Two appliances in one
Great controls for every recipe
Dual-level air fryer basket
No preset programs
Lack of recipes
Full manual must be downloaded
We purchased the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Instant Pots have soared in popularity due to their catchy name and ability to cut the cooking time of many recipes in half. There's nothing like being able to eat your favorite slow-cooking meals in a matter of minutes. Air fryers have also become a popular home appliance due to their ability to fry crispy fries, wings, and other scrumptious foods without the use of extra fat. However, having both of these appliances can take up some major counter space. Enter the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, which boasts the ability to combine the wonders of pressure cooking and air frying all in one nifty machine.
I've used and reviewed plenty of pressure cookers and air fryers before, so I was ready to use the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer as soon as it arrived. With two cooking options in one appliance, I had plenty of tasty testing to do. From air fried tater tots to pressure cooked oatmeal, I cooked breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert every day to see what this appliance could and couldn’t do. Read on to see my thoughts.
This machine looks much like its sibling Instant Pots, and operation is fairly intuitive. When a function is chosen by pressing a button, a tiny light above that button lights up, so it’s obvious what has been selected. The screen shows relevant information but isn’t overcrowded with details. Sometimes it’s little more than “On.”
The two lids are very obviously different, so there’s no chance of choosing the wrong one. The pressure cooker lid is relatively low-slung, while the air fryer lid is more of a pointy-hat style, with a handle on top that flips up for easy lifting.
As far as control buttons, this is a model that has a Start button rather than automatically starting after settings are chosen. One little oddity I found was that not every setting used the Temp controls for their adjustments. For example, setting the Pressure Cook function for high or low required pressing the Pressure Cook button itself. While I’ve gotten used to that, at first I was punching the + and – buttons and wondering if there weren’t any pressure options.
When a function is chosen by pressing a button, a tiny light above that button lights up, so it’s obvious what has been selected.
Keep Warm is on by default and needs to be turned off during setup. Once the cooking is done, pressing Keep Warm has no effect, but it’s just as easy to press the Cancel button to turn the cooker off.
Accessories: Useful pieces
For cooking, this comes with a reversible rack that I used when steaming a whole small head of cauliflower. I used the nonstick air frying basket (which includes a hard plastic removable base and a broiler/dehydrating tray) for cooking everything from frozen tater tots to homemade cookies. A large trivet/base for the air fryer lid keeps the counter safe from the heat of the lid when it’s removed from the cooker, and the lid twists onto it for safe storage.
The cooker comes with an instruction booklet but notes that the full manual is online. Recipes are also available online.
Setup Process: Simple
Like most pressure cookers, it’s wise to wash all the components that will come in contact with food, and a water test is a good idea to make sure the machine is functional. After that, it’s just a matter of choosing a cooking method, using the correct lid (there are separate lids for pressure cooking and air frying, which the machine detects), and then setting the temperature and time for the recipe.
Performance: What’s not to like?
I expected the Pressure Cook function to work here as well as on other Instant Pot models I’ve used, and there were no surprises. I slow-cooked soup, pressure cooked oatmeal, and steamed vegetables. This has a Sous Vide mode, so I tested its ability to hold its temperature, and it stayed steady. However, the size of the pot limits the size of food that can be cooked using Sous Vide, so it may not be large enough for every sous vide recipe. The Sous Vide mode can also be used for making yogurt or for any recipes where a steady temperature is required.
Air frying is done in the stainless steel cooking pot with or without the fryer basket. The basket reduces the cooking space but offers better airflow. The broiler/dehydrator rack that fits in the basket allows a second layer of cooking. It has two large finger holes that make it simple to place in the basket, but once the rack is hot, gloved fingers didn’t fit, so I used a pair of thin tongs.
I used the Bake mode for some cookies, with three on the bottom of the fryer basket and three on the broiling/dehydrating tray. The cookies on top cooked a bit more quickly, which was expected since the heat is from the top. I removed the rack and gave the bottom cookies another two minutes. The results weren’t perfect, but good enough. While there are better ways to bake cookies, it’s good to know this can manage a few treats.
Air frying is done in the stainless steel cooking pot with or without the fryer basket. The basket reduces the cooking space but offers better airflow.
I decided to cook a small portion of pork ribs using both the Pressure Cook and Air Fry functions. I placed the ribs on the broiler/dehydrator rack because I wanted to get the sauce bubbly after cooking without overcooking the ribs. It worked well. While this wouldn’t make sense for cooking a slab or two of ribs, it was great for a quick dinner.
Features: No programs, lots of cooking
While other models of Instant Pots (and other electric pressure cooker brands) have multiple program buttons for things like rice or poultry, this cooker eliminated them in favor of cooking mode buttons. For pressure cooking, the buttons are Pressure Cook, Sauté, Slow Cook, Steam, and Sous Vide. For air frying, the buttons are Air Fry, Roast, Bake, Broil, and De-Hydrate. Universal controls for temperature and time use + and – buttons, and along the bottom of the controls are Delay Start, Cancel, Start, and Keep Warm.
Aside from the peculiar spelling of "dehydrate," I like the cooking options on this model over cooking programs for specific foods. Brown rice and white rice don’t cook the same, and chicken breasts aren’t the same as thighs, so I’d rather set the time and temperature myself. Still, some cooks might miss the ease of pressing a single button to make stew.
Resources: Good, not great
While Instant Pot has a vibrant online community and a recipe app, I found that recipes dedicated to this device were lacking. There were plenty of pressure cooker recipes, but the air fryer recipes I found on the app were for the Vortex oven, which doesn’t translate exactly to this device.
While it’s simple enough to look up recipes for either pressure cookers or air fryers, those don’t address the fact that this machine can do both for the same recipe, like when I pressure cooked potato wedges, then swapped the lid to air fry them. I’d love to see similar recipes in the app in the future.
Aside from the cooker itself and the fryer lid, all parts are dishwasher-safe. The manual notes that some parts may discolor from being washed in a dishwasher, but this doesn’t affect performance. While the stainless steel cooking pot isn’t as easy to clean as a nonstick vessel, even my sticky oatmeal was easy enough to clean by hand.
Retailing at around $180, this Instant Pot is more expensive than many of its less-functional peers, but it’s a whole lot less expensive than buying two separate appliances.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer vs. Ninja Foodi FD401 8-Quart 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer
Ninja Foodi FD401 8-Quart 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer: There are a few differences between the Ninja Foodi FD401 8-Quart 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer and the Instant Pot I tested. The first difference is namely the price, as the Ninja Foodi retails for around $250. Unlike the Instant Pot Duo, the fryer lid on the Ninja Foodi is permanently attached and flips up to accommodate the pressure cooker lid. The cooking pot on the Ninja Foodi is also wider and nonstick.
Because of the wider pot in the Ninja Foodi, I give it a slight edge for air frying since it offers more surface space. However, I like the Instant Pot Duo because both lids can detach. Both brands have proven themselves to be reliable, and either would be a great addition to the kitchen.
A great space-saving option.
Like other Instant Pot pressure cookers, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer performs well. I like that its two-in-one capabilities mean less storage space, and despite its lack of presets, its cooking options allow you to tailor a recipe exactly to your needs.
- Product Name Duo Crisp + Air Fryer
- Product Brand Instant Pot
- Price $180
- Weight 33.5 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 15.6 x 22.3 x 17.9 in.
- Color Black, Stainless Steel
- Material Stainless steel cooking pot, nonstick coated air fryer basket
- Warranty 1 year
- What's Included Two lids, a stainless steel cooking pot, a nonstick fryer basket with a plastic base and stainless steel rack, a reversible cooking rack, a trivet/base for the air fryer lid