Adds air frying to your Instant Pot
Handle for easy lifting
Can cost as much as an Instant Pot
Not compatible with all models
Small fryer basket
We purchased the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Although Instant Pots are already multi-function appliances, the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid adds one more: It turns your pressure cooker into an air fryer. We were curious if the lid would work as well as a standalone air fryer, and whether it would be a worthwhile addition to the Instant Pot accessory collection.
Setup Process: Set it on top and go
To operate the air fryer lid, it just needs to be placed on top of the Instant Pot and plugged in. The air fryer plug has a shield affixed to it that makes it impossible to plug it into an outlet next to another plug. This offers some protection from overloading a circuit, but it’s still possible if there are other outlets on the same circuit and they’re being used.
Design: It’s a hat
The Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid reminded us of a funny hat on top of an Instant Pot. It adds quite a bit of height to the complete unit, but it’s still short enough to slide under upper kitchen cabinets for storage. The controls are on top of the unit, which we found comfortable when the Instant Pot was placed on a standard-height counter.
The controls are simple and should be familiar to anyone who has an Instant Pot. Start and cancel buttons are obvious, and the programs include air fry, broil, bake, roast, reheat, and dehydrate. Pressing those programs offers a default time and temperature, while plus and minus buttons allow adjustments for some of the programs. The lid also makes sounds that Instant Pot owners will find familiar.
The lid doesn’t twist on, but simply sits on top of the pressure cooker body. However, it has to fit properly for it to sense that it’s okay to heat up. Because of that, it’s not compatible with all models (more on that below). A handle on top flips up to make it easy to move the lid and flips down when not in use.
The lid comes with a pad that the lid can be placed on. This protected our counter from the heat of the fryer lid, but we were surprised that the pad was made from hard plastic. It seemed undamaged after a lot of use, though. The pad can be reversed to twist onto the lid, keeping the heating element safe from damage in storage.
It’s probably going to be most useful for small servings, individual portions, and snacks.
The included fryer basket has small wire side handles for lifting it and a removable base that keeps it off the bottom of the pot. Because it needs to fit into the Instant Pot’s inner pot with room around for air circulation, the basket isn’t very large. It’s probably going to be most useful for small servings, individual portions, and snacks.
The broiler/dehydrating tray fits into the basket and has two larger holes that are perfect for inserting a finger and thumb to place the tray in the frying basket. When it’s time to remove the basket, it’s a little trickier, since it’s hot and food might be covering the holes. We used a pair of tongs with very narrow ends that nudged the food away and fit into the holes for lifting.
The manual notes that the broiling tray shouldn’t be used for pressure cooking but doesn’t mention that restriction for the fryer basket. We liked using the basket for pressure steaming potato wedges for 8 minutes, then air frying them to brown and crisp them. It took about 20 minutes, but it was worth the wait. They were crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Aside from different temperature ranges for each program, it’s hard to say exactly what the differences are. We tested one program at a time and listened to the fan, and it sounded similar for each program with the exception of the dehydrate setting when the fan sounded less powerful. Since the lid automatically turns off when it’s lifted from the pressure cooker, there might be differences we couldn’t hear.
We liked using the basket for pressure steaming potato wedges for 8 minutes, then air frying them to brown and crisp them.
Performance: It fries
While the fryer’s settings should be compatible with most recipes, when we wanted to roast some vegetables at 450 degrees, we found that the maximum temperature on any of the modes was 400 degrees. Since the circulating air improves the heating performance, we went ahead with the recipe and it worked well despite cooking at a lower temperature than recommended.
On the low side of the temperature scale is the dehydrate mode, which can go as low as 105 degrees. However, the fryer basket—even using the tray to cook on two levels—wouldn’t hold more than a handful of fruit slices so we weren’t fond of this feature.
We used the reheat setting to warm up leftover chicken and vegetables using the broiler tray. While it worked well, we only had room for a single serving. Taking the food out of the hot pot wasn’t very neat. We ended up turning the frying basket over onto a plate, and the food spilled out with the tray following. It wasn’t a pretty presentation, but our lunch was nicely warm. Because of the holes in the broiler tray, it wouldn’t be useful for reheating small foods like rice, and sauces would drain away. It’s also a lot to clean for reheating a single plate of food.
We used the broiler tray and broiler for cheese-topped chicken sandwiches on bagel halves. While the sandwiches were nicely warmed and the cheese melted well, our creations were too tall when they were perched on the broiler tray, so a bit of cheese touched the heating element. The cheese came off the element easily once it cooled, but next time we’ll pay more attention to food height. As far as width, we had to squish the two bagel halves a bit to make them fit side-by-side. A third half wouldn’t have fit.
The tray came in handy for double-layered cooking, when we cooked some breaded frozen fish filets on the top of the tray with some leftover potatoes warming below. About halfway through the cooking time, when the “turn over” message appeared, we were skeptical that the fish would do well. When cooking time was over, they were nicely crisp, so we shouldn’t have worried.
When we made chicken wings, slightly more than a pound filled the bottom of the fryer basket. After 25 minutes, the wings were done, but not browned. We removed them from the fryer basket, inserted the broiler tray, and air fried for an additional 5 minutes. Cooking more than a pound would require shaking the basket during the air frying to get all the wings cooked evenly and browned. We’re not sure it would be worth the trouble for more than a few pounds, although we did like the result.
The bake option isn’t as intuitive as the other programs. A chart in the included booklet said the air fryer basket should be used for baking, with the food under the broiler rack. It makes sense since hot air blowing strongly on a cake probably isn’t good, and the rack would provide a baffle. One problem we had with baking was finding a suitably small baking pan and finding a recipe to fit the pan. We ended up using a 6-inch springform pan that was about the largest possible choice, and we baked cornbread from a box mix. The cornbread baked well, but it’s doubtful we’d be baking cakes in this unless it was our last option.
The tray came in handy for double-layered cooking, when we cooked some breaded frozen fish filets on the top of the tray with some leftover potatoes warming below.
We wanted to bake bread pudding in a favorite little casserole dish, but it didn’t fit in the frying basket, so we used a rack we had with the broiler tray right on top of our casserole. The baking went well, but if our bread pudding had risen any further it would have stuck to the broiler tray. Later, we baked three cookies that were just about perfect, but we had to be very patient when they were done, so they could cool enough for removal.
Features: Multiple defaults
The programs start with a default time and temperature, but they can be adjusted. Those new settings are saved unless they’re purposely set back to the default. We liked that we could make a second batch of chicken wings without having to look up the time and temperature.
Halfway through cooking, the lid beeps and “turn food” appears on the display as a reminder to flip the food or shake the basket for more even cooking. If the lid isn’t lifted, cooking continues after 10 seconds.
One thing we found missing was recipes for air frying, and the Instant Pot app was similarly lacking. Air fryer recipes can be found online, but it would have been nice to have tested recipes that showcased the cooking modes.
Compatibility: Not all models
The fryer lid is compatible with the 6-quart Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Viva, Nova Plus, Ultra, and Duo Nova models, including those models that come in different colors.
It is not compatible with the Smart WiFi 60, Duo Evo Plus 6, Duo Evo Plus 60, Duo SV 60, or Max 60. It also is not compatible with 3-quart or 8-quart Instant Pots or with electric pressure cookers made by other companies. In addition, it should only be used with stainless steel inner pots, and not with ceramic nonstick coated inner pots.
The fryer basket and base, the broiler tray, and the protective pad are dishwasher safe. The fryer lid should be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Price: Reasonable and space-saving
The air fryer lid costs about as much as some Instant Pots, which makes it one of the most expensive accessories you’ll find. It’s also as expensive as some air fryers, but it doesn’t take as much storage space. If you already have a compatible Instant Pot, it’s a good deal.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid vs. Instant Pot 8-Quart Duo Crisp 11-in-1
While we had fun with the air fryer lid we tested, the small capacity might be an issue for some households. The Instant Pot 8-Quart Duo Crisp 11-in-1 (view on Amazon) is another Instant Pot option that offers more cooking capacity and might cost less than the separate purchase of a 6-quart Instant Pot and fryer lid. Anyone who needs a new (or another) Instant Pot might want to take a look at the Duo Crisp. For those who already have a compatible 6-quart lid and who don’t mind the smaller capacity, we liked the way the fryer lid performed.
- Product Name Air Fryer Lid
- Product Brand Instant Pot
- UPC 857561008828
- Price $79.95
- Weight 5.95 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.7 x 11.6 x 6.1 in.
- Power 1500 W
- Warranty 1 year
- What’s Included Fryer basket, broiling/dehydrating rack, protective pad