This is a detailed review of the instant pot duo model. If you want to see a comparison of the different instant models, please read our instant pot comparison guide.
While there are several pressure cookers available in the market that claim to offer a wide range of programs, Instant Pot has taken this kitchen device a step further by introducing their next-generation electric cookers that work both as pressure cooker and slow cooker. These means that you can pressure cook, steam, sauté, slow cook, and choose from 14 different programs to prepare all your favorite dishes. If you’re into cooking, then you might have heard about the amazing multi-purpose Instant Pot Duo and how this electric cooker works as a 7-in-1 cooking device, integrating functions of seven appliances into one – slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, sauté pan, warming pot, and a steamer.
And if you are still reading, you’re probably planning to buy one for yourself. But one important question before taking this decision is: Is the Instant Pot Duo cooker a good purchase? If you’re having this confusion, then continue reading. This article will list down all the pros & cons of owning one. But before we move on to that, let’s have a look at the features and functions that the Instant Pot Duo comes with.
Instant Pot Duo Features
The instant pot Duo is designed to replace seven kitchen devices – slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, warmer and yogurt maker. Moreover, it comes with 14 built-in programs, which are Meat/stew, Soup, Bean/chili, Steam, Sauté, Poultry, Rice, Fermented Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Pasteurize, Yogurt, Slow Cook and Keep-Warm. All these programs give you the potential to prepare a wide array of dishes without needing a separate rice cooker or yogurt maker. Unlike many other slow cookers, it is safe to keep food warm in instant pot Duo until it’s ready to serve. This option isn’t available in cheaper models.
The Instant Pot Duo comes in four sizes – 3, 5, 6 & 8-quart. Among these, 6-quart is the most commonly used size of the cooker and is ideal for batch cooking. Note here that pressure cookers have very strict maximum capacities and you will need to add enough amount of liquid in the beginning to ensure that your food doesn’t burn. So you may want to start with a bigger cooker than you are accustomed to. In this way you can fill the pot with the right amount of liquid and have multiple portions of food by the end of the cooking process.
Moreover, instant pot Duo has very compact design, and it’s quite easy to use its different programs once you have read the safety guidelines thoroughly. It also comes with a timer which is very useful – you can leave the kitchen and do other things and know the exact time when you will be needed back there. The instant pot Duo’s lid makes a beep when you open or close it, and you can hear it beeping even from another room when it finishes a function.
The Instant Pot Duo has the ability to speed up the cooking process by up to seven times. The recipes that take several hours on a traditional oven or stove can be cooked within minutes in an instant pot Duo. Also, when you prepare soups and stocks in Duo, they achieve a very velvety consistency which you might never be able to reach with stovetop techniques.
Another great feature to note in instant pot Duo is that it retains heat and pressure well, which is why it requires less electricity to operate as compared to oven or stove. This electric multi-cooker claims to use up to 70% less energy than conventional cooking appliances. What we appreciate most about this Instant Pot is the variety of new recipes you can easily try in it.
Also, it doesn’t only speed things up but also allows you to delay the time when the cooking process will be started. With its 24-hour timer, you can set the time when you want the cooking to begin, and then leave for work or do whatever you want to. And by the time you will reach back home, your dinner will be ready. It also has a keep-warm feature which holds the temperature of your cooked food until it’s time to serve it for up to ten hours.
This instant pot is extremely easy to use, so even a reluctant cook can work their way around the wide range of cooking programs, and also with regulated temperatures at each step. This is where you will see the “set and forget” benefit of Instant Pot Duo. Its sauté setting is also very useful as it helps you save on washing up. Every step happens in the pan, and the food is ready to be served.
However, instant pot Duo does have a few downsides when it comes to performance. For example, once you have selected the programs and it’s underway, there is no way you can check the seasoning or add more liquid to stop the food from burning. This is why it is recommended to add extra liquid in the beginning of the cooking process. Some people find it quite counterintuitive as the reins have to be handed over to the instant pot. But once you’ve cooked in Instant Pot Duo a couple of times, you’ll see that its benefits outdo its downsides.
Lastly, if you’re an impatient cook, one aspect to remember when pressure cooking is that the pot will lock in your food and the lid can only be removed once the pressure in the pot has reduced. Also, keep in mind that the higher the pressure you cook at, the longer it will take to decompress the pressure. So although the instant pot may prepare your food within10 minutes, it could easily take 15-20 extra minutes to reduce the pressure built inside the pot. Waiting during that time is a safety mechanism, and is therefore strongly recommended.
Ease of Use
This 7-in-1 electric multi-cooker is all you will ever need for your kitchen. It is extremely versatile and comes with various cooking programs. It not only works as a pressure cooker but also as a slow cooker and rice cooker. This amazing instant pot basically does it all – steaming, sautéing, yogurt making, keeping food warm for several hours and much more.
Although most of the electric cookers available today come with nonstick coating but the Instant Pot Duo is coated with stainless steel. People usually don’t prefer cooking devices with nonstick coating because of the chemicals in it that can get into the food and turn their healthy meal into an unhealthy one. Therefore, many people choose cooking appliances that have stainless steel coating.
Even though it is a stainless steel unit, Instant Pot Duo is very easy to clean, and even easier to use. It basically comes with plug-and-play features and offers one-button convenience which helps you set the presets for every kind of dishes. And the best thing is, once the pot is done cooking, it will automatically go into Keep Warm mode. Instant Pot Duo also has a steam rack insert which comes with handles for easy and safe removal.
It has a large display panel with easy-to-read icons. It also shows the pressure level you’re cooking at, and what program you are currently using. There is one more feature that makes using this Instant Pot a breeze. The smart programs in this cooker remember the last three customizations you’ve made. In this way, they help you to easily recall your cooking preferences.
Safety and Durability
Instant Pot Duo is one of the most efficient and durable pressure cookers available in the market today. Most of the people who own this instant pot are indeed fascinated with its performance and durability and hardly any complaints have been reported against it.
So what makes this Instant Pot so durable and sturdy? It is basically its 3ply stainless steel inner pot. As mentioned before, stainless steel inner pot is not a common feature in electric pressure cookers as most of them come with non-stick coating that enables the harmful chemicals to easily penetrate in your food. Instant Pot Duo is one of the safest pressure cookers available in the market today. It is UC & ULC certified with 10 proven safety mechanisms to ensure safe cooking. Moreover, it comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
Pros of Instant Pot Duo
- It is a 7-in-1 pressure cooker. This means that it does everything you do with seven other kitchen appliances: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, warmer, steamer, and yogurt maker. Once you get your hands on this instant pot, you can then clear the clutter from your kitchen counters and do everything with just one device.
- No matter how big your family is, or how huge the quantity of you meals need to be, this instant pot has the perfect size for you. When preparing food for 1-2 people, the 3-quart mini Duo will work best for you. For 5-6 family members, you can go for the standard 6-quart model and for larger families, get-togethers, or full-week meals prep the bigger 8-quart Duo is the best choice.
- Instant Pot Duo uses last 3rd gen technology and comes with an advanced microprocessor that monitors temperature and pressure, keeps time, and adjusts heating duration and intensity accordingly. It even takes the volume of the food into consideration, making sure that your dishes turn out perfect, every single time.
- Its smart programs’ presets let you “set and forget”, allowing you to do other work without worrying about your food getting burned, while the Duo cooks your lunch quickly and safely with minimal mess.
- The sealed lid of this pressure cooker makes no noise, does not give off any heat, and produces no smell. It basically traps all the aromas in the pot without heating up the surrounding. Moreover, its durable 3ply stainless steel inner pot eliminates all health concerns linked with nonstick coating. It has a brushed stainless steel exterior too which is fingerprint resistant.
Cons of Instant Pot Duo
- This kitchen appliance may be known as a multi-purpose cooker, but mastering all its programs and features, and reading its user manual can take you some time. If compared to your old traditional pressure cooker, learning how to operate this instant pot correctly can be a quite steep learning curve.
- Although this instant pot can cook your meals fast and saves space by replacing 7 appliances, it can also take up some much-needed counter space in your kitchen, especially when you have a relatively smaller kitchen area.
- Its user manual is a bit difficult to understand, but you don’t really need it as all the information is available over the internet. Even for recipes, you can just google “pressure cooker recipes” and you’ll get all the help you need.
Should You Buy Instant Pot Duo?
The reason why Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 multi-purpose electric cooker is the leading bestseller in the market today is because of the amazing results it produces being a pressure cooker. Not just that but it also works as a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, yogurt maker and a lot more. It comes with 14 built-in programs that allow you to cook literally everything in the instant pot. Another reason to buy this cooker is its 3ply stainless steel cooking pot which ensures that your meals are healthy and chemical-free.
Instant Pot Duo works as an all-rounder in your kitchen. It is a great appliance, especially for those home cooks who stock up their freezers, have frequent gatherings at their place, and want to get it all done with minimal mess and cleaning up.
Moreover, the Instant Pot Duo is not very expensive, however it’s not that reasonable too. But when you look at how many appliances it replaces, you’ll realize that it’s definitely worth the investment. The wide-array of programs and cooking options it offers further justify the extra spend.