Instapot is an amazing electric pressure cooker that saves you time and prepares delicious meals.
The instant pot craze is insane!
From slow-cooked meals made quickly, to baking three-course meals including desserts in just one pot, there are so many reasons for why these instapots have a cult following now. In fact, when its time for sales, these electric cookers are one of the best sellers items on the list. Amazon’s past three year Prime Day sale records are a proof of this fame!
But for those who still haven’t tried out the instapot, it can be pretty confusing and intimidating, especially with all the names and sizes. The instant pot comes in many sizes and models and it’s not something that you can figure out without a little help.
In case you have been waiting for the holiday shopping season to come around, so that you can buy your very first instant pot, here is all the information that you need to know in order to pick the right one out for yourself.
There are 6 different models available in the market. Here is a complete breakdown of what goes in to each instant pot size and model:
The basic model, 6-in-1 electric pressure cooker that is perfect for your basic pressure cooking needs.
Available Sizes: 3, 6 and 8 Quart.
This is the most basic, average, fit-for-everyone kind of instapot. The LUX model is the 6-in-1 multi-cooker that can slow cook, pressure cook, steam, make rice, keep warm and saute. The model is available in all three sizes (3, 6 and 8 quart) in a pretty affordable range.
Simple and straight-forward, the LUX series is ideal for those who want multiple features in a good price and don’t plan on experimenting a lot with the pot. The preset programs settings include soup/broth, meat/stew, saute, rice steam, slow cook and the very special- egg. So, those of you that crave perfect hard boiled eggs in breakfast, LUX is here to give you that.
However, you will miss out on a few important features with this instapot model. There is no yogurt and bean/chili function. The absence of LCD display compromises the visibility to some extent as well. Also, this model does not offer any Bluetooth or Smart App support, therefore making it a more manual, traditional version.
Those who are new to the instant pot club or are beginner level cooks and can use that extra help, such as college kids, the instapot LUX will work as a perfect assistance to them in the kitchen.
A bit advanced than LUX, it's a 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker that has yogurt maker function as well.
Available Sizes: 3, 6 and 8 Quart.
A step next to the LUX model, DUO includes all the missing features of LUX. This promising series is a 7-in-1 multi-cooker that can slow cook, pressure cook, steam, make rice, keep warm, saute AND make yogurt. Working on the same lines, the DUO series has all the LUX presets minus the egg function- you get yogurt feature in return.
All DUO models comes with two different pressure settings, which can give enthusiastic cookers more chances to experiment with different instapot recipes. The presence of low pressure setting makes it ideal for baking too. This model is available in all three sizes ( 3-quart, 6-qart and 8-quart).
It’s user-friendly design also includes little slots in the handles so that one can rest the lid there instead of pulling it off and putting it on the counter-top. These slots can be pretty helpful, especially when the extra steam comes out during the quick release action.
But, with a DUO model, you won’t get any smart assistance- just like the LUX models, this range doesn’t support Bluetooth or smart app support. Think of it this way, if you wanted a simpler model and have to be pretty serious when it comes to making your own yogurt, this model will be your best mate in the kitchen.
This is the most popular model so far. It has got all the functions including sterilizer, egg and cake maker.
Available Sizes: 3, 6 and 8 Quart.
When DUO got an update, DUO Plus happened. With this model you get all the 7-in-one multi-cooker features, but what you also get is separate egg, cake settings along with the option to actually STERILIZE. What can be better than cooking and then having the machine clean up itself completely?
This model can slow cook, pressure cook, steam, make rice, keep warm, saute, make yogurt, cakes and sterilize itself, making it a 9-in-one multi-cooker. The whole display is where the instapot takes a change by being more modern and digital. It has some pretty intelligent programming done into it, which makes it remember your last cooking time and pressure settings, that can be changed even mid-cooking.
You also get three temperature options for different programs, for instance, you get keep your food warm or saute it at three different temperatures (Less, Normal and More). Plus, one another note worthy addition is the option to turn off the beeping sound, which can be particularly disturbing for many.
Though this model is argued to be the most beneficial model of all, the bad news is that it is available in only 6-quart size. Therefore, people that need to cook larger or smaller cooking portions won’t be able to make the most of it. However, an average family of 4-6 people can get the maximum benefit out of this 9-in-one, modern instant pot.
It comes equipped with everything like DUO PLUS plus an additional altitude adjustment feature for cooking in high altitudes.
Available Sizes: 3, 6 and 8 Quart.
Now if you want the most high-tech, fully customizable that runs on your own settings and everything, then the ULTRA model is for you. This model is more common;y bought in the 6-quart size- both the 3 and 8-quart sizes are much more expensive.
This 10-in-one multi-cooker is far from basic- yes, you can steam, slow cook, warm, saute, make rice, yogurt, porridge, multigrain, cake, eggs, sterlize and more, but this pot is a full-blown gadget, that gives you the option to choose your cooking time, set your pressure level, set delay timers and set ANY temperature for the pot to cook in/on.
Also, the pot comes with a changed spin-dial interface and legit shows you graphs and cooking progress indicators that feeds you all the detail about what’s going on inside. Once your done with cooking, it actually displays the temperature of the content inside and that it is cooling down.
So basically, the ULTRA range gives you all the critical information and absolute control to customize everything to your desired digit. This range also gives beginner user’s the ability to customize and feed settings to it, which will be stored in its memory.
Culinary experts or advance cooks would simply enjoy working with this model, because there is so much they can do with it- the amazing functionalities will leave anyone amazed.
However, the only thing that this model lacks is the Bluetooth, smart app support, which would’ve given it the best tech-gadget of the year status for sure.
This one can connect with your smartphone app using Wi-Fi and you can make recipes with same great taste, always.
Available Size: 6 Quart.
As the name suggest, this model is all about including in smart technology and hooking your devices directly with your instapots. Featuring all the functions of LUX, DUO and DUO Plus models, the added advantage with this range is the ability to control the pot via Wi-Fi, through the instapot smart app.
This 7-in-one cooker does everything- from steam, slow cook, warm, saute, make rice, yogurt, porridge, multigrain, cake and eggs, to having 3 different saute, slow cooker, keep warm temperatures, everything can be done on this model.
The SMART model is a dream come true for it has over 750+ recipe scripts pre-programmed in its memory, but you can still download more and likewise program your instant pot to change temperatures and pressures according to the time in those scripts. You get active status alerts, ability to direct actions and combination of steps, all from a distance.
You can either connect your instant pot to your device via Bluetooth and program and monitor through it, or you can use the Wi-Fi and have Alexa’s support in controlling the instapot. Either way, you will be able to perform complex cooking steps easily.
The SMART instapot is available in 6-quart size only, which makes an ideal candidate for households comprising of 4-6 members, or lesser members that believe in batch cooking. Either way, the whole connectivity will make cooking even easier for you.
Most advanced instant pot model, MAX allows you to do everything you can think of, including canning and fermentation.
Available Size: 6 Quart.
A rather recent release, the MAX model has the three pressure cooking levels as its star feature, as the maximum pressure level can reach upto 15 psi- a record in all pf the electric cooker history. It follows the same lane as the ULTRA model, meaning it provides all the features- except the fully custom program buttons for different features.
The lid is supposedly features an automated valve, which comes with three venting option- fully vent, intermittently vent or no vent. The display is impressive, with all the real-time updates are give, the same way as in case of ULTRA models.
The canning feature, the touch screen, the automatic pressure release, the sous vide mode and inclusion of NutriBoost technology for adding more nutrients and flavoursm all are some great additions that definitely make the MAX range take the ultimate lead, but the model is currently available in just 6-quart size.
But if you are someone looking to perform simpler tasks while using maximum features such as saute, steamer etc, then investing in other instant pot models would seem more feasible.
This decision is based on two things- how many people or how much do you want to cook and what different features do you need in your instapot. The cooking portions will determine the correct size whilst the feature preferences will determine the model that would suit you best.
Presently, The Instant Pot is available in four different sizes- 3-quart, 5-quart, 6-quart and 8=quart. The 5-quart size has been discontinued but still has its fair share of users. The different models that you can get are LUX, DUO, DUO PLUS, ULTRA, MAX and SMART.
One thing you must keep in your mind is every model’s exclusive size range, which will be discussed in detail later. Nevertheless, time to jump to the next important question: What’s the best size for me?
If you go by popularity, then out of the 3,6 and 8-quart size, the 6-quart size is largely demanded. But your perfect size instapot depends not on public opinion but on these 3 key need-based factors:
The general rule of thumb here is that one quart is equal to one person. Therefore, 3-quart can feed up to three people, 6-quart feed six and 8-quart can feed up to 8, or 6 really heavy eaters.
An average family of 4-5 people can settle perfectly with a 6-quart instapot, and similarly, a person living alone can cook plenty with a 3-quart instant pot, where as for larger servings, the 8-quart would work perfectly.
While the instant pot is going to make cooking easy for you, you still need to have a general broad idea of what dishes you are going to or want to prepare in the pot. Be it broth, rice, stew, desserts, anything and everything can be prepared, but not everything can fit all at once.
For instance, if you plan on cooking whole chicken, then the 3-quart size can only accommodate you in batch-cooking style, making 6-quart a better option.
Plus, when it comes to cooking, you don’t fill the pot to its maximum limit, therefore this also impacts the whole process of finding the perfect size. Since you need to keep some room in your instant pot, for the steam and pressure to build, either you start cooking in batches or opting for a larger size.
A family of 4 can survive on 6-quart, but a 8-quart might just be a tad too much, causing much hassle instead of ease. If you host dinner parties every now and then, then a 8-quart instapot will serve you the best.
If you’re the person who spends Sunday making giant batches of food for the week and believe in surviving on leftovers afterwards, then this style of yours needs due consideration as well.
Instant pots are all about feasibility, therefore you need to be clear on your needs before for the best results. Hence, if you cook small volumes of food, then a 3-quart would be sufficient and if you are batch-cooker, then a 8-quart will save your day and (time).
You can not ignore your budget now, can you? First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room: Instapots can be expensive but they are a good investment with long term benefit, no doubt there
In case of instapots, you will notice that the price increases with the size. However, what you need to consider over here is the amount of work that the instant pot will reduce for you.
If you go for a 6-quart instapot, while you have to serve a family of 9 people, you can be sure of investing double time and resources, in the form cooking in batches. A 8-quart would serve you well, even with that hefty price tag.
The whole point of instant pots is to bring ease and based on your circumstances, the definition of ease changes.
For some, an instapot that can be stored, cleaned and moved around anywhere is feasibility, and in this case a 3-quart size would fit the best. Likewise for some, feasibility is about having to deal with variety of ingredients, without switching to pots and pans, making the 6-quart a ideal choice.
And just like that, if feasibility for you means an easy clean-up and storage, then you might want to leave the extra large 8-quart pot and invest in maybe two smaller sized pots. Because one thing is for sure, the day you start cooking in an instapot, you will fall in love with it!
For aiding even more understanding, here’s how the three sizes can be further simplified:
A 3-quart size is great for cooking side appetizers, or if you live alone, 6-quart is considered to be the average family size, making it a safe, dependable option, while the 8-quart is for bigger families or if you are into cooking for large gatherings.
While some instant pot models are pretty advanced in terms of their offerings, all of them offer a minimum of 6-basic features, which really revolutionize the whole cooking process.
For those of you that need a simpler pressure cooker with basic features and are comfortable being traditional, then the LUX, DUO and even DUO Plus are the best option out their. Some instant pot models offer a bit too much advancement and customization like the ULTRA and MAX model, while others take in a little techie approach- like the SMART model.
But two things are for sure- everyone must own an instant pot and there is a instant pot for anyone and everyone out there!
Like many professional chefs and cooks, we couldn’t keep ourselves from trying out the quickly becoming cult favorite Instant Pot and falling in love with it too. The ease, efficiency and elegance of the insta pot have all of us singing its praises and if you try it out, we’re pretty sure that you would agree with us too.
To give you an overview of how you can benefit from an Instant Pot, let’s go through some of its great features and functions.
Instant Pot is not your everyday, simple pressure cooker. It’s a whole cooking unit packing a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker and yogurt maker all in one. Never before have we had anything so multidimensional, except maybe a food processor but while that saves our precious preparation time, an electric Instant Pot saves you not only time but money for cooking with traditional utensils and tools. You can cook almost all kinds of recipes and don’t have to deal with the bulk of numerous utensils with this all in one, multifaceted beauty.
Because of these varied functionalities, insta pot is quickly becoming a favorite of all cooks, experienced and amateur. Statistics show it to have tripled its sales in the past couple of years and is quickly becoming a hot favorite kitchen tool.
The 2nd best feature about the Instant Pot after its multi-functionality is its safety focused design.
Designed with a number of built-in self-regulatory safety sensors, Instant Pot monitors its performance with impressive accuracy and takes steps to ensure that no accidents happen on its watch. Its temperature is always kept within a safe pre-set limit, and does not let you open the lid unless it’s free of all the steam. So all you have to do is plug it in, tap a button and it handles everything else by itself. As easy to use as a slow cooker, but without the hassle of manual check up every few minutes!
Gone are the days of slow cookers that would make us wait and salivate for countless hours before turning out that delicious, hard earned meal because Instant Pot is here. And we do not exaggerate when we call it instant pot because instead of taking up 2 days or even one whole day, we get to enjoy our supposedly slow cooked meal in a matter of just a few hours.
Keeping aside slow cooked meals, insta-pot can help you save time and energy by cooking every other meal, except maybe fresh vegetables, in lesser time and manual effort. Instant pot is a savior especially when you don’t have the time to defrost any frozen meat or vegetables. Just put your ingredients in the pot and go attend to your other chores – the Instant Pot will take care of the rest.
And in addition to savory meals, you can also make desserts, like cakes or soufflés, in the Instant Pot with ease. What could be better than being able to make dinner and dessert with the same item that also saves a ton of cooking time?
Second only to microwaves, Electric pressure cookers are extremely energy efficient kitchen appliances as well. There are 2 reasons behind this energy efficient behavior:
Compared to other cooking methods, such as baking, boiling, or steaming, pressure cooking can reduce your cook time & energy usage by 70%.
Another great benefit of using Instant Pot is the retaining of essential minerals and vitamins in your food, and consequently, eating a healthier meal. Boiling and regular steaming leech out any water-soluble vitamins from your food and decrease its nutritional value. Instant Pot, however, makes use of pressure cooking which cooks the food more evenly, more quickly and hence, helps retain up to 90% of those otherwise lost water-soluble vitamins.
Another great advantage of pressure cooking with insta pot is the elimination of many harmful bacteria from the food. A pressure cooking environment allows water to boil at a temperature higher than the normal 100o C, which in turn kills many germs and harmful bacteria that may affect our health later on.
Cooking in an Instant Pot will also help get rid of some natural toxins present in our food, like aflatoxins. A mold-based mycotoxin, Aflatoxin is formed within rice, wheat, corn, and beans when they are improperly stored and exposed to humidity. Simple boiling does not fully get rid of aflatoxins but since pressure cooking helps achieve higher boiling point of water, cooking such materials in an Instant Pot would mostly get rid of these toxins.
Since Instant Pot cooks food in an enclosed environment with less amounts of water than normal, the food gets to be more flavorful as it avoids oxidization from being exposed to air and direct heat. This also saturated food with steam and thus allows the ingredients to better retain their natural color and the resulting dish is much more aesthetically pleasing and colorful.
Instapots are definitely taking the kitchen appliances market by storm but that doesn’t mean it’s all good with no downsides. Where Instant Pots are great for slow cooked meals, frozen foods and delicious soups and broths, they are not the ideal choice for stir-fried dishes or crispy, crunchy vegetables, despite their sauté feature.
They also need time to heat up and build pressure before the food actually starts cooking and then time to release steam before the food can be taken out. The time it takes to prepare the Instant Pot before the actual cooking begins depends upon the freshness and frozen-ness of the ingredients. So keep in mind the preparation as well as the actual cooking time before you check upon your meal.
Another downside to the Instant Pot is the wearing out and absorption factor of its seals. So many people use different seals for different types of food to prevent early wearing out and transfer of one food’s smell into another.
But despite these downsides, the benefits and ease of using an Instant Pot are far more appealing.
So happy cooking to you all!
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