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If you’re already the owner of an Instant Pot, you know that these multi-cookers can do the job of several cooking appliances in one. If you don’t yet own one, you should know that they’re perfect for people who don’t have the kitchen space to store all kinds of appliances, minimalists who want to keep their homes lean and mean, and home cooks who love the versatility that an Instant Pot offers. But there are so many Instant Pot models to choose from that looking through the company website can make even the most seasoned cook’s head spin. So we’ve done the work for you and broken down the four best Instant Pot models that are perfect for everyone — from the amateur cook to the practiced professional.
And if you’re looking for Black Friday deals on these devices, check out our Black Friday Instant Pot post outlining where you can get the cheapest prices.
Trying out an Instant Pot for the very first time? You might not want to invest a lot of money (or kitchen space, for that matter) on an appliance you have no experience with. For beginners looking to cut down on cooking time, the Instant Pot Duo Mini is a great place to start. It’s one of the top-selling multi-cookers in the world, and it combines a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer into one convenient package.
The small size also makes it an ideal option for college dorm rooms, camping trips, and even boating excursions. But you can still cook a decent amount of food in this appliance. Soup, stew, broth, yogurt, risotto, potato dishes, and fall-off-the-bone meals are all fair game, albeit in smaller doses. For reference, it can handle up to six cups of uncooked rice (that’s 12 cups cooked). You’ll also receive a bundle of accessories with your pressure cooker, including a rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack, soup spoon, and recipe booklet. If you want a larger version of the Instant Pot Duo, it also comes in 6-quarts ($100) and 8-quarts ($140). You can check out our full review of the 6-quart Instant Pot Duo here.
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Cooking for a small family? Dealing with limited counter space? Just because you’re only cooking for a few people doesn’t mean you have to miss out on trying the Instant Pot. This mini-sized Instant Pot Duo Plus all-in-one multicooker proves that good things can come in small packages. Like the previous option, the inner pot has just a 3-quart capacity, but you can also opt for a larger 6-quart ($130) or 8-quart ($160) version. The Duo Plus carries the power of nine different kitchen appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sterilizer, and warmer.
The egg-cooker function can create perfectly prepared eggs in just a couple minutes, while the sterilizing capability can effectively pasteurize milk and clean utensils. The embedded microprocessor constantly monitors the pressure, temperature, and intensity of the cooking process, evenly distributing heat to ensure a perfectly pressure-cooked and deliciousness creation every time. If you’re ever concerned about high pressure, you can use the quick release toggle on the top of the lid to release. However, if you’re just using this one-pot system for slow-cooking, there’s no need to worry.
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For a basic Instant Pot multi-cooker that’s a bit larger than the mini sizes above, try this one. The Instant Pot Lux features six different functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, steamer, and warmer. There are also ten different built-in programs to help you cook specific foods, including soup/broth, multigrain, and meat/stew, so you can easily cook your favorite Instant Pot recipes with the press of a button.
The 3rd generation microprocessor enables up to 240 minutes of pressure cooking, with up to 24-hour start delay, so you can program the machine ahead of time and come home to a ready-to-eat meal. The machine can also automatically keep food warm for up to ten hours, so your family will never have to eat cold food. The pressure cooker features 10 safety mechanisms to ensure users can handle the device safely, and the inner cooking pot is made of food-grade 304 stainless steel, with no chemical coating. In addition to the 8-quart size, the Instant Pot Lux also comes in 6-quarts ($79) and 3-quarts ($60).
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The Instant Pot Ultra electric pressure cooker covers just about anything you might want to do in the kitchen. It has a whopping ten functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, saute/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. That means you can have just one appliance in the place of ten. It’s also easy to use, with a central dial that makes it easy to select different programs, adjust times, and more.
This device also features an embedded microprocessor, which helps to monitor the pressure and temperature while adjusting the intensity accordingly, helping to ensure perfectly cooked food every time. 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. The mid-sized 6-quart size is perfect for both small and large families, but buyers can also choose the 3-quart ($120) or 8-quart ($180) option. If you’re brave enough, you can even check out the Instant Pot Max for the ultimate experience, although it hasn’t received as rave reviews as some of the other Instant Pots.
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