The Best Instant Pot

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After spending a total of 36 hours testing six different instant pots including five for this review, we think the Instant Pot DUO Plus 8 Quart 9-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is the best Instant Pot for busy households. It does the work of nine different appliances, it’s exceptionally easy to use, and best of all, it delivers outstanding meals and homemade treats. It even sterilizes canning jars and baby bottles! Using the high-pressure cooking feature reduces cooking time by as much as 70%, and the delay function means you really can “set and forget” it. While it’s not 100 percent perfect, this Instant Pot makes healthy cooking more convenient. It also happens to be a lot of fun to use, particularly with Amazon’s Alexa and the Instant Pot cooking app as allies.

Our Pick

 

 

 

The DUO Plus 8 Quart Instant pot is the latest and greatest version of Instant Pot’s popular Duo series. Functions include pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, sauté, steamer, egg cooker, warmer, sterilizer, and yogurt maker. It even bakes cakes!

Despite its versatility, the DUO Plus 8 is as user-friendly as previous, simpler models. It features 15 intuitive programs to complete recipes in a snap: Just add the ingredients of your choice, and then push the appropriate button. Make a healthy breakfast of steel cut oats or roast a whole chicken for a quick dinner and some lunch leftovers. This Instant Pot makes the process painless.

There are plenty of features to appreciate beyond the multiple cooking options, including a 24-hour delay cycle and three “keep warm” temperature settings. The LCD display is larger than what you’ll find on most other models, and status icons keep you informed throughout the cooking process. It’s also possible to adjust settings during a cooking cycle, which is something most others don’t allow. Additionally, there are no chemical coatings on components that contact your food. The steam rack, cooking pot, and lid are food-grade 304 stainless steel, and they are dishwasher safe. Who doesn’t love easy cleanup?

This is perhaps the best Instant Pot for people who want to make lots of food at once. At the same time, its size of 14.8 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches might be a bit overwhelming in smaller kitchens. A smaller unit might be best those with 4 or fewer people to feed.

 

Runner-Up

 

The Instant Pot DUO Plus 6-Quart cooker offers the same useful functions as its larger cousin but in a more space-conscious size. Stainless steel components keep food safe and chemical free. As with the larger version, there are useful markings on the inside pot, making it easy to add the correct amount of food.

Just like the 8-quart Instant Pot DUO, this downsized version lets you enjoy the convenience of cooking with Amazon’s Alexa as a guide. It is also compatible with the Instant Pot recipe app for iPhone and Android.

Measuring just 12.2 x 13.4 x 12.5 inches, it fits into tight spaces easily. The smaller size also contributes to the 6 Quart DUO Plus price, which is significantly lower than that of the 8-quart Instant Pot.

 

Pro Tip

Wondering about low pressure? It is the best Instant Pot setting for delicate items that might be damaged when subjected to high pressure. Tender vegetables, fish, and eggs turn out beautifully at lower pressure settings, which tend to deliver between 4 and 7 psi. The low-pressure setting takes longer, but the results are worth the wait.

 

 

Budget Pick

 

 

 

With many of the most popular features found in the DUO Plus models, the Instant Pot DUO60 6-quart 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker adds convenience to your kitchen. It delivers hot meals when you’re ready for them, and it saves time. At under $100, this is the best Instant Pot for your budget, costing less than more feature-rich models. Even so, it allows you to ditch the rice maker, slow cooker, steamer, and other appliances that might be taking up precious real estate inside your cabinets. Like others that made it onto our list of best Instant Pot models, this one helps you stick to your budget by encouraging you to eat homemade meals made with affordable ingredients. It’s definitely a win-win situation as far as money is concerned!

Despite its lower cost, the DUO60 Instant Pot offers the same quality components found in pricier models. All internal components are made of stainless steel, plus the heavy bottom assures even cooking. The pressure chamber is fully sealed, trapping nutrients and flavors in the food. This unit does feature a microprocessor; although it’s a bit less intelligent than those on higher-end models, it does a fantastic job of monitoring basics including time, temperature, and pressure.

Accessories include a recipe booklet and measuring cup, a condensation collector, a rice paddle, and a soup spoon, along with a steam rack.

Upgrade

 

If budget is the last thing from your mind and you know for a fact that you’ll use your Instant Pot frequently, then the Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 6 Quart Programmable Pressure Cooker might be perfect for you. An embedded microprocessor makes adjustments automatically, delivering perfect results. The microprocessor also remembers previous customization choices for added convenience. As with all Instant Pot models, nutrients are preserved instead of leaching out into the cooking water.

Upgrades include a dial that allows for far greater precision with pressure cooking and non-pressure cooking settings. An altitude adjustment ensures recipes turn out as desired even at high elevations and a quick release button has been added for safer steam release.  DUO60 Instant Pot accessories are compatible with this unit, letting you expand its functionality even further.

The Ultra 10-in-1 Instant Pot takes LCD display functioning to the next level with a graph that shows progress. It also lets you set an exact temperature for even better control. Like other electric pressure cookers, the amount of time required for cooking is dramatically reduced. According to the manufacturer, cooking times are reduced by an average of 2 to 6 times depending on the type of food.

Small batch pressure canning in an Instant Pot? Absolutely. As with several other models, it’s possible to can certain items safely and enjoy them at a later date. This is the best Instant Pot for serious cooks. Want to try Sous Vide cooking? How about tempering chocolate?  If you eat a plant-based diet, you can make vegan yogurt in the Instant Pot. If you do dairy, go ahead and make traditional or Greek yogurt using the same function. There are tons of ways to put it to use.

 

 

Honorable Mention

What if you want an Instant Pot but feel as if you won’t use the electric pressure cooker functions much? You might appreciate the Gem 8-in-1 Programmable Multicooker. Though it is missing the pressure cooking features found in most Instant Pot models, it’s a huge step up from a basic slow cooker. Searing and sautéing functions, along with steaming, stewing, baking, roasting, warming, and rice cooking programs make it an all-around winner. Customizable temperature and time settings add convenience, and the internal microprocessor delivers high-quality results. As with other Instant Pots reviewed here, this one includes a delay start feature. If you like, you can use it to begin meal prep up to 24 hours in advance.

One of the nicest things about this particular model is the ceramic-coated inner pot. It doubles as a serving dish, so you can take food straight to the table when it’s ready. The inner pot and accompanying tempered glass lid are dishwasher safe for added convenience.  At six quarts, it easily cooks large items like pot roasts and whole chickens.

 

 

Wrapping It Up

In terms of capacity, convenience, and moderate pricing, the DUO Plus 8 Quart Instant Pot can’t be beaten. This electric pressure cooker is the best Instant Pot for busy families, and it offers enough capacity to serve at least six people easily. Cool extras like the Instant Pot app and compatibility with Alexa help you get the best performance possible while enjoying a wide variety of healthy, tasty homemade foods. If you want something with even more features, then you’ll probably love the  Ultra 10-in-1 6 Quart Programmable Pressure Cooker, which is the best Instant Pot the company has on offer to date.

Pro Tips: Get the Most from Your Instant Pot

Curious about searing meat before pressure cooking in the Instant Pot? You’re not alone. This is one of the reasons people choose this type of electric pressure cooker over others with fewer functions. All available instant pot models offer the option of browning and/or searing before the pressure cooker cycle begins. Detailed instructions are included, and there are tons of great tutorials online and on YouTube.

If you use any of Amazon’s Alexa devices, then you can enable the Instant Pot skill for free. This skill helps you find the type of recipe you’re looking for, and then it walks you through meal prep. This is one of the best Instant Pot features for beginners. It can help you get started while giving Alexa the opportunity to help you with yet another important job.

Instant Pots do come with warranties from the manufacturer. Remember to shop with a reputable retailer and read the fine print before finalizing your purchase.

 

 

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