Instant Pot Pro review: a smart and stylish multi-cooker

The Instant Pot Pro is a smart and aesthetically pleasing multi-cooker with entirely dishwasher-safe attachments. Here's what we thought in our Instant Pot Pro review
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  • In this Instant Pot Pro review we put the brand’s more premium model to the test, cooking rice, stews, curries, and veggies. Instant Pot is one of the biggest names in the multicooker market and has a huge online community of fans across the globe. Since launching the first Instant Pot in 2010, they have continued to innovate and improve their range of multicookers, and there are now several models to choose from.

    The Instant Pot Pro is their top-of-the-range model, excluding the ones that come with an air fryer lid. There are cheaper Instant Pots available, but this one has pretty much every possible function you could ask for, making it far more than one of the best slow cookers. I reviewed the 5.7 litre model but there’s also an 8 litre version if you’re a fan of batch cooking or you regularly feed a big crowd.

    Ideal Home rated 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Reasons to buy:

    •   Cooking pot has silicone handles for easy lifting
    •   Compact size
    •   All accessories including lid are dishwasher safe
    •   Plenty of functions and pre-set programs
    •   Thousands of recipes online and a free recipe app
    •   Easy steam release switch
    •   Favourite buttons can store your settings for your most used recipes
    •   Delay start of cooking by up to 24 hours

    Reasons to avoid:

    •   No recipes or cooking charts included in the box
    •   Cooking pot isn’t non-stick
    •   There’s not really 28 pre-set cooking programs

    Instant Pot Pro

    Instant Pot Pro review

    Specs

    •   Power: 1200W
    •   Capacity: 5.7 L or 8 L
    •   Pre-sets: 28 pre-set cooking programs
    •   Cooking functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté, bake, sous vide, yogurt, rice/ grain
    •   Weight: 5.9kg
    •   Size: 32.5 x 32.3 x 33 cm
    •   Included: Stainless steel pot, steam rack, spare sealing ring

    Unboxing the Instant Pot Pro

    The Instant Pot Pro review box

    The Instant Pot Pro comes in a box with a useful carry handle, so I didn’t have to manhandle it into the kitchen. The eco warrior in me was happy to see very little plastic packaging in the box, there were a few plastic bags, but otherwise, it’s all easily recyclable cardboard.

    I’ve tried out several Instant Pots in my time and I think the black colour of the Instant Pot Pro makes it much better looking than the stainless-steel models and I’m less inclined to hide it in a cupboard. The 5.7 litre model is compact, particularly when you think about the number of things it can do and although it’s not light, it’s not too tricky to move around.

    The lid is clearly marked with arrows to indicate which direction you should twist it to open or close and when you lock it into position the steam vent automatically closes ready for pressure cooking. And if you don’t want to put the hot lid on your counter, it’s got a tab that slots into the base to hold it while you stir your food.

    It comes equipped with Instant Pots easiest steam venting method, just flick a switch to vent the steam and there’s a diffusing cover over the steam release valve to minimise any splashes. It’s a safer method than I’ve seen on other models because you don’t need to put your fingers too close to the part where the steam escapes, perfect if you’re nervous about getting burnt when venting the steam.

    Everything included with the Instant Pot Pro review

    I love that the stainless-steel cooking pot has two big silicone handles, they make it easy to remove from the base, especially when full of food. The control panel features a big screen and clear buttons as well as a dial for adjusting time and temperature settings.

    If you do want to keep it stored in a cupboard, the power cord can be unplugged and popped inside along with all the other accessories so nothing will get lost.

    Cooking in the Instant Pot Pro

    To start cooking in the Instant Pot you first have to select a cooking method from the buttons down each side of the control panel; pressure cook, slow cook, rice/ grain, sous vide, steam, yogurt, sauté, or you can choose the keep warm function if you just want to warm something.

    After you’ve chosen a cooking method, the screen will then display the pre-set food options that are available, or you can opt for custom settings and choose your own time and temperature. A quick count up leads me to the conclusion that there’s not actually 28 pre-sets as advertised, they’ve included the main cooking functions in this figure. Although it does not have an air fry setting, Instant Brands does make some of the best air fryers we have reviewed, and the Instant Pot Pro Crisp has a removable air fryer lid if this is more to your liking. 

    Egg salad Instant Pot review

    The instruction manual does list the time and temperature settings for each pre-set but I found it frustrating that there’s no additional info. Like for the beef pre-set, there’s no information to tell me whether this is designed for a joint of beef or just some small chunks.

    Otherwise, it’s pretty simple to navigate around the different options available and adjust the settings, the dial also works as a button to select your chosen setting. The keep warm function can be used on its own to warm food or to keep your meal warm after the cooking program ends and can be set for up to 10 hours, it’s comforting to know your meal will stay warm if you get delayed on the way home.

    Pressure cooking in the Instant Pot Pro

    Having scoured the recipes on the Instant Brands website, a vegan lentil curry recipe caught my eye and I decided to give it a try. To make life easier and keep all the flavours in the pot, I used the sauté function to fry the onions and carrot, followed by the garlic and spices. It took just three and a half minutes to preheat, and you can choose from five temperature levels. I found it just as convenient as frying on the hob.

    Making lentil curry in the Instant Pot Pro review

    Once the rest of the ingredients were in the pot, I set it to cook for 10 minutes on high pressure, it did take 18 minutes to preheat, so the total cook time was more like 28 minutes. Given that the recipe calls for dried lentils, 28 minutes is still impressively speedy. To release the pressure at the end of cooking, I flicked the switch to vent the steam and after a couple of minutes I could open the lid and stir in the last few ingredients. The cooked curry had the lovely soft texture of a dahl and a well-rounded flavour that you wouldn’t usually expect from such a short cook time.

    Cooking rice in the Instant Pot Pro

    To complement the lentil curry, I just wanted plain rice so cooked brown basmati using the brown rice pressure cook pre-set. I searched online and found cooking timetables for various foods including rice on the US Instant Pot website. It advises a 1:1 ratio of water to rice and the instruction manual says that to pressure cook there must be a minimum of 1½ cups water in the pot. So based on this I added 1 ½ cups of rice and 1 ½ cups of water.

    Fresh cooked brown rice in the Instant Pot Pro review

    The brown rice pre-set cooks for 30 minutes on high pressure, add to that a four and a half minute preheat and the total cook time was around 35 minutes. This is about 10 minutes longer than it usually takes me to cook on the hob, but this didn’t bother me because I could walk away and do other things without having to keep an eye on it.

    The cooked rice was fluffy and had the cooked but slightly chewy texture I’d expect from brown rice, my only issue was that some of it stuck to the bottom of the cooking pot. It wasn’t difficult to clean, just annoying.

    Slow cooking in the Instant Pot Pro

    Cooking onions to make a stew

    For slow cooking you can pretty much use any slow cooker recipe and I found one for chipotle chicken that appealed to me. Again, I made use of the sauté function to soften onions and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients. The slow cooker has two temperature settings, I set it to cook on low for 6 hours and let it bubble away while I went about my day.

    The slow cooker function is easy to use, you just have to remember to set the steam release to the vented position. I was pleased with the soft succulent chicken and deep flavour that developed from cooking the meal for a long time, it’s a great cooking method for meats and stews.

    Fresh stew

    Steaming in the Instant Pot Pro

    To try out the steam setting, I thought I’d steam some carrot batons. The instruction manual doesn’t tell you how much water to use, but I found the information I was looking for on the website. It says to use 1 cup of water and put the vegetables in an ovenproof dish on the steaming rack. So after I’d pulled the kitchen apart to find an ovenproof dish that would fit, I popped in the carrots and set it to steam for 4 minutes (the website advises 3-5 minutes for chunky carrots).

    Steaming carrots

    There was a five minute preheat, but after the four minute cook time the carrots were still hard, so I set it going for another four minutes. This time the preheat took three minutes and at the end the thinner pieces had a good al dente texture, but the thicker pieces were still harder than I’d like. I think the trick is to cut them much smaller and perhaps buy a steamer basket instead of using an ovenproof dish. And with a bit of patience and experimentation, you’ll get good results.

    Fresh steamed carrots in the Instant Pot Pro review

    Cleaning

    One of the best things about the Instant Pot Pro is that you can put all of the accessories into the dishwasher, even the lid. This really does put an extra tick in the box for convenience. But, if you don’t have a dishwasher it’s all really easy to wash, in fact even though I do have a dishwasher, I washed everything by hand so I could put the Instant Pot away faster.

    Regardless of what multicooker you opt for, they all have steam release valves and floats that require some attention and disassembly to ensure there’s no debris obstructing the mechanism. The Instant Pot is no different, but it’s all easy to clean and the instruction manual walks you through it.

    Should you buy the Instant Pot Pro? 

    Stew made in the Instant Pot Pro review

    The Instant Pot Pro might be a bit more expensive than other Instant Pots, but I also think it looks better and with virtually every cooking function you could need as well as pre-set food programs, you won’t run out of things to make in it.

    Its best features are the easy steam release switch which means you don’t have to put your fingers dangerously close to the part that ejects the steam, and the fact that it’s all dishwasher safe. The downside is the lack of guidance in the manual regarding the best times and temperatures for cooking different foods. There are plenty of recipes online as well as cooking timetables on the Instant Pot website, but sometimes I felt like I was spending a lot of time online hunting for the best cooking time and settings. If you don’t mind experimenting though, it’s a great multicooker, it’s easy to make a variety of tasty meals and I think it’s worth the money.

    About this review, and the reviewer

    Helen McCue is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.

    Having completely renovated her current house, Helen reviews kitchen appliances from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. When she’s not working, Helen can be found enjoying the local countryside or dreaming about her next house renovation project.

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