Which Instant Pot Should You Buy?

by | Last updated Mar 8, 2018 | 0 comments

One of the hottest trends in cooking the past couple of years has been Instant Pot electric pressure cookers. The reason Instant Pots have become so popular is how easy they are to use and how quickly they make delicious food.  Instant Pot also likes to talk about how healthy pressure cooking is for the way it locks in nutrients.

The biggest advantage pressure cookers have over traditional slow cookers and stovetop cooking is that cooking under pressure speeds up the process, so instead of a scrumptious stew with fork-tender chunks of beef taking four or five hours to cook, the same stew can be made in an Instant Pot in under an hour.

Instant Pot is continually adding features to their pots, so people can use their machines as a slow cooker, rice maker, warmer, etc., instead of having a bunch of gadgets lying around the kitchen that are only occasionally used.

There are a couple of things worth keeping in mind when you’re deciding which Instant Pot to buy. All of the Instant Pots are built around the same technology and materials. What separates one from another are the types of cooking they can be used for and how much control they provide over the cooking process.

Here’s a quick rundown of the four main types of Instant Pots and links where you can find more info on each model and get your own.

Instant Pot Ultra

Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10 In 1 Multi Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer, And Sterilizer

The top of line Instant Pot is the Ultra, which comes with 16 built-in programs. The Ultra has settings for cakes, eggs, and yogurt.  It also has a sterilization setting that will let you perform some types of canning.

What sets the Ultra apart is a new program that lets you control the temperature and pressure in the pot. The Ultra also has an altitude adjustment setting and can cook under pressure for six hours.

Functions: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Cake Maker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer, Sterilizer, Ultra Program

Sizes: 6 quart

(More Info on the Ultra | Get It Here)

Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth

Instant Pot Smart

This is the Instant Pot to get if you like playing with kitchen technology. It comes with a downloadable app that lets you create and share recipe scripts that provide fined grain control over the Instant Pot.

One thing Instant Pot makes clear is that the Bluetooth function is designed for running recipe scripts and not about starting the pot while you’re still at the office. The Smart pot can cook under pressure for up to two hours.

Functions: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steamer, Warmer,

Sizes: 6 quart

(Get the Smart Bluetooth Here)

Instant Pot Duo & Duo Plus

Instant Pot DUO

The Duo Plus is an updated version of Instant Pot’s Duo model.  The Duo Plus has added three new programs, Cake, Egg, and Sterilize.  It also has a redesigned user interface to make it easier to adjust cooking settings and pressure levels. The Duo does not allow as much customization of cooking settings as the Ultra. The update also increased the amount of time the Duo can cook under pressure from four hours to six.

Functions: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Cake/Egg Maker, Sauté/Searing, Steam, Warm, and Sterilize

Sizes: 3 quart, 5 quart, 6 quart, 8 quart

(More Info on the Duo Plus | Get It Here)

Instant Pot Lux


The biggest advantage to the Lux series is that it’s the most affordable Instant Pot, with a six quart Lux starting around $79.  There are a few things the Lux can’t do, compared to other Instant Pots, it can only cook under high pressure, while the Ultra, Duo, and Smart can all cook at low or high pressure. Low pressure cooking helps with more delicate ingredients. It also has fewer functions and built-in programs.

Instant Pot Lux

Functions: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer

Sizes: 3 quart, 5 quart, 6 quart, 8 quart

(More Info on the Lux V3 | Get It Here)

Instant Pot Accessories

There are lots of Instant Pot accessories to help you get more out of your pot.  A few that make sense include a tempered lid, which is helpful if you’re serving something out of the Instant Pot at a dinner or party.  There’s also a Springform cake pan that looks like it would make baking a cake a breeze.

One of the most popular things people use Instant Pots for is making homemade yogurt.  If you’re making a lot of yogurt, you might want to pick up a set of yogurt cups designed to fit into an Instant Pot. To make yogurt, you’ll also need a starter culture.

If you’re planning on using your Instant Pot a lot or just hate doing dishes, you might want to pick up an extra inner pot, which comes in stainless or ceramic.

Starter Cookbooks for Instant Pot

There are lots of cookbooks to help you get started with your Instant Pot, a few of the more popular are The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and the Indian Instant Pot Cookbook: Traditional Indian Dishes Made Easy and Fast.

You can also check out Umami’s slow cooking section for Instant Pot and slow cooker recipes.

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