Pre-programmed settings cook food perfectly
Inner pot is dishwasher safe
Can prepare virtually any dish
Tough to clean; aromas can linger
Hot exterior and escaping steam (upon removing the lid) can be dangerous
As Instant Pot newbies, we were a little nervous about mastering this seemingly complex appliance. When a friend told us that Instant Pots can take a few runs to get the hang of—and shared a horor story of his perpetually watery dishes—our confidence didn’t exactly soar, either. Luckily, our experience with the Instant Pot Lux proved us (and our well-meaning friend) wrong. Read on for all of our Instant Pot observations, from setup process and performance to design and additional features.
Setup Process: Read the instructions carefully!
The Instant Pot Lux is certainly not a plug-and-play device. Until you get the hang of it, you’ll probably need to read the instruction manual as you experiment with its various functions. Luckily, the guide offers step-by-step instructions to just about everything the pot can do.
Before your first use, you’ll also need to wash and dry the inner pot and lid, removing the float valve, anti-block shield, and sealing ring before doing so. The user manual also suggests doing a test run with plain water on the Steam setting for your first go-round. That way, you’ll feel a little more comfortable using the steam release valve before preparing a proper meal.
Performance: Perfect results with little effort
Before we got started with our Instant Pot Lux, we read the user manual to familiarize ourselves with the gadget’s settings and components, paying particular attention to instructions on how to prepare dishes using its pressure cooking, sautéing, and slow cooking settings. We were diligent about reading up on safety tips, as well. As we’re extra cautious, we perused some dedicated Instant Pots blogs for pointers.
Once we felt prepared, we dove into our first recipe for an Instant Pot lentil curry. We followed the recipe’s directions exactly, and found it easy to switch between cooking functions as needed by simply hitting the Keep Warm/Cancel button in between. We were a little concerned when our garlic and spices seemed to glue to the bottom of the stainless steel pot, but the ingredients lifted easily once we added our cooking liquids.
When in doubt, trust the Instant Pot’s pre-programmed settings to cook your meal correctly.
The only snag we hit was when the recipe directed us to set the Instant Pot to cook on HIGH, as that’s not an option on this model. Instead, we set it to Soup/Broth, adjusted the time to the recipe’s recommended 15 minutes, and crossed our fingers.
The Keep Warm function—which can run for a maximum of 10 hours—automatically kicked in once the cooking was done, so we left for the day and came home to a miraculously warm dinner. Lentils can either be notoriously mushy or completely undercooked when done on a stovetop, but ours were cooked slightly al dente which is exactly what we were aiming for.
After the success of our lentil curry, we next moved on to a brown rice dish. Using the Rice setting, we adjusted the cook time from ten minutes, which set automatically, to our recipe’s recommended 25 minutes. While we were happy with the results, the rice was a little soft. Of course, this is a fault of the recipe, not the appliance, so we’d recommend sticking with the Instant Pot’s automatic cook time.
With two semi-manual dishes under our belt, we decided to take a hands-off approach to preparing oatmeal and steamed vegetables. Using the Porridge and Steam settings, respectively, we ended up with perfectly creamy oats and tender veggies. Bottom line? When in doubt, trust the Instant Pot’s pre-programmed settings to cook your meal correctly.
It takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before it starts cooking and the timer starts. If you have limited time to cook, make sure you factor in those extra minutes before starting a recipe.
Design: A bit too hot to handle
Despite its size, the Instant Pot Lux’s simple interface and stainless steel exterior look neat and streamlined. This is a major plus if you need to keep it on your countertop—which you likely will, if you end up using it as often as we have.
As you would expect, the exterior of the Instant Pot heats up when it’s active. Though its side handles stay cool to the touch, they’re a little too small to get a good grip on. We wouldn’t recommend transporting your Instant Pot when it’s full of hot food.
Though its side handles stay cool to the touch, they’re a little too small to get a good grip on.
Also, a word to the wise: Use caution when you’re opening the lid after cooking is done. First, be sure that the float valve is in the down position before trying to open the lid. If the float valve is up, then the pot is still pressurized and it’s NOT safe to force it open. Let the pot relieve pressure on its own, which can take 10 to 15 minutes, then shift the pressure release handle to “Venting” to release that last bit of pressure. Be careful here, as the pressure release handle can be too hot to touch safely. Be extra careful when you do actually open the lid, too. During our test run, the escaping steam scalded our wrist. From then on, we made sure to arm ourselves with oven mitts or a dishtowel when opening the lid.
Features: A slew of pre-programmed settings for one-click cooking
One of the Instant Pot’s claims to fame is taking the guesswork and labor out of scratch cooking. As you’d imagine, then, the Instant Pot Lux is loaded with pre-programmed settings and features to simplify and automate the cooking process—a boon for both amateur cooks and those who simply don’t have the time to keep watch over a stovetop.
As the name implies, the Instant Pot Lux performs six cooking functions: it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker, and it can steam, sauté, and warm ingredients. On top of that, the Instant Pot Lux is loaded with 12 pre-programmed settings, including Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Sauté, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, and Slow Cook. If you need more control over a recipe, you can also hit the Manual button to set a custom cook time.
If you’re sautéing, searing, or slow-cooking, you can adjust the temperature by hitting the Less, Normal, or More buttons. These options are limited, though, so you can’t make micro-adjustments as you would if you were cooking on your stovetop. Still, we managed to sauté our ingredients just fine by sticking to the Normal temperature setting, which heats the cooking pot in a matter of seconds.
Consider us Instant Pot converts.
The Instant Pot’s other claim to fame is that it truly lets users set-it-and-forget-it. The Instant Pot Lux can pressure-cook food for up to four hours, keep your dish warm for up to 10 hours, and it features a delayed start of up to 24 hours, so ultra-organized types can prep their meals a full day in advance. If you’re a little bit neurotic like us, you’ll also be happy to hear that the Instant Pot Lux is designed with 10 safety features, including automatic temperature control, automatic pressure control, and a safety lid lock.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Clean well to remove lingering smells
The inner cooking pot and lid are dishwasher safe, but we’ve read that unless it’s splattered with food, it’s best to clean the lid with soap and water. The lid can be a little fiddly to clean, as you’ll need to remove the float valve and silicone cap every so often to remove food and debris.
After the first use, we opted to soak and scrub the inner cooking pot in the sink, as our bite-sized dishwasher was too full to accommodate it. But even after a deep manual clean, the pot still retained the scent of the garlic and spices we’d used to prepare our curry. For this reason, if you do have a dishwasher, we’d recommend using it, especially after cooking particularly fragrant food. Otherwise, consider cleaning it twice to make sure unwanted scents don’t leak into your next meal.
Price: Good for a multifunctional appliance
With an $80 price tag, the Instant Pot Lux is by no means cheap. But when you consider that it can do the job of six different appliances, we think the price is reasonable. If you live in an apartment or have a cramped kitchen, it may be worth it to invest in an Instant Pot and say goodbye to other space-consuming gadgets.
Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 vs. Crock-Pot 8-Quart Multi-Use XL Express Crock Programmable Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker
We think the Instant Pot Lux is fairly priced, but if you’re looking to snatch an even better deal, take a look at Crock-Pot’s eight-quart model. The XL programmable pressure cooker offers an additional 2 quarts of capacity for just $20 more than the Instant Pot—and that’s if you buy it full price. During our research, we were able to find it for the same price as the Instant Pot.
Price aside, the Crock-Pot has 16 pre-programmed settings for automatically preparing dishes, as well as Keep Warm, Steam, and Boil capabilities. Its nonstick cooking pot is dishwasher safe, and its eight-quart capacity can feed ten or more people.
Yes, buy it.
Although we were a little skeptical about the Instant Pot hype, consider us Instant Pot converts. After a bit of due diligence, we felt confident preparing tons of dishes in this multicooker. Every meal we made came out perfectly, too, even the ones we got a little experimental with during the cooking process. Although the Instant Pot Lux is a little tough to store in our tiny apartment, we’re willing to get rid of a few now-redundant appliances to make room for it.
- Product Name Lux 6-In-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker
- Product Brand Instant Pot
- Price $79.95
- Weight 11.53 lbs.
- What's Included Stainless steel steam rack, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup, and recipe booklet
- Power supply 120V – 60Hz
- Power 1000 watts
- Warranty 1-year limited