If you’re into cooking, then you’ve probably heard of the new craze that is the Instant Pot. Marketed as a 7-in-1 kitchen appliance, it has gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the past couple of years. If anything, more and more home cooks have chosen to rely on the cooker in the kitchen- and for good reason.
A programmable cooker, the Instant Pot is capable of performing a number of functions from steaming to sautéing. Designed to prepare food up to 70% faster than traditional methods, it’s the perfect kitchen appliance for those who’d like to eat healthy, despite having a busy lifestyle. Equipped with smart technology, it’s even able to monitor pressure, adjust heating intensity, all to your desired results- automatically every time.
If you’re considering on purchasing the Instant Pot, then you’ve probably noticed that there are many varieties available. While different models feature different functions however, the general gist is the same. Considering that then, the main difference, when it comes to different Instant Pots, is the size. Like most consumer products, more than one size is available- determining on your personal needs. On this page, we’ll be going over some things to consider for the different sizes available. Hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll be able to determine which size Instant Pot to purchase, should you decide to go for the cooker.
Things to Keep in Mind About the Size
Before we delve into talk about the different sizes, there are some things that are important to remember. For instance, even if a pot is advertised to be able to hold certain volume, the entire volume cannot be used; it’s simply not practical to fill it all the way to the top. Considering its design, you’ll have to leave room for things such as boiling, stirring, and expansion, anyway. If you’re planning on steaming foods, don’t forget that the steam rack also tends to take up a large amount of space inside the inner pot.
In fact, to help you with this, the Instant Pot even has a max fill line, which approximately leads it to be 3/4 full.
What are the Available Sizes for the Instant Cooker?
Generally speaking, there are two size options for the Instant Pot- the 6 qt and 8 qt. While other brands of electric pressure cookers may come in smaller sizes, those two sizes are the most typical. With that said, some Instant Pot models are 3 qt.
To make it easier to visualize, a 6 qt pot can be used to hold 24 cups of liquid, while an 8 qt pot is equal can be used to hold 32 cups. One way or the other, both sizes are in no way small; if you’re looking for something more miniature, you may wish to look at other options. If however, you’re looking for something capable of preparing food for 4-6 people, this is it.
Choosing the Right Instant Pot Size – What Will You Be Cooking?
Aside from taking into consideration how many people you’ll be feeding, it also helps to consider what you’ll be cooking. What will you be preparing with the Instant Pot? Will you be able to fit the ingredients inside?
To give you a better idea, we’ll be listing some of the things that you can make with a 6 qt Instant pot, these include:
- a 5 to 6 pound whole chicken
- 4 pounds of mashed potatoes
- 4 to 5 quarts of yogurt
What Instant Pot Model Should I Get?
But size isn’t the entire picture- what about functions? Currently, there are three models of the Instant Pot- the Lux, Duo, and Smart cookers. Naturally, the different models are also available in different sizes, we’ve listed them down below:
Lux: Available in 5, 6, and 8 qt
Smart: Available only in 6 qt
Duo: Available in 3, 6, 8 qt
With that, you can see that the 3 qt is only available with the Duo model. If you’re looking for something small and miniature, that’s probably your best bet. If however, you’re more interested in the different functionalities, keep reading.
The Lux Instant Pot: Contains 6 functions (Food Warmer, Rice Cooker, Saute, Pressure cooker, Slow Cooker, and Steamer). Does not feature the yogurt function
The Duo Instant Pot: Contains 7 functions (Food Warmer, Rice Cooker, Saute, Pressure cooker, Slow Cooker, Steamer, Yogurt Maker)
The Smart Instant Pot: Contains the same 7 functions as The Duo, with the additional abilities to download recipes, choose from three temperature choices, connect to smart devices via bluetooth
How Many People Will You be Feeding with the Instant Pot?
When deciding on a size, another question to ask yourself is- how many people would you be feeding on a regular basis with the Instant Pot?
If you have a big family, that is, you’ll be cooking for more than four people, it’s typically advised to get the 8 qt model. With that said, if you often do batch cooking, even if you’re only feeding 1-2 people, the 8 qt is also recommended.
If you’ll be preparing food for 1 to 2 people, and you tend not to batch cook, then the 6 qt is recommended.
If you simply do not have the counter space for a 6 qt or 8qt cooker, you may wish to purchase the smaller, 3 qt, which is available only with the Duo model.
Another thing to consider is the pressurization time. Naturally, the larger the pot, the greater amount of time is required for the inside to come to pressure (having said that, it’s still relatively fast compared to traditional cooking methods).
What Size Instant Pot do I Need? – The Bottom Line
Summing up everything we’ve talked about above, there are a few questions to keep in mind when deciding upon a size. These are:
- What will I be cooking with the Instant Pot? A few eggs? Or a few pounds of meat? For bigger ingredients, you’ll want to go with the 8 qt models
- What functions will I be using? Will I need to cook my foods on a high or low temperature setting? Do I want to make yogurt? Remember, the Lux model is not capable of making yogurt
- Will I be doing batch cooking? If so, you’ll want to make more food with the 8 qt
- How many people will I be cooking for with the Instant Pot? Am I just preparing food for myself? Or four others?
- Am I interested in having “smart” capabilities? That is, do I want to connect my Instant pot to my smart phone/tablet? If so, you’ll want to choose the Smart model, which is only available in the 6 qt size
- How much counter space do I have? Do I have enough room to fit an 8 qt cooker in the kitchen? If space is an issue, you may wish to look into getting a smaller model, such as the 3 qt (which is only available with the Duo)