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#1 Instant Pot Duo
The Duo offers all the standard Instant Pot features, plus an extra setting to make homemade yogurt. It’s the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab’s top pick — it comes in 3-, 6-, and 8-quart options and claims to replace seven common kitchen appliances, including a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer. The inner pot is made out of stainless steel and has a three-ply bottom for even heat distribution.
It also includes the essential additional features of a “delay-start” tool and a ‘keep warm’ function. It can also be used to cook pressure on low (in addition, high) you’ll have more control over the cooking temperature of soups and lentils, which may ultimately prevent them from overcooking into mushy oblivion. It’s just $20 more than the most basic Instant Pot model (The Lux) and often goes on sale, so we think this one’s the best bang for your buck.
We love the Duo’s user-friendly add-ons. This model, unlike the Lux, has a large handle at the top that makes opening and closing it quick, and the extra slots at the sides can be used to prop the lid up when it’s not being used. The cord can be detached, which is a great feature if you plan to store your new toy in tight cabinets.
#2 Instant Pot Ultra
The Ultra offers endless customization options and is packed with extra features that will delight home chefs who love to experiment. It offers 21 temperature options, which is more than any Instant Pot model. You can adjust the Ultra for altitude. Takes the guesswork out recipe conversion to provide a more precise cooking time.
Unlike other Instant Pots that only have button controls, this one’s smooth dial also makes programming a breeze. Pressure cooking can be done for up to 6 hours (two hours more than the Duo Plus). For safety, the steam release reset button is included.
#3 Instant Pot NOVA
Sticking “Nova” on the end of the best-known Instant Pot is enough to throw people off, but the Duo Nova is just the new-and-improved version of the Duo. It keeps the stuff we loved about the original — like straightforward buttons and seven cooking methods for an affordable price — and made some small convenience upgrades. The best part about the Duo Nova? It can almost always still be found on sale at the same price, or even less expensive than the regular Duo.
The Duo Nova and Duo Nova have two main differences. The Nova’s lid has an automatic pressure sealing system that seals the valve automatically. The release valve is a nuisance that you won’t understand until you actually use an Instant Pot. You might find yourself back at a meal that was supposed to have been cooking for 30 mins but was actually just letting air out. (There are Reddit threads devoted to people complaining about forgetting to do this.) Although it is minor, it will be a major factor in many people’s decision-making.
#4 Instant Pot Duo Plus
The classic, but make it even better: The other #1 best-seller in the fam is the 9-in-1 Duo Plus. The Plus series adds a bottle sterilizer, an egg cooker, and a cake-maker to your list of options. Plus, there’s a smart sous vide program.
It’s a small price to pay for an all-encompassing cooker. This is especially true considering that the Duo Nova launched with a substantial price increase over the Duo, despite not having any new appliances.
As we progress up the ladder of Instant Pots devices with more advanced functions appear to get shinier, more spaceship-like. The Duo Plus features a larger blue LCD screen and digital food status icons. There are also more buttons for each smart program that are easily explained. It retains the classic Instant Pot interface but has more detailed buttons than other models.
#5 Instant Pot Pro Plus Smart Multi Cooker, 6 Quart, 10-in-1,
The latest Instant Pot is not the most expensive or the most fancy in terms of how many appliances can it replace (though the Pro Crisp is better), but it’s the smartest. Pro Plus is the name of its wireless connectivity to Instant Brands, which has over 800 Instant Pot recipes that it already knows. The app provides guidance on how to stir.
The remote steam release is one of the most useful features you can do with your phone. The Pro Plus can be vented via the app, unlike the other pots that require you to be present in order to press the steam release button. You can have your food ready to go immediately upon your arrival.
#6 Instant Pot Max
The Instant Pot Max, one of the most talked-about and highly anticipated Instant Pot releases, was released in fall 2018. The major upgrades include pressure canning and sous vide, which are two new functions that the Instant Pot Max has over its predecessors (officially a 12-in-1 cook). The Max also features NutriBoost technology. This uses a boiling motion in order to add nutrition and flavor to soups. (We are not convinced by the claim of nutrition, but it is unlikely to be your reason for purchasing.)
Let’s look at something positive: It will look Hot sitting on your counter. It has a sleek LCD screen with functions right on the screen. It’s the first Instant Pot to feature a touchscreen, unlike the Ultra. This allows for seamless control and a futuristic appearance.
#7 Instant Pot Pro Crisp 11 in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer Combo
In November 2020, Instant Pot released a lighter version of the Duo Crisp to combat holiday shopping madness. The sophisticated chrome charcoal exterior is home to new additions like side handles, a safer lid, a stovetop-friendly pot insert, and a thermometer that hits 450 degrees — a temperature jump perfect for air-fried steak.
The Pro Crisp has two interchangeable lids, just like the Ninja Foodi. One lid transforms the pressure cooker, among other things, into an air fryer. While the other lid is for EvenCrisp technology, it can also be used to make the Pro Crisp. The crisping lid is removable, unlike the Ninja Foodi. The Pro Crisp has 11 functions, with lid-specific functions on the same side.
#8 Instant Precision Dutch Oven
The new Instant Precision Dutch Oven simplifies complex recipes that require careful attention, from dough proofing to baking. It can maintain a temperature of 77°F for hours (a cooling environment that is preferred for yeasted breads that are lower than other ovens) or it can be heated on demand for searing.
This Instant Brands cooker isn’t going for “fast” — it’s going for “right.” Cast iron inner pots can be used for low, slow cooking. Its oval shape is ideal for flat dishes and roasts.
#9 Instant Pot Aura 10-in-1
The Aura is a rectangular cousin, which can be used to roast larger chickens, ducks, or other meats.
This is not an instant cooker. Instant Pot’s focus was on sous vide, a method of cooking that is only for the most experienced cooks. Amazon reviews praise the Aura Pro for maintaining water at a temperature that is consistent and customizable for hours. Although it doesn’t circulate water as a sous vide machine, it does the job.
#10 Instant Pot Zest
Rice is a simple side dish that can be paired with most meals. The Instant Pot Zest will save you from overcorrections to sticky Rice and add delicious quinoa couscous, steamed vegetables, and dumplings right to your home. When the Instant Pot Zest beeps, press the white- or brown rice button.
The 20-cup Zest Plus is a great place to really add some flavor. zest to your meals. Mixed grains, barley, couscous, bulgur oatmeal and risotto are added to the lineup, plus four smart programs for sauté, steam, slow cook, and keep warm. Even quinoa can be cooked on the bottom of the steam basket.