We are living in the age of automation and WiFi technology.

It is, therefore, proper that we take full advantage of the facilities that are available to us.

The time is ripe for us to say goodbye to the gas cooking ranges and our pressure cookers and welcome the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot is an automated cooking appliance that caters to every cooking requirement of the household.

This appliance is the ideal one to have for the modern-day family, where time is the equivalent of money.

The Instant Pot saves valuable time thereby ensuring that the families have enough on their hands to look after their other needs.

The question now is not whether you require an Instant Pot or not but which one should fit your requirements.

This buying guide for Instant Pots endeavours to clear the air on the concept of the Instant Pot.

We shall also review some of the top-selling Instant Pots available in India.

The Instant Pot – Buying Guide

The requirements of the Indian household can vary. You have nuclear families with two or three persons.

At the same time, the joint family concept is still very much prevalent in India, where you have more than six to eight members of the family living under one roof.

Therefore, the “One size fits all” concept does not work here. The capacity of the appliance is crucial.

Before discussing which size should be the ideal one, let us quickly go through the basic concept of the Instant Pot and understand its functions.

Today, every Indian household might be having a rice cooker.

The Instant Pot is somewhat similar to the rice cooker but with various additional features. It is a pressure cooker cum slow cooker.

The best aspect of the appliance is that it eliminates the guesswork you do regarding the ideal amount of heat, pressure and time required for your cooking.

The automated apparatus adjusts these parameters depending on your recipe.

Models available

The Instant Pot is available in distinct models and sizes. Some of the conventional models are Max, Ultra, Duo, Duo Plus, Lux, Viva, and Nova Plus.

Once you get used to the functioning of these Instant Pots, you can switch over to the more advanced models like the Smart WiFi, Aura, and Aura Pro.

You would like to know the differentiating aspects of each type of Instant Pot.

The functionality of all the Instant Pots is the same. However, they differ in the number of cooking programs they come equipped with.

For example, the Lux series has up to 12 programs, whereas the Duo comes with 14 pre-set programs. Similarly, the Duo Plus and Ultra Series have 15 and 16, respectively.

The size matters a lot

The Instant Pot is available in three sizes, the 3, 6, and 8-quart. The 3-quart Instant Pot is a mini cooker that can cater to small families of two to three people.

The 6-quart pot is the most popular as it is the ideal one for a medium-sized Indian family.

Large families can opt for the 8-quart model. The large-sized containers are also suitable for parties and small gatherings.

The accessories

Before we discuss the different types of Instant Pots available on the market, let us briefly glance through the accessories that come with the appliance. Yes, the manual says it all.

One should go through the manual thoroughly to understand the significance of each attachment to get the best out of the appliance.

The outer body with a display panel and control options

  • A lid to cover your food and preserve the fragrance
  • A pressure valve to maintain the optimum level of pressure
  • A steam valve to release excess steam and make the appliance safe
  • A plastic collector cup to collect the condensation released during the slow cooking process
  • A sealing ring or a gasket that surrounds the lid and helps retain the odours
  • A steamer rack inside the pot to keep the food at a slightly raised level

We have seen the necessary accessories that come with each Instant Pot. Depending on your requirement, you can always go for specific accessories like additional sealing rings, egg trivets, and springform pans.

The Different categories of Instant Pots

The Instant Duo – Simplicity is the best virtue

This Instant Pot is the ideal one to have if you are a beginner. The appliance comes with simple features that include steaming, sautéing, and rice cooking. In a way, it is similar to the rice cookers that you usually have at home.

Additionally, this appliance helps to prepare soups, porridges, and even curds. The Instant Duo comes in different sizes. Though the 6-quart size is the most popular, one can try out a smaller version to get used to the functionalities.

The 3-quart appliance should be ideal for the modern-day Indian family of three persons. Thus, you can say that the Instant Duo should qualify as the best Instant Pot for entry-level multi-cooker users.

The Instant Pot Lux – The oldest model in the pack

The Instant Pot Lux is not much different from the Instant Duo. It is the earliest model available in the series. Hence, it does not come with some of the additional features that the Instant Duo comes with. One such notable absence is that it cannot make curds.

It also cannot switch from high-pressure to low-pressure cooking. Thus, you can call this model as the basic one. Along with the Instant Duo, this model is also an ideal one for beginners to learn the ropes.

The Instant Pot Duo Plus – One step at a time

The Instant Pot Duo Plus has comparatively advanced features to the two models discussed above. It comes with additional cooking programs like cake-making, sterilisation, and egg-cooking.

Apart from these additional programs, the Instant pot comes equipped with a big LCD screen. It is also more fingerprint-resistant than the others discussed above.

The Instant Pot Ultra – Sophistication at its best

Though similar to the Instant Pot Duo Plus, it differs in the sense that the appliance allows the user to set his/her preferences while cooking. Therefore, it is a more customised appliance if you can call it thus.

Since the user can adjust the settings according to their preferences, it can be a bit confusing for a first-time user. It explains why we had insisted on getting used to the controls by opting for a basic model initially before graduating to the sophisticated ones.

The Instant Pot Ultra is better from the safety viewpoint, as well. It features an auto-closing pressure valve to streamline the process and provide additional safety when cooking. This device comes with a bigger LCD than the one discussed earlier.

Another advantage of this Instant Pot is that it is one of the quickest when it comes to cooking your food. It is available in all three sizes.

Instant Pot Max – Speed as well as perfection personified

When it comes to pricing, the Instant Pot Max is the most expensive. However, it comes with fantastic features such as being able to cook 15% faster, thereby saving valuable time.

The best aspect of this Instant Pot is that it is possible to cook stove-top recipes using this appliance. Usually, the Instant Pot cannot handle such responsibilities. The Instant Pot Max is also a safe one to use because it comes with an automatic quick release system.

If the speed of cooking is what you are looking for, the Instant Pot Max should be the ideal one for you.

Instant Pot Smart WiFi – Moving with the times

The younger generation loves to pair home appliances with their Android or iPhones. The Instant Pot Smart WiFi device caters to this aspect beautifully. It enables you to switch on the controls while you are on the way home so that the food is piping hot and ready to serve by the time to freshen up.

The other advantage is that you can create your recipe and upload the same to this multi-cooker. Though similar to the Instant Pot Duo in many respects, this appliance features three different ‘keep warm’ temperatures.

Instant Pot Viva – Power-packed performance

The Instant Pot Viva has similar functions to that of the Instant Pot Duo. While the Duo has seven cooking features, the Viva comes with nine. The Viva has facilities for cake-baking and searing as additional functions when compared with the Duo.

Instant Pot Duo Nova – The 2019 edition of the Instant Pot Duo

Similar to the Instant Pot Duo, the Nova has seven cooking functions like the pressure cooker, steamer, sauté pan, slow cooker, food warmer, rice cooker, and the curd maker.

The manufacturers have ironed out the deficiencies in the Duo by providing a steam release system in the Nova. It is a safety measure designed to release the steam whenever there is an excess build-up inside the appliance.

Instant Pot Aura – Non-pressure cooking

The Instant Pots that we had described earlier had the pressure cooking as one of its significant features. The Aura and the Aura Pro are two Instant Pots that do not come with this facility.

The Aura is a 10-in1 multi-cooking appliance that features ten built-in smart programs. The ceramic coating ensures that this Instant Pot is suitable for broiling and other non-veg cooking activities. The slow cooking feature ensures that meats and other similar dishes cook deeply and evenly.

Instant Pot Aura Pro – Bring the professional touch to your cooking

The Aura Pro is similar to the Aura but comes with an additional feature. Thus, it is an 11-in-1 multi-cooking device. The difference is that it features a sous vide program that enables you to cook restaurant-quality meals at home.

We have seen the various types of Instant Pots available on the market. It should give you an idea about the right pot for your home, depending on your requirements.

Here are some inputs that you should consider when shopping for your Instant Pot.

Looks

You would love to add a touch of glamour to your kitchen. The Instant Pot can enhance the overall ambience of your kitchen and make it look modern. Therefore, aesthetics are essential.

The Insta Pot is a new generation appliance. Hence, it should appeal to all. Apart from being durable and displaying excellent heat retention qualities, the Insta Pot should look alluring. Usually, these appliances are made from stainless steel or ceramic. These materials enhance the overall appearance of the Insta Pot and make it look beautiful.

Display Screen

One of the positive aspects of the Insta Pot is that it communicates with the user. Almost all the Insta Pots come with LCD screens, whereas some feature LED, as well.

The display screen is critical because it informs the user about the program that is in use, and how long it will take to complete the process. The display screens come in a range of colours, from black to red or blue. Depending on your preference, you can select the colour you like.

Interface

The electronic appliances are getting smarter day by day. We have the Smart WiFi Instant Pot, as well. The prime quality of an intelligent device is its user-friendly interface.

As a consumer, you should know the options available to you. It should be easy for you to choose the right programs. Check out whether the user interface is intuitive and easy to use before purchasing your Instant Pot.

Connectivity

In this age of the internet and advanced technology, connectivity is a significant issue. Today, you talk of having connected home appliances whereby you can operate them from remote locations.

Similarly, the Smart WiFi-enabled Instant Pot should be the ideal appliance under such circumstances. If you have Alexa at home, it will connect beautifully with the Smart Instant Pot.

No pressure Cooking

There are different types of cooking. Pressure cooking is one and non-pressure cooking is another. The Instant Pots come equipped to handle both types of cooking activities. The Aura range of Instant Pots is excellent for non-pressure cooking.

The latest Aura Pro comes with features like ‘Sous Vide’ where you can experience restaurant-quality cuisine at home.

Cost

Finally, we come to the cost factor. Instant Pots are not very expensive kitchen appliances. You can get a decent Instant Pot within Rs 10,000.

That would be much less than a gas cooking range. Secondly, the portable nature of the Instant Pots makes it all the more feasible to have in your kitchen.

We have discussed almost all aspects of Instant Pots. This buying guide should clear all your doubts about the appliance. However, it is human nature to be inquisitive. Some questions might still have remained unanswered. We attempt to clarify them through the dedicated FAQ section.

Instant Pots – Frequently Asked Questions

What do the terms, 7-in-1, 10-in-1, and so on mean when referring to Instant Pots?

These terms refer to the number of cooking programs in the appliance. They also refer to the number of appliances the Instant Pot replaces when used to full capacity. For example, the 7-in-1 Insta Pot Nova can handle various activities and replace the following appliances, pressure cooker, sauté pan, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, food warmer, and the curd maker.

Why do you call the Instant Pot a smart cooker?

Apart from catering to various types of cooking, the Instant Pot has managed to take the guesswork out of the equation. Users do not have to struggle to set the timing, temperature, and pressure levels when using the Instant Pot. The appliance comes with pre-programmed instructions, whereby it becomes easy for you to prepare food. Hence, the Instant Pot is a smart cooker.

Who manufactures Instant Pots?

The credit for designing the original Instant Pot goes to Canadian who developed this appliance for North American customers. Nowadays, you have various companies, including the Chinese company, Midea Group, manufacturing these Instant Pots. China is the prominent manufacturing location for such products. More than 30 million households worldwide use Instant Pots.

Where can I buy my Instant Pot in India?

Instant Pots are available at various locations throughout India. However, the most convenient option is to buy them at Amazon.in.

What materials go into the manufacturing of the Instant Pots?

Steel is the primary manufacturing ingredient of Instant Pots. Most of the Instant Pots are made from 18/8 food-grade 304 stainless steel. There is also a fusion of aluminium disc and a steel disc. The aluminium disc does not have any exposure to the food. Hence, it is a safe appliance to use. The inner surface of the Instant Pot is highly polished to ensure that food does not stick to it. The exteriors of the device are either made of high-grade plastic or ceramic.

How long can the Instant Pot keep the food warm?

Under normal circumstances, the Instant Pot can keep the food warm for at least ten hours.

Is the Instant Pot safe to use?

The modern-day Instant Pots come with pressure sensors and pressure-releasing valves. Thus, they are as safe as the pressure cookers that you use daily.

Can the Instant Pot work at 220V and 50Hz?

The original Instant Pot was manufactured for the North American consumers. Hence, those Instant Pots will not work in Indian conditions. However, there are many variants of the Instant Pot available today that can operate at 220V and 50Hz.

How does the Slow Cook function work on Instant Pot?

The Slow Cook functionality on the Instant Pot is similar to that observed on other slow cookers. You can set the cooking from one to ten hours at operating temperature in the range of 88 to 93 degrees Centigrade. However, you should ensure to set the steam release handle to the venting position. It ensures that pressure does not build inside the appliance.

How does the Instant Pot control the pressure during the cooking phase?
The Instant Pot comes equipped with a pressure sensor placed under the heating element. As it nears the maximum pressure, the heating stops. It resumes when the pressure lowers down considerably. Thus, it ensures to maintain the right amount of pressure required to cook your food. This pressure is not enough to lift the steam release handle. Therefore, it ensures that the steam does not come out of the appliance during cooking.

Best Instant Pots available in India

We have discussed the buying guide and FAQs regarding Instant Pots. We shall now discuss some of the best Instant Pots available on the market.

1. Mealthy MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker

The Mealthy MultiPot is a variant of the Instant Pot, as it comes with similar features. This programmable electric pressure cooker comes with nine functions to ensure an excellent cooking experience.

The nine cooking modes are slow cook, pressure cook, steam, sauté, make cakes, cook rice, warm food, and make curds/yoghurt. As it eliminates nine cooking appliances, it is referred to as a 9-in-1 programmable appliance.

The highlight of this multi-purpose cooking appliance is the control touch panel that comes with 9-in1 cooking functions and 14 pre-set programmes. Another advantage is its customisation feature that remembers the controls you used previously, thereby making it easy for you.

The LCD panel displays intuitive icons to eliminate guesswork from the equation. There are no confusing symbols, as well. Secondly, this cooker is a user-friendly device because it comes with instructional videos on the website ad dedicated mobile app to help you cook your food with ease.

The cooker has a capacity of eight quarts, thereby proving to be ideal for medium to large families. The accessories include a stainless-steel pot with a stainless steam strainer and a 4-cm raised egg trivet.

It is possible to cook two dishes in this appliance at the same time. This multi-purpose cooker is a safe one to use. It comes with a spare silicone gasket for making sweets and savouries. Silicone mitts allow you to remove the inner pots with ease without worrying about burn injuries.

The appliance comes equipped with a bright red-coloured float that informs you on reaching the maximum pressure. It allows you to release the excess steam by using the steam vent. The vent handle is broad enough to prevent accidental injuries.

Download the Mealthy app on your smartphone to get exciting recipe ideas and also understand how to handle the appliance.

Pros
  • Can work for up to 24 hours continuously on the Slow Cook mode
  • Easy to adjust controls
  • The safety aspects like silicone mitts are innovative
  • Stainless-steel cooking pot, thereby more durable than other appliances
Cons
  • Ceramic coating is not present. It would have been better than the stainless-steel interiors.
  • The warranty could have been better.
  • The appliance does not have a memory function whereby it does not start from where it left off after a power cut.

2. Instant Pot Duo 60 – 5.7L 1000W 7-in-1 multi-use pressure cooker

This Instant Pot is a smart electric multi-purpose pressure cooking designed to prepare the most delicious food in the quickest time possible. It is a 7-in-1 appliance, whereby it caters replaces the following appliances from your kitchen.

They are the pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, food warmer, sauté, curd maker.

The slow cook feature enables you to prepare tastier and more delicious meals, especially your meats and vegetables by ensuring that there is no overcooking.

The steamer function enables to maintain the flavour of the food as it should be. The yoghurt maker prepares the best yoghurt as is available in the market. Use the rice cooker function to make your favourite rice dishes.

The Instant Pot Duo comes with the following safety features to make it secure for the homemaker.

  • Pressure regulator to control the excess pressure
  • An anti-blockage vent for preventing the food debris from blocking the vent
  • Safety Lid lock to ensure that the lid does not open accidentally
  • Sensor for lid position detection for additional safety
  • Automatic temperature control depending on the cooking programme you use
  • Temperature monitoring to prevent the burning of food
  • Automatic pressure controller to maintain the pressure in the safe range
  • Cut-off fuse if the current or temperature exceeds safety limits

The Instant Pot Duo is the best multi-purpose cooker to prepare your delicious chicken and meat dishes. It can handle these foods even from the frozen condition. The food warmer ensures to keep your food warm until the moment you serve it.

The smooth touch controls make this appliance one of the most popular and convenient to use/ Adjustable temperature settings provide a higher degree of flexibility for searing, simmering, and thickening.

The stainless-steel cooking pot is made from 18/8 sturdy food-grade 304 steel to provide the highest form of durability. The free mobile app comes with more than 1000 recipes to prepare your favourite food items.

Pros
  • Works in Indian conditions perfectly
  • Extremely safe appliance to use
  • Easy to understand controls
  • High-quality materials make it durable
Cons
  • Does not have an egg trivet
  • No silicone mitts to provide additional protection

3. Geek Robocook Automatic 5L Electric Pressure Cooker with 11-in-1 function

The Geek Robocook is an innovative cooking appliance that makes it easy to prepare your favourite South Indian dishes like Pongal, sambar, or even idly. This cooker comes with an 11-in-1 feature that allows you to make a variety of dishes in no time at all.

The Geek Robocook pressure cooker works on an advanced cooking technology that is a combination of standard pressure cooking with seven improvised safety guards. It ensures that the Robocook delivers a mess-free and efficient cooking experience.

This programmable cooker is capable of maintaining the required temperature and pressure for your different food recipes. Advanced microchips present in the setup ensure to control the pre-set menus whereby it remembers the controls you used the last time.

This pressure cooker eliminates the need to guess the pressure, temperature, and heat settings necessary for the specific recipes.

The 5L anodised Teflon-coated inner pot can hold food for a family of medium size. It also ensures that the food does not stick to its sides. The circumvent feature ensures to maintain the nutritional value of the grains, pulses, and vegetables while cooking.

Another advantage of this excellent pressure cooker is that it has a user-friendly interface with customisable control options. The appliance comes with a ready-made recipe book that includes various recipes to suit every palate.

Apart from cooking rice, Geek Robocook can handle responsibilities like sautéing, baking, stewing, and frying.

Pros
  • Excellent for preparing different kinds of rice dishes
  • The Teflon coating ensures that food does not stick to utensil
  • The Robocook is an all-in-one pressure cooker that comes with eleven pre-set menus.
  • Provides full value for money
Cons
  • Replacing the Teflon cooking pot is not possible, as you do not get spare bowls
  • Stainless-steel pot should have been a better choice

4. NutriBullet NutriCook Smart Electric Pressure Cooker Pot

The NutriCook electric pressure cooker, designed in the USA, is a 9-in-1 appliance that can eliminate nine different cooking appliances. You can pressure cook, sauté, slow cook, steam, make curds, make soups, cook rice, warm food, and cook eggs, as well.

This cooker is also one of the fastest cooking appliances available today. It cooks food at least 70% faster while retaining the flavours and the nutrition value at the same time.

This cooker is an ideal companion to have in the kitchen because of its multi-purpose utility. The easy one-touch controls make it a dream appliance to handle. It comes with fingerprint-resistant technology, thereby enhancing the durability quotient.

The positive aspect of this cooker is that it does not compromise on the safety aspect at any instant. The stainless-steel cooking pot can cater to a medium to large-sized family comfortably.

This cooker comes with one-touch controls and one of the most convenient user interfaces in its segment. The Auto shut-off feature ensures to switch off the appliance when the job is over, thereby saving power in the bargain.

The delay function is an excellent one, as it can keep the food warm for a long time.

The precise temperature selection system ensures that you do not have to guess the temperature required for cooking your favourite food items. The cooker comes with a variety of accessories that add to the convenience factor.

It features a separate eff trivet to cook a maximum of seven eggs at a time. Thus, it can cater to almost all requirements of an Indian household. The excellent recipe book available with the product makes it one of the favourites of the Indian homemaker.

Pros
  • The smart electric cooker comes with a memory function to restart from where it left off during a power cut.
  • This electric cooker comes with an Indian adapter, whereby you can use it in our electrical conditions.
  • The appliance is one of the best-looking electric cookers available on the market with its premium and upmarket features.
Cons
  • Does not come with additional safety features like silicone gaskets
  • Does not provide silicone mitts to handle the hot stainless-steel utensils.

5. Preethi Touch EPC005 6L Electric Pressure Cooker

Preethi is a household name when it comes to kitchen appliances. This Preethi electric pressure cooker comes with five multifunctional uses like rice cooker, pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer and food-warmer.

This cooker features 15 pre-programmed menus to prepare a variety of Indian recipes including vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The nine safety levels for controlling the temperature and pressure are some of the highlights of this appliance.

This cooker is a handy appliance to have in the kitchen because it allows both open and closed modes of cooking. The water level indicator present in the device ensures uniform cooking of the food every time.

The appliance comes with the latest Nutri++ technology that ensures healthier cooking for increased nutrient bioavailability in the food.

The Preethi electric pressure cooker features easy-to-use controls. The delay timer is an excellent feature to have, as you can now delay the cooking between 30 minutes to eight hours to suit your convenience.

The cooker comes with an auto-warming feature that can keep the food warm and ready to serve for about four hours after cooking. The 6L capacity ensures that it caters to medium and large-sized families with equal ease.

This cooker is useful for preparing food for small parties and family gatherings at home. The pre-programmed recipes include rice, khichdi, vegetable biryani, rajma, soups, dal, steam idli, cakes, carrot halwa, and even chicken curry and meat dishes.

Pros
  • Easy to use controls
  • Extremely safe to use because of the nine safety levels
  • Ideal for both open and closed modes of cooking
Cons
  • Does not come with accessories like idli plates
  • The coated containers can pose health risks. Steel containers would have been better.
  • There is no small-size available in this cooker. Hence, small families are at a disadvantage.

We have discussed some of the best Instant Pot cookers available on Amazon.

Though these cookers are manufactured primarily in China, they are durable. The positive aspect of these cookers is that one can prepare different dishes at the same time and in double-quick time.

Source: Thekitchn, Delish, nytimes, Digitaltrends