There are all kinds of
Instant Pots multicookers out there. Just because one of them has a Kleenex-esque brand name that (to some) represents the whole category, there is plenty of good competition. It’s worth shopping around to see what suits you.
Machines with a 6-quart capacity are pretty standard, and I really don’t see the point of using anything smaller. Downsizing won’t save you much money, you can make small batches or double batches in a larger pot, and who doesn’t love remembering they have homemade chili or soup in the freezer when making dinner just feels like too much work? If you cook a lot, consider the 8-quart size. It’s worth the additional cupboard space, and that extra area on the bottom of the pan makes for easier sautéing and searing.
Not just pressure cookers, multicookers often advertise themselves as being 10 (or so)-in-one, with all sorts of presets like chicken, cheesecake, and brown rice. Ignore the presets. The important settings—or at least my favorites—are pressure cook (duh), slow cook, and sauté, along with useful second-tier functions like sous vide, yogurt, and steam. For now, the 1,200-watt models are where you’ll get the best searing.
One suggestion before you buy: See how the control panel on the one you’re considering makes you feel. Operating your multicooker shouldn’t give you a headache, and Instant Pot and a few other brands are notorious for making machines that have overly busy interfaces with too many options. Over time, though, some of them have become more intuitive. Our top pick—an Instant Pot model—has controls that are impressively streamlined.
None that we’ve tested have apps or internet connectivity that merit use. If your multicooker urges you to download a mobile app, you can safely ignore all that. Stuff like multicookers with air fryer lids can also be avoided for the time being.
While rice made in a pressure cooker is excellent, I prefer owning a separate rice cooker, as there are a lot of multicooker foods that go great with rice, and rice cookers are far superior at holding rice for long periods of time.
Finally, if you’re a seasoned pro and you’re happy with the multicooker you already own, there’s no overwhelming reason to swap it for a new one. Instead, do like my dad says and “drive it till the wheels fall off,” then go ahead and grab one of these. Until then, use any extra cash to buy the good cookbooks that help you make the most of what you’ve got. My favorite cookbooks are listed at the end of this buying guide.