Instant Pot Makes a Multi-Cooker That’s ALSO an Air Fryer — And It’s My New Favorite Small Appliance

published Feb 20, 2020
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

There’s really just one thing the super-popular Instant Pot can’t do — and that’s air fry. At least most machines can’t. But there’s the relatively newish model, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, that does all the things other Instant Pots do… AND it promises to crisp up fries and mozz sticks to sports-bar level. (Instant Pot also has a new air fryer lid that turns your existing IP base into an air fryer; we’ll have a review on that soon, too, so be sure to check back.)

Excited about the prospect of a machine that would combine even more small appliances, I took the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer for a test drive. I used it to roast a chicken, fry up frozen favorites, and even bake chocolate chip cookies — trying out the IP’s known functions (namely, pressure cooking and slow cooking) along with the air frying feature. Here’s how it all went. Spoiler alert: This really is my new favorite Instant Pot model!

What Is the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer?

While Instant Pot does have that stand-alone air fryer lid, which I mentioned above and works with your existing 6-quart machine, the Duo Crisp + Air Fryer comes with a base and two lids (a pressure cooker one and an air fryer lid), so this model would replace your older machine or is good for someone who doesn’t have an IP just yet. It’s very similar to the other Duo machines, but this one has five new functions — like air fry, roast, and dehydrate.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

My First Impression of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer arrived in a humorously large box and included the Instant Pot body, pressure cooker lid, and steamer basket that are pretty standard for regular Instant Pot multi-cookers. But then it also included the special air frying lid, a multi-level frying basket, and a pad for setting the hot lid on between tasks. As with other Instant Pot appliances, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer includes a quick start guide and recipe books.

The control panel and pressure cooker lid will feel pretty familiar to anyone who has used an Instant Pot before, while the air frying lid sits on top (rather than twists into place). The control panel will give you a LID warning if you try to use a “wet” program (i.e. pressure cooking or slow cooker) with the air fryer lid and vice versa. After washing the Instant Pot liner and doing Instant Pot’s standard water pressure test, I set to work testing the Duo with its air fryer lid.

My Honest Review of the Duo Crisp Lid

I’ve tried out another brand’s air fryer lid that goes onto the Instant Pot and wasn’t super impressed. So, my expectations were low — even for the impressive-looking Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer. Still, I tried a few of my family’s favorite Instant Pot recipes and air fryer recipes to varying degrees of great success. Here’s how it all went.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Air frying: The Duo Crisp’s multi-level frying basket means you have more surface area for cooking frozen french fries, tots, and nuggets from frozen. Batches of fries came out beautifully crisp in less time than if I was using an oven, and the IP holds more than twice the amount of a standard 3-quart air fryer. Just like it’s cousin, the Instant Pot Vortex, the Duo will give you a signal when you’re halfway through and it’s time to rotate the food. This machine honestly air fries food just as well as straight up air fryer devices. It also did so extremely quietly (quieter than other air fryers I’ve used), and the air frying basket has a nonstick coating, which makes it easy to clean.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Pressure cooking + air frying: This is where the magic of Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer lies, you guys. Pressure cooking a whole chicken inside the air fryer basket and then air frying the chicken makes for the most delicious rotisserie-like chicken in less than an hour. Not having to wrangle big cuts of meat from pressure cooker to broiler might be the biggest win from this appliance.

Broiling: This top down function of the air fryer lid works really well for browning cheese over Instant Pot pasta dishes or quickly crisping the tops of slow-cooked casseroles.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

Baking: The baking function on the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer is really great for cooking whole potatoes when you don’t have space or time to heat the oven. But while Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies are totally a thing (a very smart and delicious thing, I might add), the machine didn’t seem to circulate enough delicate heat to cook the bottom of my cookies in its broiling/ dehydrator plate. Use the baking feature for potatoes, but not for cookies.

My Final Thoughts on the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer is really great — especially if you’re torn between buying an Instant Pot OR an air fryer separately. The pre-set programs are intuitive and easy to navigate if you’re new to pressure cooking and/or air frying. Despite its size (it’s super deep and that’s what allows you to stack multiple tiers of food!), the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer circulates air well and it’s able to take advantage of the Instant Pot’s own heating elements in the pot body in the roasting and baking modes — something that other after market air fryer lids cannot do.

If you only have space for one gadget and want an Instant Pot and an air fryer, this is your solution. Or honestly, if you don’t have an IP yet and have been thinking about getting one, this is the one I’d recommend. Because it does all the things that other IP models do — plus it has that air frying lid.

Have you tried this model yet? What’d you think?