Instant Pot Pro Plus Review: Excellent multicooker, inferior app

Instant pot I brought home from my saved mother in law Thanksgiving. It wasn’t on purpose. I had taken her to her house to test it out for this review, but when her oven died the day before Thanksgiving, I got creative, making Mark Bittman’s make-ahead sauce in the Instant Pot using its jump function. I also made Melissa Clark’s Steamed Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes and Pressure Cooked Hard-boiled Eggs that came out of their shells for devil’s eggs. As for the turkey, a 3.5lb boneless breast shaped like a rugby ball, it went in the pot overnight using the sous-vide feature and came out as good as anything I’ve ever done. . It was an impromptu tour de force that set the multi in a multicooker.

It was the Pro Plus, the newest and perhaps the best pressure cooker from Instant Pot to date. At $ 170, it’s also the most expensive six-quart option. It does all the things of the multicooker: pressure cooks, slow cooks, sautéing, steaming and sous vide, all with a pleasantly simple interface. Yet the Plus in its name — its one more reason, if you will — is the “smart” or connected side of things, and for now, at least, that’s a big minus. By connecting the pot to a mobile app, you can unlock a “guided cooking” experience where you follow onscreen recipes while the app starts the machine to complete each step. At least for now, that side of things should be ignored.

I’ll start by explaining why and try to be brief, because there are some good things to talk about.

On the app, you can choose from an impressive stock of recipes – over 1,000 and up. The app allows you to choose the number of servings you want and then increase or decrease the recipe accordingly. However, once you start cooking, problems quickly arise.

I started with a pozole recipe that called for a pound or “about 1 3/4 cups, cubed” of pork shoulder, followed by an onion and three cloves of garlic, both “chopped”, followed by canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in a mysterious amount of “3 (approx 1.31 lb)”, also chopped. Next we need to “set aside” “1.56 lbs (about 4 1/4 cups)” of hominy.

Courtesy of Instant Brands and Drop

Ho, my boy. Frequent cookbook users will notice a lack of precision here. For these five ingredients, I had more than five questions. Here’s one: How big are these cubes of pork? Pressure cooking can be an indulgent way, but small cubes will dry out and overly large cubes might not reach the level of succulence we are looking for. Can this pig be bone-in? Should it be cut? He didn’t say. Have you seen any other recipes where the amount of cubes of meat is measured in cups? Now what about onion and garlic, are these chopped the same size? It would be special. By the way, what size chop? Shall we peel the garlic? As for those 1.31 pounds of chipotle in adobo… um, it can get spicy! I’m more used to seeing a few tablespoons or even a few peppers in recipes, but are we sure this is more than pork? Then there’s that precise 1.56 pounds of hominy. If I look back in the notes I can see it’s canned, not dried, but how many cans does that represent?

Since the Pro Plus is currently only available in one size – six quarts – and I’ve often chosen the default recipe size, all of those odd-quantity measurements really stood out.

I had similar issues with an eggplant, tomato, and chickpea tagine, where “grape tomato, 2 (approx 0.63 oz)” was found to mean two quarts, the eggplants were cut into ” pieces ”and 2 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt were also given as 0.25 oz, the latter being a single size choice. How big are your songs, dear reader? And do you use Diamond Kosher salt? Because if you use the denser Morton kosher with a measuring spoon, you might put in more than they ask for.

Here’s a recipe quote from the front page of one of my favorite reference books, The Recipe Writer’s Manual, by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane L. Baker.

Lance B. Holton