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Instant Pot DUO Mini Review

A fantastic smaller appliance for singles or couples that aren't fans of leftovers
Instant Pot DUO Mini
Credit: Instant Pot
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $80 List | $64 at Amazon
Pros:  Perfect size for meals for 1 or 2, easy to clean, good pressure cooking performance, doesn't need much counter space
Cons:  Too small for family meals, meat just shy of perfectly tender
Manufacturer:   Instant Pot
By Michelle Powell and Max Mutter  ⋅  Sep 8, 2020
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • User Friendliness - 35% 9
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 8
  • Ease of Cleaning - 25% 7
  • Cooking Features - 10% 8

Our Verdict

If you're generally only cooking for one or two, and like to cook throughout the week rather than making big batches of things on Sunday for meal prep, the Instant Pot DUO Mini is near perfect. The small size allows for easy cooking of meals for two without wasting any energy or cooking space, and it barely makes a dent in counter real estate. Despite the mini stature it provides pretty much all the performance and convenience of its larger siblings, making it a great choice for small apartments or dorm rooms.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Instant Pot DUO Mini
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $80 List
$63.94 at Amazon
$250 List
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$130 List
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$100 List
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Pros Perfect size for meals for 1 or 2, easy to clean, good pressure cooking performance, doesn't need much counter spaceUser friendly, automatic steam release, great meatUser friendly, easy to clean, reasonably priced, pressure release buttonUser friendly, easy to clean, large LCD screenUser friendly, easy to clean, reasonably priced
Cons Too small for family meals, meat just shy of perfectly tenderVery expensiveMeat slightly less tender than some other modelsMore expensive than its equally capable siblingMarginally less tender meat than the Breville
Bottom Line All the convenience and performance of larger models in a more compact packageThe best product around, but costs quite a bitOffers all the useful bells and whistles one could want while remaining simple and easy to useA great product, but not enough of an improvement over its predecessor to justify the extra cost for most peopleCombination of great performance and middle-of-the-road price makes this the a great option for the vast majority of people
Rating Categories Instant Pot DUO Mini Breville Fast Slow... Instant Pot DUO Nova Instant Pot DUO... Instant Pot DUO60
User Friendliness (35%)
9
9
9
8
8
Cooking Performance (30%)
8
9
8
8
8
Ease Of Cleaning (25%)
7
6
7
7
7
Cooking Features (10%)
8
10
8
9
8
Specs Instant Pot DUO Mini Breville Fast Slow... Instant Pot DUO Nova Instant Pot DUO... Instant Pot DUO60
Pot Material Stainless Steel Nonstick Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Saute Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Capacity 3 quart 6 quart 6 quart 6 quart 6 quart

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Instant Pot DUO Mini is great for making smaller meals for two or side dishes for a larger meal.

Performance Comparison


Credit: Laura Casner

User Friendliness


The Instant Pot DUO Mini is one of the most user friendly models we've come across. It offers pretty much everything you need without any unnecessary complications.


What really sets the Instant Pot DUO Mini and other models from the brand apart is the control panel design. There are dedicated buttons for most cooking functions, making most meals only a couple of button presses away. This model does get rid of the multigrain, sterilize, cake, and egg preset buttons present on some of the larger models, but we rarely found ourselves using those buttons anyways. Despite the small size of the unit itself, the LCD screen is still relatively large and easy to read, making it clear which setting you have selected.

Instant Pot has gotten close to perfection in their design of...
Instant Pot has gotten close to perfection in their design of pressure cooker interfaces.
Credit: Laura Casner

Notably either of the Instant Pot DUO Mini's handles can act as a lid holder, giving you a convenient place to rest the lid as you stir or serve, no matter if you're left or right handed.

The one thing we wish the Instant Pot DUO Mini had is a pressure release button that would allow you to release the pressure without getting anywhere near the steam valve. However, these buttons are still relatively rare, so it's not surprising that this mini model lacks one. While we still would have preferred such a button, we didn't find it difficult to do quick pressure releases by safely opening the valve with a wooden spoon.

Cooking Performance


We've found relatively little difference between pressure cookers when it comes to actual cooking performance, and the Instant Pot DUO Mini managed to pass all of our tests. It made ribs that fell off the bone, rice that was perfectly fluffy if slightly al dente, and its saute function made easy work of onions and peppers.


The one area where any model performed better than the Instant Pot DUO Mini in our cooking tests was in preparing meat. We found a couple of models that could make steaks and chicken taste slightly more tender. However, the differences where minor and we still thoroughly enjoyed all the meat we cooked in the Instant Pot DUO Mini.

The Instant Pot DUo Mini consistently churned out good meals in our...
The Instant Pot DUo Mini consistently churned out good meals in our testing.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Cleaning


All pressure cookers provide some cleaning challenges because of the inherent design of the lids, but beyond this the we found the Instant Pot DUO Mini quite quick and easy to clean.


Like every pressure cooker currently on the market, the Instant Pot DUO Mini has a chasm where the lid locks on that can gather gunk and is hard to clean. Otherwise, it's design is quite easy to clean. The lid has a removable gasket, so you can easily make sure both it and the groove it sits in stay clean. The actual cooking pot is stainless steel. This means you're more likely to get some food stuck on when using the saute function than you would with non-stick pots. Unlike non-stick pots, however, you needn't have any qualms about putting it in the dishwasher.

We found the stainless steel cooking pot relatively easy to clean.
We found the stainless steel cooking pot relatively easy to clean.
Credit: Laura Casner

Cooking Features


Partially due to the relative lack of control panel space, the Instant Pot DUO Mini has slightly fewer cooking functions than some of the larger models. However, it still offers all of the most common cooking presets.


A Full List of The Instant Pot DUO Mini's Cooking Functions


Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Slow Cook, Saute, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Pressure Cook

We wish there were a steam release button, but opening the valve...
We wish there were a steam release button, but opening the valve with a wooden spoon isn't too difficult.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


The Instant Pot DUO Mini generally sells for slightly less than it's full-sized siblings. The difference is minor, however, and with the larger models you can get double the cooking capacity by spending only about 20% more. Therefore you do pay a slight premium for the Instant Pot DUO Mini's small stature, but that premium is well worth it if you don't have much counter space.

Conclusion


If you're cooking for just yourself or you and your significant other, the Instant Pot DUO Mini offers all you need in a package that doesn't take up much space on your counter.

Michelle Powell and Max Mutter