Best Instant Pot Duo Review

Ever felt like kitchen appliances these days are getting a bit too high-tech for your taste? We get it – something is comforting about using old-school cooking methods and gadgets.

The Instant Pot Duo is one of those pressure cookers that holds the middle ground. You get super-fast pressure cooking while keeping things simple with its easy controls and straightforward operation. 

This post will review the Instant Pot Duo – a classic and popular instant pot model. We’ll review its features and performance in detail, along with its upside and downsides and more.

So before you make a purchase, read on for our take on the Instant Pot Duo80 reviews!

Features

Instant Pot Duo features

There’s no doubt that the Duo is one of the bestselling models in the United States. Here’s a breakdown of its features and design and our unbiased opinion on it:

Design

At first sight, the Duo may look like it’s pretty high-tech. But upon closer inspection, you’ll notice it’s a simpleton when compared to some of its more expensive successors. 

To start with, the display is pretty basic – a small digital display with numbers that read in red. This screen is surrounded by lots of buttons that are labeled fairly clearly.

The pot has a 304 (food grade) stainless steel exterior, which is finger-print resistant, and feels robust and durable. Moreover, its inner pot has a 3-ply bottom, ensuring that the heat is distributed evenly during the cooking process.

Instant Pots weigh considerably heavy, especially the instant pot duo 80, which is the 8 quarts size and weighs about 15 lbs. 

As far as the lid is concerned, it’s pretty basic, too – a matte black with a steam release valve for venting steam. However, there’s no button for this – you’ll have to twist the valve for quick release manually. 

On the bright side, the handles on this thing act as lid holders, so if you don’t have space on your countertop, stick one end of the lid into these handles, and it’ll click into place.

7-1 Pressure Cooker

The Duo is best known for its pressure cooking abilities. With its 1200W heating element, you’ll be making stuff like chili in no time, with the same traditional, mouth-watering flavors.

There’s more, though – it actually does the work of seven appliances in one. 

Sauteing

First off, you can use it as a sauté pan, which comes in handy if you want to brown your meat or veggies before pressure cooking them or make a sauce.

Rice Cooking

Next, you can make fluffy and perfectly cooked rice with the Duo, as its preset setting works like a charm each time. However, brown rice won’t work in the rice cooker mode, so use the ‘multigrain’ option. 

Steaming

It also works well as a steamer, and luckily, the Duo package comes with a steaming rack for all your steamed fish and dumpling cravings. 

Yogurt

Apart from this, you can use it as a yogurt maker. The one-touch yogurt option lets you make yogurt without any hassle (and we know how stressful it is to make yogurt manually!

Slow Cook

And, of course, the Duo can double as a slow cooker to slow cook beef stew, pulled pork, juicy chicken, and countless other recipes. (You can also download the Instant Pot recipes app to try out your favorite dishes with this gadget). 

However, note that you may have to increase the cooking time if you slow cook with Instant Pot, as it only heats from the bottom, unlike regular slow cookers.

Keep Warm

This model can also act as a food warmer, so you don’t have to reheat the food. Just press the keep warm button, and the food will receive a low level of heat till you’re ready to serve.

It lacks the sous vide, pasteurize, dehydrate, and other modes present on advanced models. Luckily, these seven functions are enough to cook almost every recipe you have in mind. 

Controls

Instant Pot Duo controls

As far as the controls are concerned, they’re considerably easy to use, although there is a slight learning curve as it’s an electronic appliance after all. 

There are 13 smart programs, which are basically preset options, so you don’t have to adjust time and heat settings. These include:

  • Meat/Stew
  • Multigrain
  • Rice
  • Porridge
  • Bean/Chili
  • Soup
  • Poultry
  • Steam
  • Slow Cook
  • Sauté/Simmer
  • Keep Warm
  • Yogurt
  • Pressure Cook

(Note: Poultry and Multigrain presets are not included in the 3-quart size.)

So despite being simple to use, you can still enjoy the convenience of these presets with just a press of a button. 

Apart from this, you get a delay start option, which starts the cooking process up to 24 hours later from the moment you press it. 

Moreover, in the instant pot Duo 80/60 and the Mini, the pressure cook button acts as the manual mode, where you can adjust settings according to your preference. 

And the best part? It remembers the settings, so every time you enter a cooking mode, it’ll use the same settings as the last time. For such a reasonably priced device, we think these smart controls are a big win.

Despite being easy to operate, it’ll take a couple of tries to get used to the controls, such as adjusting heating intensity, etc. Fret not, though – it’s nothing particularly complicated or something technophobes will hate.

Safety Features

Instant Pot Duo safety

Instant Pots offer uncompromised safety, and so does the Duo. It has 10 safety mechanisms: an anti-block shield, safety lid lock, leaky lid detection, auto temperature/pressure control, overheat protection, and more.

So you can have your peace of mind with Instant brands, as these pots are ULC and UL lab certified to prevent any harm to the user. 

The steam release isn’t as safe as it is on the advanced models, but honestly, now we’re just nit-picking.

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Reasons to Buy the Instant Pot Duo

  • Budget-friendly
  • It offers six cooking modes
  • Has 13 presets
  • Inner pot and lid, both, are dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up
  • Fairly easy to use
  • 10 safety features with the necessary certifications
  • Customizable programs
  • Automatic temperature control
  • It comes with a stainless steel rack

Reasons to Avoid It

  • 1-year warranty
  • Duo80 instant pot (8 Quarts) is heavy 
  • Hard to determine when the sealing pin is in or out 
  • No Easy Steam Release button
  • Not WiFi-enabled

Available Sizes

The Duo is available in three convenient sizes:

Instant Pot Duo 3-Quart Specifications 

  • Dimensions: 11.4” L x 10” W x 11.2” H
  • Weight: 8.6 lb
  • Ideal for: small families of 2-3 or single servings

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Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13.4” L x 12.2” W x 12.5” H
  • Weight: 11.8 lb
  • Ideal for: families of 4-6

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Instant Pot Duo 80 8-Quart Specifications

  • Dimensions: 14.8” L x 13.3” W x 14.2” H
  • Weight: 14.96 lbs
  • Ideal for: large family dinners such as on Christmas/Thanksgiving

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Instant Pot FAQs

How to use Instant Pot Duo?

First off, familiarize yourself with its parts and how the control panel works. We suggest going through its user manual (click here to download) and try boiling a cup of water for your first try.

How to start Instant Pot Duo?

There’s no start button on this model. Once you’ve set the time after pressing the pressure cook button, the display will read “ON,” which means the cooking process has started. 

Which Instant Pot Duo is best?

The 6-quart is one of the most sought-after Instant Pot Duo sizes since it’s neither too big nor small. However, the Duo80 instant pot, the 8-quart size, works for your everyday meals and large, special occasion dinners.

Is the 3 quart Instant Pot worth it?

If you’re single or a family of two or three, the Duo Mini is a perfect size, especially if you have a small kitchen with minimal storage space. Otherwise, you’d be better off with the larger sizes, such as the Instant Pot Duo 80 (8-quart) or 60 (6-quart). 

Final Verdict

Overall, we think the Duo does one heck of a job at cooking different dishes. It saves time and locks in those flavors and aromas that traditional cooking often loses. 

However, if you want the most out of your Instant Pot with all the fancier features such as air fry, sous vide, etc., then you may want to look into the Duo’s more high-tech siblings.

But if you’re content with the 7-1 modes and the pocket-friendly price tag of the Duo, this model can be your best bet. It’s the most popular and a classic for a reason, right?

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