We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›
Published Jan 4, 2023 1:00 PM
Instant Pot is one of the most popular brands of electric pressure cookers. The company’s appliances are built to replace several kitchen gadgets, including a slow cooker, steamer, saute pan, and yogurt maker. They’re also designed to make recipes that are traditionally complicated and lengthy into simple (in many cases one-pot) dishes that take a fraction of the time. Considering all this, it’s not hard to see why the brand has built such a large and committed following, with dozens of recipe blogs and cookbooks dedicated to recipe testing and tip sharing. If you’re considering whether one of these multi-cookers is right for you, here’s what you need to know about selecting the best electric pressure cooker, including the features, size, and accessories to look for. You’ll also find the best Instant Pots for every kitchen size and use on our list of recommendations.
How we picked the best Instant Pots
We looked at all the models in the product catalog to create this list of the best Instant Pots. In particular, we sought to include a range of sizes, price points, and features to ensure an appliance fit for every kitchen and culinary skill level. The criteria we investigated include the following:
Functionality: We chose models that offer cooking methods beyond pressure, including steaming, air frying, and baking.
Value: More features often mean a higher cost, so we found models with features worth their price.
Design: For beginners, the many buttons on a multi-cooker can quickly become overwhelming. We chose models with easy-to-use digital interfaces that a cook of any level can master.
Safety: Pressure cooking involves a lot of hot and highly pressurized steam. So we chose models with the most built-in safety features that are well tested by cooks of all levels to ensure safe and stress-free cooking at home.
Smart technology: We looked for smart appliances that allow users to control their Instant Pots from their smartphones, whether through a library of recipes or a feature that allows you to release steam.
The best Instant Pots: Reviews & Recommendations
Best overall: Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart
Why it made the cut: The Instant Pot Duo strikes the perfect balance between highly functional and affordable. Six quarts is also the perfect size for most households.
- Weight: 11.8 pounds
- Dimensions: 13.38 x 12.2 x 12.48 inches
- Capacity: 6 quart
- 10+ safety features
- 13 customizable built-in cooking programs
- Pot large enough to cook cheesecakes
The Instant Pot Duo is a core model for the multi-cooker line, and it’s not hard to understand why. This 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker performs most of the functions the average user needs, including pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making, steaming, sauteing, and food warming.
Because the Duo is such a tried-and-true Instant Pot model with a cult following, users will appreciate that many Instant Pot recipes online and in cookbooks are designed specifically for this pot and use the terminology specific to this device. With hundreds of thousands of positive reviews, tips, and tricks, you’ll have an Instant Pot Duo community excited to welcome you with your new purchase.
Whether you’re new to pressure cooking or a pro, you’ll appreciate the versatility of this pot, which includes 13 preset cooking programs to make perfectly tender beans, fluffy rice, juicy chicken, tangy yogurt, and more.
Best smart: Instant Pot Pro Plus
Why it made the cut: This Instant Pot reflects the brand’s evolution towards cleaner designs and more straightforward tech-y features for added safety and ease of use.
- Weight: 20.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 15.2 x 15.2 x 15.2 inches
- Capacity: 6 quarts
- More than 800 recipes that you can program from your phone
- Easy grip pot
- Includes extra sealing ring
- Less functionality than other models
The Instant Pot Pro Plus is an evolved model with added safety features, smart design changes, and more recipes than older Instant Pot models. On the safety side, this unit automatically seals the lid for you and includes a diffused steam release you can control from your phone to reduce the risk of burns. When you’re done cooking, the inner pot even has a handy easy-grip design for safe removal.
When it comes to cooking, Instant Pot has made things easier than ever by allowing users to select from more than 1,900 smart recipes from the accompanying Internet Brands Connect app. The inner cooking pot has also been redesigned with a flat bottom that’s safe to use directly on gas and electrician induction cooktops if you need to finish your dish out of the pressure cooking housing. The digital display is larger and more intuitive than any other Instant Pot, making this one of the easiest-to-use models.
Best for air frying: Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate
Why it made the cut: This feature-rich appliance is the key to achieving the sought-after textural duo of soft on the inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside, all in one pot.
- Weight: 27.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 15.4 x 15.5 x 13.4 inches
- Capacity: 6.5 quarts
- 13 cooking functions
- Air-frying lid uses 95% less oil than deep-frying
- Includes dehydrating tray
- Larger and heavier than other options
If you’re seeking the mouthwatering perfection of homemade mac and cheese that’s gooey and soft in the center with a crispy, crunchy, and golden-brown crust, this is the best multi-cooker to get you there. This model comes with two lids: one for pressure cooking and another that uses Evencrisp technology to broil your food to crispy perfection (without the added oil of deep- or pan-frying). It can also be used to bake and dehydrate.
Aside from the unique air-frying abilities, this Instant Pot also has 13 built-in cooking functions that are easy to tap into with the digital interface. These include roasting, baking, dehydrating, pressure cooking, slow cooking, bread proofing, yogurt making, steaming, sauteing, and warming. The inner pressure cooking pot and accessories are also dishwasher safe, and the stainless steel exterior is easy to clean with a damp cloth.
Best for families: Instant Pot Duo Plus
Why it made the cut: Despite its ample capacity, this Instant Pot isn’t overly bulky or difficult to store. It has an easy-to-use touchscreen with many pre-programmed cooking settings.
- Weight: 15.56 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.8 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches
- Capacity: 8 quart
- 13 customizable built-in cooking settings
- Includes extra sealing ring
- Dishwasher-safe lid
This spacious 8-quart electric pressure cooker can easily serve eight or more people, making it the best choice for large households. It has nine cooking functions, including pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making, steaming, sauteing, sterilizing, and warming.
The digital touchscreen also has one-press buttons for 13 handy and common cooking processes, including beans, soups, ribs, rice, poultry, desserts, and more. Speaking of desserts, if you love light and fluffy cheesecakes, this larger pressure cooker is the perfect hands-off way to “bake” desserts. The Instant Pot Duo Plus comes with a steaming rack, so all you’ll need is a cake pan that fits inside the pressure cooking pot.
For added safety, this pot has an updated easy steam release switch that locks into place, so there’s no guessing whether the pot is set to sealing or venting. A digital progress bar on the front of the pot lets you know where you are in the cooking process so you can plan your meal and time accordingly.
Best budget: Instant Pot Duo 3-Quart
Why it made the cut: This compact Instant Pot has all of the value and features of the larger versions at a lower price point that’s also easier to manage and store.
- Weight: 8.65 pounds
- Dimensions: 11.81 x 10.51 x 10.98 inches
- Capacity: 3 quarts
- Seven cooking functions
- 13 built-in Smart Programs
- Dishwasher-safe lid, pot, and accessories
- Too small for pot-in-pot cooking
If you’d like to take your Instant Pot on a vacation, RV trip, or camping adventure, the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 3-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker is the most portable and highly functional model. Three quarts of cooking capacity can feed up to three people. For single-person households, this is also a great size for meal prepping.
The miniature version has the same functions and design as the larger 6-quart Duo, including seven cooking functions: pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making, steaming, sauteing, and warming. This sturdy pressure cooker is also equipped with over 10 safety features, including overheat protection and a fully-locking lid. Your purchase includes a miniature steam rack that fits perfectly inside the pressure cooking pot.
For cleanup, you can pop the inner cooking pot, steam rack, and even the pressure cooking lid directly into the dishwasher. The stainless-steel housing is easy to keep clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth after use.
Things to consider before buying an Instant Pot
Instant Pots come in 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart models. A general rule of thumb is that each pot will feed the same number of people as there are quarts. So a 6-quart pot will feed up to six people. The 3-quart pot is great for households of three people or less and for travel. If you’re a batch cooker or regularly feed more than five people, an 8-quart pot is a good bet.
While all the options on this list perform core functions like pressure cooking, steaming, and sauteing, some models have more advanced features. In particular, if you plan to use the appliance to make baby food or preserves, you’ll want one with a sterilization feature. Or, if you love the crispness of air frying, opt for the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate, which comes with an air fryer lid attachment.
Q: How much do Instant Pots cost?
The models on this list range in cost from about $100 for our best overall pick, the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1, to about $229 for the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate, which is designed for air frying. Instant Pot has various options with different capacities, features, and price points.
Q: What does an Instant Pot do?
The most commonly used feature of an Instant Pot is pressure cooking. However, the choices on this list offer a range of cooking features, including steaming, sauteing, and even yogurt-making. The benefit of pressure cooking is that it combines high heat and high pressure to cook foods much faster than traditional stovetop or oven methods.
Q: Which is better, an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker?
One major benefit of an Instant Pot over a traditional pressure cooker is that the Instant Pot is entirely electric. Pressure cookers, on the other hand, are used on the stove. While you can confidently set up your Instant Pot, program the cooking method, and walk away, you must watch a stovetop pressure cooker much more closely. In addition, Instant Pots have many built-in safety features to prevent explosions or accidental steam releases.
Q: What are Instant Pots best for?
An Instant Pot is ideal for making most long-cooked meals faster and easier. In particular, braises take a fraction of the upwards of three hours they can require without an electric pressure cooker. Likewise, sauces, stews, and soups can develop rich, simmered-all-day flavors in no time when cooked under pressure. Other dishes that are great to make include beans (from dry), whole cuts of meat and poultry, steamed vegetables and desserts, and grains like rice and barley.
Final thoughts on the best Instant Pots
If you’re looking to cook your favorite meals faster, easier, and hassle-free, an Instant Pot is a great investment. In particular, the Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart offers ample space for most household sizes, with seven handy and easy-to-use cooking features. Whether you’re pressure cooking fall-apart-tender pork ribs in your favorite barbecue sauce or whipping up a 30-minute chicken and rice dish on a weeknight, this pressure cooker will soon become your go-to cooking appliance.