Instant Pot DUO Mini Review
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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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