For the vast majority of people out there, we think the Instant Pot DUO60 is one of the best pressure cookers available. It excels at making meat, grains, stews, and soups, is relatively easy to clean, and has a convenient lid design that allows you to store it on whichever side of the pot is more convenient for your preferred stirring hand. And it does all this for what is a fairly average price when it comes to pressure cookers. One of the few cookers we like just marginally better is the Breville Fast Slow Pro, which is able to retain a bit more tenderness when preparing meat. However, that slight bump up in meat quality comes with a huge bump up in price, so unless you're really picky about your meat the Instant Pot is still a much better option. If you're on a tight budget you could save a little money with the Tayama TMC-60XL. However, the Tayama lacks a saute function, so you lose the ability to make anything that requires sauteed onions or garlic in a single pot. Bottom line, we think the Instant Pot hits a near perfect balance between quality and price, and will improve almost anyone's kitchen.
Instant Pot DUO60 Review
Pros: User friendly, easy to clean, reasonably priced
Cons: Marginally less tender meat than the Breville
Manufacturer: Instant Pot
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Our Analysis and Test Results
There is a reason the Instant Pot DUO60 is dominating kitchen bestseller lists: it effectively combines pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, and yogurt maker into one device, and does so for a reasonable price.
If you definitely won't be making any meat in your pressure cooker, you may want to check out the Crock-Pot 6 Qt 8-in-1. It matched the Instant pot in all of our tests except for meat preparation, and costs less, making it a great deal for veggies.
The Instant Pot DUO60 offers almost everything you'd want from a pressure cooker's user experience, but we wish it had a pressure release button. Some of Instant Pot's updated models do include this feature.
The Instant Pot dedicates a button to each one of its cooking presets, so dialing in a common setting is as easy as pushing a single button. If you want to adjust the pressure, temperature, or time, you can do so with a set of arrow keys. While scrolling through options with the arrows keys was easy, we did find this slightly easier to do with the dials of the Breville Fast Slow Pro.
We really like the Instant Pot's lid design. When you take the lid off it removes completely, and it has little wings that you can use to store the lid in either of the pot's handles. This means both right and left handers can store the lid in the ideal position for their serving/stirring hand. In contrast, the Breville's lid opens on a hinge which we found somewhat gets in the way of right handed folks.
The Instant Pot DUO60 was able to make pretty much everything taste good in our testing, with only the Breville Fast Slow Pro able to slightly outperform it in a few specific instances.
Since the Instant Pot DUO60 excelled in cooking pretty much everything, it makes the most sense to talk about its few relative shortcomings when compared to the top scoring Breville Fast Slow Pro. The first area is meat. The Breville was able to maintain a bit more moisture and make meat taste a bit more tender than the Instant Pot DUO60. However, while that difference is noticeable, it is also fairly minor. We were more than pleased with the ribs, T-bones, corned beef, and chicken that the Instant Pot DUO60 produced. The other area where the Breville was a bit better was in rice preparation, particularly with brown rice. Again the difference was in the moisture, with the Breville's rice tasting just a bit more moist and fluffy. Like the meat, this difference was noticeable but in no way a deal breaker, as we still thoroughly enjoyed eating rice from the Instant Pot DUO60. And if you're really picky about your rice, we would recommend getting a dedicated rice cooker over a pressure cooker anyway.
Outside of meat and rice, the Instant Pot DUO60 equaled the Breville in every meal we cooked. Whether it was sauteing, pressure cooking, or slow cooking, we were very happy with the results this machine served up.
Ease of Cleaning
This is one area where the Instant Pot fared better than the Breville, largely because of its stainless steel pot. While things like burned garlic and onions took a bit more coaxing to clean from the stainless pot than the nonstick pots of most of the other cookers we tested, we liked having the option to really go to town with some steel wool if some stubborn gunk managed to stick on. With a nonstick pot, you can't use the more aggressive cleaning tools, lest you tear off the nonstick coating. Also, you can toss the stainless pot into the dishwasher without worry, whereas most people would advise against putting nonstick items in the dishwasher.
The lid of the Instant Pot is easy to remove from the pot, and the gasket slides out wihout too much fuss. This makes cleaning both parts in the sink quite easy. We found this to be true for most of the other cookers we tested apart from the Breville, which forces you to unscrew the lid, and the Tayama, which has some small crevices that are harder to dry.
So why didn't the Instant Pot, or any model for that matter, score higher than a 7 out of 10 in this metric? Because every model has a little trench where the lid latches on, and in every case that trench gathered up crumbs and was somewhat hard to clean. This isn't a deal breaker by any means, and we still think most kitchens would be improved by the presence of a pressure cooker, but it's just something to keep in mind. Hopefully someday an enterprising engineer will solve this issue and we'll be able to grant a higher score in this metric.
In our opinion, the Instant Pot DUO60 offers all of the cooking presets that most people need. That being said, the Breville and it's big sibling, the Instant Pot DUO Plus 9-in-1 have a few more. If things like egg, sterilize, and dessert presets appeal to you, it may be worth spending more for one of those other models, but we think most people will be perfectly happy with the Instant Pot DUO60's presets.
A Full List of The Instant Pot DUO60's Cooking Functions
Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Slow Cook, Saute, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Pressure Cook
In our opinion, the Instant Pot DUO60 offers an incredible amount of functionality for a relatively reasonable price. Yes, you can spend less on the Tayama TMC-60XL, but you lose the ability to saute right in the pot, limiting the scope of 1-pot meal prep. You could also get slightly better meat out of the Breville Fast Slow Pro, but that slight improvement bumps the price all the way up to $250. Overall the Instant Pot DUO60 is both a top performer and a great value.
Offering almost all of the cooking performance, convenience, and streamlined cleaning that you could hope for in a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot DUO60 deserves a spot on almost every kitchen counter. However, if you're shopping for a new pressure cooker, you may want to check out some of Instant Pot's updated offerings that include pressure release buttons.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata