Remembers previous settings
Three temperature levels
Precise temperature control
Comes with minimal accessories
Difficult to see the pressure valve
Think electric pressure cookers and the words Instant Pot instantly (no pun intended) come to mind. The brand was one of the first to bring electric pressure cookers with smart programming to market, way back in 2010. Now, even as many more brands join the fray with their own versions, Instant Pot is still synonymous with the entire category—and for good reason.
Instant Pot leads the pack, always improving and adding features to each new model while most other brands follow in its footsteps. But even though fancier models steal the spotlight, the Duo 60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker remains Instant Pot’s bestseller year after year.
With a bit more functionality than the cheaper Lux series (including the yogurt function), but not as many features as the more expensive Duo Plus, Max, and Ultra series, it hits the sweet spot for consumers who want a good number of options with a budget-friendly price. We put the 6-quart version os this stalwart to the test over the course of several weeks, cooking upwards of a dozen recipes and using all the functions. Does it still deserve its bestseller status? Read on to find out how it performed.
Performance: Precise and reliable
The Instant Pot Duo is proud to proclaim it’s a “7-in-1” appliance, featuring the following functions: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer. The device has its temperature and pressure sensors dialed in, resulting in precise results when cooking. We tested the yogurt function on several occasions, and the pot always stopped its initial heating phase when the milk temperature reached exactly 180 degrees. We never had to click on the sauté button to get it to reach the optimal temperature.
We also tested its ability to slow cook, making chili with dried pinto beans and beef chuck, and soup with a ham hock and dried cannellini beans. It always produced tender beans and meat in four hours on high.
The steamer function on most multi-cookers isn’t really “steaming” as much as pressure-cooking. The Instant Pot website says the program is designed so that the “heating intensity is fast and steep,” likely so that the contents of the pot get under pressure as quickly as possible so they don’t overcook while the pot preheats.
This Instant Pot has its temperature and pressure sensors dialed in, resulting in precise results when cooking.
We tested Instant Pot’s speed versus two other brands. To each pot, we added 1 cup of water, a steamer rack, and 4 ounces of carrots cut ¾-inch thick; we set each pot to steam for one minute on “normal” (Instant Pot) or “medium” (another brand). It took an extra 30 seconds for the Instant Pot to come to pressure than the other two brands, and as a result, the carrots were a bit softer and more cooked. We also noted that this was the same amount of time (4.5 minutes) it took for the pot to come under pressure when using manual pressure mode to make 1 cup of brown rice. This made us wonder: Is the steam program even any different?
In the end, it probably doesn’t matter since most of the time we used the pressure cook button to manually program the device. The recipes we were using were written for manual pressure mode anyway. (In fact, most recipes are.) Using manual pressure, we cooked a wide variety of dishes, including hard-cooked eggs, steel-cut oats, dried chickpea stew, mushroom risotto, lentils and sausages, bread pudding, salmon, and bone broth. Each recipe turned out delicious and perfectly cooked.
When sautéing, we loved how the Instant Pot had three temperatures to choose from: less, normal, and more. While words like “normal” and “more” are a bit confusing when it comes to cooking, it became very clear these translated into low, medium, and high. Low really was quite low, and great for reducing the heat when “medium” or “more” was getting a little intense. “Normal” worked best for sautéing onions and garlic, while “more” was best at searing meat and mushrooms.
When sautéing, we loved how the Instant Pot had three temperatures to choose from: less, normal, and more.
To test how well the Instant Pot handles problems, we made a recipe designed for use in electric pressure cookers that we knew was slightly flawed because it doesn’t call for enough liquid for the pot to come to pressure. Other multi-cookers didn’t handle this dish well. In one, the countdown started even though the pot hadn’t come to pressure, resulting in raw meat when it was “done.” In another cooker, we were supposed to get an error code, but we could smell that it was burning and no code ever appeared. In the Instant Pot, though, we got the promised “burn” message before any damage could be done, which allowed us to remove the lid, add liquid, and start again without losing our meal.
Design: The standard-bearer
This cooker features Instant Pot’s most iconic design. The large stainless steel pot with a black lid and touchpad with red LED display has been around for years and photographed countless times. Newer models with more features have sleeker blue LCD displays with progress charts and even a dial as well as buttons, but this best-selling model sticks to its old-school roots.
This simple design may not be the most attractive, but it works. Still, we have noticed brands that feature white type on black buttons rather than black type on silver buttons are easier to read. And the color-coded outlines on the Pressure Level, Delay Start, Keep Warm, and Cancel buttons barely make a difference.
Our biggest quibble with Instant Pot’s design relates to its lid. The pressure float valve in the lid is silver, and when the pot comes to pressure it only rises enough to be flush with the surface of the lid. As a result, it’s not that easy to tell from across the room when the pot has naturally released its pressure. The lid is also consistently tricky to put in place. It never seemed to want to go on right the first time, and the whole time we were rejiggering it to fit, it would make annoying musical notes. The musical notes should alert you that the lid is on correctly, but it gets triggered no matter how badly we put the lid on, so what’s the point?
Speaking of annoying sounds, the pot makes 10 loud beeps when it’s done. There’s an option to turn the sound off by pressing and holding the “-” button for three seconds, but we wanted at least some audio alert when our food was ready—just not one that was so incessant.
All that being said, one thing we liked about the lid is that it has two side handles designed to fit into slits in the handles of the pot, allowing the pot itself to function as a lid holder. This was handy when the kitchen counter didn’t have room to set the lid down.
Features: Customizable options
The appliance offers 14 pre-set “Smart Program” buttons: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Rice, Sauté/Simmer, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurization, and Pressure Cook.
These buttons are designed for specific ingredients or dishes and require frequent consultation with the manual to decide which cooking level (less, normal, or more) must be used. For example, it’s not recommended to cook brown rice with the rice program. Instead, it works best with the Multigrain program, which adds a soaking period to the cook time. The soup button is designed to bring the contents to pressure slowly, resulting in clearer soups. And as we said before, the steam button brings the contents to pressure fast.
These programs are interesting innovations, but just like those in other multi-cookers we’ve tried, they mostly feel a bit gimmicky because manual pressure generally works just as well. For example, we cooked brown rice both ways, using the multigrain button and the manual pressure cook. Both methods cooked the rice under high pressure for 20 minutes, and the results were pretty much identical, but the manual mode was much faster since it came to pressure in just over four minutes versus 16 minutes on the multigrain setting. The multigrain setting also caused a lot of steam to spew from the release valve in its first couple minutes at pressure, perhaps because the program undergoes more complex calibrations.
The programs are interesting innovations, but just like those in other multi-cookers we’ve tried, they mostly feel a bit gimmicky.
The yogurt function is the one program that we really found useful. Since the process for making it is always the same, the default times and temperatures don’t need to be changed. It’s truly a one-touch operation. It’s worth noting that the yogurt program even has a 24-hour option specifically designed for making a Chinese fermented rice dessert called Jiujiang, which shows how the Instant Pot aims to be useful for all cuisines.
One benefit to the program buttons? They’ll remember your last settings, so if you learn to use them without always having to consult the manual and cook the same things repeatedly, they’ll become a one-touch feature. Also, you can clear the settings and revert back to the default program by pressing and holding that program’s button. Or press and hold the cancel button, and all the programs will revert back to the factory default settings.
The keep warm button works well for maintaining serving temperature for cooked dishes; it’ll stay on up to 10 hours. It automatically turns on when you start cooking, but you can turn it off so that when you need the pressure to come down naturally, the keep warm function won’t slow the process.
The delay start comes in handy if you want to get your dish prepped and ready but don’t want it to start cooking quite yet. We loved this feature for preparing oatmeal the night before so it was ready when we woke up. The Instant Pot allowed us to delay cooking by 10 minutes up to 24 hours. However, we can’t think of a time when we’d want our food sitting in the pot for 24 hours before cooking—certainly not if we were cooking anything with meat or dairy.
Accessories: Best ones sold separately
Like most multi-cookers, the Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1 comes with a plastic rice paddle, small plastic ladle, condensation catcher, and a steamer rack. The rack has handles to make it easier to lift and lower it into the pot. However, its feet are so short (just ¾-inch off the ground) that it can be a problem unless you have a small amount of liquid. One recipe we made required steaming sausages on the rack over a bed of lentils, and we noticed the rack nestled into the lentils rather than stood above. In the end, it didn’t compromise the dish, but we wished the rack was a little higher.
Although the Instant Pot Duo didn’t come with a lot of accessories, the company sells a wide range of options online, including a ceramic nonstick cook pot, glass lid, silicone cake pan, loaf pan, steamer basket, pot grippers, yogurt cups, and color-coded gaskets.
Resources: Manual, cookbook, and app
We were very impressed with the level of detail in the full-color user manual. It was very informative and even listed the psi for each pressure level and the temperatures equivalents for the less, normal, and more sauté functions. Of all the brands we tested, Instant Pot had the clearest explanation of how its pre-set programs work.
The recipe booklet, on the other hand, was a little less impressive. The photos accompanying the recipes weren’t very attractive, and it was clear the recipes weren’t designed for that particular Instant Pot (some even had instructions for stovetop pressure cookers). The Instant Pot app also has more than 1,000 recipes to choose from, but none seemed particularly appealing.
Cleaning: As easy as it gets
We already assumed the stainless steel pot, steamer rack, plastic tools, and silicone ring were all dishwasher safe, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out the entire lid can go in the dishwasher, too. Cleanup can’t get any faster than that. The only thing that can’t go in the dishwasher or get immersed in water is the base, since it contains electrical components.
Price: Affordable and often discounted
According to the list price, the 6-quart Duo 60 7-in-1 retails for $99, but it’s frequently on sale for $69.99 to $79.99 instead. This puts it closer in price to budget-friendly brands like Crock-Pot, which sells a similar cooker for $69.99. And when this model of Instant Pot goes on deep discount thanks to events like Black Friday or Amazon Prime Day, it’s entirely possible to buy one for as low as $59.
Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker vs. Crock-Pot® 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker
We tested both the Duo 60 7-in-1 and the Crock-Pot Multi-Cooker, which both retail for about $70. Both have nearly the same set of pre-programmed functions, but Crock-Pot doesn’t remember your last settings. Crock-Pot adds a “Dessert” button, but this is hardly a bonus since these programs tend to be less helpful than they seem. It’s usually far easier to just program the appliance manually.
Oddly enough, the Express Pot doesn’t have a manual pressure button, and the one truly useful program, yogurt, isn’t as hands-off as Instant Pot’s. In addition, it only comes with a nonstick cookpot, with no stainless steel option. However, in terms of ability to slow cook and pressure cook efficiently, both perform the same.
It’s a can’t-miss classic.
The Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker is a solid performer, offering impressive temperature control and smart functionality in an easy-to-use package. You can’t go wrong with this model, which combines the proven performance of the iconic Instant Pot brand with an affordable price tag.
- Product Name Duo 60 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker
- Product Brand Instant Pot
- Price $99.95
- Weight 11.8 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 13.39 x 12.21 x 12.48 in.
- What’s Included Instant Pot, plastic rice paddle, small plastic ladle, condensation catcher, and a steamer rack, user manual, recipe booklet
- Warranty 1 year, limited
- Power Supply Cord 35-in., detached, 3-prong plug
- Heating Element 1,000 watts
- Power Supply 120V – 60Hz
- Model Number Duo 60