≡ Menu

Instant Pot Review

Instant Pot ReviewBefore you get started on our Instant Pot review, be warned that it’s hard to remain on the fence once you truly understand what this amazing kitchen appliance can accomplish. Introduced in 2010, over 10 MILLION units are already in use in households worldwide…

Think of the Instant Pot as an all in one cooking pot which speeds up cooking by 2 to 6 times while using up to 70% less energy. It contains all smells as it releases no steam and does not heat up your kitchen.

Super convenient, this quick cooker automates your cooking and produces nutritious, healthy food consistently.

You can keep going back and forth between a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker/porridge maker, yogurt maker, steamer, stockpot warmer… or take a look at this versatile electric cooker and prepare to be amazed!

Is an Instant Pot a Pressure Cooker?

There’s no secret that this one pot wonder can easily handle all tasks performed by the above appliances, but here are some Instant Pot uses you may not be aware of: it can saute with the best of them, plus some models even make healthy yogurt.

Simply saute your vegetables, add your meat to brown, and finally your pasta or rice. The end result: a delicious meal, and only one pot to clean… 😉

Consider the variety of foods it can cook: meats, fish, stews, soups, stuffings, rice (and other grains), beans, porridge, sauces, dips, casseroles, pizza and bread doughs.

The sweet toothed among you need not worry: it’s also a master at producing puddings and cakes as well as fruit desserts, sauces, jams, butters and chutneys. Add an instant pot steamer rack or inner pot, and a world of steamed breads and puddings is right at your fingertips.

Hot drinks? No problem! Not only can it make mouth-watering hot punches, hot chocolate and lattes, but it also doubles as the perfect vessel for special occasions!!!

Instant Pot Sizes

Both the DUO and the LUX lines are available in three sizes: 3, 6 and 8 quarts.

The Instant Pot 6 quart pressure cooker with 1000W heating element is available in all series: LUX, DUO, DUO PLUS, ULTRA and SMART BLUETOOTH. It happens to be the most versatile as well as the most popular, since it is also the perfect size for the average family of 4-6 people.

The 8 quart cooking pot with 1200W heating element is available in the LUX and DUO lines. It is a good fit for large families (6+ people), for entertaining, or if you prefer to cook less frequently and rely on the convenience of leftovers instead.

At the other end of the spectrum, the small Instant Pot MINI (3 quart cooking pot with 700W heating element) is also available in the LUX and DUO series. It is ideal for single servings or side dishes and is perfect if you’re cooking for two or three people.

Keep in mind that the cooking pot should not be more than 2/3 full, 1/2 for food that expands during cooking such as rice or dried vegetables.

If you are still wondering what size Instant Pot is best for you, you might want to consider the various functionalities available in each line.

Instant Pot Models

Instant Pot Comparison

All of these one pot cookers feature a brushed stainless steel exterior with a healthy, dishwasher safe food grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel inner cooking pot, lid and steam rack. Absolutely no chemical coatings to worry about!

Instant Pot DUOThere are five lines of cookers to choose from:

. LUX 6-in-1
. DUO 7-in-1
. DUO PLUS 9-in-1
. ULTRA 10-in-1
. SMART BLUETOOTH 7-in-1

Instant Pot LUX

The basic Lux Instant Pot 6-in-1 replaces the following: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer and Warmer. The Lux 6-in-1 comes in 3 sizes:

. 3-quart Lux Mini (11.50 x 10.51 x 10.50 inches; 8.50 pounds)
. 6-quart Lux60 (13.18 x 12.20 x 12.5 inches; 11.53 pounds)
. 8-quart Lux80 (14.50 x 13.18 x 13.50 inches; 15.4 pounds)

The Lux 8- and 6-quart cookers include 12 smart built-in programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Sauté, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Keep Warm, Pressure Cook, Steam and Slow Cook.

The 3-quart Lux mini excludes the Cake and Multigrain options for a total of 10 smart built-in programs.

Instant Pot DUO

The DUO 7-in-1 replaces 7 appliances (introducing a Yogurt Maker) and comes in 3 sizes:

. 3-quart Duo Mini (11.81 x 10.51 x 11 inches; 8.65 pounds)
. 6-quart Duo 60 (13.38 x 12.2 x 12.48 inches; 11.80 pounds)
. 8-quart Duo 80 (14.8 x 13.18 x 14.01 inches; 15.80 pounds)

The Duo 8- and 6-quart cookers feature 14 smart built-in programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté/Searing, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurize & Pressure Cook.

The 3-quart Duo Instant Pot mini excludes the Poultry, Multigrain and Pasteurize options for a total of 10 smart built-in programs.

The original bestselling Lux series inspired the creation of the Duo line which was an instant hit. The Instant Pot Duo 6 quart actually took off like a rocket and to this day remains the star of IP’s stable – the little mare that actually won the Derby!

Instant Pot DUO PLUS

The Duo Plus combines the functions of 9 appliances: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer and Sterilizer. The Duo Plus 9-in-1 only comes in one size:

. 6-quart Duo Plus 60 (13.4 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches; 11.83 pounds)

This cooker features 15 smart built-in programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Slow Cook, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Keep Warm and Pressure Cook, plus the new Cake, Egg and Sterilize programs.

Instant Pot ULTRA

The Ultra 10-in-1 instant cooker replaces 10 appliances, adding the new Ultra program to the Duo Plus above. It also only comes in one size:

. 6-quart Ultra 60 (13 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches; 11.83 pounds)

Exclusive to this manufacturer, the ULTRA enables you to customize programming (whether for pressure or non-pressure cooking) and adjust for altitude to ensure perfect results every time.

The Ultra includes 16 smart built-in programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Cake, Egg, Slow Cook, Saut̩/Searing, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Sterilize, Yogurt, Warm, Pressure Cook Рplus Ultra!

Instant Pot SMART BLUETOOTH

This Instant Pot smart cooker replaces 7 kitchen appliances: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steam, and Warmer. The Smart Bluetooth 7-in-1 also exclusively comes in one size:

. 6-quart Smart 60 (13 x 12.2 x 12.6 inches; 14.57 pounds)

The SMART BLUETOOTH includes 14 smart built-in programs: Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Yogurt, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook.

For the tech inclined, Bluetooth connectivity lets you program your cooker from your smart phone or tablet, and the free app provides recipes that can be saved and shared.

The Instant Pot 7-in-1 6 quart offers the unique option of selecting a tempered glass lid with steam vent and stainless steel rim and handle which allows you to easily monitor contents Рparticularly useful when slow cooking or saut̩ing. Dishwasher safe, it can be transferred to the oven where it is safe up to 428F (220C).

Note that this clear glass lid can be purchased separately, but keep in mind that it was designed specifically to fit the IP Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker 5 or 6 Quart: IP-DUO50, IP-DUO60, IP-LUX50, IP-LUX60, IP-LUX60V3, Smart-60, Ultra-6, IP-CSG60 and IP-CSG50.

Accessories

Included with all models:
. stainless steel steam rack with handles
(without handles for MINI models of the LUX, DUO, DUO PLUS and ULTRA)
. soup spoon
. rice paddle
. measuring cup
. recipe booklet

Exclusive:
. left & right handed lid holder (all except LUX series)
. serving spoon (DUO PLUS, SMART only)
. condensation collector (ULTRA only)
. mini red mitts (SMART only)

Instant Pot Functions

Instant Pot Settings

All Instant Pot cookers are 3rd generation digital pressure cookers equipped with Smart Programming, a digital technology designed to increase precision cooking for consistent results every time.

Inside the control panel is located an advanced microprocessor chip which stores and executes the programs using four parameters: heating intensity, temperature, pressure and duration.

1. Cooking Program Types

Pressure Cooking Programs:
Soup/Broth (all models)
Meat/Stew (all models)
Rice (all models)
Porridge (all models)
Steam (all models)
Pressure Cook or Manual (all models)
Bean/Chili (LUX50, LUX60V2; DUO series; DUO PLUS series; ULTRA series; SMART)
Poultry (LUX50, LUX60V2; DUO50, DUO60, DUO80; SMART)
Multigrain (LUX50, LUX60V2, LUX60V3, LUX80; DUO50, DUO60, DUO80; DUO PLUS60, DUO PLUS80; ULTRA60, ULTRA80; SMART)
Cake (LUX60V3, LUX80; DUO PLUS60, DUO PLUS80; ULTRA60, ULTRA80)
Egg (LUX MINI, LUX60V3, LUX80; DUO PLUS series; ULTRA series)
Sterilize (DUO PLUS series; ULTRA series)
Pasteurize (DUO50, DUO60, DUO80)
Ultra (ULTRA series)

Non-Pressure Cooking Programs:
Saute (all models)
Slow Cook (all models)
Yogurt (DUO series; DUO PLUS series; ULTRA series; SMART)
Warm (ULTRA series)
Ultra (ULTRA series)
Keep Warm (all models)

2. Program Variables

Pressure Cooking

Up to 4 hours: LUX series; DUO series; DUO PLUS series
Up to 6 hours: ULTRA series
Up to 2 hours: SMART

Slow Cooker

Available on all cookers for 0.5-20 hours at 3 temperatures.
The LUX series also offers a custom temperature option.

Saute

Available on all cookers for up to 30 minutes at 3 temperatures.
The LUX series also offers a custom temperature option.

Keep Warm

.LUX series
Automatic Keep Warm (up to 10 hours)
Manual Keep Warm (up to 10 hours)

.DUO50, DUO60, DUO80
Automatic Keep Warm (up to 10 hours)
Manual Keep Warm (up to 99 hours & 50 minutes)

.DUO MINI; SMART
Automatic Keep Warm (up to 10 hours)
Manual Keep Warm (up to 99 hours & 50 minutes)
3 Temperatures

.DUO PLUS series
Automatic Keep Warm (up to 24 hours)
Manual Keep Warm (up to 99 hours & 50 minutes)
3 Temperatures

.ULTRA series (default setting)
Automatic Keep Warm (up to 24 hours)
Manual Keep Warm (up to 99 hours & 50 minutes)
Warm (Preheat)
3 Temperatures

3. Extra Instant Pot Features

Instant Pot Modes

One of the great advantages of cooking with the Instant Pot programmable pressure cooker is that it operates in ‘set and forget’ mode – there literally is a setting for everything.

Another great feature is the degree of customization integrated into the Duo, Duo Plus and Lux series. The integration of modes (Less, Normal or More) enable you to further refine the cooking program options according to ingredients used or level of doneness desired.

Those modes would correspond to Low, Medium or High under the Slow Cooker setting respectively.

Select the Less mode of the Instant Pot Saute program in order to simmer, thicken and reduce liquids; the Normal mode for pan searing; and the More mode to stir fry or brown meat.

The same modes used with the Instant Pot Soup setting would apply respectively to soup without meat, soup with meat, or to make some rich bone broth.

Use Less with the Yogurt program to make a sweet fermented glutinous rice dessert, Normal to ferment milk or More to pasteurize milk when making yogurt.

Instant Pot Natural Release Vs Quick Release

When pressure cooking, you can use one of three ways in order to allow the steam the escape.

Natural Pressure Release (NPR) allows the steam to release naturally until the float valve drops down. Food will continue cooking for the duration which will vary depending on ingredients used as well as the amount of liquid in the pot (generally between 15 and 20 minutes).

Quick Pressure Release (QPR) lets you control steam release through the vent in the lid through continuous or pulse steam release which causes the pressure to go down within a matter of minutes. A very handy feature that helps avoid overcooking foods such as vegetables or poached eggs. This process should never be left unattended.

Combining NPR and QPR allows for natural pressure release for about 10-15 minutes, after which you can turn the valve to release any remaining pressure.

Alexa Skill

Integrated into the DUO PLUS, LUX and ULTRA series as well as the SMART BLUETOOTH model, it would appear that Alexa guided cooking still needs a little tweaking. It can’t be relied upon to provide recipes based on a specified ingredient, nor will it provide a list of cooking times for simple items.

4. Ultimate Customization

Home chefs, rejoice! The ULTRA series and the SMART have been equipped with additional controls for even greater precision cooking.

ULTRA Extra Functionality

Designed with the home chef in mind, the Ultra integrates dedicated features for even greater control and customization and more precise cooking.

Central Dial
Turn and press allows for more precise cooking program selection and adjustment.

Altitude Adjustment
Eliminates guesswork when cooking at different altitudes.

Cooking Progress Indicator
Easily monitor the cooking states: Preheat, Cook and Keep Warm.

SMART Pot Extra Functions

Custom Timer Pre-sets
Two programmable timer pre-sets let you time cooking with accuracy.

Bluetooth
Graphics from your smartphone or tablet conveniently let you program and monitor your cooking progress.

Custom program
Share your favorite recipe scripts with friends or even write your very own recipe scripts.

Instant Pot Safety

Being a smart pressure cooker has an added benefit: enhanced safety. Various aspects of the design contribute to its unmatched safety. UL and ULC certified, the Instant Pot incorporates ten safety mechanisms designed to eliminate many common issues and take this one pot cooker to a whole new level.

1. Pressure Regulator ensures the working pressure below the safety limit.
2. Anti-Blockage Vent prevents food debris from blocking the vent.
3. Safety lid lock prevents accidental opening of the cooker while it is pressurized.
4. Designed with a sensor for lid position detection, monitors whether the lid is in an unsafe position for pressure cooking.
5. Automatic temperature control regulates temperature based on the type of program being selected.
6. Temperature monitoring avoids burning food.
7. Pressure controller keeps pressure always in the safe range.
8. Electrical current and temperature fuse cuts off power if the current or internal temperature exceeds safety limits.
9. Pressure protection releases excess pressure into internal chamber in a dangerous situation.
10. Smart detection of leaky lid (e.g. steam release is in the open position).

…but wait, there’s more! The ULTRA series features an additional safety measure:

11. Quick Release Button automatically resets the Ultra to the Sealing position when you open or close the lid if the button is in the venting position.

Actually, peace of mind doesn’t stop there. Let’s not forget the safe inner cooking pot made of food grade 304 stainless steel (18/8) with a 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution – and no non-stick chemical coating in sight!

But Which Instant Pot to Buy?

Cooking with an Instant PotThe DUO with 14 smart built-in programs can do the job of seven appliances and is clearly the winner among all models by such a margin that it’s unlikely to face serious competition for a long time to come. And if you’re a big fan of yogurt, it’s a no brainer.

If you are passionate about cooking, the ULTRA offers superior functionality. It replaces 10 appliances and features 16 smart built-in programs.

On a budget? Consider the LUX with 12 built-in programs which replaces six appliances.

No matter which model you choose, don’t be surprised when one pot cooking becomes an obsession!

Should I buy an Instant Pot? Only if you want to simplify your life while cooking quick and healthy meals – or declutter your countertop and replace up to TEN appliances with one multitasker…

Let’s face it, the Instant Pot truly deserves recognition as the overachiever among all electric cookers. It can cook pretty much anything beautifully and super efficiently while using very little space on your countertop.

Sure, it evokes all sorts of comfort foods generally associated with cool weather, but it is also brilliant at handling summer meals without warming up the kitchen. Now how about some New England clam chowder, steamed corn, mashed potatoes, pulled pork, poached pears or vanilla yogurt?

It also makes entertaining a breeze. This cooker aims to please – your wish is her command!