While there was time to make sumptuous meals in the olden days, it is no longer so in the twenty-first century. With both men and women occupying the workplaces, there is less time to prepare meals and spend time in the kitchen. That is why new kitchen gadgets and appliances are invented more often than ever. They can come quite in handy when we need to whip up something fast or on the go.
Before we make a comparison (rice cooker vs instant pot), why don’t we first seek to understand each appliance and what it does?
When making a first time purchase, the decision can be quite daunting. We all want to get value for our money, and most importantly, we do not want to end up with a trial and error appliance. Everyone needs to know which device does what to make a decision based on individual needs in the kitchen, suitability, and personal preferences.
What is an Instant Pot?
An instant pot uses pressure cooker technology to make meals faster. The big difference is that unlike an average pressure cooker, which runs on external heat, instant pots cook using electricity. Put simply. It is an electric pressure cooker that is programmable and has more controls.
For most beginners, all you have to do is press start and watch it cook. However, the more functions an instant pot has, the more difficult it can be to use and operate. On the other hand, it is nice having that many options to choose from and having an appliance that replaces six to ten others.
Types of Instant Pot
There are several types of instant pots to choose from including;
1. Instant pot lux
The lux model is also called the six in one instant pot. It acts as a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, a sauté pan, steamer, a warmer, and a rice cooker. It’s prices range from $65 to $110, depending on the size you prefer. It can cook on high pressure for up to four hours and keep it warm for a maximum of ten hours.
2. Instant pot duo
The duo model is a seven in one instant pot. In addition to the six functions the lux model offers, it also acts as a yogurt maker and warmer. It also has two pressure settings, which are high and low. It’s prices range from $80 to $140 depending on the size.
3. Instant pot duo plus
The duo model is a nine in one instant pot. In addition to the seven functions, the duo model offers, it acts as an egg and cake maker. Its price range from $59.99 to $139.99, making it a wise investment.
4. Instant pot nova plus
The nova plus model is also a nine in one model. Unlike the duo models, though, it has less beeping sounds and a display to monitor the pressure.
5. Instant pot ultra
The ultra-model is an instant cooker with a lot of choices. It is the ten in one pot. It offers everything the duo model provides, along with an ability to memorize previous settings. Its prices range from $119 to $129.
6. Instant pot gem
Though quipped with microprocessor technology, this is more of a slow cooker with seven other functions compared to the rest. Some of its features include roasting, baking, stewing, steaming, and slow cooker. Its prices range from $99.99 to $159.99, depending on the size.
Variety of food to cook in an Instant Pot
When it comes down to the types of food you can cook in an instant pot, is it safe to say that it will depend on the type of instant pot you go for. All instant pots have the function of slow cooking, and part from gem type, they all can act like pressure cookers.
It is safe to say that you can make Beans/Chilies, Stews, Soups, Vegetables, Poultry, Beef, and Pot Roasts on nearly all of them. With the more diverse ones, you can make Yogurt, basic Cakes, Fish & Seafood and Eggs.
What is a Rice Cooker?
A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance that is used for cooking basic soft grains like rice. This means that as long as they don’t need a lot of time to cook, a rice cooker can work with what you put in it. Like instant pots, they utilize electricity for cooking your food without using an external heat source.
Rice cookers are automatic, which makes them a handy kitchen tool to have around. Automatic cooking means that the food will never scorch or burn. This allows you the freedom to do other things and let the cooker do all the cooking.
Types of Rice Cooker
There are several rice cooker types you can choose from including;
1. The standard rice cooker
The conventional rice cooker is a simple and basic model that most people think of when they hear the word rice cooker. It is easy to operate, and usually it is used for making good quality rice. They boast of a sensing feature that turns heat from cooking to warming method when it senses it is cooked. Its price ranges from $20 to $30 on average.
2. The improved rice cooker
An improved rice cooker is a standard rice cooker with more cooking options. Apart from standard white rice, improved rice cookers can also cook brown rice, fluff, steam, and warm. These rice cookers are under $50 on average.
3. The multi-functional rice cooker
The multi-functional rice cooker has a few more controls than both the standard and the improved rice cooker. This allows them to cook sushi rice and porridge in addition to cooking brown and white rice. Depending on the make, they can even make oats and quinoa. These rice cookers are under $100 on average.
4. Induction rice cooker
When it comes to rice cookers, induction rice cookers are the best there are in the market. They can supply higher and more consistent heat than the other models meaning they can be used with a broader variety of foods than the others. Apart from rice, they make steamed vegetables, slow cook stews and soups, make porridge, and can even poach fruit. These rice cookers are under $200 on average.
Variety of food to cook in a Rice Cooker
Rice cookers tend to be very simple to operate no matter the type. Sure, induction types are more complex than standard models, but they are still easy to operate. They are also easier to clean as they all come with a non-stick cooking pan.
When it comes down to the types of food you can cook in a rice cooker, they are constrained to what they can do and what they can cook. An average rice cooker can cook White Rice, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Sushi Rice, Soup, Chili and Stew. While most of the rice cookers come with food steamer so they can cook Fish, Chicken, Pork, Beef, and Vegetables too.
Rice Cooker vs Instant Pot: The Main Difference
The most significant difference between rice cooker vs instant pot lies in the functions. While rice cookers can give consistently good rice, they are limited to the number of foods they can make.
Even the most complex of rice cookers are limited to rice, porridge, stews, and soups. Instant Pots, on the other hand, can bake, make yogurt, sauté, even act as a crock pot and they are mainly pressure cookers to get more idea check rice cooker vs pressure cooker. Versatility is the most significant difference there is in both appliances.
The second most significant difference is in price. Instant pot prices can range from $50 to $150, while rice cookers range from $40 to $80. P makes Instant pots a bit pricey as compared to rice cookers.
Another difference between rice cooker vs instant pot lies in usability. Nobody wants an appliance they will have to struggle with or one that will take ages to master.
While instant pots come with a lot of cool features, they can also seem complicated to the average user as compared to rice cookers. Rice cookers seem to keep things simple when it comes to their operation.
The last difference lies in cleaning. Rice cookers come with non-stick cooking lining making them very easy to clean and keep clean. On the other hand, instant pots can be hard to clean since the sealing ring and gasket will usually need thorough cleaning each time you use them.
Rice cooker vs instant pot both appliance has its advantage and disadvantages. Therefore, it is safe to say the suitability of a tool will depend on why the user needs it. When it comes to cooking rice, a rice cooker will do that for you just fine without needing your watchful eye. However, if you are looking for an appliance that can whip up a meal fast, no matter what it is, an instant pot will suit you better.