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Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer review

A versatile appliance that offers a multitude of cooking methods

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer on a kitchen countertop with the ingredients to cook a chicken curry
(Image: © TechRadar)

Our Verdict

This Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer has so many functions you’ll be able to ditch several other kitchen appliances, which is great because it’s bulky and you’ll need the storage space. The interface is really intuitive to use and it does a great job cooking most foods, but you’ll need to be prepared to experiment with cooking times and settings to get foods cooked exactly to your liking. The large capacity makes it an ideal choice for big families and batch cooking.

For

  • 11 cooking functions
  • 8-quart/ 8-litre capacity
  • Air frying wasn't effective

Against

  • Lots to store
  • Doesn’t come with steaming accessories as standard
  • Cooking pot isn’t non-stick

One-minute review

Over the past decade, Instant Pot has become the go-to brand when it comes to multi-cookers that offer a range of different cooking methods in one appliance. The Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer has all the functions you’d expect from one of the best Instant Pots, including pressure cook, slow cook, and steam but it can also give some of the best air fryers a run for their money too. 

By swapping out the pressure cooker lid for an air fryer lid you get a whole host of other functions including roast, bake, and air fry. It’s one of the most versatile multi-cookers available from Instant Pot and with a large 8-quart/ 8-litre capacity, it’s aimed at families and is perfect for batch cooking.

Each of the functions has adjustable time and temperature settings and there’s a simple touch panel control interface. It’s a big bulky appliance and the design is functional but it’s not a stylish appliance that you’ll want to keep on the countertop.

We put several functions to the test and they were all easy to use and produced great results, but unfortunately, the air fryer didn’t live up to our expectations, producing soggy fries that are in no way a match for those cooked in the Instant Vortex Plus.

As with most multi-cookers, it requires a little experimentation with times and temperatures to get the most from it. For large busy households, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer will prove a worthy investment as it can speed up cooking times, as you have the space to store the multi-cooker along with its two lids and accessories.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer price and availability

  • List price: $199.99/ £179.99/ AU$299.99

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer is priced at $199.99/ £179.99/ AU$299.99 and is available from the Instant Pot website in the US and UK, while in Australia it’s available via Amazon.

This is Instant Pot’s top-of-the-range multi-cooker, if you’re looking for a more affordable option the Instant Pot Duo Evo can do everything apart from air fry and will set you back $119.99 / £129.99 / AU$269.99.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer on a kitchen countertop

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design

  • 11 cooking functions
  • Touch panel controls
  • Separate lids for wet and dry cooking methods

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer will certainly take up a lot of space on your countertop - it comes with two separate lids and when fitted with the air fry lid, it’s particularly large measuring 14.8 x 14.2 x 14.2 inches/ 37.5 x 36.2 x 39 cm. In addition to the bulky size and two lids, it comes with a dehydrating tray, air fry basket, multi-functional rack, and protective pad, all of which will need storing. It doesn’t come with any accessories for steaming but these along with lots of other accessories are available to purchase separately.

There are 11 cooking functions in total - with the standard lid fitted, the Instant Pot can pressure cook, sauté, slow cook, steam, sous vide, and keep warm - all of which Instant Pot dubs wet cooking method. Alternatively, switch to the air fryer lid to air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate. It’s worth noting you can only select a cooking function if the corresponding lid is attached.  You can manually adjust the temperature and cooking duration using the buttons on either side of the LCD display. The dry cook functions can be set to a temperature between 180 - 400oF /84C – 204oC and the wet cook functions offer Hi or Lo temperatures. 

It doesn’t come with a recipe book or cooking charts, these are all available on the website, plus there’s a free app available to download which contains over 1000 recipes as well as hints and tips on settings. So there’s plenty of information and recipes available to inspire you to get the most out of this multi-cooker, which is useful as it doesn’t have pre-programmed settings for different dishes like some other multi-cookers.

The stainless-steel cooking pot has a large 8-quart/ 8-litre capacity, it isn’t non-stick but it’s dishwasher safe, as are all of the accessories apart from the main unit and the air fryer lid, so it’s easy to keep clean.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer on a kitchen countertop being used to cook curry

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Performance

  • Settings easy to program
  • Thick-cut fries were too soggy
  • Pressure cooked chicken falls off the bone

We tried out the pressure cook function by making a Thai red curry. First, we browned chicken legs using the sauté function, it took three and a half minutes to preheat but eliminated the need to use a separate frying pan and browned the chicken well. Our curry had a 20 minute cook time, but the pressure cook function took nine minutes to preheat to the Hi setting, then two minutes to release pressure at the end, so the total cook time was 31 minutes. The chicken was very moist and fell off the bone after cooking and the curry was cooked as we expected. At 78dB, the quick pressure release was the loudest part of the cooking process. The steam release is at the back of the lid, which means if it's positioned below wall-mounted kitchen cabinets, they’ll get coated in steam and condensation when the pressure is released, so it’s worth considering this when positioning it on your countertop.  

To cook brown basmati rice on the pressure cook function, we followed rice to water ratios and cook times given on the Instant Pot website. It took five minutes and 45 seconds for the pressure cooker to preheat to Hi, add this to the 22 minute cook time and the lengthy 20-minute natural pressure release, and you’re looking at almost 48 minutes just to cook rice - which is longer than traditional cooking methods but there’s no need to keep an eye on it like you would if cooking on the hob, so you’re free to go off and do other things. The natural pressure release is also very quiet. The cooked rice was cooked through with some bite, although it was a little stickier than we’d have liked, there were very few grains sticking to the pot too.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer on a kitch countertop next to a bowl of rice

(Image credit: TechRadar)

During pressure cooking the handles all stay cool to touch and the sides only reach 111oF/ 44oC, but the metal section of the lid reaches 205oF/ 96 oC, so it’s worth wearing oven gloves when removing it.

We steamed broccoli using the steam function and as it doesn’t come with a steam basket, used the air fry basket. Cooking charts on the Instant Pot website suggested a cook time of three minutes and it took almost seven minutes to heat up. The quick-release pressure only took one minute, so the total cook time was 11 minutes. The broccoli was overcooked and mushy, which highlights the need to experiment with cook times and settings to get the most out of your multi-cooker.

Slow-cooked beef chili was a success, after six hours on the Lo setting the chili had a great flavor and the meat was soft and tender. Again we used the sauté function to brown the meat and vegetables before slow cooking and this means you don’t use any extra frying pans.

Lastly, we tried out the air fry function to make chunky fries, we followed a recipe on the website which suggested 18 minutes, you have to stir them half way through cooking but the cooker prompts you to do this. Although the fries were cooked, they weren’t crisp enough, so again you’ll need to experiment with times for the best result.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer next to some fries that were cooked in it

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Should I buy the Instant Pot Duo Crisp and Air Fryer?

Buy it if...

You’re looking to feed several people
With an 8-quart/ 8-liter capacity, this multi-cooker has a generous sized cooking pot that’s great for batch cooking.


You’re looking for a versatile multi-cooker
Not only does this multi-cooker have the standard functions like pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté but it can also sous-vide and the additional air fry lid allows you to bake, broil, roast, air fry and dehydrate too.

You want lots of inspiration
It doesn’t come with a recipe book, but there are lots of recipes on the Instant Pot website, plus there’s an accompanying app available to download with over 1000 recipes, plenty to keep you going.


Don't buy it if...

You’re short on storage space
Although most of the smaller accessories can be stored inside the multi-cooker, the second lid is a bulky additional item to store.



You only want a basic multi-cooker
If you just want a standard multi-cooker that can pressure cook and slow cook as well steam and sauté, then this product offers many more functions than you’ll use, so it's best avoided. 

You’re looking for a sleek design
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp doesn’t have a stylish high-end appearance, it’s designed for functionality over looks.

First reviewed: June 2021