Reviews You Can Rely On

Instant Pot Duo Mini V5 Review

It may be pint-sized, but this appliance is a great, inexpensive option for solo cooks
instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review
Credit: Elizabeth White
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Price:  $80 List
Manufacturer:   Instant
By Jason Wanlass and Genaveve Bradshaw  ⋅  Oct 12, 2022
79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • User Friendliness - 35% 9.0
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 7.0
  • Ease of Cleaning - 25% 7.0
  • Cooking Features - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

This small Instant Pot Duo Mini V5 packs in function and value. Basically, it's a half-size version of our top pressure cooker with a few less options. Additionally, it cooks just as well as bigger models if you take the time to adapt to its nuances. Overall, the Mini performed well in most of our tests. It offers the convenience of cooking smaller meals — ideal for couples, students, or studio-apartment dwellers. It cooks meat adequately, steams rice decently, and sautees vegetables like a pro. The biggest difference between the Mini and the larger models on our list is the amount of food prepared.
REASONS TO BUY
Great for solo chefs
Budget friendly
Lightweight
Stores easily
REASONS TO AVOID
Stainless steel tends to stain
Not for large groups
Struggles to cook meat

Our Analysis and Test Results

What makes the Instant Pot Duo Mini V5 different is its ability to cook small meals quickly. Additionally, it's lightweight and very portable. This makes the Mini easy to reposition or lift overhead and place on the pantry shelf. It's the perfect size for single adults who want to cook good meals but don't have the schedule or the desire to put in a lot of time or effort.

Performance Comparison


instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - the mini's control panel has a small learning curve, but overall its...
The Mini's control panel has a small learning curve, but overall its simple to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

User Friendliness


We awarded the Mini its highest marks in this metric. We found its push-button interface intuitive and simple. There was a small learning curve to mastering its functions, requiring an occasional glance at the owner's manual; however, after a few meals, we were locked in. We particularly liked the Mini's warming options, delay start, steam valve, and pressure adjustment.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - we love the option of telling our mini to keep our food warm before...
We love the option of telling our Mini to keep our food warm before we begin eating.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Having the ability to select or deselect the keep warm button at any time during a cooking cycle is very convenient. If dinner plans happen to change, simply select this option, and the Mini will automatically reduce to warm after the meal is finished cooking. The timer will then start counting upward. Likewise, the product's delay start button makes it easy to fill the pot, preset a start time, and let the Mini do the rest. We suggest using both features at the same time.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - the mini's easy-release steam valve keeps fingers away from steam...
The Mini's easy-release steam valve keeps fingers away from steam. It's easy to turn and gets the job done safely.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Mini's proprietary Easy-Release steam valve is designed to keep fingers and hands safe when releasing the pot's pressurized steam. The valve operates smoothly and is stubbed with an extra portion of the handle, so fingers stay away from the release ports. However, we chose to open the valve with a wooden spoon or kitchen tongs for added protection. Like most models, the Mini can be set for low or high pressure, but we also like the option of fine-tuning the pressure with the plus and minus buttons at any time during a cooking cycle.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - we often just leave our mini on the counter. it's small enough to...
We often just leave our Mini on the counter. It's small enough to blend in; however, it's also lightweight and small, so it's easy to store in a cupboard or on a shelf.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

At less than 9-pounds and 11-inches tall, we love the ability to easily pick up and store this model on a pantry shelf. This little device is super easy to lift above your head — it's also petite enough to become a permanent countertop appliance, making it a perfect addition to dorm rooms or studio apartments. You could even put it in your van or RV for hot meals on a road trip. Our only gripe is that we wish the Mini's power cord were longer than 24-inches. Older homes, dorm rooms, and studio apartments tend to have limited power outlets. A longer cord would give the Mini greater range and more flexibility.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - cooking with the mini is simple. throw in the ingredients, push a...
Cooking with the Mini is simple. Throw in the ingredients, push a button or two, and go do laundry or take a nap. Just keep in mind that this 3-quart pot can cook for a maximum of two people.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Cooking Performance


We gave the Mini an above-average score for its cooking performance. Overall, the Mini simply didn't perform evenly across all of our cooking tests. The biggest downside of having a small product is that many recipes available are for larger-capacity products. We've found that sometimes it isn't as simple as cutting the recipe in half, so we do feel there can be a slight (but conquerable) learning curve in using the Mini to prepare your favorite dishes each time.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - the mini cooked the ribs well enough to eat. they were tasty enough...
The Mini cooked the ribs well enough to eat. They were tasty enough but a little tough and dry.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We were disappointed with the Mini's performance in our standardized rib recipe test. After the allotted cook time, we found our ribs to be somewhat dry and tough. They were certainly edible but nowhere near our fall-off-the-bone benchmark. We were uneasy enough with the results that they reconducted the rib test with the same ingredients and a modified cooking time. This second attempt produced more moist and juicy ribs, but still not to the level we would prefer.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - it doesn't prepare rice perfectly, but it does steam it adequately...
It doesn't prepare rice perfectly, but it does steam it adequately. Overall, we were happy with the end result.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Mini performed better during our rice tests. Overall, we feel the rice was acceptable and tasty, but rice connoisseurs may still have complaints. Some rice was a tad dry and even a little sticky at the bottom of the pot. As a whole, we feel the Mini cooks rice at an above-average level.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - the mini sautees veggies like a champ. the zucchini, broccoli, and...
The Mini sautees veggies like a champ. The zucchini, broccoli, and carrots were all perfect.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We were happy (and surprised) to discover the Mini's exceptional sauteing capabilities. Our zucchini, broccoli, and carrots were the perfect color and texture. In fact, they were so good that we made a second batch of sauteed broccoli. We also set the testing aside to steam-cook some cubed potatoes on our own time, which turned out very well.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - generally the mini's stainless steel pot was easy to clean. however...
Generally the Mini's stainless steel pot was easy to clean. However, it was more challenging to clean after steaming rice.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Cleaning


On average, the Mini V5 cleans up pretty well. This product was pretty straightforward with its performance in this metric.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - the sauteing mode usually meant a longer clean-up process. whenever...
The sauteing mode usually meant a longer clean-up process. Whenever we used oils to saute, they usually stained the bottom of the pot with scorch marks. Some were nearly impossible to remove.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Mini's stainless steel pot cleans up easily. After cooking rice, the pot needed to be soaked in soap and hot water for some time before it was scrubbed clean. Otherwise, everything cleaned up well. We also like that the Mini's lid gasket is removable, and the lid and pot are dishwasher safe. Although it excels at sauteeing, this type of cooking isn't always kind to the stainless steel pot. Whenever we used oils to saute, they usually stained the bottom of the pot with scorch marks. Although these marks don't directly affect the cooker's performance, they are unsightly and difficult to remove.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - despite its small size, the mini is still a bonafide 7-in-1 cooker...
Despite its small size, the Mini is still a bonafide 7-in-1 cooker. It performs nearly as well as bigger models.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Cooking Features


It's quite small, but the Mini can still perform tons of culinary options. Barely taller than a gallon of milk, it creates pressure just as well as larger models. In addition to pressure cooking, the Mini is a 7-in-1 device that doubles as a rice or slow cooker. It also steams, sautes, and makes yogurt. Lastly, the Mini can warm up your leftovers.

We like that the Mini's seven cooking functions can also be tailored to our exact cooking preferences. This product offers 11 customizable programs, allowing us to save our favorite dishes' cooking preferences. When it was time to prepare a meal, we simply filled the pot and started cooking with the touch of a button.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - we were generally quiet pleased with the duo mini. it is a perfect...
We were generally quiet pleased with the Duo Mini. It is a perfect match for solo chefs or empty nesters.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Instant Pot Duo Mini V5?


We think the Instant Pot Duo Mini V5 is a great choice for one to two people. We feel this product is an excellent option for empty nesters, college students, or busy professionals. It also would go well in an employee breakroom. For those on the road enjoying the RV or van-life, this may also be a good option.

What Other Pressure Cooker Should You Consider?


If you want the Mini's same quality and options but need a larger cooking pot, we suggest the Instant Pot Duo Plus V4. It performs all of the Mini's functions and more, but it is double the size and can easily cook for four. If you're tired of switching between several cooking appliances, we think the Ninja Foodi Smart XL may interest you. It's a pressure cooker, air-frier, and dehydrator all in one. It also steams, crisps, bakes, broils, roasts, and more.

instant pot duo mini v5 pressure cooker review - when we compare the mini's price with its overall performance, we...
When we compare the Mini's price with its overall performance, we think its a great buy.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Jason Wanlass and Genaveve Bradshaw
 
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