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Instant Pot Duo Plus review

An affordable and easy to use multi-cooker

The Instant Pot Duo Plus with all its accessories
(Image: © TechRadar)

Our Verdict

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is an affordable multi-cooker that offers all the features of the Instant Pot Duo Nova with a few notable upgrades,such as the easier steam release switch. It’s simple to use and doesn’t come with an overwhelming number of preset programs, although this does mean figuring out cooking times and temperatures yourself. The Duo Plus cooks just as well as any other Instant Pot we’ve tested and comes in three sizes making it a good option no matter the size of your household.

For

  • Safer steam release
  • Intuitive to use
  • Available in more than one size

Against

  • Fewer recipe presets than some other Instant Pots
  • Top of lid can get very hot
  • No steam cook function

TechRadar Verdict

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is an affordable multi-cooker that offers all the features of the Instant Pot Duo Nova with a few notable upgrades,such as the easier steam release switch. It’s simple to use and doesn’t come with an overwhelming number of preset programs, although this does mean figuring out cooking times and temperatures yourself. The Duo Plus cooks just as well as any other Instant Pot we’ve tested and comes in three sizes making it a good option no matter the size of your household.

Pros

  • + Safer steam release
  • + Intuitive to use
  • + Available in more than one size

Cons

  • - Fewer recipe presets than some other Instant Pots
  • - Top of lid can get very hot
  • - No steam cook function

One-minute review

The first Instant Pot launched a decade ago, and since then the brand has become the go-to name when it comes to multi-cookers. Not only do these kitchen appliances offer a way to speed up cooking times, as well as offering a multitude of cooking methods, you’ll also find thousands of recipes and cooking tips available online, created by its community of followers to make these multi-cookers even more user friendly.

There’s a wide array of models vying for the crown of the best Instant Pot, the latest being the Instant Pot Duo Plus. It builds on the Instant Pot Duo Nova, with a quick steam release button and the EasySeal lid which automatically seals the pot for pressure cooking. You’ll also get a clearer screen and the addition of a sous-vide function. 

The Duo Plus is available in three different capacities: 3 quart/ 3 liter, 6 quart/ 5.7 liter, and 8 quart/ 8 liter, although the smallest version is only available in the US, making it suitable for most households no matter how many people you need to feed. It has 15 cooking programs, these are a mixture of preset programs for various food types and customizable cooking functions such as slow cook, sauté, sous vide, and pressure cook.

At $119.99/ £99.99 it's ever-so-slightly more expensive than the same capacity Duo Nova and is a good choice if you want the quick steam release button and EasySeal lid, but don’t want the array of preset founds on the pricier Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus or the Instant Pot Pro. This does mean you will need to experiment a bit more with cooking times, or head online and delve into the thousands of recipes from the Instant Pot community, but we think it’s still good value for money. 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus being used to make chicken curry

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Instant Pot Duo Plus price and availability

  •  List price: $119.99/ £99.99 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus will set you back $119.99/ £99.99 for the 6 quart/5.7-liter capacity or $139.99/ £139.99 for the bigger 8 quart/8-liter version. The  3-quart  / 3-liter capacity is $99.95, but this model isn’t available in the UK. All sizes are available directly through Amazon in the US and UK. It’s not currently on sale in Australia. 

As we mentioned earlier, it’s the most affordable Instant Pot that features the quick steam release button and is an upgrade on the Instant Pot Duo Nova which is also available in Australia and costs $99.99/ £119.99/ AUS $269 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus alongside the ingredient for a slow-cooked beef chilli

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • Dishwasher safe parts
  • Easy steam venting
  • Easy to customize time and temperature settings

We reviewed the 6 quart/ 5.7 liter capacity Instant Pot Duo Plus and the size and footprint is similar to the other Instant Pots of this size. It measures 12.9 x 12.2 x 13.4 inches/ 33.5 x 31 x 33cm and the US model weighs in at 11.5 pounds while the UK version weighs 5.6kg. Generally speaking, these appliances are designed to stay on your countertop, but this one isn’t too heavy to lift in and out of a cupboard if you prefer to hide it away. Plus, all the accessories including the power cord fit inside the pot, making it neater to store.

The cooking functions available include pressure cook, slow cook, sous vide, yogurt, and sauté. The other settings are smart pressure cook programs for cake, egg, soup/broth, rice, bean/grain, porridge/ oatmeal and a sterilize program. Every setting has customizable time and temperature or pressure options. There’s also a keep warm mode that can be switched on at the start of cooking, so if you’re not around when it ends, it’ll keep your food warm. Additionally, the delayed start gives you the option to delay the start of cooking so that your meal finishes right at dinner time – a useful function that means it can start cooking while you’re out at work.

As we’ve already mentioned, when the lid is on and locked into the closed position, the EasySeal design means the steam release valve automatically seals ready for pressure cooking, so the only time you’ll need to think about it, is if you’re using one of the non-pressure cooking functions that require it to be in the vent position. After pressure cooking, to release the steam it’s just an easy flick of a switch to go from sealed to venting, so you don’t have to put your hand close to the steam valve, a nice design that takes the stress out of releasing the pressure.

A tab on the lid slots into the handle so you don’t have to put the lid on the countertop if you don’t want to, which is a simple but handy little feature. In the box, you’ll also get a spare sealing ring and a steaming rack. All accessories including the lid can go in the dishwasher for super easy cleaning.

A slow-cooked beef chilli prepared in an Instant Pot Duo Plus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Fuss-free pressure cooking
  • Easy to clean
  • Lid gets hot

Pressure-cooked rice was the first thing we prepared in this Instant Pot. We consulted the rice and grain cooking timetable on the Instant Pot website, and based on the quantity of brown rice, the suggested cook time was 20-22 minutes with a rice to water ratio of 1:1. Since the Duo Plus has a Rice preset, we used this and just bumped up the time to 22 minutes. 

It took just under seven minutes to preheat, and the instruction manual recommended a 10 minute natural pressure release, so the total cook time was 39 minutes. The end result was nicely cooked rice, not too sticky and while the cook time is longer than on the stove, the convenience comes from not having to watch over it.

A Thai red curry was our next recipe, we used the sauté function to brown the chicken legs, which keeps all the flavor in the pot and saves washing extra dishes. There are three sauté temperatures to choose from and it took five minutes to preheat to the highest temperature. Once we’d added the rest of the ingredients, we set it to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. The preheat took ten and a half minutes and at the end, we flicked the switch to depressurize the pot, this took just two and a half minutes. 

The chicken was pleasingly tender and succulent, falling off the bone and at 210oF/ 99oC, was certainly cooked through. In just 33 minutes the curry was perfectly cooked and flavorsome.

Brocolli steamed in the Instant Pot Duo Plus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Steam release is the noisiest part of using the Instant Pot but at 72dB it’s the equivalent sound level of a dishwasher mid-cycle, which is acceptable. During cooking, the sides of the pot stayed at a comfortable 99 F/ 37 C and the handles stayed cool too, but the metal part of the lid reached 185oF/ 85oC, so care must be taken not to touch this area.

We used the sauté function again, this time to brown ground beef for a slow cooked chili. The stainless-steel pot isn’t non-stick so some of the beef did stick to it, but as soon as we added stock in preparation for slow cooking, the stuck meat came away from the pot with ease. The chili bubbled away for six hours on the high slow cooker setting and the finished dish had the perfect texture as well as a deliciously deep flavor – the kind you only get from a long slow cook. The temperature of the cooked chili was 185 F/ 85 C.

This Instant Pot lacks the steam setting that many other Instant Pots have, so to cook broccoli, pressure cooking was the only option. The Instant Pot website has a cooking timetable for vegetables which advises adding one cup / 237 ml of water to the pot and putting the vegetables in a steel bowl on the steam rack. 

We set it to pressure cook on low for the advised one minute. The preheat took six minutes and the quick steam release took just 45 seconds. The broccoli on the top was nicely cooked and al dente, but the florets underneath were undercooked. So while increasing the time slightly would help, you might get more even results if you purchased a steamer basket separately.

Should I buy the Instant Pot Duo Plus?

Buy it if...

You’re nervous of pressure cookers
Pressure cooking can be intimidating, particularly when it comes to releasing the steam. The steam release switch on this Instant Pot makes it simple and allows you to depressurize the pot without putting your fingers too close to the steam release valve.

You’re on a budget
This is one of the more affordable Instant Pots, yet it still features desirable upgrades including the quick steam release button and EasySeal lid, so if you don’t want to fork out for a top-of-the-range Instant Pot, this is a good option.

You want easily customizable settings
With intuitive increase and decrease buttons for the time and temperature/ pressure, the Instant Pot Duo Plus is simple to get to grips with and you can customize every setting to suit your needs.

Don't buy it if...

You want lots of preset cooking programs
The Instant Pot Duo Plus only has a handful of preset cooking programs, if you want a similar model with more, take a look at the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

You want an Instant Pot that doubles as an air fryer
This model doesn’t come with an air fry lid, so it doesn’t have the ability to broil (grill), roast, or air fry. If this is what you’re looking for, you’ll need the Instant Pot Pro Crisp or the Instant Pot Duo Crisp 

You want cooking charts and recipes in the box
The manual includes very little information on cook times and temperatures for different foods. But there are recipes and cooking timetables available on the website as well as hundreds of Instant Pot recipes all over the internet and on the app.

First reviewed: October 2021

Helen McCue

Helen is a freelance writer who specializes in kitchen appliances and has written for some of the biggest home-related titles around. She has been reviewing small appliances, including blenders, juicers, and multi-cookers, for more than 8 years,  and also upholsters furniture when she's not testing the latest food tech gadgets.