What Else Is New
My last Instant Pot was the Ultra 6-quart, so the Pro Plus has been a big step up in a lot of ways. The inclusion of handles on the inner pot is a huge usability upgrade. Added fins on the lid and some mounts along the base provide a home for a big clunky top that would otherwise be rolling around the kitchen counter while youre trying to put ingredients in. The front face has a touchscreen, which can be a lot easier to use for navigation than just a clicky wheel. An extra cover on the pressure release helps dissipate steam, not that I ever had many issues with damage from releases. Theres also a new pulse release mode that aims to reduce splatter when releasing pressure from soupier dishes.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
A few of the Instant Pots parts require extra effort to cleanbut this goes for every Instant Pot model, not just the Duo. The depression around the rim of the outer pot traps salt, crumbs, and gunk, but we clear it out with canned air and a damp rag. Though the lids silicone sealing ring can also retain smells, you can deodorize it or buy extras .
None of the pressure cookers we tested, including the Duo, cook rice as well as the Cuckoo CRP-G1015F electric pressure rice cooker . But the Duo is more all-purpose than a dedicated rice cooker, and it still makes fine rice that wed be happy to eat.
Weve never experienced an accident with hot steam on the Duo, and we think the new pressure-release switch is even safer to use. But you should still keep your face and hands away from the valve.
The electric heating element in the Instant Pot cant sear meat as well as stove-top techniques . For intense browning, sear meat in a separate pan on the stove, deglaze, and add the meat and drippings to the electric cooker. This process may kill your one-pot-dinner fantasies, but sometimes life is a compromise. If youre looking for more versatility, our upgrade picks inner pot is designed to work on most cooktops.
Best Instant Pot For A Family Of Four: Instant Pot Ultra 6
Why we picked the Instant Pot Ultra 6-quart:
The Instant Pot Ultra electric pressure cooker covers just about anything you might want to do in the kitchen. It has 10 main functions, including pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, sauté/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. That means you can have just one appliance take the place of several. Its also intuitive, with a central dial that makes it easy to select different programs, adjust times, and more.
The Instant Pot Ultra 6-quart also features an embedded microprocessor, which helps to monitor the pressure and temperature while adjusting the intensity accordingly, helping to ensure well-cooked food. Plus, the pressure cooker offers 11 safety features, including a new steam release reset button that makes it safer for users to handle the appliance. Six quarts is perfect for a family of four, but you can also choose the 3-quart or 8-quart option.
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Can You Buy An Instant Pot With An Air Fryer
Yes. Instant Pot came out with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, which has all of the features of a regular Instant Pot, and it air fries, too. Instant Pot also came out with an air fryer lid you can add to compatible Instant Pot models. The lid is an add-on accessory to can place on the Instant Pot, and it basically turns your regular Instant Pot into an air fryer. These Instant Pot models are compatible with the air frying lid: Duo 60, Duo Plus 60, Lux 60, Ultra 60, Viva 60, Nova Plus 60, Duo Nova 60.
Versatility And Special Features
What sets different models of Instant Pots apart from each other is the different features that they offer. While some Instant Pots just offer basic pressure cooker and saute functionality, others have modes for making specific foods or various cooking options, such as steaming. Other features include delayed cooking, keep warm settings, temperature controls, Alexa compatibility, remote cooking capabilities, high-altitude adjustments, sterilize features, air frying, and sous vide.
Clearly, there is no shortage of special features that this appliance can offer, so definitely prioritize which features are important to you and look for a model that offers them. Theres no need to buy an appliance that offers a laundry list of features if youre only looking to do basic pressure and slow cooking.
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Best Instant Pot For A Large Family: Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11
Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11:
The Duo Crisp 11 has, you guessed it, 11 cooking presets, serving as a faithful pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sous vide, sauté, food warmer, cake maker, and air fryer with two fryer lids. For a large family with people who like different foods, this cooker is ideal because its extremely versatile.
Cooking is faster and easier in the Duo Crisp 11, as the pressure cooker lid automatically seals in place, and the multilayered air fryer basket features a dehydrating and broiling tray to deliver optimal air flow to all those fried goods. The embedded microprocessor constantly monitors the pressure, temperature, and intensity of the cooking process, evenly distributing heat to ensure a perfectly pressure-cooked and delicious creation.
Another cool feature of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 11 is Instant Pots patented Even Crisp Technology that uses a blend of convection and sensors to deliver a crisp golden finish to the outer layers of your food while preserving a moist, savory interior.
Can You Make Bread In An Instant Pot
An Instant Pot doesnt have the hot, dry environment thats typically used for baking standard loaves of bread. However, there are specialty types of baked goods, like steamed buns, that can be cooked in an Instant Pot. Its also possible to bake cakes, but they will have a different exterior and texture since they will be steamed rather than baked. However, for the models of Instant Pot that can hold a precise low temperature of about 90 degrees, the Instant Pot can be used for proofing bread dough.
Also Check: How Long To Boil Frozen Tamales
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.
Trivet Or Steamer Rack
Almost all Instant Pots come with a stainless steel steamer rack. Some with handles, others may not have handles. Its very helpful for cooking all sorts of food in Instant Pot.
The long handles on both sides make it easy for handling and removal from the pot. Its also compact, easy to store, and easy to clean.
More Info on How to use the Trivet:Instant Pot Trivet
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What Are The Best Things To Cook In An Instant Pot
The options are endless! You can use an Instant Pot to make rice, cook hard-boiled eggs, and more. Plus, they’re great for large families or anyone who meal preps. I’m not even a good cook, but I love making a huge batch of rice in it, then using the same pot to sautÃ© veggies and simmer with my favorite tikka masala sauce. Whenever I make that meal, my coworkers often say that my lunch smells great â and I always tell them how easy it was to make in my Instant Pot!
Pro tip: Your Instant Pot takes time to come to pressure first before the actual cooking process begins. Expect meals with less liquid to come to pressure and start cooking much quicker than recipes that are mostly liquid , which can take a while to come to pressure first.
You may have thought making pasta was already easy, but wait until you realize how simple it is to make in an Instant Pot. There’s no need to wait around for the water to boil, and you don’t even have to drain it after cooking â the little bit of starchy water that’s left over helps the sauce stick to the pasta.
Our Kitchen Appliance experts love cooking soup, stock, and chili in their Instant Pots. If you’re a fan of steel-cut oats, then you know how long they take to make on the stove â but in an Instant Pot, they only take eight minutes! If you’re cooking meat, be sure to cut large chunks into smaller pieces so it cooks faster.
Best Instant Pot : Our Top Picks
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a top Instant Pot for those who want all the functions of the best air fryers alongside their regular multi-cooker.
What we love
For a start, while it is not the most complex of the Instant Pots on the market, the lack of countless digital controls can actually be a big win for those who find high-tech appliances a little overwhelming.
You will need to find space to store the second lid when not in use, but it has both an air fryer lid and a pressure cooking lid. The control display makes it easy to choose the right lid for your recipe. That means you can air fry fries or chicken wings, and switch from pressure-cooking your chicken to roasting by simply switching the lid.
It comes with an eight-quart capacity, which is ideal for large families. Included is an air fryer basket, a steaming rack, and a broil and dehydrator tray.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is an upgrade on the classic Instant Pot Duo, with added safety features and a smarter display. When it comes down to it though, this Instant Pot has all the features you’re looking for when you want to get started with a multi-cooker.
Why we love it
The display shows a timer which makes it easy to know how far through your recipe is. That includes a bar for pre-heating or pressurizing, a cooking bar, and one for a keep-warm timer.
Why we love it
Homes & Gardens rated 5 out of 5 stars. Our Instant Pot Pro Crisp review has more details
What we love
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Best Value Instant Pot: Instant Pot Duo Nova 6
Why we picked the Instant Pot Duo Nova:
The Duo Nova, one of the newer models in the Instant Pot lineup, sells for around $70 to $100 for the 6-quart size. You can find the device on sale for cheaper during events like Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Theres a 10-quart version of the Duo Nova for when youre hosting a large group of people or when you want to cook an exceptionally large meal. Like the Duo, it combines seven appliances in one. Its a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. It has 14 different programs, so you can cook anything from soup to a whole chicken to dessert.
One great feature of the Duo Nova is the lid. It automatically sets to seal in pressure when you close it, so you dont have to worry about forgetting to set the sealing valve in place. The lid also includes a steam release button, which makes it much easier to perform a manual pressure release without burning your fingers. All in all, the Duo Nova offers a whole lot of features for only a little bit of cash.
What Cant I Make In An Instant Pot
You can make almost anything in an Instant Pot, but there are a few foods you shouldnt cook in a pressure cooker. Unless youre using an Instant Pot with a crisping function, foods with a breading, like chicken tenders, probably wont turn out very well, because the Instant Pot moistens when pressure cooking. Some berries, like strawberries and blueberries, can also be a nightmare, as they tend to sputter out of the top as the pressure releases.
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The Hearty Stew Experiment
Match-up: Instant pot vs. stovetop
Instant PotTotal time: 35 min
Assessment: In the Instant Pot, the chicken breasts browned in the same time as in a frying pan. But it took about 10-15 minutes longer to cook them through, yielding slightly dry chicken .
Verdict: Hard to beat a frying panits easier and achieves better results.
Are Instant Pots Worth It
Absolutely. They make cooking weeknight meals a breeze, allowing you to produce a delicious dinner just by throwing a few ingredients into the pot. Instant Pots can steam vegetables, sauté food, function as a slow cooker, and even produce a flawless cheesecake.
Be sure to stay up to date on the best Instant Pot deals here!
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Are Pressure Cookers Safe
Yes, electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are generally safe and easy to use. The Instant Pot has so many safety mechanisms built in that its hard to make a catastrophic mistake. As we found in our research and reporting in 2019, the lid has two safety catches: a float valve with a pin mechanism and a lock . If for some reason the steam-release valve doesnt do its job, the appliance has another sensor, which shuts off the heating element if excess pressure builds inside the pot. As an added safety measure, starting in 2021 all Instant Pot lids have an easy-to-use steam-release switch, so you can release pressure after cooking without getting too close to the valve.
In general, if you follow the safety instructions, you should be good. But, as with any method of cooking, using an Instant Pot isnt entirely risk free, and accidents can happen. In 2021, a woman filed a lawsuit against Instant Pot and Target because she opened the cooker, thinking it was depressurized, and the hot contents spewed out and burned her toddler. Instant Pot told us: While we are unable to comment on ongoing litigation, please understand that the Company takes consumer complaints and products claims seriously.
The Included Silicone Rings Are Now Scented
Taking user complaints about stinky silicone rings to heart, Robert and his team came up with the ultimate solution: This model now comes with two bubblegum-scented rings. They will never lose their scent or get tainted by anything you make in the IP. Sure, it sounds a little strange, but in-house IP chefs tested the rings with braised beef, spaghetti, potatoes, and more and the bubblegum scent somehow always complemented the flavor of whatever was cooking in the pot.
Can You Air Fry In An Instant Pot
You sure can. Where the Ninja Foodi’s crisping lid once had a leg up is no longer Instant Pot’s blind spot. The fall 2019 collection brought the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, which opened the door for a collection of other air-frying Instant Pots with Pro, Plus, or both tacked onto the end of the name. There are also multiple dedicated air frying convection ovens by Instant Brands that do not pressure cook.
For folks who already have an Instant Pot and don’t want to replace it just to buy the Duo Crisp, Instant Pot released a standalone air fryer lid that attaches to regular Instant Pots and turns them into an air fryer. This lid works on all existing models with the exception of the Instant Pot Smart WiFi, the now- discontinued Duo Evo Plus, Duo SV, or Max.
Still confused about what air frying even is? Read our simplified explanation of the crisping craze and check out some of the best air fryers.
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Check Silicone Sealing Ring
How to install sealing ring on Instant Pot? Put the sealing ring on top of the rack on the Instant Pot lid, then gently run your fingers along the ring as you push it into the rack.
Its criticalto ensure the silicone sealing ring is seated properly, and there isnt anything stuck on the ring or rack.
*Caution: Never pull the ring by force as it may stretch or damage the ring and affect the sealing function. Dont use it if it has cracks, cuts, or any other damages.
Do you need a spare sealing ring? Its always good to have a spare Silicone Sealing Ring because they do wear and tear. Plus, the ring may get stinky as it absorbs food odors over time. If you like, you can dedicate 1 Sealing Ring for Savory food, and the other for Sweets.
- 8 Quart: Sealing Ring