The 5 Best Instant Pots of 2023

In use since the late 17th century, pressure cookers have more than served their purpose in both professional and home kitchen settings. When cooking with pressure, food is subjected to high-temperature steam, which reduces the time and effort required to achieve a similar result through lower-temp methods. The Instant Pot has revolutionized pressure cooking by streamlining and safety-proofing the process, making it easier and less stressful to pressure cook. Unlike old-fashioned stovetop pressure cookers, an Instant Pot is ultra-functional, poses no potential for catastrophe, and sits neatly on a countertop.

There are also uses for the Instant Pot as modern as it. While classics like pot roast, chicken soup, and rice are possible, you can also take on the whole grocery store with homemade yogurt, tender short ribs, and more. One-pot meals are a fraction of the effort with the Instant Pot’s smart adjustable settings, so meal prepping for the week or tackling dinner for the whole family ahead of time is a breeze.

With the range of Instant Pots on the market, it’s important to consider factors like size and settings. After our experts thoroughly tested 13 models for their versatility, performance, and value, we landed on the Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker as our overall favorite. That said, there is an option for cooks of any skill level to find the perfect multipurpose cooker for their kitchens.

Best Overall

Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker V4


Amazon


Pros: Easy to clean and super straightforward, this appliance is suitable for beginners and pros.

Cons: At 8 quarts, it might be too big for singles.

The Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, V4 had a nearly perfect Ease of Use score from our test kitchen, and it didn’t falter in any other category, either. The control panel was straightforward, with the preset buttons and status updates making it simple to get the cook we needed with the pot’s guidance. Everything we tested was cooked perfectly, this model exemplifying what it means to have an even cooking surface, steady heat, and consistent pressure.

Our experts found this Instant Pot to be a piece of cake to clean. Speaking of, did we mention that it has a cake setting? This appliance has a very high return investment, so we feel it’s a fantastic value. This Instant Pot would be right at home in your kitchen, but it would also make a wonderful gift for the avid home cook in your life.

Price at time of publish: $130

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice, steam, saute, yogurt, sous vide, cake, and keep warm (higher and lower pressure options for all)

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore


Best Value

Instant Pot Duo Nova 8-Quart 7-in-1, One-Touch Multi-Cooker

Instant Pot Duo 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker V5

Amazon


Pro: The Instant Pot Duo is a big pot with even bigger value.

Con: This slightly older model has a lower price, but newer presets aren’t available.

Appliances can be a big commitment and an even bigger expenditure. Our pick for Best Value is the Instant Pot Duo 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, V5. Coming in around $100 and having performed better overall than many of the other models we tested, this is a low risk for a high reward, Instant Pot-wise. The 8-quart size makes it perfect for hosting family and friends, cooking dinner ahead of time, and batch cooking.

While it lacks a few of the newer presets (this model is slightly older) like sous vide, we felt it did so well in our tests that it was worth its price anyway. Our testers felt this would be perfect for cooks with any level of familiarity with the Instant Pot, from beginner to expert.

Price at time of publish: $120

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice, steam, saute, yogurt, and warm (higher and lower pressure options for all)

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore


Best with Air Fryer

Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer

Amazon


Pros: A combination Instant Pot and air fryer, this appliance is ideal for those looking to limit countertop clutter.

Cons: The complexity of the Pro Crisp means it isn’t ideal for beginners.

When looking for appliances with several functions, ensuring that none lack quality is critical; our testers were pleasantly surprised by the consistency of the Instant Pot Pro Crisp & Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer. Air fryers alone can be challenging to shop for, so combining that with another tool like an Instant Pot or toaster oven can be tricky. This one held up under pressure, turning out beautiful food during each of our tests.

This model makes things simplistic, with an easy-to-read display showing status updates and several steam release options. It has one of the widest ranges of cooking options of the pots we tested, including dehydrate, sous vide, and broil settings. This Instant Pot might be best for an intermediate cook rather than someone looking for a beginner option. Its versatility makes it a powerful gadget for your kitchen, but the size and price make it better geared toward a cook seeking longevity and variety.

Price at time of publish: $215

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, roast air fry, saute, sous vide, bake, broil. dehydrate, steam, and warm (higher and lower pressure options for all)

Best Smart

Instant Pot Pro Plus Wi-Fi Smart 10-in-1 6-Quart Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Pro Plus Wi-Fi Smart 10-in-1 6 Quart Pressure Cooker

Amazon


Pros: If you want to control the variables, this Instant Pot uses an app.

Cons: Connecting appliances to WiFi isn’t for everyone.

Instant Pots are already designed to be intuitive devices. In addition to an easy-to-use screen and function buttons, the Instant Pot Pro Plus Wi-Fi Smart 10-in-1 6-Quart Pressure Cooker totes WiFi compatibility, where you can connect to the appliance via the Instant Brands Connect App. There are over 1,000 recipes on the app, but programming and operating the Instant Pot from your smartphone is simple.

While all Instant Pot models are designed to be versatile, this one, in particular, had one of the best ranges of operation, according to our experts. The 6-quart size is perfect for the average family or batch cooking things like rice and stews. It also features settings that allow yogurt-making, canning, and “NutriBoost,” which is self-stirring. A kitchen chameleon, this Instant Pot is modern and multipurpose.

Price at time of publish: $200 

  • Capacity: 6 quarts
  • Functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice, steam, saute, yogurt, warm, can, sous vide, and NutriBoost (higher and lower pressure options for all)

Best Mini

Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker V5

instant-pot-3-quart-duo-7-in-1

Amazon


Pro: Holding only 3 quarts, this pint-sized Instant Pot is ideal for singles and small kitchens.

Con: With an Instant Pot’s usefulness, you may quickly wish you’d made space for a larger model.

Only some people have the counter space for a 10-quart cooker, even if it serves multiple functions. Whether your kitchen is already full of essential gadgets, you’re squeezing into your first apartment, or you are buying exclusively for a purpose like making yogurt; a small Instant Pot can be your best friend. The Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker, V5 maintains all of the multipurpose features of larger Instant Pot models in a smaller package.

Our test kitchen noted that the twist-lock lid and lid handle design were possibly more functional than some of the newer, larger models. In addition, it did the best of the pots with searing to the point caramelization in our pork tests. All in all, this Instant Pot comes highly recommended by our testers as a hardworking, space-saving kitchen tool.

Price at time of publish: $80 

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice, steam, saute, yogurt, and warm (higher and lower pressure options for all)

Food & Wine / Russell Kilgore


Our Favorite

The Best Overall pick Instant Pot Duo Plus 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker was immediately our favorite. Conquering our cooking tests with ease and precision, this model is functional and affordable. Our experts were impressed by how many purposes it serves and how easy it was to use and clean it. We recommend it to anyone looking to jump into the Instant Pot game.

The Tests

We tested 13 branded Instant Pots, ranging in size from 3-quart to 8-quart. We evaluated the design, ease of use, performance, ease of cleaning, versatility, and value. Tests included recording general specs about the display panels, durability, and inner pot cooking options. The first round of cooking was a black bean and rice dish to evaluate cooking an entire meal inside the pot and a quick pressure cook. The second test was a barbecue pork shoulder recipe to determine how the pot handled more significant cuts of meat (whether it dried out, toughened up, or turned to mush). Both recipes put the pots through the paces evaluating various cooking techniques.

Factors to Consider

Size

Toting the availability of 3, 6, 8, and 10 quarts, the Instant Pot offers a range of sizes to consider when shopping. The smallest at 3 quarts is ideal for saving counter space in smaller kitchens and homes or making smaller portions, like for 1- or 2-person households. It’s also useful if you’re looking for an Instant Pot to serve a specific, lower-volume purpose — it’s perfect for making yogurt or oatmeal.

The 6-quart option is Instant Pot’s most popular size, as it does the job for most home cooks. It’s versatile and not too big, making it the correct size when cooking for three to five people. An 8-quart pot offers enough capacity for larger families or anyone meal prepping or anticipating having leftovers, while the 10-quart is enough to fit a whole chicken.

Control Panel and Functions

While all Instant Pots have multiple functions, each has a unique set of options. All of the buttons on the control panel are adjustable when it comes to pressure or cooking time, giving the user autonomy when cooking even though the device accomplishes most of the work on its own. When it comes to more specialized cooking projects, it might be best to evaluate what you plan to use yours for. For example, some have a yogurt-making setting, but is this make-or-break for the appliance you need? Others offer smart capabilities that can be controlled through an app, but if you plan to always be near your Instant Pot, this may not be worth the extra spend either.

Cooking Pot

Some Instant Pots, like the Instant Pot Pro 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker that made our Strong Contenders category, feature an extra-thick aluminum layer on the interior. This makes heating faster than a standard model and assists with searing.

What Didn’t Make the List

Strong Contenders

  • Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker ($140 at Amazon)
  • Instant Pot Pro 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker ($190 at Amazon)
  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer 8-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker ($200 at Amazon)

Results Still Simmering

  • Instant Pot Duo Crisp 6.5-Quart with Ultimate Lid Multi-Cooker and Air Fryer ($230 at Best Buy)
  • Instant Pot Max 9-in-1 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker ($150 at Williams Sonoma)

Low Performers

  • Instant Pot Viva Multi-Use 9-in-1 6-Quart Pressure Cooker ($105 at Amazon)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do Instant Pots work?

    Instant Pots are electric pressure cookers. The appliance heats the internal liquid to boiling, producing a large amount of steam. The atmospheric pressure inside is raised to a temperature higher than the boiling point, where the steam is slowly released, and the food inside is cooked quickly and consistently. A large variety of settings allows the user to try out an infinite variety of recipes with a small margin of error.

  • What’s the best size Instant Pot?

    This depends on how many people you plan on regularly serving. Instant Pots come in 3-, 6-, 8-, and 10-quart sizes. 3-quart Instant Pots work best for singles or couples, the 5-quart serves three to five people, and the 8-quart will easily cook for six or more. The 10-quart can take on tasks like batch cooking or even a whole ham, so there’s plenty of literal room to experiment.

  • How do you clean an Instant Pot?

    The electric cooker base must be cleaned gently with a damp cloth on the exterior. The interior can be wiped down, but it’s essential to keep it dry. According to Instant Pot’s website, the removable inner pot is dishwasher safe. Hand washing, dish soap, and gentle scrubbing should take care of any residue.

  • Are there any disadvantages to an Instant Pot?

    With the element of time removed from the cooking process, foods cooked in Instant Pots can suffer from poor flavor development. For example, if you wanted to make a stew, you might be looking at cooking the meat separately to create browning and a fond, which would lengthen the process.

Our Expertise

Christa Glennie has been a freelance writer and food editor for nearly 20 years. She is also the author of two cookbooks and specializes in food and drink trends, agriculture, the regional foodways of Western New York, and the restaurant business. Her respect for simplicity and uncluttered counters in the kitchen ultimately fuels a desire to find and own well-designed, multi-purpose, best-in-class kitchen tools.