How Many Different Instant Pot Models Are There
There are 13 different Instant Pot models: The Instant Pot Lux, Instant Pot Duo, Instant Pot Viva, Instant Pot Duo Plus, Instant Pot Ultra, Instant Pot Smart, Instant Pot Max, Instant Pot Duo SV, Instant Pot Duo Nova, Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, Instant Pot Pro Crisp + Air Fryer, Instant Pot Duo Gourmet, and Instant Pot Evo Plus. Instant Pot comes out with new models regularly.
The Best Instant Pots For 2021
With an Instant Pot, cooking meals is faster and easier. You can create quick recipes for everything from shredded chicken to dessert with less time and effort.
Our pick for the best Instant Pot is the tried-and-true Instant Pot Duo 80. The Duo 80 is large enough to fit a whole chicken or roast, yet versatile enough to cook everything from cheesecake to chili. If the Duo 80 isnt for you, weve also picked our best Instant Pot models;to choose for an individual, a family of four, a large family, and for those on a budget.
If youre looking to snag a discount, you also can check out our list of the best Instant Pot deals;available today.
Zavor Ezlock Stovetop Pressure Cooker & Canner
The Zavor EZLock works like a typical stovetop pressure cooker, but its designed to fit four one-quart mason jars or five pint-sized jars. . Its equipped with two pressure settings and an automatic universal self-locking mechanism for safety. And it works on any heat source.
What the Reviews Say: One reviewer appreciates its versatility: I have small canning needs and I also want a pressure cooker for brisket and corned beef. This pot does it all. Quality and finish are excellent. If you dont require a pressure gauge or a lot of jars at one time, I would recommend this cooker to you.
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Should I Buy The Instant Pot Duo
I love my Instant Pot duos and find I have everything I want and need from them. This is the best Instant Pot to buy for the money and features, in my opinion. Using the manual buttons, you can cook anything you want. If youre interested in advanced features like Sous Vide, or want the added convenience of extras that help minimize errors, I recommend you look through the rest of this list and see what you need/want.
- KEY FEATURE: Doubles as an air fryer with an attached air fryer lid.
- DOES NOT HAVE YOGURT FEATURE.
- Easy Seal Lid takes the thought out of sealing.
- Doesnt come with a lot of the more advanced features or bells and whistles- no special stuff with the lid/sealing/steam release.
- Only comes in 8 quart size.
Here Are The Main Attributes We Looked For And How We Tested Them:
Setup: I timed how quickly I was able to get the cooker set up and building pressure from the moment I opened the box. I also noted whether I was able to do this without looking at the instructions or if the controls were confusing. Most units took five minutes or less to set up.
Pressurizing: Many pressure cooker recipes look like they won’t take long, but few factor in the time it takes for the unit to build pressure. A cooker that builds pressure quickly is a real timesaver. I tested how long it took each model to get up to pressure with just four cups of water inside. I also tracked how long the pressure build took during all of the cooking tests. I gave more favorable scores to cookers that built pressure quickly.
Performance: I put each multicooker through five cooking tests:
Additional functions: Three of the units I tested featured sous vide cooking, and two had air frying capabilities. To test the sous vide, I cooked a NY Strip at 129 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours and assessed how tender and flavorful it was. All sous vide cookers performed well. For air frying, I cooked a pound of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food French Fries at 400 degrees for eight minutes shaking the basket halfway through and judged the doneness.
To keep waste to a minimum, I donated most of the pulled pork my family didn’t eat to a local restaurant. And, extra rice and beans went to feed the pigs at a local farm.
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What To Consider Before Buying An Instant Pot
Do you have a large family or are you cooking solo? Size truly does matter when it comes to choosing the best Instant Pot. The most popular size is the 6-quart option, but some models offer 3-quart, 5-quart and even 8-quart options. Smaller sizes are more budget-friendly and take up less space on the counter, but larger sizes are great for cooking a family meal. We tested out all of our Instant Pot recipes using the 6-quart option and found it to be the perfect medium.
Editors Tip:;Remember that the volume size is the absolute;maximum;capacity for your pot. When youre dealing with piping hot foods you should only fill your Instant Pot 3/4 full. For example, if youre looking to make a 3-quart recipe like our delish;Pressure-Cooker Potato Soup, we recommend using a 6-quart Instant Pot.;Though you can always learn how to cut down a recipe, here.
As previously stated, the Instant Pot offers much more than a traditional pressure cooker.;However, some Instant Pots have more settings than others.;Regardless of the model, youll be able to pressure cook, saute, slow cook, steam, make ricethe list goes on. Just think of how many gadgets you can replace in your kitchen with a single Instant Pot. Thats a score for all of us who are low on storage space!
Editors Tip:;If youre buying an Instant Pot second-hand, make sure youre buying the latest version of that particular model.
Here are a few other smart money-saving ideas to consider.
What Else We Recommend And Why:
Ninja Foodi XL Pressure Cooker : The Ninja Foodi rose to prominence as the first multicooker to feature air frying, and we almost made it our multitasking pick, but we chose the Instant Pot Duo Crisp because it also does sous vide. Yet, if you have no interest in sous vide, consider the Foodi, which did a great job searing, slow cooking, and pressure cooking delicious meals, though it took longer than most units to build pressure.
Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 80 : The Duo Evo Plus’s stay-cool handles built into the inner pot set it apart from other multicookers. Usually, you need to grab potholders to lift a multicooker’s pot out, but that’s not the case with this model. It also keeps the pot in place when you stir the contents. The screen is packed full of info, including several preset programs. It didn’t make our guide because it didn’t do better than average at any cooking task and was one of the worst at rice and slow-cooker pork.
Instant Pot Duo Plus : This is the favorite Instant Pot of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook author Jeffrey Eisner. We liked how easy it is to use and that it has sous vide cooking. It also did a great job of making tender, juicy pulled pork. However, it was slower than most of the other models at building pressure, which adds to cooking times. And, the sear didn’t produce the golden brown crust we were looking for. Still, if you’re looking for an affordable multicooker that can do sous vide, this is a great pick.
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Instant Pot Smart Wifi
Sizes: 6 quart
Functions: 13 smart programs. The Smart Wifi has all of the functions of the Instant Pot Duo and possibly more.
- You can program your Smart Wifi Instant Pot from your phone. You can also check on the cooking progress of the Smart Wifi using your mobile device. Since you have to be home when cooking with your Instant Pot, I dont see much benefit of this feature. The biggest benefit may be that you can use pre-programmed cooking programs right from your phone using the Instant Pot App.
- The Smart Wifi has an LCD display and 5 cooking status icons: Wifi On/Off, Heat, Pressure Cook, Keep Warm On/Off, Sound On/Off.
- The Instant Pot Smart Wifi may be a good choice for you if you are into technology and gadgets. It replaces the discontinued Smart Bluetooth model.
Which Size Is Right For You
When selecting your Instant Pot, you’ll want to consider how much space you have. Instant Pot models come in four different sizes: 3-, 6-, 8- and 10-quart. Depending on what youre going to use it for, the size you choose can make a big difference.
If youre sticking to side dishes and meals for up to three people, Instant Pot recommends the 3-quart size. This is offered in most basic models including the Duo, Duo Nova, Duo Plus, Ultra and Lux. The 6-quart size is the most popular and is available in every model except the Duo Crisp, which is an Instant Pot and air fryer combo. Instant Pot recommends this size for feeding up to six people. The 8-quart model is the next most-popular size. It is offered in all models except the Smart WiFi and Max models, and is recommended for large families or to meal prep food for the week. The Duo Nova is the only model that comes in the 10-quart size, which is designed for larger meals, feeding a crowd or to stock the freezer with family dinners.
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They Are Convenient Tools
Because they are all in one appliance, you can prepare for just about anything with them. With many advantages, such as precise timer, multiple cooking presets, and dishwasher safe accessories, they have made cooking far easier and faster. Thanks to these futuristic machines, healthy, homecook food has become fast food, right in your own home.
Lets Start With How Tall Are Instant Pots
Starting out lets look at their general size. The little 3 qt. is just adorable and lightweight. It would be easy to find a place on your counter for it.
The 6 qt. is a nice moderate height. I have an old farmhouse and the upper cabinets in my kitchen come down low so not very many appliances actually fit under my cabinets. But this one does! I always pull it out when I cook with it so when I release the steam it doesnt go directly on the cabinets.
The 8 qt. is definitely a big girl. She isnt going to be tucked away anywhere. Shes going to be a show stopper and take up her fair share of the space.
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How Do Electric Pressure Cookers Work
Dating back to the 1600s, pressure cooking involves using heat and pressure to cook food more quickly. Prior to the Instant Pot revolutionizing the industry, pressure cookers were non-electric stovetop devices. But, Instant Pot changed that with its countertop electric version.;
In order for pressure to build in the cooker, the pot needs to have sufficient liquid and the lid must be airtight. The steam created from the heated liquid causes the pressure to build and permits for higher cooking temperatures and thus faster cooking.
Once you’re done cooking, you must first release the pressure before removing the lid. This is a step that varies by model so consult your multicooker’s user manual for how to safely do this.
Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Plus 6
The Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker is our top choice: It’s easy to use and allows precise temperatures. Plus, the display has a progress bar so you can see how the cooking is progressing. If you’re looking for a sous vide cooker, try the Instant Pot Pro 10-In-1 Pressure Cooker . Though it’s more pricey, the larger 8-quart model offers more space for water circulation around the food.
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Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus Pressure Cooker
For an upgrade from the Instant Pot Duo, consider the Duo Evo Plus, our pick for best Instant Pot. Along with 48 customizable smart cooking programs, this model also has a stovetop-friendly liner, an advanced touchscreen and upgraded cooling technology that releases pressure more quickly, making it the most versatile choice. Its a bit pricier than the Duo, but customers and reviewers say its worth it.
What the Reviews Say: The Duo Evo Plus is not only our favorite Instant Pot, its also an excellent choice for beginners. This design is so much more user-friendly! writes one reviewer. The pot handles are much easier to use. The panel is much easier to use and interpret. I love everything about it.
Which Features Are Included On All Models
While some of the models have different and unique features depending on their model type, all pots share these features and functions:
- high pressure cooking
- rice cooker
- stainless steel inner cooking pot
Well talk about the difference between models shortly but these common features are important. These are the features you are going to use frequently, and in some cases you will use these daily.
All of the models: LUX, DUO, ULTRA, and SMART, include these features. Personally, I use the sauté feature and the pressure cooking most often. These features allow the Instant Pot to replace your rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and even the stovetop and frying pans.
With a little practice you can even use your new pressure cooker to bake. Keep in mind that this is technically steamingbut you can make baked goods this way. Here are some of my favorite healthy dessert recipes:
All models include a manual program so you can adjust features and create cooking times and pressures that work for you and your unique recipes.
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What’s The Difference Between Quick Release And Natural Release
Quick release and natural release are the two main ways to release steam from your electric pressure cooker once you’re done cooking. Quick release involves moving the steam release valve to vent to instantly allow the steam to escape. Once the pin near the valve drops, the pressure has been released, and it’s safe to remove the lid.
With natural release, you don’t release the steam immediately. Instead, you allow the pressure to decrease on its own. Again, you can open the lid once the pin drop indicates that the pressure is at a safe level. Many recipes call for a 10-minute natural release followed by a quick release. In general, we recommend following the recipe you’re using for best results, though, as you get more experienced with the quirks of your cooker, you may want to make slight adjustments.
There’s a third, less-common release method known as a pulse or controlled release. This involves releasing the pressure in short bursts by opening and closing the vent.
However you choose to release the steam, be careful! We recommend using a nice long wooden spoon to trigger the release mechanism so you’re far from the steam when it’s released. Also, never stand over the multicooker when releasing the steam. Releasing the steam is probably the most dangerous part of using an electric pressure cooker.
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Instant Pot Safety Features To Consider
All Instant Pots are made with at least 10 important safety features that aren’t always found on other types of cooking appliances. Several of the safety features are focused on maintaining safe pressure levels when using the pressure cooker setting. These multicookers detect if the lid is properly closed before pressurized cooking will begin. Leaks are also detected by the device in case the seal is installed incorrectly. This is to prevent food from scorching.
The lids on Instant Pots lock until the pressure dissipates so accidental opening isn’t an issue. The vent is designed to prevent blockages so the steam can’t reach levels that are too intense to keep you safe. When you set the temperature for the type of food you’re preparing, a thermostat that’s seated under the inner pot keeps the heat at a safe temperature. If the Instant Pot begins to overheat, it notifies you so you have the opportunity to turn it off before your food burns. In fact, if the temperature climbs too high, an integrated fuse shuts off the cooker’s power to keep your food, and your family, safe.
Each Instant Pot contains a built-in pressure control sensor, and it’s used to ensure the cooker stays within a safe range while your food is cooking. There’s a steam release in the lid of these multicookers that releases pent up steam when necessary, and there’s a back-up pressure release system built into the pots to provide extra safety support to the first pressure sensor.