The best Instant Pots 2021

Cookware & Cooking Tools

Since their release, Instant Pot Duos have consistently been one of the highest-selling items on Amazon Prime Day.

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What is the best Instant Pot in 2021?

Instant Pots are multifunctional cooking devices that can make rice, yogurt, roast beef, chicken and nearly anything else you can imagine. Some Instant Pots even have built-in air fryers. In addition to the device’s standard features, a range of accessories give it added capabilities, such as muffin pans, egg racks and cake rings.

If you’re on the hunt for a great Instant Pot, you may begin to feel a bit taken back by the sheer amount of choices you have. By researching the available models, and what makes them unique, you’ll prepare yourself to make the right choice.

Things to know before buying an Instant Pot

If you want to know what the best Instant Pot is, you’ll also need recipes to see your purchase perform at its best. There are some great cookbooks compiling amazing recipes to whip out any night of the week. 

Instant Pot models

  • Lux: The Lux is the standard Instant Pot model and has pressure cooking, rice making, slow cooking, sauteing, steaming and warming capabilities. These models are often among the least expensive.
  • Duo: Duo models have all of the same capabilities as Lux models, but with the addition of a yogurt-making setting. Duos can also cook with low or high pressure and allow you to set the cooking time for pressure cooking manually.
  • Duo Plus: The Duo Plus features everything the Duo does, plus an egg-cooking setting and sterilization setting that is great for baby bottles.
  • Smart: Smart models have the same features as the Duo or Duo Plus, and you can control it from your smartphone. These models also allow you to create highly customizable programs to get the precise temperature and time for your meals.
  • Ultra: The Ultra models allow you to create customizable programs, just like the Smart models, without using a smartphone. The Ultra features all of the same settings as the Duo Plus and an additional cake-baking mode.

Best Instant Pot cookbook

The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook: 200 Deliciously Simple Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker 

The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook: 200 Deliciously Simple Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker 

This authorized Instant Pot cookbook lives up to its name. The included recipes are both effortless and delicious. Be careful not to fall for impostors. Many books claim to be “The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook” online, but most are not authorized recipe books.

Sold by Amazon 

Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot 

Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot 

Instant Pot recommended this cookbook themselves, thanks to its delicious, easy-to-make dinner recipes. Make incredible dishes like coconut curry chicken, Korean chile-braised brisket and duck confit in no time at all.

Sold by Amazon

Best Instant Pot recipes

There are too many incredible Instant Pot recipes to name them all. Cookbooks like “Dinner in an Instant” and “The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook” are ideal sources for great recipes. Still, you can’t go wrong with a delicious, easy-to-make recipe like Instant Pot Hawaiian chicken. The Instant Pot Duo, or models that are more advanced than the Duo, are ideal for this recipe.

Instant Pot Hawaiian chicken 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken breast
  • One bottle of Hawaiian BBQ sauce
  • Pineapple rings
  • Chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hawaiian rolls
  1. Pour the broth into the Instant Pot, and insert a trivet.
  2. Lay the chicken on the trivet and baste it in 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Cover the instant pot, secure the lid and set the valve to “sealing.” Set the pressure cooker to 12 minutes for fresh chicken or 15 minutes for frozen chicken.
  4. When the time is up, you’ll need to let it sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Move the valve to “venting” and remove the lid.
  6. Remove the chicken, and shred it. Add it back to the instant pot, and set it to “saute.”
  7. Add the rest of the BBQ and pineapple. Stir for 3 minutes.

What to look for in a quality Instant Pot

Size

Instant pots come in 3, 6 and 8-quart sizes. The smallest models are great if you’re only cooking for one or two people, whereas a 6-quart device cooks meals for families of four. If you participate in many potlucks or want to cook enough for leftovers, an 8-quart Instant Pot is a perfect choice.

Features

The Instant Pot Duo is the most popular model, and many people love that they can use it to make their own yogurt. When choosing an air fryer, it’s ideal to get one with all the features you plan to use. That way, you don’t feel the need to upgrade in the future.

If you have to leave home often to pick up the kids or run errands, getting a Smart model allows you the freedom to start dinner before you leave or on your way back. You can even monitor the food from your phone for added convenience.

How much you can expect to spend on an Instant Pot

Depending on the size and features you need, you can expect to pay between $80-$200 on a quality Instant Pot.

Instant Pot FAQ

Are Instant Pots easy to clean?

A. Instant Pots are surprisingly easy to keep clean, thanks to their removable, dishwasher-safe cooking pot.

How much pressure does an Instant Pot use to cook?

A. Instant Pots can cook at about 11 PSI on their highest setting, whereas standard pressure cookers go up to 15 PSI. If you plan on using a recipe meant for a traditional pressure cooker, you’ll want to increase the cooking time by 7% to 15%.

What’s the best Instant Pot to buy?

Top Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

What you need to know: This sizable Instant Pot does everything the Ultra models can and has the convenient addition of an air fryer.

What you’ll love: This option boasts eleven different cooking modes, including an air fryer. The eight-quart size is ideal for large families and events. It’s made with BPA, PFOA and PTFE-free materials.

What you should consider: Some users felt that the air fryer feature was not as good as standalone air fryers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Wayfair 

Top Instant Pot for the money

Instant Pot Duo

Instant Pot Duo

What you need to know: This inexpensive model is a fan favorite, thanks to its easy-to-use features and low price-point.

What you’ll love: This device comes in either 6 or 8-quart sizes, features fourteen smart programs and has multiple preset temperatures. It comes with a 1-year warranty and has seven cooking modes, including a yogurt maker.

What you should consider: There are some quality control issues, so it’s a good idea to test the settings once you receive your Instant Pot.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Worth checking out

Instant Pot Max

Instant Pot Max

What you need to know: This unique Instant Pot allows you to do at-home pressure canning, a feature that Instant Pot lovers have requested for years.

What you’ll love: Unlike other Instant Pots, this model can cook at up to 15 PSI. The LED control panel is incredibly intuitive. The built-in altitude adjustment eliminates the guesswork.

What you should consider: The natural pressure-release can be slow.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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