The best Instant Pot offers a multitude of cooking methods in one appliance, which can help ensure your kitchen countertop isn’t cluttered with cooking appliances. As well as being a versatile appliance, the best Instant Pot can also speed up the time it takes to prepare an array of different dishes.
Instant Pots, along with other models of multi-cooker on the market, utilize steam during cooking, so it takes far less time than when using traditional methods of cooking. So you can wow your friends and family without spending hours slaving over a hot stove.
An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, but it can also be used to slow cook, saute, cook rice, and even make yogurt. Some models even offer the ability to air fry, roast, and grill thanks to an additional lid, so you may not need to invest in one of the best air fryers to enjoy crunchy, crisp fries.
Instant pot can be used to prepare a wide range of dishes from stews, curries, and chilies to vegetables and rice. You can even cook hard-boiled eggs in an Instant Pot. It’s also important to know how to clean an Instant Pot to ensure it’s as efficient and fast as possible during cooking.
Instant Pots are often discounted during Black Friday and Cyber Monday – we saw discounts of between 30% to 50% on an array of different models last year. If you’re looking to grab these multi-cookers for the lowest price possible, keep an eye on our best Black Friday Instant Pot deals round-up, where we’ll be pinpointing the best savings as soon as they drop.
While there’s a number of Instant Pot models to choose from, as we’ve already mentioned there are other brands including Ninja and Breville, which also offer coffee makers and blenders, along with Crock-Pot, which is known for its range of slow-cookers, that also have multi-cooker designs. With so much choice, deciding on the right Instant Pot for you won’t be easy.
So, we’ve put a selection to the test, preparing a range of dishes including curry, chili, and rice, while also steaming vegetables to discover the best Instant Pot for 2021.
The best Instant Pot and multi-cooker of 2021 we’ve tested
How we test Instant Pots?
What to consider when buying an Instant Pot
With such a wide array of models available when it comes to Instant Pots and multi-cookers, choosing the right one for you can be a confusing.
Start by considering the different cooking methods offered by the best Instant Pots and multi-cookers, and the dishes you prepare most. While some offer a handful of cooking modes including pressure cooking and slow cooking, others including the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus have as many as 48 different ways of cooking and can do everything including proving bread and making yogurt.
Next look at the capacity the Instant Pot can hold and whether it’s sufficient for the number of people you have to cook for. Multi-cookers with a 6 quart / 5.7 liter capacity and above are ideal for those with a large family to feed, or those that want to batch-cook, while a smaller Instant Pot that can hold around 3.2 quarts / 3 liters should suffice for an individual or couple.
On top of that, look out for Instant Pots and multi-cookers that have inner pots that can be used on the stove, when browning meat before slow cooking and are dishwasher safe to make sure you have as few utensils to wash-up as possible.
Is an Instant Pot really worth it?
There’s no denying an Instant Pot is a great kitchen appliance but you may be wondering if it’s really worth it? Or will it simply end up as another kitchen gadget that languishes on your countertop gathering dust.
It’s important to remember that while Instant Pots offer a multitude of cooking methods, many of which mean you no longer need to use an oven or a hob, they can’t cook everything. For example, they’re not an option if you regularly prepare pasta, noodles or stir frys. And while some do come with lids that can air fry, we found making fries in an Instant Pot wasn’t as good as using one of the best air fryers.
At the same time, you can’t just pop the lid off and check the dish you’re cooking, as you would when using the hob, the oven or a slow cooker. You’ll need to release the pressure, effectively stopping cooking, and detach the lid. Then if the dish isn’t ready, you’ll need to start cooking again.
Similarly, an Instant Pot can certainly shave a few hours off cooking stews, ribs and other dishes that usually take the best part of a day to cook, however with dishes like rice or steaming vegetables the time saving is minimal, which may mean an Instant Pot isn’t worth the investment.
However, if you’re looking to save space in your kitchen by replacing several gadgets with just one, or you are looking to broaden the repertoire of dishes you cook, without having to research and learn new cooking skills, an Instant Pot will more than prove useful.
What can I cook in an Instant Pot?
The best Instant Pots offer a range of different cooking methods, which means there’s a plethora of different dishes that can be created in Instant Pots and multi-cookers. Slow cooking means you can use cheaper but tougher cuts of meat and cook them low and slow to make casseroles and stews, while pressure cooking speeds up cooking times, making it great for ribs and chicken wings. However, you can even bake cakes, air fry foods like fries, and even cook hard-boiled eggs in an Instant Pot. You can find an extensive variety of recipes at instantpot.com.