The Best Instant Pot Model You Can Buy
The original Instant Pot was an (almost) instant success because it’s, well, downright brilliant. Of course, the brand followed up its first model with a handful of additional options, each one with new and different features. A couple of years ago, I took a look at the differences between all the models and came to the conclusion that the basic Lux model was the best choice for most people. Although you can sometimes find it on Amazon, the Lux is no longer being manufactured. The least expensive family-sized Instant Pot is now the Duo at under $100 and I continue to believe either is a fine choice.
However, it you have the budget to upgrade, the Instant Pot Pro Plus 6-quart Smart Multi-Cooker is a smart buy and not because of its connectivity. It has a combination of settings and improvements to its design that make it the best Instant Pot yet!
What’s So Great About the Instant Pot Pro Plus?
For starters, it has a new, large control panel that makes the Pro Plus sleek and modern-looking and convenient to use. The settings are easy to read — no need to squint or pull out your reading glasses — and completely intuitive to program. You can select your release setting at the beginning of cooking. In the upper-left-hand corner of the display, there’s a signal indicator that lights up when the pot’s under pressure, so that you know definitively not to open the lid until the light goes off. When you’re not using it, the panel goes to sleep so the Instant Pot looks unobtrusive sitting on your kitchen countertop.
Because the bottom of the pot is heavier and flatter than other Instant Pots, oil covers it evenly for better browning on the Sauté function. The Pro Plus has a higher wattage than most other models, which also helps it brown better. The pot has handles that keep it in place so that when you stir, the pot doesn’t wiggle around. They also make it very convenient to remove the pot when it’s time to serve or clean up. Every time you place the lid on, it automatically seals. A lid over the pressure release valve means pressure is released gently without any noisy, alarming bursts of steam. You can now, very easily, lift off the lid and perch it on the edge of the machine when you open the cooker to stir, add ingredients, or serve.
While there are other Instant Pots with a few additional settings, I think the Pro Plus has the ones you’re most likely to use including Pressure Cook, Rice, Sauté, Slow Cook, Steam, Yogurt, and Sous Vide as well as Canning. The only ones missing are Cake and Sterilize and, hey, are you really going to miss them?
The coolest thing about this model is that you can connect it to WiFi and Bluetooth to access pre-programmed recipes on your mobile device. During my testing, I found it exceptionally easy to hook up and was pleased that the database contained a plethora of recipes (more than 1,500!) to choose from. I wasn’t sure how much I’d appreciate this feature (and the instructions in the app are a bit confusing), but the ability to automatically start a timer on your phone for each step is certainly a convenience. After all, as I’m sure you know, when you’re in another room, it’s often hard to hear the appliance ding when cooking’s up. If you’re a techy person who’s already comfortable with cooking from an app on your phone, you’ll love the Pro Plus’s connectivity; if you’re not, this is probably not the product that will make you finally embrace smart products.
Overall, the new features on the Pro Plus make it my favorite Instant Pot on the market. I realize, though, that it comes with a high price tag. If you’re looking to economize, you can’t go wrong with the Duo.
Buy: Instant Pot Pro Plus 6-quart Smart Multi-Cooker, $199.95
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