How to Choose an Instant Pot for Your THM Journey
As you all know I love my Instant Pots, it’s an amazing small appliance that I use more than once a day. Mamas ask “Which Instant Pot should I buy?” so often that I decided to write this blog post to help you decide. This can be confusing and the prices vary between models so here you’ll find the differences in the pots with simple easy to understand information.
This post may contain affiliate links to Amazon or other programs. I do earn a small commission from the sales made through these links; however your price never changes.
Why Should I Even Own an Instant Pot?
Not sure if you even want to invest in an Instant Pot multi-function pressure cooker. Here’s my reasons why I made that investment.
- Today’s pressure cookers are more fool proof and safer than those that your Mama used to use. They are quieter, have simple methods for locking and unlocking the lid and releasing the pressure. These new pressure cookers have built in safety features that allow excess pressure to escape safely. Instant Pot’s stainless steel liner and safety features were huge selling points for me.
- The Instant Pot has refined fast food. You can make roasts, stews and even cheesecake in less time using real whole foods that will nourish you family.They are versatile because you can steam eggs or veggies, cook rice, meats and stews, beans and grains, cook hard squash like butternut, acorn and spaghetti, and even slow cook.
- Your food will have more flavor because you use less water and the flavors it can’t escape the enclosed environment. The natural juices in your meats and stews stay put. And for these reasons it’s the ultimate small appliance for making stocks and broth.
- An Instant Pot will save you money because they cook in less time you use less energy. We are all budget minded and from a grocery standpoint you can save money since tougher cuts of meats and dry beans are less expensive and are ideal for pressure cooking. You can even make yogurt! It’s a great summertime appliance because it doesn’t heat up your kitchen since the heat stays trapped in the pot.
What Size Instant Pot Should I Buy?
This is the most asked question. I did quite a bit of research and many suggested 1 quart per person. The 6 quart models are very popular but if you can squeeze the extra cost into you budget an 8 quart may be a wiser investment for you. You can always make less food in a larger Instant Pot but not the other way around. There are a couple of guidelines you need to keep in mind with pressure cooking. Never fill your liner more than half (1/2) full when cooking expandable foods like beans, rice and grains. Never fill your liner more than two-thirds (2/3) when cooking under pressure.
Which Model Instant Pot Should I Buy?
Which model is the second most asked question and where it gets more involved. The Instant Pot has 5 current models varying in features and size. They are the DUO which comes in 3, 5, 6 and 8 quart sizes, the DUO 60 Plus comes in a 6 quart size, the LUX which comes in a 5 or 6 quart size, the Instant Pot Smart, DUO Ultra and the new DUO Mini. After the descriptions I will give you my top picks.
DUO60 (6 quart) or DUO80 (8 quart) Instant Pots
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker models come in two sizes – DUO60, 6 quart and DUO80, 8 quart. The DUO models have three features the LUX models do not have – a low pressure setting, yogurt setting and lid holding handles. The yogurt feature will pay for itself after making 4-5 batches of strained, on plan 0% Greek yogurt with skim milk. This feature is a deal breaker!
Instant Pot Duo is the number 1 selling multi-cooker. It combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Marker and Warmer, prepares dishes up to 70% faster to support your THM lifestyle. It features 14 Smart Programs, a stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot made with 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution. Accessories include, stainless steel steam rack with handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup, condensation collector, user manual with time tables and recipe booklet.
Instant Pot LUX60 Lux V3 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker Instant Pot with enhanced version including a cake and egg program in addition to the Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer. This model is also available in an 8 quart size – Instant Pot Lux80, 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker and Instant Pot Mini LUX, 3 Quart. They all feature 10 Smart Built-In Programs – Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Sauté, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, and Slow Cook, your favorite dishes are as easy as pressing a button. It has the latest 3rd generation microprocessor technology, up to 240 minutes pressure-cooking up to 24 hours delay start, automatic Keep Warm up to 10 hours, 3 temperatures in Sauté & Slow Cook. It comes with a stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot with 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution. UL and ULC certified, includes 10 safety mechanisms to provide users with assurance and confidence, designed to eliminate many common user errors. Accessories include, stainless steel steam rack without handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup, recipe booklet (English) with time tables and manual.
The LUX model does not have the yogurt making feature, low pressure setting or lid holding handles
Instant Pot Duo60 Plus, 6 Quart & 8 Quart
Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker is one of the new kids on the block in the #1 selling Multi-Cooker the Duo series. It’s also available now as Instant Pot DUO Plus, 8 quart, new in the winter of 2017. The 6 quart model, new in the spring of 2017, both have more custom features, improved usability and a large attractive and easy to read blue LCD screen. I love this pot because it has little icons that tell exactly what the pot is doing – heating, pressurized or keep warm. The Duo Plus is a 9 in 1 multi-function cooker replacing 9 common kitchen appliances including pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté, steamer, warmer, sterilizer and it makes cake too. It has 15 microprocessor controlled programs taking the guesswork out of your cooking. The inner liner is food grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel including the lid, the inner pot with 3-ply bottom and steam rack with handles. They are easy to clean and dishwasher safe. UL certified with 10 proven safety mechanisms gives you peace of mind. It’s highly Energy efficient, this kitchen friendly cooker emits no steam when cooking, contains all smells and automates your cooking. Accessories include – easier to read user manual, steam rack with handles, recipe booklet with time tables, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup.
Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth Multi-function Pressure Cooker, 6 Quart
The Instant Pot Smart Bluetooth Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is dubbed the Smart Pot. If you are geeky, techno kinda gal you will love the Bluetooth connectivity, easy to use interfaces to control and monitor cooking progress through graphics. Free app provides recipes and more – Cooking procedures can be written in recipe scripts to execute and share. It has 14 Smart Programs – Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Yogurt, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook; now, your favorite dishes are as easy as pressing a button. It includes a stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot made from food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution. The microprocessor monitors the pressure, temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration to achieve your desired results every time. Includes dual pressure (low/high), 3 temperatures for sauté and slow cook, and automatic keep warm. UL certified with 10 safety mechanisms designed to eliminate many common errors providing you with peace of mind. Accessories include – steam rack with handles, recipe booklet, serving spoon, soup spoon, measuring cup, and mini red mitts.
The Instant Pot Ultra – Smart Electric Pressure Cooker is the newest and latest pot on the block. It’s the next generation in kitchen appliances. A central dial with a simple turn and press provides added precision in program selection and adjustment. The new features include: altitude adjustment, cooking indicator, and a steam release reset button. The Ultra button provides custom programming. The new features include sterilize, cake and egg programs. It replaces 10 common kitchen appliances – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, saute/searing, steamer, warmer, and sterilizer. Developed with the latest 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor. The microprocessor monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration. UL certified with 11 safety features to provide peace of mind. New steam release reset button for safer handling. All components in contact with food are food grade 304 (18/8) Stainless Steel. Accessories included: steam rack (with handles), recipe booklet, serving Spoon, Soup Spoon, measuring cup and user manual.
Instant Pot DUO Mini, 3 Quart
Instant Pot Duo Mini is the ideal companion to the Instant Pot Duo. It still comes with all the great features of the DUO 60 and DUO 80 with 11 Smart Programmable digital controls – Rice, Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Sauté, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Yogurt, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook
It’s perfect for smaller families or to make a small dish for two, side dish or while traveling such as camping, traveling by RV, boating, sailing, hotel excursions Cooks up to 12 Cups of rice (Cooked), 6 Cups of rice (uncooked). Accessories include: Rice measuring cup, stainless steel steam rack without handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, condensation collector and recipe booklet. And includes a stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot, food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom dishwasher safe.
Up to 24 hour delay start, automatic Keep Warm up to 10 hours, and sound ON/OFF
Note: The Instant Pot Duo Mini max capacity is 6 cups uncooked rice (12 cups cooked), please use the rice measuring cup that comes with the Duo Mini.
Which Instant Pots are My Favorites?
I thought I was truly in love with my Instant Pot DUO60 but that love has been replaced with both the DUO60 Plus and the Instant Pot DUO60 Ultra. I have been using my DUO60 for over 2 years and it has been a true blessing. I bought it on a whim during the Cyber Monday sale and at first I was a bit intimidated but it quickly become my best friend in the kitchen for meals and meal prep. The DUO60 Plus is a dream with an easier to read control panel and the user manual is easier for beginners. But the Instant Pot DUO60 Ultra is the ultimate dream machine with temperature controls, altitude adjustment and easy to read operation panel. It is allowing me to expand my cooking adventures every day.
I do love the DUO Mini. It’s great for cooking rice and sides. It is the perfect sized pot for a single person or a couple. It’s great for traveling since it has a smaller footprint and fits nicely into a camper or RV kitchen. It will make process 2 quarts of skim milk yielding approximately a quart of Greek yogurt.
I highly suggest any larger DUO model because it will pay for itself when making 0% Greek yogurt. You can make 2 quarts of Greek yogurt for less than $3.00 and yes that’s for 2 quarts not one. If you are an adventurous cook that wants to expand her cooking horizons and your budget will allow go for the DUO 60 Ultra!