Instant Pots are a way of life. The electric pressure cookers have an almost cult-like following in the modern world. Check the best-rated smart pressure cooker models on Amazon and Instant Pots will occupy 7 of the top 10 spots. The Home and Kitchen category lists it as the top-rated appliance. And if you ask any cooking enthusiast about their Instant Pot, they will rave for hours about how it helps them get dinner on the table in a flash.
Even after being a popular cooking appliance, as reported by a Meat+Poultry, it hasn’t earned the market share closer to traditional stoves. But one good thing is, We conducted a survey in our group and 74% people who own the Instant pot at-least use it once in a week.
Whether you are a beginner just learning cooking, or an expert who wants to get in on the latest trend, there is an Instant Pot for everyone. The smart cookers come with a range of features. They tend to replace most of the kitchen appliances we use on a daily basis. So why not get one?
But with more than 7 models and a host of features, it can get difficult to figure which Instant Pot is the best for you. In this series of Instant Pot reviews, I have taken it upon myself to reveal the best and worst of the latest in these smart pressure cookers. Today, we will talk about the Instant Pot Duo, its features, its pros and cons, and its alternatives. Read on to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about Instant Pot Duo Plus.
- 1 The Review
- 1.1 Multi Cooker
- 1.2 Size: 3-quart, 6-quart and 8-quart
- 1.3 Smart Programmes
- 1.4 The LCD Screen
- 1.5 Caters to varying tastes
- 1.6 Cooking Times
- 1.7 24-hour delay start ( Cooking Timer)
- 1.8 The newly designed Readers Manual
- 1.9 Exteriors and Interiors
- 1.10 Security features (10 Safety Mechanisms)
- 1.11 Alexa connection
- 2 Instant Pot Duo Plus Pros & Cons
- 3 Alternatives to Instant Pot Duo
- 4 DUO Plus Frequently Asked Questions
- 4.1 How do the smart programs work?
- 4.2 What are the different sizes that the Instant Pot Duo Plus is available in and what are their prices?
- 4.3 What is the difference between the Duo and Duo Plus? What should I get?
- 4.4 How long should I wait before opening the cooker after my food is cooked?
- 4.5 Can I do pressure canning with the Instant Pot Duo Plus?
- 4.6 What different settings can I use for the saute program?
- 4.7 How does the Instant Pot prevent blockage of steam release valve?
- 4.8 What do I do if the sealing ring smells?
- 4.9 Why is pressure not building up in my Instant Pot Duo Plus?
- 4.10 What does Ov-Ht mean?
- 5 Final Verdict
You can read my other reviews of Instant Pot Ultra and Instant Pot Max. I have used Instant Pots for several years now. Having cooked over 200 recipes in all the models, I feel like I am qualified enough to review it and lay it all out before you all.
Before you begin reading the review, I’ll warn you that its more than a 3000 words and has all the doubts about the DUO plus answered. So you might want to save the URL by bookmarking it. Simplicity makes it easy to understand, that’s why I’ve written in the easiest way I could.
Like all its siblings, The Duo Plus serves to function as multiple appliances. Once I got an Instant Pot, I was able to get rid of so many of my appliances that kitchen counter looked one hundred percent cleaner.
The Pot Duo Plus replaces not only a pressure cooker but also a slow cooker and a rice cooker. You can make perfectly fluffy eggs or get some instant yogurt. You can bake a moist and fluffy cake in your Duo Plus. You can also saute and steam vegetable in the duo plus. Additional functions include sterilization, and keeping food warm for hours after it has been cooked, and searing the meat to a crisp finish.
The 3 New features – Egg, Cake and Sterilize have been introduced for the first time in the Duo Plus. None of the predecessors features these programmes. Sterilize program is the most helpful. Make sure your baby’s bottles are clean and pasteurize the milk like never before with you Instant Pot Duo Plus. However, the successor to it, i.e. The Instant Pot Ultra has all these features, but let’s give credit to Duo plus for having the features first.
With such wide ranged versatility, my Duo Plus got rid of 9 appliances from my kitchen immediately. What more can you ask for from a device?
Size: 3-quart, 6-quart and 8-quart
Different people have different requirements. And to meet those requirements, the Duo Plus comes with 3 different sizes. The 3-quart model is perfect for students and people who travel a lot. The 6-quart model is meant for small families of 4 or 5 members. Families with more than 6 members should get the 8-quart model.
One of my favorite features of the Electric cookers is that they come with built-in, pre-programmed settings that completely take out the guesswork from cooking. No matter what dish you are preparing, you can be certain this it will most probably have a preset program in your Duo Plus.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus comes with 15 different preset programs that allow you to perform a wide range of cooking functions with the press of a button. They include – making soup or broth, meat, stew, baking cakes, making eggs, chilies, beans, making porridge or rice, multigrain cooking or making yogurt, keeping food warm, and pressure cooking.
All the above-mentioned recipes can be cooked with so much as the flick of a finger. There is no need to fiddle around with knobs anymore. Simply press a button and your food will be ready – delicious and nutritious.
The LCD Screen
Duo Plus is one of the most revolutionary products to come from the Canadian brand, because of its large and immaculate LCD screen. The blue screen is large enough so that all the functions are visible. It features four main settings. They are Heat, Pressure Cook, Keep Warm and Sound.
The Heat setting obviously depicts the temperature inside the cooker on which the food is being cooked. The Pressure Cook setting displays if the pressure cooker is on, and if it is, what is the pressure inside. The Keep warm feature can be used to keep food fresh long after it has finished cooking. The Sound feature is used to switch the beep sound the Pot makes when the cooking process is over.
Besides, the screens display time, for how long food is being cooked, what is the delay start period, and for how long Keep Warm has been on.
I found the screen intuitive and easy to operate. There were no complications in getting started. The functions are not overly convoluted and a new user will easily learn and get used to using the cooker with the help of this screen.
Caters to varying tastes
Each of the programs on the Instant Pot Duo Plus can be customized into 3 settings – Less, Normal and More. For example, If you are using the saute program, you can turn the setting to low for searing, normal for simmering the food, and more for thickening. Similarly, the 3 settings in slow cook can be used for cooking meats of different consistency or according to the recipe. In the Keep Warm program, the 3 settings will allow you to keep your food warm at different temperatures.
The Less option in egg program can be used for cooking soft boiled eggs and so on. Similarly, the 3 settings for cakes produce soft cakes, dense cakes, and cheesecakes.
In the sterilize settings, use the Less setting for pasteurizing dairy products and the other two for sterilizing baby bottles. Just choose how you prefer your food, press a button or two, and you are done.
There is another thing I love about this feature. You can change the settings anytime during the cook in case you make a mistake or simply want to experiment. In the previous models, you had to hit cancel before proceeding with the changes. I cannot describe how much relief it is to not have to do that anymore.
Like all Instant Pots, the Duo Plus claims to cook food 70 percent faster than other pressure cookers. But what about
I tested the waters on this claim, and it worked every time. Every recipe I have cooked on a stovetop cooker or microwave has taken twice, sometimes three times as long as with my Instant Pot Duo Plus. This means that the Instant Pot Duo Plus saves not only time, but also energy, and consequently money. Who doesn’t love that?
But some recipes I cooked needed slow cooking, I found the Instant Pot Max to be a good choice for such dishes. So if you’re someone who cooks more of the slow cooking recipes then the Instant Pot Max is the best electric pressure cooker for your needs.
24-hour delay start ( Cooking Timer)
One of my favourite things about the Instant Pot Duo Plus is the 24-hour delay feature. What it basically means that if you have to go out of the house and want your food ready when you return, simply enter when you want the cook to start and leave.
The cooker will automatically begin cooking your food after the designated time so that you return to freshly cooked, hot food every single time. This feature is especially handy for busy individuals who do not have time or students with packed schedules.
The newly designed Readers Manual
The people at Instant Pot have done something wonderful with this new model. The previously length manual has now been condensed to just a few pages. All the instructions have been rewritten and it is easier to cover the entire manual reading in one go now.
Exteriors and Interiors
All of the Instant Pot Duo Plus, its exteriors, interiors, accessories etc have been constructed with hundred food grade quality stainless steel with no chemical coatings. The safety of you and your children is completely uncompromised and your food will be completely uncontaminated.
All of the appliances, its lid, the accessories are also dishwasher safe. It is now easier than ever to keep your Instant Pot clean and sparkling.
The inner trivet has an additional curved feature that allows easier handling than the one that came with previous models. The Instant Pot has markings at the half and 2/3rd level so you can check the water level easily.
Additionally, the exteriors are covered with fingerprint resistant stainless steel that is also airbrushed. It gives the Duo Plus a sleek and sophisticated look.
Security features (10 Safety Mechanisms)
Like all its cousins, the DUO Plus is equipped with UL and ULC certification. The electric pressure cooker has been fitted with 10 safety mechanisms and patented technologies that make it super safe to cook with the Instant Pot Duo Plus. Below is a list of mechanisms:
- Steam Release
- Anti-Block Shield
- Safety Lid Lock
- Lid Position Detection
- Automatic Temperature Control
- Overheat (Burn) Protection
- Automatic Pressure Control
- Electrical Fuse
- Thermal Fuse
- Leaky Lid Detection.
The Duo Plus comes with guided cooking classes associated with Alexa. The app also allows you to save your favorite recipes, make personalized grocery lists, and choose from close to 700 recipes from the menu. Cook delicious and nutritious food at the click of a button.
Instant Pot Duo Plus Pros & Cons
Alternatives to Instant Pot Duo
Instant Pot Max
The Pot Max also comes with a much larger and sleeker display that is LED. It does not have clunky buttons like the Instant Pot Duo Plus. the safety features in the Pot Max are also far superior compared to Pot Duo. Preset temperature ranges are unlimited, and the pressure cooking time is a whopping 8 hours compared to a meagre 4 hours in Duo Plus.
The Instant Pot Max is the latest in the Instant Pot line and it comes with a host of new features that trump over the Duo Plus. the 15 psi pressure feature, the NutriBoost technology, the Automatic Pressure Release, and Sous Vide option that allows for gourmet cooking are all missing in the Duo Plus.
Instant Pot Ultra
The Instant Pot Ultra is perhaps the most versatile of all the Cooking Pots. With its combination of best features of Duo Plus and Max, it is the most popular of all the Instant Pots.
Aiming to eliminate 10 kitchen appliances, the Ultra features 16 built in smart programmes. There is an additional Ultra feature that accounts fror unlimited customizable recipes. There are 21 preset temperature settings, pressure cooking time of 6 hours, and 11 safety features.
The most significant addition to Ultra that makes it better than the Duo Plus is Automatic Steam release. No more burnt fingers during steam release. Just press a button and you are done.
Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot Duo is a 7-in-1 smart cooker that is perfect fro those of you who just need an appliance to cook food fast. With no bells and whistles like its older siblings, the Duo is perfect for students. It is also the ideal cooking appliance for those looking for a cheap alternative to the Duo Plus.
It has 14 built in smart programs, 10 safety features and can handle 4 hours of pressure cooking.
DUO Plus Frequently Asked Questions
How do the smart programs work?
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is fitted with a microprocessor chip that runs lab-tested algorithms for cooking various food items. The microprocessor controls pressure, temperature, cooking time, and various other settings to ensure your food is cooked in the most efficient and delicious way possible.
What are the different sizes that the Instant Pot Duo Plus is available in and what are their prices?
The Instant Duo Plus comes in 3 sizes – 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart. They are priced at $98.99. $99.95 and $139.95 respectively (at the time of writing this review).
What is the difference between the Duo and Duo Plus? What should I get?
The Duo is 7-in-1 multipurpose smart prssure cooker, whereas the Duo Plus replaces 9 kitchen appliances. In addition, the Duo features 14 smart programmes and the Duo Plus offers 15.
You cannot use the Duo as an egg maker or for baking a cake. There is no provision for sterilization either in the Duo.
How long should I wait before opening the cooker after my food is cooked?
Do not try to force or pry open the lid after completing the cook. Once the steam has been released, the cooker will open up easily on its own. This may take from 5-20 minutes depending upon the recipe.
Can I do pressure canning with the Instant Pot Duo Plus?
None of the electric pressure cookers in the market are approved for pressure canning by the USDA. You need high pressure to perform pressure canning. You can consider buying Instant Pot Max if you’re looking to performing canning.
What different settings can I use for the saute program?
The less setting on Saute can be used for simmering the sauce, the normal setting for regular searing and the mre setting for blackening meat.
How does the Instant Pot prevent blockage of steam release valve?
The Instant Pot Duo Plus has a special safety mechanism to prevent blockage of the steam release valve with food particles. The Anti Block Shield comprises of 6 holes under the lid that prevent the blockage of steam release valve.
What do I do if the sealing ring smells?
There are a lot of methods to get food odor out of the silicone sealing ring. You can use baking soda, lemon zest, detergent, steaming, bleach, and vinegar to get the smell out of your sealing ring. It is recommended to wash the sealing rings after every few rounds, to prevent the buildup of smells in the ring.
Why is pressure not building up in my Instant Pot Duo Plus?
The Instant Pot must be filled half to two cups of water for steam to build up. If the pressure is not building up, add water to the Pot. If it still doesn’t build, you shall consider contacting the support or get back to us here, we’ll help you with the troubleshooting.
What does Ov-Ht mean?
If your Instant Pot is excessively hot, the safety mechanisms will geta activated and automatically turn off the heat. It helps in protecting the food at the bottom of the stove from getting burnt. This is indicated by Ov-Ht.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is the perfect appliance for those of you just starting your cooking journey. It is not very expensive, the smart programmes are holistic, and it is multifunctional. The learning curve on the device is extremely gentle too. For students and office goers who are swamped with work, the Duo Plus is the perfect partner.
However, if you are an experienced cook and looking to expand your cooking horizons, it may not be the best choice. The functionality is a little limited, and preset programmes make it difficult to customize. There is no option for gourmet cooking. The programmes themselves are extremely simplistic and emant for basic cooking.
So, I would recommend the Duo Plus for amateur and novice cooks, mothers who just want to ease their workload, and students who cook in their dorm. Chefs and experienced cooks should upgrade to an Ultra or Max.
Instant Pot Duo Plus$148
- Can replace 9 Kitchen appliances
- 3 different sizing options available for different sizes of families
- Various smart programmers for amateurs
- 3-in-one cooking modes
- Cooking timer: Set a timer and get hot food cooked at the time
- It's an old model now, Ultra and Max can perform most of the tasks it can
- Not suitable for slow cooking recipes
- Can't do pressure canning because can't produce high pressure like the Max
- Priced very close to Ultra, so one can get ultra over this
- Pressure and Temperature settings can't be customized