you’d have saved around 2 hours! That’s long enough to attend a weekly exercise class, or watch two episodes of your favourite series.

…in a month

If you saved around 2 hours a week using the Instant Pot and used it for 3 weeks a month then you’d save around 6 hours a month. That’s almost a whole working day!

…in a year

Assume you sustain your 6 hours a month usage for 11 months of the year (maybe you’ll go on a few holidays where you won’t take an Instant Pot with you…). You’ve now saved 66 hours. That’s nearly 3 whole days! 

In your lifetime…

If you start using an Instant Pot when you are 30, and use it consistently until you are 82 years old (currently the average life expectancy in the UK), then you will have saved 3,432 hours or 143 days. That’s getting on for half a year!

In half a year you could probably make a good start on writing an epic novel, learn an instrument, or watch all seven series of Mad Men over 36 times! The possibilities are endless…