One minute review

The Instant Pot might have been the first multi-cooker on the scene, but since then several other brands have made their way into our best Instant Pot guide. In fact, Ninja managed to beat Instant Pot in the race to bring out a multi-cooker that could do everything without having to switch lids. And the Ninja Foodi Max 15-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker is a triumph.

So it’s safe to say that we’ve been waiting for Instant Pot to launch a one-lid version for a while now, and we were excited to get our hands on the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid. It’s a 6.5-quart/ 6-liter Instant Pot that sports a cool matte black exterior that we’ve not seen from Instant Pot before.

It comes with 13 cooking functions, automatic pressure release, and a very intuitive lid-locking system. It looks to be the most easy-to-use Instant Pot to date and, with text prompts displayed on the screen, it walks you through everything so you really can’t go wrong. Strictly speaking, there’s an inner lid that has to be removed for certain functions; but unlike previous iterations, it’s a very thin metal disc that slots easily into a cupboard when it isn’t in use.

We’re happy to report that on test not only did this Instant Pot produce excellent results, but it was a joy to use. It’s a pricey bit of kit, so it won’t be for everyone. That said, it has become our new favorite Instant Pot, so if you’re looking for a multi-functional countertop cooker, it’s worth the investment. It’s just a shame Instant hasn’t upgraded to a non-stick cooking pot.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid price and availability

  • List price: $229.99/ £229.99

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is available direct from Instant or from Amazon in the US and the UK, but it isn’t yet available in Australia.

It’s one of the most expensive Instant Pots you can buy, but this is the latest and greatest model and it comes with the most number of cooking functions as well as being the only Instant Pot that can air fry without having to switch to a second, bulky lid.

Price and availability score: 4.5/5

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid design

  • Simple control panel
  • Easy lid-locking system
  • Helpful prompts on-screen

Instant has gone for a different look with this new model: the matte black plastic finish all over looks smart, but it might be too plasticky for some people. And unlike most of the previous Instant Pot designs, this model features a hinged lid, which isn’t removable.

The dimensions are 13.4 x 15.4 x 15.5 inches/ 34 x 39.1 x 39.3cm (h x w x d), and the stainless steel cooking pot has a 6.5-quart/ 6-liter capacity. It’s chunky then, so those who don’t plan to let it sit on the countertop will need to find a fair bit of storage space for it – but at least there’s no second lid to accommodate.

We reviewed the Instant Pot Duo Crisp in the UK, where it’s supplied with an air frying basket that slots inside the cooking pot. In the US, the model comes with an air fry/cooking rack instead; but they both essentially serve the same purpose. Both models have the same removable lid insert that must be in position for certain cooking modes – thankfully, the display alerts you when to add or remove it. Plus, removing it is as easy as pulling on a big ring pull while pressing a release button. So while this model has one main lid, the insert acts as a second lid, making it more of a hybrid than the true one-lid designs we’ve seen from the likes of Ninja.

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Open with ultimate lid of the instant pot in place

(Image credit: Future / Helen MCue)
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Removing ultimate lid

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)
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Open with ultimate lid removed

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

The 13 cooking modes are pressure cook, sauté, steam, slow cook, sous vide, yogurt, air fry, roast, broil/ grill, bake, dehydrate, proofing, and keep warm. Each cooking mode has its own dedicated button, which makes the control panel a little cluttered. However, these individual buttons also make it super simple to find and select the option you need.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

For those settings that offer adjustable temperatures, this is done by pressing the temperature button and making adjustments via the central control dial. Cooking time is adjusted in the same way. There’s also a delay start that can be set in 10-minute intervals, for any time up to 24 hours.

For pressure cooking, there’s a steam-release button that, when pressed, toggles through three automatic steam-release options. These are natural release, pulse release and quick release. The Instant Pot completely takes care of the process, so you don’t need to worry about it, making this model a great choice for those who are nervous of pressure cooking.

A chunky sliding lock on the front of the lid locks it into place. Plus, the display will alert you to slide it into the locked position for the programs where it’s necessary –for pressure cooking, for example. We didn’t find the beeps too loud or offensive, but the sound can be switched off if you’re sensitive to this kind of noise. And happily, all removable parts are dishwasher safe for simple and easy cleaning.

Design score: 5/5

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid performance

  • Easy pressure cooking
  • Steam function is fierce
  • Exterior stays cool

The first thing we made in this Instant Pot was a slow-cooked beef chili. Before switching the slow cooker to high for six hours, we made use of the sauté function to brown the beef and soften the onions. The Duo Crisp offers an impressive six heat levels to choose from when sautéing; we opted for level five, which took four minutes to preheat, but was about right for browning our beef.

At the end of the six-hour slow-cook, the Instant pot flicked over to keep warm. The finished chili was 183F/ 84C and was perfectly cooked, with soft beef and a tasty sauce.

Beef chili made in the instant pot

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

Unlike some other models of Instant Pot, this one doesn’t come with a dedicated rice setting, so we cooked brown basmati rice using the pressure cooker function. A cooking chart on the US Instant Pot website suggests a 1:1 ratio of rice to water, but we know from experience that this can result in rice that’s a bit too hard, so we opted for five parts rice to six parts water.

Having rinsed the rice, we added it to the pot along with the water and locked the lid; we set the pressure release to pulse and the cook time to 20 minutes. It took six minutes to preheat, and the pulse steam release lasted for eight minutes. And although the total cook time is slower here than cooking rice on the stove, as can be said about all Instant Pots, it’s very convenient since you don’t need to watch over it during cooking. The grains were perfectly cooked, with the deliciously chewy texture you expect from brown rice.

slow cooker rice in the instant pot

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

The steam function uses pressure, so to steam broccoli we decided to set the timer for just one minute. This takes into account that the broccoli will be cooking while the Instant Pot heats up and becomes pressurized. We added the minimum amount of water specified in the manual, which is two cups/ 500ml. Since we were using the UK model, there was no steaming rack provided, so we used the perforated air fry basket. But the cooking rack provided with the US model should also work well for this purpose.

It took 10 minutes to reach pressure, and together with the one-minute cook and another minute for the quick pressure release, that’s a total of 12 minutes. Not surprisingly, the broccoli was softer than we’d like. But we don’t think reducing the cook time to zero would make much difference. The steam function is probably best used for less delicate vegetables, such as carrots.

Broccoli in the instant pot

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

To make a Thai Red curry, we sautéed four chicken legs on heat level 5 until the skin was golden brown. The Instant Pot took four minutes to preheat before we could add in the chicken, and while it did a great job of browning the skin, we did experience some sticking to the base of the cooking pot.

Once we switched on the pressure cooker, the preheat took 10 minutes before the 20-minute cook started. We then made use of the pulse pressure release, which took 17 minutes. But the best bit is that in that 47 minutes, we were able to leave it completely unattended. When it was done, the chicken was thoroughly cooked through and falling off the bone. It was the perfect texture.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

After chopping them and soaking in water for 30 minutes first, we air-fried 1.1lbs/ 500g chunky home-cut potato fries. We coated the fries in 1tbsp oil and, following an initial 2 ½-minute preheat, we put them in the basket and cooked at 392F/ 200C. The timer was set to 20 minutes and we gave them a shake half-way through, at 10 minutes.

At the end of 20 minutes, we gave them a shake and added a further 5 minutes to the timer. The resulting fries were nicely cooked and fluffy on the inside. The outsides didn’t crisp up as much as they do in a standalone air fryer, but they were still delicious.

(Image credit: Future / Helen McCue)

None of the cooking methods are noisy; the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is loudest during pressure release, but it still only hit 73dB on our sound meter. This is a similar noise level to a shower, so not at all unpleasant. The stainless steel cooking pot cleans well in the dishwasher, but some foods can stick to it. As such, it will occasionally require a scrub or a soak in the sink.

Performance score: 4.5/5

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid score card

Should I buy?

Buy it if…

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  • First reviewed: December 2022