The 8 Best Instant Pots to Buy in 2018

Find the right fit for your household's needs

pioneer-woman-instant-pot
Courtesy of Instant Pot

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Electric pressure cookers existed long before the Instant Pot was created, but with a catchy name and a clever marketing plan, the Instant Pot took the fear out of pressure cooking and made the appliance almost as common as your mama’s slow cooker. Pressure cookers reduce cooking time, so tough meats, dried beans, and sturdy vegetables can be part of a weeknight meal in minutes. With the popularity of pressure cookers, there plenty of recipes for them, like cheesecakes, lasagna, easy-peel hard boiled eggs, soup stock, and perfect rice.

The standard cooking pots are made from stainless steel, which many users prefer over pots with nonstick coatings. However, there are replacement nonstick-coated pots available for those who prefer them. The product line has evolved from a single pressure cooker to several product families in different sizes. Whether you prefer the ease of pre-programmed functions or you prefer to set your own time and pressure for recipes, there’s something for everyone.

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  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Quart and 3 Quart Bundle

    Many people who buy an Instant Pot will buy a second one shortly after the first, once they realize how handy it is for quickly preparing meals. This bundle includes both the 6-quart DUO Plus and the 3-quart DUO Plus, so you can make the main dish in the large pressure cooker, and a side dish in the smaller cooker.

    Both cookers have the same blue LCD screen and the same programs: cake, egg, and sterilize, along with the original soup and broth, meat and stew, bean and chili, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, and pressure cook. The only difference between the two is the cooking capacity and the size of the appliance.

    While you can certainly buy these cookers separately, the bundle saves money over the individual purchases.

  • 02 of 08

    Best Budget: Instant Pot LUX60V3 6-Quart

    The Instant Pot LUX models are the most affordable of the product families, yet they’re loaded with features. Overall, the 6-quart models are the most popular, since they’re they're the perfect size to cook dinner for an average family.

    The LUX V3 includes a cake program and an egg program that were not on earlier models, as well as programs for soup and broth, meat and stew, sautéing, cooking rice, multigrain cooking, making porridge, and steaming. You can pressure cook up to four hours and slow cook with your own settings, and you can keep food warm for up to 10 hours. This has a 24-hour delayed start for food that can be safely kept at room temperature for that time.

    This comes with a stainless steel steaming rack, a rice paddle, a soup spoon, and a measuring cup.

  • 03 of 08

    Best for Singles: Instant Pot LUX Mini 3-Quart

    While most folks start with a larger pressure cooker, the mini version is often the second purchase, since it’s ideal for cooking side dishes while the main course is in the larger pot. Small, of course, is a relative term, since it can cook up to 6 cups of rice (12 cups cooked) using the included measuring cup.

    This small cooker is also great for singles or couples who prefer small quantities and fewer leftovers. It’s also fun for entertaining to make hot dips and sauces and keep them warm in the pot for serving. This has built-in programs for soup and broth, meat and steaming, cooking eggs, sautéing at three different temperatures, making rice, making porridge, and keeping warm. There are also buttons for pressure cooking and slow cooking with manual settings, as well as a keep-warm feature. You can pressure cook for up to 4 hours, and there is a 24-hour start delay so you can plan ahead and cook later for foods that can be kept at room temperature for that length of time. This includes a stainless steel steaming rack, a rice paddle, a soup spoon, and a measuring cup.

  • 04 of 08

    Best Decorative: Instant Pot Pioneer Woman LUX60 Breezy Blossoms 6 Qt 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

    pioneer-woman-instant-pot
    Courtesy of Instant Pot

    If your Instant Pot gets a lot of use during the week you might want to opt for a model that looks good out on the counter. The Pioneer Woman just debuted a new line of Instant Pots with Walmart that have a pretty floral design. This design comes in a 6-quart model so plenty of space to whip up stews and more and is still a 6-in-1 multi-cooker. It comes in two different designs—a more turquoise vintage floral pattern or this breezy cobalt style. Whatever you choose this Instant Pot is a must for any fans of Ree or Instant Pot in general.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best for Large Families on a Budget: Instant Pot LUX80 8 Quart

    The largest of the LUX line, this 8-quart cooker is great for large families. The large size also makes it easier to cook large roasts without cutting them to fit, and it’s great for the neighborhood chili cookoff, for making spaghetti sauce for the freezer, or for making stock from the cut-up turkey carcass. Aside from the size, this is very similar to the 6-quart LUX, so if you already have that model, it will be simple to operate this one without learning new functions. It has built-in programs for soup and broth, meat and steaming, cooking eggs, sautéing at three different temperatures, making rice, making porridge, and keeping warm. There are also buttons for pressure cooking and slow cooking with manual settings, as well as a keep-warm feature.

    You can pressure cook for up to 4 hours, and there is a 24-hour start delay so you can plan ahead and cook later for foods that can be kept at room temperature for that length of time. This includes a stainless steel steaming rack, a rice paddle, a soup spoon, and a measuring cup.

  • 06 of 08

    Best for Yogurt Making: Instant Pot DUO60 6 Quart

    The DUO line of Instant Pot pressure cookers includes one special button that many home users are enamored with—the yogurt button. While it’s fairly simple to make yogurt without a special appliance, the Instant Pot makes the process even easier, since it automatically keeps the yogurt culture at the proper temperature for incubation without any user intervention.

    This cooker has programs for soup and broth, meat and stew, beans and chili, poultry, sauté, steam, rice, porridge, multigrain, slow cook, keep warm, and yogurt. If you don’t want to use a program, you can choose two levels of pressure, three sauté temperatures, or three slow cook temperature. Cooking can be delayed for up to 24 hours, while manual cooking can be set for up to 2 hours. This comes with a stainless steel steam rack, a rice paddle, and a soup spoon.

  • 07 of 08

    Best for New Families: Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 6-Quart

    A new version of the original DUO, this has an updated look with a blue LCD screen, a more intuitive interface, and four status icons that show when cooking is in progress when pressure is selected, and whether keep-warm and sounds are on or off.

    This also has new programs: cake, egg, and sterilize, along with the original soup and broth, meat and stew, bean and chili, slow cook, sauté, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, yogurt, and pressure cook. The sterilize feature will be boon for busy moms who want to easily sterilize baby bottles, or it can be used for preparing canning jars or pasteurizing milk before making yogurt. The new cake programs ​produces moist cakes, while the egg program will give you perfectly cooked eggs that are easy to peel. This includes a steam rack, a serving spoon, a soup spoon, and a measuring cup.​

  • 08 of 08

    Best for Sous Vide: Instant Pot Ultra 8 Quart

    This Instant Pot works as a sous vide cooker by keeping the water at a specific temperature throughout the cooking time. The larger size gives more space for the food inside its sous vide bags, with enough water to keep the temperature steady.

    Another unique feature on this model is the ability to set your altitude. Recipes are usually written for people who live near sea level, so altitude-dwellers need to do some math and adjust the cooking time every time they cook. This Instant Pot makes adjustments unnecessary, since you simply set the altitude, and the cooker makes adjustments automatically.

    This cooker has a dial and a digital display, so you select the program and press to select pressure cooking, soups and broth, meat and stew, beans and chili, steam, slow cook, saute, warm, rice, porridge, multigrain, cake, egg, sterilize, and yogurt. The Ultra button lets you customize your cooking.

    The pressure settings and temperature are easy to see at a glance, along with whether the cooking delay, keep warm, or sound alerts are on or off. A new quick-release button for venting lets you manually pulse or continuously release steam, and it resets to sealing if the lid is opened and closed.

    The accessories included with this model are a steam rack, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup.