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Instant Pot multicooker review

It has a huge following on social media, but how does it stack up against other multicookers?

instant_pot_multi_use_pressure_cooker

CHOICE verdict

The Instant Pot Duo Nova is like many other multicookers we've tested – it pressure cooks, slow cooks and sears as well as incorporating a range of pre-programmed settings. It comes in three sizes to suit your needs. Instant Pot has an extremely large following, close to 300,000 on the Facebook Instant Pot Community page. You can also access and share hundreds of recipes via the Instant Pot app.  

Price: $269 (we tested the 5.7L model)
Contact: instantpot.com.au

A multicooker is a great appliance. Not only is it perfect for cooking comfort foods during the cooler months, but it can save you time and money all year round. They're versatile, combining a range of functions into one appliance, and save you valuable cupboard space by replacing multiple appliances.

There's been a lot of hype around the Instant Pot brand so we put the Instant Pot Duo Nova to the test to see how it fares against the other multicookers we've tested.

Features

The Instant Pot Duo Nova combines seven appliances in one. It's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, food warmer and yoghurt maker. 

It has a range of pre-programmed menus to help get you started but also has a manual setting allowing you to adjust the temperature and time yourself. 

The pressure cooker and slow cooker have three settings (less, normal and more) allowing you to adjust the degree of cooking, but it may require a bit of trial and error. In fact, all the smart programs have three temperature settings. 

Bear in mind, while it can sauté, the pan has limited surface area for searing larger cuts of meat.

Its digital display is bright and clear and it comes in three sizes:

  • 3L (RRP $189), perfect if you're cooking for 1–2 people
  • 5.7L (RRP $269), ideal if you're cooking for up to 6 people
  • 8L (RRP $299), extra large size and great if you have a large family or like to cook large batches to give you prepared meals during the week.

You can choose a delayed start, if you don't want cooking to start until a certain time, and once cooking is complete the unit automatically switches to keep warm (except in yoghurt and sauté modes).

When it comes to using the pressure cooker, the Instant Pot has an "easy seal lid" that automatically seals, and a quick pressure release button to release the steam once cooking is complete.

Unlike other multicookers we've tested, the Instant Pot has a stainless steel bowl. While that means it's dishwasher safe and you won't have to worry about scratching the surface, it also means it can be trickier to clean if food becomes baked on.

Our test

We assess the performance of multicookers by cooking chilli shredded beef and lamb shanks on both slow and pressure cooker settings. We look for good flavour development, rich and fully flavoured sauce, tender beans and meat that falls apart. We also cook rice using the pressure cook function.

Overall, the Instant Pot performed very well. The pressure cooker was excellent and the slow cooker and pressure cook rice was very good.

Ease of use

We assess how easy multicookers are to assemble, store and clean as well as the quality of instructions and how easy the appliance is to use (its controls and functions).

The Instant Pot has fairly basic instructions, however, you can download the Instant Pot app where users share their recipes amongst the Instant Pot community.

The controls are easy to use with a digital display that's bright and clear. On the downside, there are no handles to remove the cooking bowl or hold it comfortably. Also, use caution when removing the lid, keeping your hands away from the pressure indicator as it can release steam.

When it comes to cleaning, the Instant Pot can be fiddly – you'll need to remove, clean and replace the rubber seal after each use. Food spills can also be difficult to clean as they can become trapped around the edge where the lid locks in. The unit has cracks and crevices that can accumulate residue and regular maintenance is needed to clean the silicone rubber gasket and the steam release mechanism. It's also a large, bulky unit that can be difficult to store.

Do we recommend the Instant Pot?

While the Instant Pot performs very well as a pressure and slow cooker, unfortunately, it's let down by its ease of use which we find to be only OK.

To find out the full results, and to see how it fares against the rest of the multicookers we've tested, take a look at our comparative review below. For information on what to look for in a multicooker, see our multicooker buying guide.