At long last, the Instant Pot Max has arrived on the scene. Available on Amazon and at Williams Sonoma, it’s the latest, top-of-the-line model. There’s been talk about it for some time now, so I was very excited to get my hands on one.
The biggest new thing about the Max is it can reach 15 psi, which is equivalent to a stove-top pressure cooker. No electric pressure cooker has dependably accomplished this, so it’s a bit of a breakthrough. This means even shorter cook times and the ability to safely pressure can. I haven’t done any canning yet, but I will likely be posting about that later. I’ve only used to new guy to perform a water test and make stock, but here’s what I’ve noticed so far:
Automated pressure release!!! You can probably tell by the exclamation points that I’m excited about this. When programming your cooker before pressure cooking a dish, you can adjust several settings, including the type of release you would like–natural, manual/quick, or controlled. Whichever one you pick, the cooker releases the pressure automatically. This means no need to remember to close the valve, no need to stick your hand near blazing hot steam to release the pressure, no nothin’. It’s great.
Touch screen. The interface works with a combination of a touchscreen and a knob. It’s pretty intuitive once you play with it and the knob works a little better than on the Ultra. The preset options are streamlined to the major options, getting rid of things like “cake” and “stew.” Presets I never once used on a Duo.
More key settings. Having these new controls means you can adjust basic settings fairly easily, including new options like elevation (which affects cook time) and temperature, allowing you to adjust the specific temperature for settings like slow cooking. I haven’t tried this out yet, but seems like a real upgrade. There’s also a visual indicator when the lid is locked and a more detailed visualization of what your cooker is doing (preheating, cooking, depressurizing).
Tough lid. It locks the same way as other models, but is thus far a bit harder to lock. The interior is brushed steel, and seems to make locking the lid less of a smooth action. Not terrible, though, and my only complaint so far. Very minor.
I’ll be back with more thoughts once I play with the pressure canning feature and sous vide feature, as well as simply using it more for my day-to-day pressure cooking.
If you live in Tennessee (or northern Georgia), I’ve got a couple of fun events coming up next month! Save the dates:
Feb 25: Talk, book signing, and probably a demo at the excellent Parnassus Books in Nashville at 6:30pm
Feb 26: Instant Pot Master Class with The Chattery in Chattanooga. All levels welcome. We’ll be making a three-course meal and eating it, plus it’s a fundraiser for The Chattery! No-Pressure will be for sale at a discounted price.
Stay tuned for upcoming dates in Southern California. Like and follow my Facebook page for up-to-date info about all events.
Before the year is done, I’d like to share a couple of festive recipes and some fun coverage of my events in the Spokane area. Most importantly, I’d like to wish you and your’s a very happy holiday and a fantastic new year!
I shared my recipes for Instant Pot Eggnog Rice Pudding and Spiced Chocolate Flan with the Spokesman-Review. You can find the recipes and read an interview with me here. Both of these recipes are holiday variations on recipes in my book, No-Pressure (it makes a great Christmas gift!!).
And here’s some fun coverage of the Top Chef Meets Instant Pot dinner I did with Chef Chad White (a 4-course gourmet dinner made entirely in Instant Pots!) and the class I taught at Second Harvest:
Last week I was in Spokane for a 4-course, gourmet dinner with Chef Chad White that we cooked up entirely in Instant Pots. It was a whirlwind, because in addition to prepping and and executing the dinner, I had four other appearances while I was there in a little over two days! Phew. More on that later.
One recipe from my book The Instant Pot No-Pressure Cookbook that I served while in Spokane was Cranberry Apple Cider. It’s quick and easy and perfect for the holidays, and the recipe is below.
6 cups apple cider
4 cups cranberry juice cocktail
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 orange, sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
1 handful fresh cranberries (optional)
Add the cider, cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange to your Instant Pot. Secure the lid. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes and use a natural release. Remove the whole spices by straining or using a slotted spoon. Add brown sugar to taste and serve hot garnished with cranberries (if using).
Last month I spoke to a fun group at the Arcadia Public Library about the Care and Feeding of Your Instant Pot. We covered buying an Instant Pot (and if you should buy one at all), different models, set-up, tips and tricks, cleaning and maintenance, and more. I also demo’ed a rice pudding recipe which is available below!
Instant Pot Rice Pudding Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling
1 cup short-grain white rice, rinsed well and drained 5 cups whole milk 2/3 cup sugar 1 pinch salt 2 large eggs beaten, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the rice, milk, sugar, and salt in your Instant Pot. Whisk together and secure the lid.
Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and use a natural release.
Whisk the cooked rice and milk mixture well. Temper the eggs by slowly adding 1 cup of the hot milky rice to the eggs while whisking constantly. Add that mixture to the Instant Pot slowly, whisking the whole time.
Turn on the Sauté function. Whisk until the mixture is simmering and starting to thicken up. Turn off the Sauté function.
Add the vanilla and mix well.
Allow the rice pudding to cool. It will thicken greatly as it sits. Serve warm or cold.
Flavor ideas (add after cooling)
Chocolate-covered cherry: mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped fresh cherries or dried cherries
Mango-lime: Diced ripe mango tossed in the juice and zest of 1-2 fresh limes
Cinnamon roll: 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Peach-almond: Fresh diced peaches, slivered almonds on top
I’ll be speaking at the Arcadia Public Library this Saturday at 11:30AM! Talk will include a live demo and samples, how to choose, use, and maintain your Instant Pot, and lots more hot tips and tricks. I’ll also have copies my book handy. Come say hi!