there are various
instant pot Multi cooker out there. Just because one of them has (to some) a Kleenex-style brand name that represents the entire category, there’s a lot of good competition. It’s worth shopping around to see what works for you.
A 6 quart machine is pretty standard, and I don’t really see the point in using a smaller machine. Downsizing won’t save you a lot of money, you can make small batches or double batches in a larger pot, who doesn’t like making dinner thinking they have homemade chili or soup in the fridge and it feels like too much work already? If you cook a lot, consider the 8-quart size. The extra cabinet space is worth it, and the extra area on the bottom of the pan is easier to fry and sear.
More than just pressure cookers, multi-cookers often advertise themselves as 10 (or so) in one, with various presets like chicken, cheesecake, and brown rice. Ignore presets. The important settings—or at least my favorite settings—are pressure cooking (duh), slow cook and sauté, and useful secondary functions like sous-vide, yogurt, and steam. Currently, the 1,200-watt model is where you get the best searing results.
One piece of advice before buying: see how the control panel you’re considering makes you feel. Operating your multi-pot shouldn’t give you a headache, Instant Pot and a few other brands are notorious for making machines with too busy interfaces and too many options. However, some of them have become more intuitive over time. Our top pick — the Instant Pot model — has impressively streamlined controls.
None of the apps or internet connections we’ve tested are worth using. If your multi-cooker urges you to download the mobile app, you can safely ignore all of them. Things like multi-cookers with air fryer lids can also be avoided for the time being.
While rice cooked in a pressure cooker is great, I prefer to have a separate rice cooker because there are a lot of multi-cooker meals that go with rice, and rice cookers are much better at storing rice for long periods of time.
In the end, if you’re a seasoned professional and happy with the multicooker you already own, there’s no overwhelming reason to trade it in for a new one. Instead, as my dad said, “drive it until the wheels fall off” and go ahead and grab one of those. Until then, use any extra cash to buy quality recipes that can help you make the most of your existing resources. My favorite recipes are listed at the end of this buying guide.