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Published Sep. 29, 2021

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.

When you consider 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 Instant Pot recipe testing and tip sharing. If you’re considering whether an Instant Pot  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 Pot models for every kitchen size and culinary skill level in our list. 

How We Picked The Best Instant Pots

Methodology

To create this list of the best Instant Pots, we looked at all of the models in the product catalog. In particular, we sought to include a range of sizes, price points, and features to make sure there was an appliance to fit every kitchen and culinary skill level. The criteria we investigated include:

Functionality: We chose Instant Pots that offer a range of cooking methods that go beyond pressure cooking and include steaming, air frying, and baking. 

Value: More features often mean a higher cost, so we made sure to find models that had 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 will be able to 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.

The Best Instant Pots: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1

A Versatile Pick

This well-rounded Instant Pot is the perfect multicooking solution for nearly any household. Instant Pot

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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. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 11.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.38 x 12.2 x 12.48 inches
  • Capacity: 6 quart

Pros: 

  • 10+ safety features
  • 13 customizable built-in cooking programs
  • Pot large enough to cook cheesecakes

Cons: 

  • No air frying abilities

The Instant Pot Duo is a core model for the Instant line of multi cookers, 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 Value: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 3-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker

Small and Powerful

This affordable miniature Instant Pot is the ideal multicooking appliance for small homes or kitchens with limited storage space. Instant Pot

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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. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 8.65 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.81 x 10.51 x 10.98 inches
  • Capacity: 3 quarts

Pros: 

  • 7 cooking functions
  • 13 built-in Smart Programs
  • Dishwasher-safe lid, pot and accessories

Cons: 

  • 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 all of the same functions and design as the larger 6-quart Instant Pot 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.

Best Range of Features: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

The Smartest Pressure Cooker Around

The Duo Evo Plus is outfitted with cutting-edge technology and a fully digital interface for the sleekest experience. Instant Pot

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Why It Made The Cut: This Instant Pot reflects the brand’s evolution towards cleaner designs and more straightforward techy features for added safety and ease of use. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 12.98 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.35 x 14.57 x 14.17 inches
  • Capacity: 6 quarts

Pros: 

  • 48 pre-set cooking programs
  • Easy grip pot
  • Includes extra sealing ring

Cons: 

  • Not WiFi compatible

The Duo Evo is an evolved model that includes added safety features, smart design changes, and dozens more cooking presets than older Instant Pot models. On the safety side of things, this unit automatically seals the lid for you and includes a diffused steam release to reduce the risk of burns. When you’re done cooking, the inner pot even has a handy easy grip design for safe removal. The pot is also clearly labeled with volume measurements to limit your need for measuring cups during a recipe.

When it comes to cooking, Instant Pot has made things easier than ever by including 48 customizable preset programs for common recipes like beans, grains, soups, and various proteins. This is also the fastest Instant Pot, thanks to its 1200-watt power supply and quick cooking technology, which helps release pressure faster. 

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 Crispy 11-in-1 Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer Lid

Perfect for Crunch Lovers

The Duo Crisp combines the gentle steaming environment of pressure cooking with the magic of air frying. Instant Pot

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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. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 22.18 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.76 x 13.58 x 15.28 inches
  • Capacity: 8 quarts

Pros: 

  • 11 cooking functions
  • Air frying lid uses 95 percent less oil than deep-frying
  • Includes dehydrating tray

Cons: 

  • 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 Instant Pot comes with two lids: one for pressure cooking and a second 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 11 built-in cooking functions that are easy to tap into with the digital interface. These include roasting, baking, dehydrating, pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making, steaming, sauteing, sterilizing, and warming. If you’re into canning and making homemade preserves or baby food, the sterilization feature is especially handy. 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 Big-Batch Cooking: Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Large and Highly Functional

This 8-quart pressure cooker offers ample cooking space and plenty of built-in programs to feed a crowd. Instant Pot

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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 touch screen with many pre-programmed cooking settings. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 15.56 pounds  
  • Dimensions: 14.8 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches
  • Capacity: 8 quart

Pros: 

  • 13 customizable built-in cooking settings
  • Includes extra sealing ring
  • Dishwasher-safe lid

Cons: 

  • No sterilization feature

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 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 Instant 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.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Instant Pot

Size

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 3 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.

Usage

While all of the Instant Pots on this list perform a set of 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 Duo Crisp, which comes with an air fryer lid attachment.

FAQs

Q: What does an Instant Pot do?

The most commonly used feature of an Instant Pot is pressure cooking. However, the Instant Pots on this list offer a range of cooking features, including steaming, sauteing, and even yogurt making. The benefit of pressure cooking is that it uses a combination of 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 have to 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, which can take upwards of three hours, take a fraction of the time in 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 in an Instant Pot include beans (from dry), whole cuts of meat and poultry, steamed vegetables and desserts, and grains like rice and barley.

Final Thoughts

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.

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