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 a near-perfect pressure cooker. 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 kitchen appliance 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.Editor's Note: This DUO review was updated on February 4, 2022, to provide more details on why we like this cooker and which other options we'd recommend.
Instant Pot DUO Mini Review
Pros: Perfect size for meals for one, 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
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Instant Pot DUO Mini
$79.99 at Amazon
|$120 List||$120 List|
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$90.85 at Amazon
$78.73 at Amazon
|Pros||Perfect size for meals for one, easy to clean, good pressure cooking performance, doesn't need much counter space||Versatile, intuitive, feature-rich, great value||User friendly, easy to clean, reasonably priced, pressure release button||Good overall cooking performance, easy to clean||Inexpensive, decent cooking performance|
|Cons||Too small for family meals, meat just shy of perfectly tender||Rice is a bit sticky, lid and stainless steel pot can be difficult to clean||Meat slightly less tender than some other models||No lid storage||Lacks a saute function, relatively difficult to clean|
|Bottom Line||A fantastic smaller appliance for singles or for couples that aren't fans of leftovers||An easy-to-use, versatile model that won't break the bank and offers plenty of useful features||The best option for most kitchens, this model is easy to use and a breeze to clean||An easy to clean, great performing product, especially for the price you pay||Not a bad choice for bargain seekers, but you can get a lot more convenience without spending too much more|
|Rating Categories||Instant Pot DUO Mini||Instant Pot Duo Plu...||Instant Pot DUO Nova||Presto 02141||Tayama TMC-60XL|
|User Friendliness (35%)|
|Cooking Performance (30%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (25%)|
|Cooking Features (10%)|
|Specs||Instant Pot DUO Mini||Instant Pot Duo Plu...||Instant Pot DUO Nova||Presto 02141||Tayama TMC-60XL|
|Pot Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Nonstick||Nonstick|
|Capacity||3 quart||6 quart||6 quart||6 quart||6 quart|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Instant Pot DUO Mini is one of the most user-friendly pressure cooker we've come across. It offers pretty much everything you need without any unnecessary complications.
What really sets the 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 removes the multigrain, sterilize, cake, and egg preset buttons on some of the larger models, but we rarely found ourselves using those buttons anyway. Despite the unit's small size, the LCD screen is still relatively large and easy to read, making it clear which setting you have selected.
Notably, either of the 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 DUO Mini had was 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 preferred such a button, we didn't find it difficult to do quick pressure releases by safely opening the valve with a wooden spoon.
We've found relatively little difference between pressure cookers regarding actual cooking performance, and the DUO Mini managed to pass all of our tests. It made ribs that fell off the bone, perfectly fluffy rice 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 DUO Mini in our cooking tests was preparing meat. We found a couple of models that could make steaks and chicken taste slightly more tender. However, the differences were minor, and we still thoroughly enjoyed all the meat we cooked in the DUO Mini.
Ease of Cleaning
All pressure cookers provide some cleaning challenges because of the inherent design of the lids, but beyond this, we found the DUO Mini quick and easy to clean.
Like every pressure cooker currently on the market, the DUO Mini has a chasm where the lid locks on that can gather gunk and is hard to clean. Otherwise, its design is 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 design means you're more likely to get some food stuck on when using the saute function than you would with non-stick pots. However, unlike non-stick pots, you needn't have any qualms about putting it in the dishwasher.
Partially due to the relative lack of control panel space, the Mini has slightly fewer cooking functions than some larger models.
However, it still offers the most common cooking presets, such as pressure cook, rice, slow cook, saute, and others.
Should You Buy the DUO Mini?
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. The DUO Mini generally sells for slightly less than its full-sized siblings. However, the difference is minor, and with the larger models, you can get double the cooking capacity by spending only about 20% more. Therefore, you pay a slight premium for the DUO Mini's small stature, but that premium is well worth it if you don't have much counter space.
What Other Pressure Cooker Should You Consider?
If you have a little more counter space, the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 or the Instant Pot Duo Nova are also potential options you'll likely be happy with. All there offer similar cooking performance and ease of cleaning. They all also provide similar user-friendliness and cooking features. So depending on your budget and size needs, you might consider reading more about the other Instant Pots in this review.
— Michelle Powell and Max Mutter
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