Unbiased Pressure Cooker review: Best Instant Pot
Nothing makes you feel more at home than the smell of home-cooked food. What could be better on a cold night than a warming beef stew? What could be more nutritious than some freshly steamed vegetables or crock pot chicken? For all these dishes and more, an Instant Pot is the kitchen tool for you! Like so many people, we have fallen completely in love with this little product. Though Instant Pots have only been around since 2010, they have already become a must-have multicooker kitchen appliance. In ONE DAY on Amazon, it sold more than 200,000 units! Read on to find out why the best Instant Pot deserves a premium spot at your kitchen.
Instant Pots are multi-use, single-pot electric pressure cookers. They can do the job of an oven, a frying pan and a microwave. All in one package! Multicookers are flexible and easy to use. They can really make life easier on days when you don’t have a lot of time to cook. In this article, we’ll talk about what an Instant pot is, and we’ll review the fantastic Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Duo, Plus, Lux and Smart series, the best and most reasonably priced pressure and slow cookers on the market. We’ll also compare different models. So that you can buy the best Instant Pot for you and your family. Why not treat yourself to a Black Friday deal, Thanksgiving feast, Christmas holidays or any other important event in the life of your families? And remember: we only recommend products that we have tested personally in our recipes.
What is an Instant Pot?
Instant Pot is a brand of multicookers, slow cookers and electric pressure cookers. They make single-pot electrical cookers, which are great for easy, nutritious one-pot meals. The Instant Pot really is a multicooker! As a minimum, they have seven functions: slow cooking, pressure cooking, rice cooking, steaming, sautéeing, warming and even yogurt making. Whether you need to feed a whole family, or just keep dinner warm for the person who is always late, the multicooker has a function for you! Let’s break that down a little!
A pressure cooker is a pot with a lid that seals tightly so that it traps steam. When you cook your food, the steam builds the pressure inside the pot. The science gets complicated, but at higher pressures water boils at a higher temperature, which means you can cook food much more quickly than in a normal cooker. This is super convenient for the days when you just don’t have time to spend in the kitchen. By pressure cooking, you can make rice in as little as five minutes and bake a potato in as little as twelve. Of course, you can rapidly overcook food in a pressure cooker, so keep your eyes open!
Instant Pot is a multi-functional kitchen appliance.
Pressure cooking is wonderful, but our favorite function of an Instant Pot is the slow cooker, which will simmer a one-pot meal at a low temperature for hours. That means you can put all your ingredients in the pot in the morning, and by the time you get home at night the whole house will be filled with the warm aroma of freshly cooked food. Imagine the relief after a long day when you realize dinner is ready and waiting for you! (And don’t worry: you can set your best kitchen assistant to come on at any time in a 24-hour period, so you can make sure your meal is ready at just the right time.)
The long cooking time in a slow cooker can make meat really tender and juicy. We’ve used ours to make the BBQ Baby Back Ribs and the meat was so tender it was falling apart under the fork! But slow cookers are good for more than just meat. For a healthy lunch, you can use an Instant Pot to make a chickpea soup or a quinoa bake. You can try making bread or even cakes in your slow cooker. And you won’t believe how delicious baked beans can be until you’ve slow cooked them! You can even slow cook a whole chicken! If you want to get inventive, the possibilities are endless! It really is the most versatile tool. Now that we own one, we can’t imagine living without it.
How Good Is the Instant Pot DUO series?
The Instant Pot DUO series are a seven-function multicookers. The DUO series comes in four different sizes: three, five, six or eight quarts. You can choose whatever size is best for you and your family.
As a rough guide, we find that three quarts is good for one or two people, five or six quarts for up to four people, and eight quarts for more than four people. A three-quart Instant Pot can be good to take in an RV, if you like being on the road. If you like doing batch cooking, it’s worth having the eight-quart pot no matter how small your family is! Remember that the volume is right up to the top of the pot, so you won’t quite cook three quarts of stew in a three-quart pot. (One more thing for the roast chicken lovers: the six-quart pot will fit a chicken that is about five to six pounds and the eight-quart pot can fit a substantially larger bird.)
On the Instant Pot DUO, you can adjust the settings depending on whether you want to make a soup or a stew, a chili or a chicken. Its smart functions are calibrated to cook your favorite meals at the “push of a button,” as the company puts it. And we can vouch for them: it really is that simple! Throw in onions and stock, vegetables and some meat, hit the button, and when you come home dinner will be waiting! If you prefer to pressure cook rather than slow cook, consider this: we once made a delicious and nutritious Beef Stroganoff in about fifty minutes. Including preparation time!
Instant Pot DUO can replace many kitchen appliances.
The Instant Pot DUO is super quiet, so you will hardly even know that it’s running. Its stainless steel exterior gives it a really beautiful appearance. So it will look great if you have it out on your counter. However, while the eight-quart pot is large, it’s still small enough to pack away in your cupboard when you’re finished cooking. So, if you prefer uncluttered counters, it is a great device to have around. (And if you want to get rid of some appliances, remember how many uses the Instant Pot has! It can replace many pieces of equipment in your kitchen.)
What are the downsides of an Instant Pot? People often worry about the safety of leaving a slow cooker running all day. You should certainly be careful, but Instant Pots are packed with safety features, such as overheat protection, so generally you can leave it alone with confidence. Some people have said that the manual can be complicated, but even if it does take a little time to get used to, it’s worth the trouble. Think how much time you will save in the long run! And it’s not just time that you’ll save: Instant Pots can use up to 70 per cent less energy than other cooking methods, so you will save on your bills and take care of the environment too!
Which Is the Best Instant Pot?
For our money, Instant Pots are the best slow cookers and the best pressure cookers all rolled into one package. But there are five different models of Instant Pot: the Lux, the Duo, the Duo Plus, the Smart and the Ultra. So, which is the best?
The Lux series is the most basic Instant Pot, so it might suit people who are on a budget. Like the DUO series, it comes in four sizes: three, five, six and eight quarts. However, its pressure cooker can only run at high pressure, while the DUO series has two pressure settings. The single pressure Lux model may suit your needs, but this does mean that it doesn’t have all the functionality of a regular pressure cooker. For those of you who would really like to replace some appliances in your kitchen, such as your crock pot and your pressure cooker, you might want to consider another model.
The model that we have been discussing in this review is part of the DUO series. This series can pressure cook for up to four hours and has twelve pre-set temperatures, which is plenty for most families. It also has fourteen programs, such as soup, porridge or stew, so you take the guessing out of cooking while retaining lots of control. It’s practically impossible to make a mistake once you get used to the Instapot!
DUO Plus Instant Pot
A step up from the DUO series is the DUO Plus series, which comes in three sizes (three, six and eight quarts). It has two extra functions on top of those found in the regular DUO series: an egg maker and a sterilizer. Its two larger models—the six and eight quart—can pressure cook for an extra two hours compared to the regular DUO series. However, not many things require six hours of pressure cooking! This model will set you back a little more money than the regular DUO series. So keep your budget in mind when you decide which model to purchase.
Ultra Instant Pot
The Ultra series of Instant Pots comes with a whole ten functions and adds knob control. (The other instant pots are controlled only by button.) As well as all the functions of the Instant Pot DUO Plus series, this has a specialized cake maker. (Though we think there are cheat ways to make cakes in the other models too!) It also has a useful altitude adjustor, which makes sure that your food is cooked perfectly, whether you live up in the mountains or down by the sea. It comes in three sizes (three, six and eight quarts) and is a bit more expensive again than the DUO Plus.
Smart Instant Pot
The final Instant Pot model is the snazzy Smart, which comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. This means that you can turn it on from anywhere in the world. It also has more than 750 pre-programmed recipes. You can download detailed instructions that the Instant Pot will read, allowing it to make very specific temperature adjustments throughout the cooking process. It also comes with the same seven functions as the DUO series. Unfortunately it only has one size—six quarts—so it won’t suit a larger family. Also, as you might expect, it is the most expensive Instapot on the market.
Overall, we think that the Instant Pot DUO series is the best Instant Pot for the price and features. The LUX model is good value for people on a budget, but it loses some great functions. And while the more expensive models come with lots of fancy bells and whistles, for most families they might be unnecessary, especially when the regular DUO series is already so versatile.
We also tend to recommend that people go for either the 6- or the 8-quart Instant Pot, unless they are looking to fit their Instant Pot into a small space such as an RV. It’s always nice to be able to cook a large batch of food. Maybe you’ll need it when you host friends for a party! (We like to wow our friends with a whole roasted chicken, hot out of the slow cooker.) And if you can’t get through all of the food in one go, you can always freeze it!
So, the best Instant Pot is the one which fits your family’s needs!
Whichever Instant Pot you choose, it will be a great weapon to add to your culinary arsenal. If you’re like us, once you have it, you won’t be able to live without it. So, treat yourself this Black Friday. Or treat the chef in your family this Christmas! In the coming days, we will be posting some recipes on the website to give you ideas for what to cook first. Hopefully we have answered your most important questions: “What is an Instant Pot?” and “Is it worth buying it?” We know that an Instant Pot will impress your friends and family and make your life easier too! What are you waiting for?
Instant Pot Recipes
Life goes on and we keep updating our review with the recipes made by Instant Pot. As our first experiment we targeted Moroccan Lamb Tajine. After gaining some confidence we proceeded with Whole Roasted Chicken. One of the healthiest and our favorite breakfast choice is Oatmeal Porridge that we made just before Christmas time 2018. As soon as new instant pot recipes are published, they will be added to this post as well.