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Instant Pot Duo – should I buy one?

Instant Pot Duo
(Image credit: Instant Pot)

Instant Pot is one of the biggest names in kitchenware, known worldwide for its multi-function cookers.

Here we're looking at the Instant Pot Duo, which is likely to see some considerable discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019. While we haven't put this specific model through its paces ourselves, we've used our expert knowledge to help you decide whether it's the right cooker for you. For more options, check out our guide to the best Instant Pot sales and deals for Black Friday 2019.

The bottom line: Like all Instant Pot cookers, the Instant Pot Duo comes packed with presets to make preparing different meals as simple as possible. What makes it special is the fact that it doubles as a pressure-cooker, letting you cook meat, dried pulses and other dishes in a fraction of the usual time. If you want to eat well without spending hours in the kitchen, this is the device for you.

Pros: It's available in three sizes (four, six and eight quarts), all with a range of presets for different types of cooking. The pressure cooking option makes cooking much faster than usual, and uses less energy. The inner pot is dishwasher safe, and the cooker comes with a 12-month warranty.

Cons: The smallest Instant Pot Duo lacks a manual setting, so you can only choose from the 14 smart programs. Pressure cooking isn't suitable for all recipes (it needs a certain amount of water-based liquid).

Instant Pot Duo: everything you need to know

The main appeal of any Instant Pot is its simplicity, and the Instant Pot Duo is no exception. It comes with presets for a huge array of different foods and meals, so you can simply choose the right option, press 'Start' and leave it to handle the rest, safe in the knowledge that it will use the optimum cooking time and temperature.

Sizes: The Instant Pot Duo comes in three sizes (three-quart, six-quart and eight-quart) so you can choose one that will suit your household. The largest one is also a good choice for batch cooking stews and soups, which you can divide into portions and freeze for quick meals later in the week.

Presets: All three Instant Pot Duo sizes include the following programs: soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chilli, slow cook, sauté/searing, rice, porridge, steam, yogurt, keep warm, and pressure cook.

Pressure cooking: The Instant Pot Duo lets you choose between high and low pressure settings – a feature you won't find on most multi-function cookers. Switching to the high pressure setting means you can cook food at much higher temperatures without boiling it, drastically cutting cooking times for meat, dried pulses and other dishes that would usually take hours.

It's worth bearing in mind that pressure cooking isn't suitable for all dishes, though; it needs a certain amount of water or water-based liquid (such as beer, broth or stock) to work safely.

Conclusion: If you enjoy cooking as a hobby then you'll probably prefer using conventional tools and appliances. On the other hand, if you're short of time, space or both, the Instant Pot duo could be exactly what you need to make meal times easier and less stressful.

TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.