Instant Pot appliances have gained a cult following over the years and it’s easy to see why. These smart multipurpose kitchen gadgets are designed to do the work of other appliances, including slow cookers, rice cookers, and steamers. And while some Instant Pot models can be large, bulky, and difficult to store or manage, the miniature 3-quart Instant Pots are a great size for portability and storage in small spaces.
If you’re looking for a single device to help streamline your favorite recipes at home, the Instant Pot mini is a great option. Here’s what you need to know about the best mini pots on the market.
— Best overall: Pot Duo Mini Online Game
— Best Premium: Instant Pot Duo Mini Plus
— Best for Kids: Instant Pot “Star Wars” Duo Mini
— Best Budget: Pot Lux Instant
How We Picked the Best Instant Pots
To choose the best Mini Instant Pots for every budget, skill level and every family, we explored the subtle differences between the models. We’ve combined our experience as a trained chef and product reviews and considered everything from maintenance to versatility to price to find the best small pressure cookers for every type of cook. Our criteria included:
Size: To qualify as a mini Instant Pot, all devices on this list have a 3-quart capacity.
Functionality: We looked at the number of functions each appliance can do as well as pressure cooking. These include slow cooking, steaming, sanitizing, and yogurt making.
Ease of Use: To make this list, Instant Pots needed to be easy to use and accessible to cooks of all levels, including first-time pressure cooker users.
Safety: We’ve looked at the built-in safety features to ensure that the appliances on this list protect users from accidents and spills.
Maintenance: We chose the appliances that are easiest to keep clean, thanks to dishwasher safe parts and stainless steel construction.
The Best Instant Pots: Reviews and Recommendations
Best overall: Pot Duo Mini Online Game
Why He Made the Cut: This is the best miniature model from the Instant Pot brand. It’s compact but packs all the features you’d expect in an Instant Pot, including sautéing, stewing, and rice-making.
— Capacity: 3 quarters
— Dimensions: 11.81 x 10.51 x 10.98 inches
— Weight: 8.65 pounds
— Easy-to-use digital touch controls
– 13 preset cooking functions
– Dishwasher-safe POT
— Not compatible with the Instant Pot air fryer lid
Instant Pot is known for making highly durable and versatile appliances, and this little 3-quart model doesn’t disappoint. The compact pressure cooker takes up minimal storage space but offers seven different cooking techniques, all available at the touch of a button on the easy-to-access digital control panel.
This is also one of the safest Instant Pots, with smart safety features like overheating protection, a locking lid, and loud alerts if anything goes wrong. You can confidently start a recipe and walk away, knowing that this appliance will do its job safely and effectively every time.
Another great thing about this Instant Pot model is that it comes with a plethora of information resources. You can access the large community of devoted Instant Pot fans online to find new recipes and cooking tricks to try out with your new appliance. Plus, there’s always someone who can answer your question, so even if you’re new to pressure cooking, you’ll quickly master the art with this little Instant Pot on hand.
Best Premium: Instant Pot Duo Mini Plus
Why He Made the Cut: This advanced model is equipped with helpful safety features that make it one of the easiest pressure cookers to use.
— Capacity: 3 quarters
— Dimensions: 11.5 x 10.2 x 11 inches
— Weight: 8.8 pounds
– 15 pre-programmed cooking settings
– Dishwasher safe stainless steel cooking pot
– Cooking progress bar
— A multi-button display can be overwhelming
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is the next step up from the Duo. This second generation model comes with improved features including two more pre-programmed cooking settings: sous vide and sterilization. The sous vide setup is handy if you’re interested in the technique (cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath) but don’t want to buy extra equipment.
The sterilization program is great for anyone who makes baby food or preserved foods such as jams, pickles and sauces. Instead of constantly monitoring the temperature of hot water baths, you can rely on your Instant Pot to make sure everything reaches the right temperature for food safety and sterilization.
The Instant Pot Duo Plus is also the best appliance if you plan to “bake” in your cooker. There is a cake maker that makes perfectly set cheesecakes and springy bundt cakes. The mini is the perfect size to make dessert for two.
For convenience, this model has an improved release feature that makes it easier to release the pressure in your pot. The valve automatically switches to “sealed” when the cover is locked in place, so you won’t forget to seal the cover before you walk. For dessert, check out our review of the Breville Smart Ice Cream Maker.
Best for Kids: Instant Pot “Star Wars” Duo Mini
Why He Made the Cut: It’s hard not to smile when you see this cute but very functional device. It combines the fun of sci-fi with the practicality of an excellent cookware.
— Capacity: 3 quarters
— Dimensions: 12.01 x 12.01 x 12.13 inches
— Weight: 8.65 pounds
— Comes with condensation collector
– 7 cooking features
– 14 built-in presets
— Slightly larger than other Mini Instant Pots
Enjoy dinner from a galaxy far, far away with this amazing “Star Wars” edition of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. It has the same features as the Duo with a fun pattern that mimics the BB-8 robot. “Star Wars” fans will love the whimsical look of this device, and home cooks will appreciate its functionality and versatility.
This Instant Pot has 14 preset cooking programs, including steaming, rice making, slow cooking, and poultry cooking. It also has the reliable pressure cooking and manual modes that give chefs the flexibility to follow recipes or develop their own.
If you have budding chefs at home, they love the opportunity to cook with gadgets from outer space, so this is a great way to generate more excitement in the kitchen. Kids can browse the Instant Pot smartphone app to find recipes that inspire them. And thanks to the built-in safety features and cooking presets, all you have to do is sit back and relax while the kids make dinner.
Best Budget: Pot Lux Instant
Why He Made the Cut: This is the best mini Instant Pot for first time pressure cooker users. It may not have all the features of newer models, but it has the same reliability and durability that Instant Pot promises at a great price.
— Capacity: 3 quarters
— Dimensions: 11.5 x 10.51 x 10.5 inches
— Weight: 8.5 pounds
– Comes with steaming rack and rice paddle
— Reduced touchscreen control panel
— Initial delay time up to 24 hours
—No cooking progress bar
—There is no easy feature to release steam
First time and budget conscious Instant Pot owners will appreciate the simple nature and ease of use of the Instant Pot Lux. This small but very functional appliance does everything you’d expect from an Instant Pot, including cooking perfectly fluffy rice and grains, making creamy stews, and delicious one-pot dinners. It also doubles as a slow cooker and reheater, and the 24-hour delay start feature means you can prepare a full meal the night before and come home to a hot and ready meal after work.
This model has high pressure and low pressure settings so you can cook things for a long time and slowly or to speed up the cooking process when you are in a hurry. It fits your lifestyle seamlessly and offers enough interior space to feed up to three people. And for beginners, Instant Pot also has a smartphone app that helps guide you through basic, more advanced recipes so you can get to know all the features on your new device.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Instant Pot
Uses: Think about the main reasons you want to buy a pressure cooker. Is it going to make short ribs feel like falling apart? To sanitize baby bottles? Maybe you want to replace your old slow cooker. If there is a particular cooking function you plan to use the most, make sure the model you choose offers that feature.
Location: It is also important to consider where you will use the new appliance. If you’re shopping for a dorm room, RV, or office space, make sure you have the right electrical outlet. Most Instant Pots have a three-volt power cord that fits a 110-volt outlet. Most models come with a 4-foot power cord, although you can get 6-foot cords if you need the extra slack.
Q: Is the 3 QT Instant Pot too small?
The 3-quart capacity Instant Pots are ideal for feeding three or fewer people. If you have a small family, this is the perfect size. The compact size is also easier to store and much more portable than bulkier 6- and 8-quart models.
Q: What is the Instant Pot Mini good for?
The Instant Pot Mini is the perfect size for making dinner for one or three people. You can cook perfectly tender grains, tangy homemade yogurt, mini cakes, and hearty soups and stews with the push of a few buttons.
Q: Does the Instant Pot Mini air fry?
Instant Pot does not currently offer an air fryer cover for its 3-quart models. However, 6- and 8-quart devices with air fryers are compatible.
Final Thoughts on the Best Mini Instant Pots
Regardless of your skills as a home cook, an Instant Pot is a great appliance to add to your toolkit. It makes complex meals like meaty stews, braises, and simple and handmade soups. And with a compact 3-quart Instant Pot like the Duo, you can replace multiple kitchen appliances with one compact device that’s easy to store and even travel with.
This post was created by the non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, owner of Futurism. Futurism may receive a portion of the sales on products linked in this post.