Instant Pot Ultra Review After Cooking 60 Recipes

Instant Pots are like a religion among cooking enthusiasts. People over the world worship these devices in an almost cult-like fashion. The Canadian brand has made its presence known everywhere. From students who love instant cooking to those who live a fast-paced life. Housewives who want to embrace healthy cooking to environmental enthusiasts who are concerned about their energy needs. The appliances are aimed at people from all walks of life.

The new Pot Ultra is no exception to the endlessly multifunctional pressure cookers. Like its predecessors, the Ultra is safe, reliable and easy-to-use. The wide range of features offered by the Pot Ultra is a trademark for Instant Pots. But there is more to the new model. Slow cook salmon, caramelize onions, make creamy and spicy butter chicken instantly, or cook tender and juicy pork chops. You can do virtually anything with the Ultra.

The Instant Pot Ultra 10-in-1 Review

Having cooked over 60 recipes in the Pot Ultra, I now feel confident enough to reveal the best, the worst and the ugly about this model. Read on to find out if the new model is as shiny as it claims to be, or if you are better off with your older model.

Multi-use versatile pressure cooker

It is a programmable cooker. The 10-in-one budget pressure cooker is a versatile appliance for sure. Besides slow cooking and pressure cooking, you can saute, steam, and sterilize. Yogurt making and cake making features are nice additions too. Lastly, the cooker features specialized options for rice cooking and sterilization.

Things I like: The Pot Ultra has replaced a lot of the devices in my kitchen.

Things I don’t like: The sterilization feature is not USDA approved.

Available in a variety of sizes

The Ultra comes in three sizes. The 3-quart model is perfect for small families and students who live alone. The 6-quart is meant for people who consist of 4 members, and the 8-quart model for larger families with more than 6 members.

Things I like: The versatility of size is an all-inclusive feature. From lonely bachelors to joint families – everyone can enjoy an Ultra Pot now

Things I don’t like: There is nothing to dislike about the thoughtful inclusiveness of the brand.

Ultimate Custom Programming

There is an additional Ultra feature added to this model over its predecessors. You can enter the desired temperature and pressure settings to achieve picture-perfect results with your food. Those old recipes from your grandma can now be cooked without adjusting anything. This customizable feature makes the Pot Ultra an upgrade over the previous models.

Things I like: It is easy to follow step by step recipes with this feature

Things I don’t like: It might be hard and confusing for a beginner to get the hang of this feature.

Altitude Settings

The Pot offers an additional new feature. The altitude setting allows you to enter the height at which you are cooking. The cooker then adjusts the rest of the settings accordingly. I love this feature. Now I do not have to make guesses about temperature and pressure changes while cooking with my Pot Ultra, no matter where I am cooking.

Things I like: Altitude setting makes it easier to use the ultra pot in all conditions, at all places. You can even carry it to a different country if you are traveling.

Things I don’t like: There is nothing to dislike about this handy feature.

Smart Programmes

The Pot Ultra features 16 smart programmes. I could make a variety of dishes without so much as a turn of a knob. The temperature, pressure and other settings for these dishes are pre-set into the cooker. Now you do not have to make imprecise assumptions about how to get that perfectly creamy broth or bake that fluffy cake.  

This handy little feature helps in saving not only efforts but also making the actual cooking process about 70% shorter. Now get those perfect eggs with the click of a button, and make rice that will no longer stick to the bottom of the pot. Simply select the option and forget all about it.

Things I like: Smart programmes are great for novices. I could cook delicious food without having to fiddle with a hundred different settings.

Things I don’t like: The programmes are not customizable. The differences in ingredients, consistency, humidity cannot be accounted for.

LCD Display

One of the major enhancements in the Pot Ultra is the large, intuitive LCD display. It not only gives the cooker a sleek display, but it also makes it easy for users to operate the appliance. I found it extremely easy to learn how to use the Pot Ultra, thanks to the easy design of the display.

The cooking indicator on the display is a remarkable addition too. I could easily check the temperature and pressure inside the cooker. It made it easy to figure out if my food was being cooked properly and as per the recipe.

The cooking indicator also lets you know at what stage of cooking your food is. You can easily monitor the progress of the recipe with this feature, as it provides a clear visual of the whole process – from preheating, to actual cooking and keeping warm. There is also a time indicator to help determine how much time is left in the cooking process.

There is a dial in the center of the display. I could press and turn it to change the setting in the cooker. It makes the cooker easily customizable and eases the functionality of the appliance. The learning curve is gentle and it will only be a matter of a few days before you learn how to operate your Pot Ultra effortlessly.

Things I like: The large display, the cooking indicator and central knob make it easy to learn how to use the Pot. It also gives the user an idea of what is going on inside the Pot Ultra.

Things I don’t like: What is there to dislike about a tech advanced, gorgeous display?

Quick steam release

I have often burnt my fingers releasing the steam from my pressure cookers, and I am sure you have too. Well, no more. The Ultra with the automatic steam release. Just turn a knob and the cooker will release pressure on its own after cooking.

I love that the Pot Ultra allows you to not only release the steam automatically but also control how you release the pressure. The pulsed release steam feature was helpful when I wanted to release the pressure in quick bursts to prevent overcooking my food. But if I wanted the food to be cooked slowly under pressure, I could use the continuous release option too.

This also means that I no longer had to babysit my pressure cooker. I could just enter the steam release option before starting the cook and the Pot Ultra would do it automatically after finishing the cooking.

Things I like: Manual pressure release may cause burns. The automatic release makes the whole process easier and burn-free. The two types of pressure release can be handy with different recipes.

Things I don’t like: A first-time user may find it difficult to figure what setting is accurate for which recipe.

Smart Cooking Programmes

The Pot Ultra comes equipped with 3 new smart cooking programmes. With these additional programmes, there are cooking instructions preset into the cooker, so you do not have to fiddle with the knobs every single time.

The new cake feature allows you to bake cakes in your cooker without getting into the nitty-gritty of temperature, pressure and moisture settings. The egg features offer perfect eggs cooked with minimum hassle.

The sterilize feature is unique to the Pot Ultra too. Now you can sterilize your baby’s bottles at home. This feature also allows some home canning, although it is not USDA approved.

Things I like: Ability to make perfect eggs and bake tasty cakes without any hassle. A boon for first-time users. Kids’ bottles can be sterilized, so it is a huge help to mothers too.

Things I don’t like: Sterlizing is not USDA approved.

Program Adjustments

We have already discussed that the new Ultra feature allows you to completely program the cook according to my preferred settings. But there is more.

We have all had those moments where we accidentally entered the wrong setting before starting the cook and immediately realized our mistake as soon as we closed the pot. The Pot Ultra allowed me to fix those mistakes without starting the cooking process all over again.

The Ultra allows customization of setting even after the cooking process has started. So rest easy, there is plenty of room for mistakes without wasting food.

The Pot Ultra also remembers all your custom settings from your previous sessions. I was relieved to see that I did not have to start from scratch when I made my mom’s filet mignon the second time.

Things I like: The ability to customize settings even after cooking has started and the fact that my Pot Ultra remembers previous customizations.

Things I don’t like: Who does not like a machine that lets you correct your mistakes?

Stainless steel pot

The Pot Ultra has something of a futuristic look to it. The pot itself is made of brushed stainless steel body which is resistant to fingerprints, giving it a sleek and sophisticated style. The steel used in making the pot is food grade with no chemical coatings. So you can cook your food without worrying about contamination.

The lid of the pot has left and right lid holder, so you can use it as per your convenience. The lid is also dishwasher safe. The rest of the accessories that come with the pot – stainless steel inner pot and the steam rack are also dishwasher safe

The inside of the pot is marked clearly with half and 2/3rd lines, so you always know how much of the pot is filled. This makes the Pot Ultra even safer than the previous models.

The steam rack that comes with the pot helps in lowering the food inside the pot and lifting it out. Additional accessories include condensation collector, rice paddle, soup spoon, and a measuring cup. All accessories are made of food-grade stainless steel without any chemical coatings.

Things I like: A premium, sophisticated look that is 100 percent safe and free from chemical coatings.

Things I don’t like: I do not have anything negative to say about Ultra Pot’s looks.

Do not Disturb

The Pot Ultra allows you to turn off the ‘on’ and ‘off’ sounds for all those nights when you are cooking by yourself and do not want to disturb anyone. This feature is also extremely handy for those of you living in student housing or with roommates. Satisfy your late night cravings now without worrying about the incessant beeping noise.

Things I like: You can turn off the noise making features.

Things I don’t like: If accidentally turned off by kids while cooking, it could lead to potentially burning off the food. Happens a lot with me.

Safety features

It comes with a host of safety features to help you cook in a safe and secure manner. The appliance is UL and ULC certified. The 11 protective features are designed to make your cooking process free of all hazards that may cause harm to your food or you.

The features include thermal and electrical fuses that cut off energy supply in case of any danger. There is added protection from overheating to prevent burns and a provision for detecting leaky lids.

The lid detection feature does not allow cooking to start if the lid is not placed correctly. Safety lid lock prevents opening of the lid if there is pressure inside the cooker. Do not try to force open the lid after the cook, it may cause serious damage.

Things I like: 10 safety mechanisms that are UL and ULC approved make it one of the safest pressure cookers in the market.

Things I don’t like: There is no upgrade from previous models.

Miscellaneous features

The Pot Ultra comes with small additional features that may not be noticeable at first glance, but make this pot a breeze to cook with.

You can delay cook time by 24 hours with the Pot Ultra. This means that you can set the timer up to 24 hours ahead so that your food will be freshly cooked when you come back home from work or school. Simply adjust the settings before leaving, set the timer, and you are done. You can also use the Automatic Keep Warm option that keeps your food fresh and warm so that the food is ready to eat whenever you are.

The Instant Pot Ultra allows pressure cooking for up to 6 hours – a time margin much larger than previous models. For all those recipes that require pressure cooking for prolonged periods, the Pot Ultra is the perfect cooking device.

The Ulta comes with 3 temperature settings and you can adjust the cooking time for each of these settings between 0.5 to 20 hours. My pot roast needed to be cooked at low setting for 2 hours, followed by medium temperature setting for 20 minutes. I simply entered the settings in the cooker and forgot all about. There is no need to babysit your Pot Ultra anymore –  even when you are slow cooking.

The Pot Ultra saves not just your time – but your money too. With 70 percent decreased cooking time, you can rest assured that you will save a lot of dollars on energy consumption.

Things I like: All these features make the Ultra Pot extremely versatile, handy, multifunctional and easy-to-use. They cater to different groups of people and are extremely helpful to busy and working individuals.

Things I don’t like: The Pot Ultra claims to take 70 percent less cooking time, but there is nothing to back up those claims. The previous models’ cook time is fairly comparable to Ultra Pot’s.

Alexa Connection

The Instant Pot Ultra comes with guided cook connected to Alexa. The package also features over 700 recipes to help you get started. I tried quite a few of them and the Ultra seems to work flawlessly every time, producing delicious and nutritious food.

Personalized grocery lists, getting started videos, and favorite recipe lists are other handy features that come with it.

Things I like: User-friendly and easy-to-follow recipes. The personalized grocery list and favorite recipes features are extremely helpful if you want to keep a list of all the recipes you love to cook in your Ultra.

Things I don’t like: I do not have anything bad to say about this.

PROS and CONS

Pros
  1. The LCD display is a boon for first-time users. It allows easy control of the pressure cooker. The learning curve is gentle and the user interface is intuitive.
  2. The cooking graph on the display allows you to monitor the progress while cooking.
  3. Quick release of pressure is improved. Not only is it safer than manual release, but it is also easy to control the rhythm of steam release with this feature.
  4. The automatic pressure release means you do not have to babysit your Pot Ultra. You can set the pressure release before starting cooking and the Pot Ultra will release it on its own.
  5. Altitude programme takes the guesswork out of cooking when cooking at high pressure.
  6. Ultra feature allows you to control the exact temperature and pressure of the cook. This feature makes it easier to follow recipes.
  7. Safety features allow worry-free cooking for prolonged periods.
  8. 24-hour delay feature and the fact that you can keep food warm and fresh for prolonged periods is ideal for working individuals.
Cons
  1. Sterlizing is not USDA approved.
  2. The display has room for improvements. Since the Pot Max came out, the LCD display of the Pot Ultra feels a little outdated.
  3. The silicone ring in the lid seems to pick up all the cooking smells. It is difficult to clean the ring after every cook.
  4. The instructions manual does not offer clear instructions for initial tests, pressure venting, or how to use the programmed settings.
  5. Pressure cooking leads to loss of crunchiness in almost all dishes. Chicken skins have to be cooked outside the pot, as well as lasagnas need to be finished off in the oven.
  6. The venting system may get blocked by food, so it needs to be checked for the same after every cook.
  7. Consistent pressure may not be achieved in a reliable manner. The sealing rings are loose in some of the units.
  8. Adequate temperature is not achieved when making yogurt.

Alternatives

Instant Pot Duo Plus

Instant Pot Duo Plus

The Duo Plus comes with 9-in-1 programmable features as compared to the 10-in-1 of the Instant Pot Ultra. The only difference is that you can bake a cake in your Pot Ultra, but not in the Duo Plus. There are ten safety features in this model, compared to the 11 features that the Pot Ultra offers.

The 6 quart model is only $99 as compared to the hefty price tag of $149 of the Pot Ultra model of the same quantity. There is a similar difference in price when it comes to other sizes.

All in all, if you are not looking to upgrade the size of your existing pot, there is not much that the Ultra offers that you cannot do with your Duo Plus.

Instant Pot Max

Instant Pot Max

The Pot Max offers unlimited temperature ranges and unlimited customizations over its predecessors. There are a host of new features, like the NutriBoost technology, 15 psi pressure, sous vide, and three steam release setting.

However, the preset temperature and pressure settings of the Ultra are missing. The price is also much bigger – a whopping $200 for the 6-quart model. That is also the only size available, by the way. The Pot Max does have 13 safety features, 2 more than the Ultra.

If you like gourmet cooking and do not have a large family, the Pot max is a better choice. But if you want to cook simple, delicious, nutritious meals for your family – the Pot Max is not worth the extra dollars.

Instant Pot Smart

Instant Pot Smart

The Instant Pot Smart is the perfect appliance for those of you who love technology. The Smart is priced at just $149 and it features 13 built-in programs to help you with cooking your favourite recipes, as compared to the 16 programs featured in the Ultra.

It also have 11 safety features – the same as the Instant Pot Ultra. The Smart comes in only one size, 6-quarts and the price for this unit is the same as an Ultra unit that has the same capacity.

Get an Instant Pot Smart only if you like to control your device with your smartphones. Otherwise, the Ultra is the smarter choice.

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to use the Instant Pot Ultra?

The Instant Pot Ultra comes with 11 UL and ULC certified safety features that are listed below. These features make it one of the safest pressure cookers in the market. The safety features are: 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, Quick Release Button

Do I need to test the Instant Pot Ultra before cooking?

Yes, it is recommended that you conduct a water test for checking all Instant Pots before starting cooking. The instructions for the water test are explained clearly on the user manual.

Can I use the Instant Pot Ultra if I am new to cooking?

Yes, the Instant Pot Ultra is the easiest of the models if you are a novice. With its 16 programmed cooking settings, you will be cooking delicious food in no time and with none of the hassle.

What do you mean by adjusting for altitude?

By adjusting for altitude, the Ultra changes the temperature and pressure inside the cooker relative to the pressure outside. Since outside atmospheric pressure affects the cooking process, the Pot Ultra make adjustments that allow efficient cooking.

Can I bake in this pressure cooker?

The Pot Ultra has a special feature that allows you to bake delicious cakes inside the cooker.

Can I use this appliance for delayed cooking?

The Pot Ultra allows you to delay cooking for up to 24 hours. That means that once you set the timer for delayed cooking, the cook will not start until that time period is over.

What are the pressure settings on the Instant Pot Ultra?

There are two pressure settings on the Instant Pot Ultra. The high-pressure setting ranges from 10.2 to 11.6 PSI and low-pressure setting ranges from 5.8 to 7.2 PSI.

What is the difference between natural pressure release and quick pressure release?

Natural pressure release allows the cooker to allow slow release of steam until the valve drops, this may take from 10 minutes to half an hour, or even more, depending on the amount of water used. Quick release allows immediate release of steam from the cooker as soon as the cooking time is over.

How long can I use the Instant Pot Ultra for slow cooking?

The Instant Pot Ultra allows slow cooking anywhere from half an hour to 20 hours.

What does the Keep Warm function do? How long can I use it for?

The Keep warm function allows you to keep food fresh and ready. It can be used for up to 24 hours, after which it shuts down automatically.

Final Verdict

The Instant Pot Ultra is undoubtedly a magical appliance that lets you cook your food faster and without any hassles. With its 16 smartly programmed settings and the Ultra setting that allows customization, I would recommend this Instant Pot to both novices and experienced cooks. There are enough preset programmes for new users, and an additional setting that allows experienced cooks to experiment.

The Pot Ultra is the perfect appliance for all those looking to venture into the world of pressure cookers. It is easy to use and all the safety features are well designed. The machine is reliable for the most part. With a price tag $148 for its 6-quart variant, it is not that heavy on the pocket either, compared to its elder sibling Pot Max priced at $199.

You can buy the Instant Pot Ultra here.

Instant Pot Ultra

$179
8.4

Versatility

8.0/10

Size Options

9.0/10

Custom Porgramming

8.5/10

Smart Programs

7.0/10

Build Quality

9.4/10

Pros

  • Can Bake Cake a cake
  • Quick Pressure Release
  • Alexa Connection brings 700 recipes
  • Do-not-Distrurb Mode
  • You can set a custom program

Cons

  • Sterlizing is not USDA approved
  • The Display on the Max is better than this one
  • Safety Features are same as the previous models
  • Cannot Do Pressure Canning like Max Because highest pressure is around 11.6 PSI
  • Silicone Ring in the Lid catches cooking smell of whatever you cook.

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