Best Instant Pots: Top Models for Easy Cooking

Best instant pots with a jug of rice next to it
12 min reading time

Electric pressure cookers, commonly known as Instant Pots, have revolutionized home cooking by offering a versatile, all-in-one appliance that can handle an array of cooking tasks. As a multifunctional gadget, an Instant Pot can serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and warmer. The convenience of preparing meals faster and more efficiently has made Instant Pots beloved in kitchens everywhere, especially among those looking to save time without compromising the quality of their meals.

Instant Pots come with a variety of features and designs, making them an adaptable tool for any culinary creation, from tender meats to perfect rice. With pre-set cooking programs and adjustable settings, Instant Pots cater to both novice cooks and seasoned chefs, simplifying meal prep and cooking processes. These devices are also known for their safety features, which include locking lids and pressure control, providing peace of mind for users during operation.

When choosing the best Instant Pot for your kitchen, it is crucial to consider factors like size, depending on the volume of food you typically cook, and the specific functions you need. A smaller 3-quart model might suffice for an individual or a couple, while larger households might benefit from the 6 or 8-quart sizes. The build quality, user interface, and range of cooking programs are also important to assess, ensuring you get the most suitable appliance for your cooking style and preferences.

Finding the ideal Instant Pot requires weighing options and considering personal kitchen needs. To help in this decision-making process, we’ve evaluated various models to present the top Instant Pots that stand out for their quality, versatility, and user satisfaction. Let’s explore which Instant Pots come out on top and why they merit a spot on your countertop.

Top Instant Pots for Quick and Easy Cooking

Instant Pots have revolutionized home cooking by offering a multifunctional approach to meal preparation. Our selection showcases the most efficient and user-friendly models on the market. Each Instant Pot in our roundup promises to simplify the cooking process, whether you’re preparing a hearty stew or a quick weeknight dinner. We’ve taken into account factors such as cooking speed, versatility, and ease of use to ensure that our recommendations cater to a variety of cooking needs and preferences.

Instant Pot Duo 6QT

We believe the Instant Pot Duo 6QT is a versatile kitchen partner that simplifies cooking and fits modern lifestyles.


  • Replaces multiple kitchen appliances
  • Intuitive one-touch cooking programs
  • Easy to clean with dishwasher-safe parts


  • Has an initial learning curve for beginners
  • Takes up counter space
  • Can be loud during pressure release

Having recently put the Instant Pot Duo to the test, we’re impressed by its ability to transform tough cuts of meat into succulent meals. Its one-touch smart programs make meal prep less of a chore, allowing us to cook our favorite dishes with the push of a button. The stainless-steel pot ensures even heating during sautéing and also brings out a deep richness in slow-cooked meals.

While its convenience is unmatched, our kitchen real estate felt the impact. Allocating space for the Instant Pot Duo requires some prior planning. Initially, its array of buttons was a bit daunting, but after some experimentation, we’ve mastered the pressure cooking features and regularly save time on recipes that used to take an entire afternoon to cook.

Clean-up is an area where the Instant Pot Duo shines. Post-dinner fatigue is real, and we’re grateful for the dishwasher-safe components that offer a hassle-free cleanup. We’re equally pleased with the safety features; the secure locking lid and overheat protection bring peace of mind, especially when we’re multitasking in the kitchen.

Overall, this Instant Pot has earned a prominent spot on our counter. Whether it’s preparing yogurt overnight or cooking a batch of beans without soaking, the Instant Pot Duo has turned us into meal prep aficionados. Its few drawbacks pale in comparison to the variety of dishes and the sheer convenience it offers.

Instant Pot Duo Plus

We recommend the Instant Pot Duo Plus for its impressive versatility and user-friendly features that streamline the cooking process.


  • Intuitive one-touch cooking programs
  • Easy-to-clean, dishwasher-safe components
  • Diverse functionalities in one appliance


  • Has a bulky size that may take up considerable counter space
  • Has an initial learning curve for pressure cooking novices
  • May require additional accessories for full experience

I was skeptical at first, but after using the Instant Pot Duo Plus, my doubts disappeared. The multiple functions it boasts aren’t just for show. Whether slow cooking a stew or quickly pressure cooking beans, each function performed without a hitch, offering complete meals in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

The convenience doesn’t end at cooking. Cleaning up after meal prep became a breeze; the ability to toss the lid, pot, and accessories into the dishwasher saved me precious time I’d rather spend relaxing or with family.

However, I must note, while the one-touch preset programs are a godsend once familiarized, initially getting to grips with all the features was a bit daunting. Plus, those with limited kitchen space might find its size cumbersome. But considering the sheer utility this culinary powerhouse brings, these are minor trade-offs for the efficiency it adds to meal prep routines.

Instant Pot Duo Plus 8QT

We recommend this Instant Pot as a versatile and efficient addition to any kitchen, simplifying a variety of cooking tasks.


  • Speeds up cooking time significantly, turning hours into minutes.
  • Notably user-friendly with its quiet operation and easy-to-follow LCD instructions.
  • Easy to clean, with most components being dishwasher-safe.


  • Foods may require more seasoning than usual.
  • The sauté function can be less effective compared to a traditional stovetop.
  • Its size could be cumbersome for smaller kitchens or storage spaces.

When we whipped up a batch of chili, the Instant Pot Duo Plus cut down our cooking time considerably. What would typically simmer for a whole afternoon on the stove was ready in under an hour, still packed with flavor. The user interface is refreshingly intuitive; we immediately got to grips with the settings for pressure and slow cooking without even needing to peek at the manual.

It’s not just about main dishes, either. For breakfast, making yogurt was almost effortless. We’ve seen how this pot serves as a near-silent kitchen companion, allowing us to carry on conversations without the persistent hiss of steam that other models produce.

Despite the praise, there are a few caveats. Adjusting the seasoning took a little trial and error – it seems the Instant Pot’s sealed environment alters flavor intensity. Those fond of traditional sautéing may find the experience here slightly lacking, though it’s a minor hiccup in an otherwise stellar performance.

All things considered, the Instant Pot Duo Plus shines in a busy household. Whether it’s prepping meals for the week or catering to unexpected guests, this tool has our back. And with cleanup being such a breeze, we get to spend less time scrubbing pots and more time enjoying our culinary creations.

Instant Pot RIO 6QT

We recommend the Instant Pot RIO 6QT for its versatility and ease of use, making it ideal for both beginners and seasoned kitchen enthusiasts.


  • Intuitive controls make it easy to select cooking modes.
  • Versatile functions replace several kitchen appliances.
  • Quick One-Touch Cooking simplifies meal preparation.


  • Requires initial familiarization with functions
  • May take up considerable counter space
  • Seal may require attention over time to ensure proper function

Cooking with the Instant Pot RIO feels like a breeze. We started with a simple, yet classic, test case: a batch of black beans, and we weren’t disappointed. The beans turned out perfectly tender, with the “bean” program eliminating all guesswork. It’s impressive how it combines the functions of seven appliances into one, streamlining our kitchen without sacrificing performance.

The RIO’s design is sleek, making it a modern addition to our countertop that’s always ready for our next culinary project. On busy weeknights, we particularly loved the pressure cook function for its speed. The ability to slow cook on more relaxed days makes it our go-to for maximum flexibility in meal planning.

Maintaining the RIO is hardly a chore — the fingerprint-resistant sides and dishwasher-safe components mean that it’s as easy to clean as it is to use. However, the new user should be prepared to spend some time getting to know the RIO, as it did for us. That said, once acquainted, it’s clear this multi-cooker stands out in our kitchen repertoire.

Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart

The Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart is a versatile choice for those who value multi-functionality and quick meal preparation.


  • Versatile with 9 cooking functions
  • User-friendly with an easy steam release switch
  • Dishwasher safe components for easy cleaning


  • Some users report receiving units in unsatisfactory condition
  • Occasional malfunctioning mentioned in reviews
  • Limited customer feedback due to product being refurbished

We recently worked with the Instant Pot Duo Plus and immediately noticed its practical design. The variety of cooking options from pressure cooking to yogurt making adds unmatched flexibility to one’s kitchen arsenal. Each program seems well-calibrated and adds simplicity to the cooking process.

The steam release switch has been a noticeable improvement. Even during high-pressure cooking, we found venting steam simpler and safer than previous models. The switch resets upon lid closure, which gives us peace of mind.

After all the meals it helped us whip up, cleaning was a breeze. The fingerprint-resistant exterior stayed spotless with minimal effort, and having dishwasher-safe components meant we spent less time cleaning up and more time enjoying our meals.

Despite the majority of our experiences leaning positive, using a refurbished product comes with its provisos. We’ve seen feedback from others who weren’t as lucky with their unit’s condition. While these cases seem relatively rare, it’s something to be mindful of when making the purchase.

Overall, the Instant Pot Duo Plus has earned its place in our kitchen, offering both versatility and convenience for a multitude of dishes, all while streamlining the cooking and cleaning process.

Buying Guide

When we’re selecting an Instant Pot, it’s crucial we consider several key features to ensure we make a choice that meets our cooking needs and preferences. Here’s what to look for:

Size and Capacity

It’s important to choose a size that fits our household. Instant Pots come in a variety of sizes, typically ranging from 3 to 8 quarts.

  • 3 quarts: suitable for 1-2 people
  • 6 quarts: the most popular size, ideal for 3-6 people
  • 8 quarts: for larger families or batch cooking

Cooking Functions

Look for the cooking functions that will be most useful for our daily cooking needs. Most models offer a range of options such as slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, and sautéing.

Pressure CookReduces cooking time considerably.
Slow CookAllows for slow simmering of dishes for flavor development.
SteamCooks vegetables and seafood healthily without oils.
SautéEnables browning of ingredients directly in the pot.

User Interface

The user interface should be easy to navigate. A clear display and intuitive controls ensure a hassle-free cooking experience.

  • Buttons: Well-arranged and marked for straightforward operation
  • Display: Should clearly show settings, timer, and pressure levels

Safety Features

Safety is paramount. Features like lid locks, automatic pressure and temperature control, and overheat protection keep us safe while cooking.

  • Lid Locks: Prevents the lid from being opened while under pressure
  • Overheat Protection: Regulates internal temperature to prevent burning

Warranty and Support

Check the warranty length and what it covers. Reliable customer support can assist with any issues we might encounter.

ConsiderationWhy It Matters
WarrantyProtects our investment in case of malfunctions
SupportProvides help when we need guidance or repairs

By carefully considering these features, we place ourselves in a strong position to choose the best Instant Pot for our culinary adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve gathered some of the most common inquiries about Instant Pots and provided clear answers to help you make an informed decision.

What should I look for when choosing an Instant Pot?

When selecting an Instant Pot, consider the size you need, the types of cooking functions it offers, ease of use, and any additional features like a delay start or keep-warm function. Models vary by the number of preset programs, so choose one that suits your specific cooking needs.

Which Instant Pot model is best for a large family?

For a large family, the 8-quart models like the Instant Pot Duo or Duo Crisp are excellent choices. They offer ample space to prepare meals for several people and typically include various cooking functions.

Can Instant Pots be used for slow cooking as well as pressure cooking?

Yes, Instant Pots can be used for both slow cooking and pressure cooking. Most models come with a slow cook function, which means you can replace your standalone slow cooker with an Instant Pot and save kitchen space.

How do Instant Pots compare to traditional pressure cookers?

Instant Pots are more versatile than traditional pressure cookers, offering multiple cooking functions like sautéing, steaming, and even yogurt-making, in addition to pressure cooking. They also typically feature built-in safety mechanisms and are more user-friendly with digital controls.

Is there a significant difference between high-end and budget Instant Pot models?

High-end Instant Pot models offer more features, such as connectivity to smart devices, more preset programs, and advanced cooking options. However, budget models still provide the essential functions needed for pressure cooking and slow cooking, making them a good value for those on a tight budget.

What are the safety features of Instant Pots?

Instant Pots have several safety features. These include a lid lock to prevent opening under pressure, a steam release valve for manual pressure release, and overheat protection. These measures are designed to prevent accidents and ensure safe operation during cooking.

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