Cooking healthy, tasty meals without spending the whole day in the kitchen can feel impossible. In the past, I couldn’t count the number of pots I had to manage on the stove simultaneously.
Getting a pressure cooker was one of the best kitchen investments I’ve made.
Now, which pressure cooker is the best on the market? This article compares the Instant Pot Duo with the Duo Plus to help you determine which is the superior option.
Things To Consider Before Buying an Instant Pot
Instant Pot is a Canadian brand of electric pressure and slow cookers. Their multi cooker products first hit the market in 2010. Since then, Instant Pot has also produced blenders, rice cookers, air fryers, immersion circulators, and non-pressure slow cookers.
Instant Pots are great for the home chef who wants to cook healthy, tasty meals without spending all their time in the kitchen. These pots use pressurized cooking, which locks in nutrients. It makes the meat incredibly juicy and preserves the fiber in vegetables.
An Instant Pot is self-running, making sure your food cooks while you do other things. These pots differ from product to product, so it’s crucial you’re able to choose one that’s most suitable for your kitchen needs.
Instant Pots are made from various materials including stainless steel which is corrosion-resistant. In terms of durability, it’s your best bet.
But do note that some of the cookers also have non stick surfaces or inner pots made from materials like Teflon. These portions will wear down at a faster rate, so you want to make sure to take care when cleaning and storing your Instant Pot.
These cooking pots come with built-in safety features, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your appliance unattended during the cooking process. Components include things like overheat protection, safety lid lock, automatic temperature control, steam release valve, and pressure control, to name a few.
Non-stick coatings are a hot topic in the cooking world since some contain polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). When heated to standard cooking temperatures, PTFE can release toxic gases. However, the effect on humans is still unclear.
If you’re concerned about the safety of non-stick pans, you can choose other alternatives such as a ceramic pot. While something like Teflon will be cheaper and more convenient, you do have other options for peace of mind.
All Instant Pots are pressurized cookers, but they come with other programs, depending on what you want to cook.
These selections usually include cooking methods like steaming and sauteing. Some Instant Pots even feature a sterilization program. If you enjoy pickling, canning or preserving foods, this would allow you to prep your jars inside the pot with ease.
Of course, the more features that exist on an Instant Pot, the higher the price tag will be in most cases. Focus on your needs and choose one accordingly.
Do you need an Instant Pot?
There are alternatives out there to electric pressure cookers, for example a stovetop pressure cooker is simpler. Check out this video if you’re not sure if you need an Instant Pot:
Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot Duo 7-In-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is one of the best-selling multi-cookers that combines pressurized cooking and slow cooking. In fact, this pressure cooker also does the job of five other appliances! It functions as a rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer, and sauté pan.
This pressure cooker saves up to 70 percent of the energy you would use with traditional cooking methods. It’s not just beneficial for the environment, this also helps keep your electricity bill low.
Even better, the Instant Pot Duo speeds up the cooking process by between two to six times. This makes it a great companion to the home cook who wants to prepare healthy meals but not spend all their time in the kitchen.
The Instant Pot Duo comes in three sizes: 3 quart (2.8 liters), 6 quart (5.7 liters) and 8 quart (7.6 liters). If you’re looking to cook for more than eight people, you probably need a 10 quart (9.5 liters) pot and should check out other alternatives.
All of the Instant Pot Duos are made of stainless steel. A big advantage here is that the dishwasher-friendly inner pot doesn’t use a non-stick coating, either. This eliminates the potential safety concerns of PTFE. Instead, the cooking pot is built with three-ply stainless steel with a fingerprint-resistant outer layer.
Note that if you want to buy extra parts for the Instant Pot Duo, they can be rather pricey. What’s more some customers report that the included accessories are made of plastic and are not of the highest quality. Some extra accessories aren’t available for the 3 quart (2.8 liters) size, either.
Also, some customers think that the cord to the pot is quite short. But I found the 26 inch (66 cm) cord to be plenty long enough. The silicone seal on the pot also tends to absorb smells, according to reports. But this is one spare part that you can get extras for at a low price.
Instant Pot Duo Plus
The Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is an upgrade from the Instant Pot Duo. Besides offering pressurized and slow-cooking, the Instant Pot Duo Plus features seven additional cooking functions: rice cooker, egg cooker, steamer, sterilizer, sauté pan, yogurt maker, and food warmer.
The pressure cooker also speeds up the cooking time by up to 70 percent compared with normal cooking methods. Health-conscious home chefs won’t be stuck minding the stove for hours on end.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus uses an easy-seal lid that seals the pot automatically as soon as it’s closed, to increase your safety. It also has an easy steam release button you can use to depressurize the pot fast in order to retrieve your food.
With the progress indicator on the display panel, you can see when the cooking process starts. This helps when estimating how long it will take from start to finish.
This pressure cooker is also made of stainless steel. So is its three-ply inner pot which means that the Instant Pot Duo Plus is free from Teflon and PTFE, making it safe. The inner pot is also dishwasher-friendly.
Also, the Duo Plus is available in 3 quart (2.8 liters), 6 quart (5.7 liters), or 8 quart (7.6 liters) size options. The larger you go, the more programs you have to choose from.
On the downside, a pressure locked lid means that you can’t remove the food if you’re concerned it’s overcooked. Once you’ve chosen your Instant Pot program, it has to complete itself from start to finish. This means you have to pick the cooking method wisely, depending on what’s inside.
Even though the manufacturer claims that the stainless steel inner pot is very durable, it scratches quite easily according to some customers. Avoid using metal utensils and take care during cleaning.
Some say it’s not that easy to use either. There are reports that the Instant Pot Duo Plus components look different from what’s in the manual, leaving the user confused.
Difference Between Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Plus
Still can’t decide which one to buy? Let’s see how they line up side-by-side.
Both the Instant Pot Duo and the Duo Plus models are made from stainless steel. Their inner pots also use steel instead of non-stick Teflon, making them PTFE-free. These Instant Pots are safer than other pressure cookers on the market that use dangerous chemicals.
They both have pre-set smart programs and settings, making for convenient meal prep. What further adds to these two kitchen appliances’ cooking speed is that they both use pressurized methods to prepare food.
Also, note that the inner pots are dishwasher-friendly in both Instant Pot models and they come in the same set of sizes.
To summarize, the common features are:
- Long-lasting body made of stainless steel
- Teflon and PTFE-free
- Convenient, fast cooking with one-touch programs and easy to use control panel
- Dishwasher-safe inner pots
- Comes in 3, 6 and 8 quart sizes
These Instant Pot models come with the following capacities:
- 3 quart (2.8 liters): one or two people
- 6 quart (5.7 liters): works well for a family of four
- 8 quart (7.6 liters): if you want to cook for guests or have a bigger family
So, what sets them apart from one another?
While the Instant Pot Duo offers seven different cooking programs with one touch programming, the Duo Plus offers nine. The two extra programs available on the Instant Pot Duo Plus are the sterilizer feature and egg cooker.
Other features that differentiate these two pressure cookers include the following: the Instant Pot Duo Plus comes with an easy-seal lid function and an instant pressure release button. These functions increase the safety of this Instant Pot and offer stability during the cooking process.
Note that the Instant Pot Duo Plus has a cooking progress indicator, as well, that lets you know when the cooker is warmed up and ready to begin. It also comes with an automatic lock once it starts, opposed to the Instant Pot Duo.
These added features make the Instant Pot Duo Plus more expensive than the Instant Pot Duo. The real question is if the price difference is worth it, which depends on the features that matter to you as the user.
To sum up, the differences between the Instant Pot Duo and the Duo Plus are:
- Different number of pre-set smart programs for cooking
- The Instant Pot Duo Plus has an automatically sealing lid
- Duo Plus has a steam-release button
- Instant Pot Duo Plus is equipped with a cooking process indicator
- The Instant Pot Duo is cheaper
Electric Pressure Cooking Alternatives
If the Instant Pot Duo or Duo Plus doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, here are some other pressure cooker alternatives. For those with larger family units or for anyone who cooks for big groups, you’ll want to pay particular attention.
Instant Pot Duo Nova
Another Instant Pot model is the Instant Pot Duo Nova Pressure Cooker and it comes with seven programs like the Instant Pot Duo. That means that it doesn’t have the preset egg cooker or sterilizer function that the Duo Plus has.
The Instant Pot Duo Nova is also Teflon-free, so you don’t need to worry about toxic chemicals leaching into your food. This model is made from stainless steel to boot.
This unit is great for beginners that aren’t familiar with pressure cooking. It comes with an easy-to-use lid with an automatic pressure valve, which takes away any guessing as to how that component functions.
The Instant Pot Duo Nova is also equipped with a cooking progress indicator so you can see how much time remains for your meal to be ready. Furthermore, the LED display is simple to read and understand. All of these features make for a straightforward machine that most could learn to use, even cooking newbies.
This is the only Instant Pot model that’s available in a 10 quart (9.5 liters) size. If you’re looking to cook large batches of food at once, this could be your best bet. It should serve six to 10 people easily, depending on what’s inside.
You should note that spare parts and accessories aren’t available for the 10 quart (9.5 liters) Instant Pot Duo Nova. Make sure you take care of these components so they last. Also, there have been complaints that the lid has difficulties sealing, especially if you use the manual settings instead of the preset buttons.
- 7-in-1 one-touch smart programs.
- Free from Teflon and PTFE.
- Comes with a cooking progress indicator.
- Easy-to-read LED display.
- Available in 10 quart size.
- No replacement parts or added accessories available.
- The lid doesn’t seal properly when using manual settings.
Instant Pot Duo Nova vs Duo Plus
- Duo Nova available in 10 quart size
- Duo Nova has 7 cooking programs vs 9 in Duo Plus
- Harder to find replacement parts for Duo Nova
Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker
The Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker is made from stainless steel as well. It’s available in 5 (4.7 liters), 6.5 (6.2 liters), and 8 quart (7.6 liters) sizes, making it a little big for a household of two but great for families of four or more.
This pressure cooker gives you options to slow or pressure cook your food, which reduces the cooking time by up to70 percent.
Compared to other alternatives, the Ninja Foodi has the added function of an air fryer which reduces up to 75 percent of the fat used in traditional frying methods. If you’re watching your weight or trying to be more health-conscious, it’s a tempting feature.
Also, this cookware has a non stick inner ceramic pot. This offers the convenience of easy cleaning, but it’s also a safe material free of chemicals.
The Ninja Foodi uses an old-fashioned steam release mechanism in which you have to rotate it to release steam. This isn’t as convenient as an instant steam release button, but it shouldn’t be a big deal for someone with a little know-how.
This pressure cooker option is the most expensive one on the list. If you’re looking for a machine that also functions as an air fryer, it could be worth it. But if the added functions aren’t that important to you, a less expensive cooker is a more economical choice.
- Comes in multiple sizes.
- Made from long-lasting stainless steel.
- Air fries food in a healthy manner.
- Reduces cooking time by up to 70 percent.
- PTFE-free non stick ceramic pot.
- Not the most modern steam release mechanism.
- Non stick coating can wear off.
- Quite expensive.
Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Plus: The Verdict
The Instant Pot Duo Plus has some features that the Instant Pot Duo doesn’t. But even though the Duo Plus model is quite cheap, it’s still more expensive than the Instant Pot Duo. So, are these features worth the higher price?
I found that the extra programs on the Duo Plus aren’t that useful since most Instant Pot recipes include the pressure level and cooking time. You can just set the timer and pressure mechanism yourself.
The easy-seal lid on the Instant Pot Duo Plus also comes with some negative aspects. For example, you can’t open the lid once the program begins, which means you can’t give your food a thorough check. Overcooking something is more plausible with this model because of this.
With these things in mind, the winner, for me, is the Instant Pot Duo. It’s a great pressure cooker for an affordable price. If you want the additional one-touch programs of cooking eggs and sterilizing, opt for the Instant Pot Duo Plus instead.