How Much Power Does the Instant Pot Use at Pressure? We Tested It

In a recent video, I demonstrated how green the Instant Pot is as a cooking method. I cooked lentil soup and showed how much power the Instant Pot was using at different points during the cooking cycle using my kilowatt meter. When using the saute function, it was drawing a considerable amount of power, approximately 1176 watts. While it was pressurizing, the Instant Pot was sporadically using power and then not using power, continuing this pattern until it was fully pressurized.

When the Instant Pot was at full pressure with about 15 minutes remaining in the cooking time, it had used 0.68 kilowatt-hours to reach that point. Initially, I assumed that for those final 15 minutes, it would be drawing full power to maintain the pressurized cooking setting and estimated the total power usage for the cooking cycle to be around 1 kilowatt-hour.

Surprising Results: Less Power Consumption Than Expected

To my surprise, once the cooking cycle was completed, the Instant Pot had only used 0.7 kilowatt-hours. Although 15 minutes of cooking at high pressure were remaining when I stopped my video, the device only used an additional 0.02 kilowatt-hours to finish the cooking cycle.

These results indicate that the Instant Pot uses power while sautéing and when warming up and getting up to pressure. However, during this 15-minute cooking time, almost no power was needed to maintain the pressure inside the cooking vessel. This makes the Instant Pot even greener and more energy-efficient than initially thought.

Reduced CO2 Emissions and Cost

Using only 0.7 kilowatt-hours for a cooking cycle instead of the estimated 1 kilowatt-hour results in lower CO2 emissions and a reduced cost per meal portion. The Instant Pot, once at full pressure, simply allows food to sit at a high temperature and pressure within the cooking vessel without needing additional power to maintain those conditions. This is unlike other cooking methods, such as stovetop cooking and microwaving, which require continuous power usage.

Using the Instant Pot as your cooking device means that it produces less than a pound of CO2 for the entire recipe, and the cost per meal is even more affordable — around 25 cents for the 16 portions of lentil soup. This is a pleasant surprise compared to our initial projections and showcases the Instant Pot as an even more environmentally friendly and cost-effective cooking method.

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Key Takeaways

  • The Instant Pot uses more power when sautéing and warming up to pressure, but once it reaches full pressure it uses almost no power.
  • This makes the Instant Pot an even greener cooking method than originally thought.
  • Cooking a 16 portion lentil soup in the Instant Pot only requires about a pound of CO2 and 25 cents of power in California.