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Instant pots are a popular kitchen appliance designed to streamline meal prep by packing a variety of features and functions into a single device.

In addition to acting as a pressure cooker, many instant pots can be used to make yogurt, cook rice, dehydrate fruits and vegetables, or steam, broil, bake, roast, and air fry foods.

However, with so many products to choose from, figuring out which instant pot is right for you can be tricky.

The products included in this article were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Features. Each product offers a variety of different cooking features.
  • Customer feedback. Products have mostly positive customer reviews.
  • Safety. Products are equipped with safety features to prevent injury.
  • Cost. Each product provides a good value for the price.
  • Vetting. All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s business standards.

Here are 6 of the best instant pots of 2021.

Best overall

Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker

Price: $

Boasting seven unique functions, the Instant Pot Duo is a great choice for novice chefs and pressure-cooking pros alike.

In addition to acting as a pressure cooker, it can steam, slow cook, and sauté food, make rice and yogurt, and keep food warm. Plus, it has 13 customizable smart programs, making it easy to prepare soup, meat, porridge, and more.

It’s available in 3 sizes ranging from 3–8 quarts (2.8–7.6 liters) and more affordable than many other models on the market.

However, keep in mind that although the Instant Pot is designed with multiple built-in safety features, the company has been involved in several lawsuits regarding injuries caused by steam or the lid opening under pressure.

Most versatile

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 8-Quart Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker

Price: $$$

If you’re looking for an instant pot that can do it all, look no further than the Ninja Foodi Deluxe.

With nine unique functions, this high tech pressure cooker doubles as an air fryer and can even steam, slow cook, sear, sauté, bake, roast, broil, and dehydrate foods. It even acts as a yogurt maker.

Given that it holds up to 8 quarts (7.6 liters), it’s an excellent choice for families and large households.

While it’s a bit pricier than some other instant pots, the Ninja Foodie Deluxe may be a space-saving and affordable alternative to buying multiple appliances separately.

Best affordable

Presto 6-Quart Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker Plus

Price: $

This budget-friendly instant pot offers a variety of features that can help you whip up an assortment of delicious dishes while also saving you time in the kitchen.

It allows you to choose between high pressure or low pressure and can slow cook, brown, and sauté foods.

Additionally, it has a capacity of up to 6 quarts (5.7 liters), which can prepare enough servings for couples or small households.

Note that although this instant pot can be a good option for beginners, those seeking more advanced features may want to opt for a higher end model.

Best for beginners

Mueller 6-Quart Pressure Cooker

Price: $$

This beginner-friendly instant pot is an excellent choice for people who are just starting to experiment with pressure cookers and unsure where to start.

It includes 15 preset smart programs to make preparing your favorite meals easier than ever, and unlike many other models, it even allows you to input your cooking time manually.

In addition to pressure cooking foods, you can use it to make yogurt or slow cook, steam, sauté, or can foods.

Plus, it’s equipped with eight built-in safety mechanisms and includes a steamer basket, measuring cup, and ladle, so you have everything you need to get started.

Although the product has mostly positive reviews online, some state that it’s heavy and difficult to move, which may be a drawback for those who are tight on space and prefer a more portable option.

Best for families

Yedi Total Package Pressure Cooker

Price: $$

The Yedi Total Package Pressure Cooker holds up to 8 quarts (7.6 liters) of food and boasts 15 instant-touch cooking programs, making it an awesome weeknight dinner option for families.

It also combines nine kitchen appliances into a single device, enabling you to make yogurt and cakes, cook rice, keep food warm, and pressure cook, slow cook, steam, pasteurize, and sauté ingredients.

What’s more, it includes a recipe book, cheat sheets for using the product, and a variety of accessories, including egg racks, a rice paddle, cooking mitts, a steamer basket, a measuring cup, and a ladle.

However, it’s relatively expensive, and, because it’s very large and sturdy, those with less counter space may prefer a more compact or portable instant pot.

Best high tech

Chef iQ Smart Cooker

Price: $$

This smart cooker from Chef iQ is jam-packed with features and functions fit for tech-lovers.

In fact, it’s equipped with Bluetooth and WiFi and can connect to the Chef iQ app, which includes hundreds of recipes and preset cooking programs and allows you to control your instant pot using your smartphone.

You can use this high end instant pot to pressure cook, sear, sauté, steam, slow cook, and ferment foods.

It can also hold up to 6 quarts (5.7 liters) and includes a built-in smart scale, which weighs the ingredients that you add to your instant pot and calculates exactly how much liquid is needed.

Nevertheless, it comes with a higher price tag than most other instant pots, and consumers who aren’t tech-savvy may find it difficult to use.

Here is a closer look at how these products compare in terms of their available features, sizes, and prices.

Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart Multi-Use Pressure CookerNinja Foodi 9-in-1 8-Quart Deluxe XL Pressure CookerPresto 6-Quart Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker PlusMueller 6-Quart Pressure CookerYedi Total Package Pressure CookerChef IQ Smart Cooker
Price (MSRP)$79.99$249.99$92.99$110.46$139.95$199.99
Size6 quarts (5.7 liters)8 quarts (7.6 liters)6 quarts (5.7 liters)6 quarts (5.7 liters)8 quarts (7.6 liters)6 quarts (5.7 liters)
Number of functions7 + 13 smart programs9410 + 15 preset programs9 + 15 programs6 + 300 preset programs
Functions• pressure cook
• steam
• slow cook
• sauté
• rice
• yogurt
• keep warm
• pressure cook
• steam
• slow cook
• sear
• sauté
• bake/roast
• broil
• air fry
• dehydrate
• pressure cook
• slow cook
• brown
• sauté
• high & low pressure settings
• pressure cook
• slow cook
• rice
• yogurt
• cake
• egg
• sauté
• steamer
• warmer
• sterilize
• pressure cook
• slow cook
• steam
• pasteurize
• sear/sauté
• yogurt
• rice
• cake
• keep warm
• pressure cook
• sear/sauté
• steam
• slow cook
• ferment
• keep warm
• built-in scale

Because instant pots offer a range of features, it’s important to consider how you plan to use the appliance and which functions are most important for you.

Here are some factors to consider when shopping for an instant pot:

  • Functions. While some people may prefer an instant pot that can also make yogurt or act as an air fryer, others may only plan to use it as a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
  • Size. If you’re only preparing meals for 1–2 people or short on space, a smaller size is a good option, whereas those with larger households should select an instant pot with a higher capacity.
  • Features. Many instant pots include several built-in safety features, such as locking mechanisms, automatic pressure controls, and high temperature warnings. Choosing a product that’s equipped with these features is essential to help prevent injury.
  • Cost. Instant pots vary in price. Look for a product that fits your budget but also offers the functions and features that you need.

What size instant pot should you buy?

Instant pots are available in several sizes, ranging from 3–10 quarts (2.8–9.5 liters).

Most recipes are designed for a 6-quart (5.7-liter) instant pot, which can make around 2–4 servings. This size can also fit larger foods, such as butternut squash.

However, if you’re only cooking meals for one or planning to prepare mostly side dishes in your instant pot, a 3-quart (2.8-liter) model may be enough.

On the other hand, if you’re meal prepping or making meals for a large family or household, you’ll want to opt for a larger size, such as an 8-quart (7.6-liter) instant pot.

Although it does require more space, the 8-quart instant pot can typically make enough food for at least 6 people.

Instant pots are great for preparing a variety of different dishes, including soups, stews, rice, beans, and meats.

Many models are also designed to make yogurt, act as an air fryer, or bake, roast, sauté, and dehydrate foods.

As such, instant pots can be used to make a variety of recipes.

What should you not cook in an instant pot?

However, keep in mind that instant pots may not be ideal for every type of dish.

For example, certain forms of meat, including burgers or steak, may not achieve the same caramelized texture or outside sear in an instant pot.

They’re also not ideal for baking pies, cookies, or bread, as the final texture will likely be altered.

Additionally, it’s best to avoid cream-based sauces made with dairy, as the high temperatures can cause milk to curdle or separate. Therefore, if you’re adding milk or cheese to a recipe, only add it after the pressure cooking cycle is complete.

Instant pots are a popular kitchen appliance designed to streamline and simplify meal prep.

Many instant pots are available, and they vary in size, features, and price.

Be sure to consider your needs, budget, and how you plan to use your instant pot to find a product that works for your household.