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We put the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid to the test, but how does it compare to other multi-cookers? Read our full review to find out.
Air fryer multi-cookers are not a new invention, but there's still something quite novel and exciting about them. Among the long list of what you can create, you can add air-fried chips, air fryer salmon, and even air fryer doughnuts to the mix too.
This is certainly true for Instant Pot's Duo Crisp model. Even for a multi-cooker, this is a chunky piece of kit, and we know it means business from the moment we remove it from the box.
The 'Ultimate Lid' – which works for all 13 of the cooking programmes – looks impressive when you open it up and comes with a detachable heating element, so you can switch from pressure cooking to air frying instantly. Because the lid fixed onto the body of the gadget, it's more difficult to clean, but other than the odd cooking splash it hardly gets dirty.
Among its functions are air fryer, grill, mini oven, roaster, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté, sous vide, dehydrator, yogurt maker, bread proofer and food warmer. We loved how solid it feels on the worktop, harnessed by its hefty weight and non-slip feet. The 6.2-litre pot is also ideal for serving up generous portions or batch cooking.
It took no time at all to master the functions of the Duo Crisp, which is lucky as we had trouble getting hold of the instructions. There is a QR code and link displayed on the side of the box to access them, but unfortunately neither worked for us and we were directed to a blocked web page.
Despite the lack of manual, this model's user-friendly credentials are impressive. Messages like 'add ingredients' and 'OK to open the lid' display clearly on the large LCD screen, and there's a three-stage progress bar to indicate how far along the preheating or cooking process you are.
There are three steam-release settings to choose from – natural, quick and pulse – and pressure-cooking novices will love the sliding lock function, which is placed a reassuring distance away from the valve. A keep-warm setting, which kicks in automatically after cooking, can also be turned on or off at any time, and there's a dial on the front to adjust the time and temperature.
Our slow-cooker chicken korma recipe worked very well in this multi-cooker, simmering for three hours on a high heat. The sauce was a thick and nutty, though our chicken breast chunks were essentially shredded by the end – a slight reduction in the cooking time may prevent this in future. Some of the sauce also caught the base of the pot when we added the cream and almonds at the end, but cleaned off pretty easily.
Preheating took longer than we'd hoped when using the pressure cooking setting for our beef stew, which added to the overall cooking time – slightly frustrating if you're trying to turn a dish around quickly. We were pleased with the outcome though, and the meat, while overcooked by five or so minutes, was tender enough to slice with a spoon.
Energy efficiency and sustainability were sadly this multi-cooker's downfall: it came packaged in a lot of plastic wrapping, both around the outside of the box and all the contents inside, including the cooking pot and cord. There are also large chunks of polystyrene that can't be recycled.
We let the multi-cooker run on its pressure cook setting for 30 minutes on high, and it cost 5.05p to run – the most expensive of those we tested by some way (based on 31.8p/kWh).
The versatility and size of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp make it an excellent choice for larger households or those who like to batch cook. While on the pricier end of the cookers we've tested, it's user-friendly design and range of presets make it a solid staple for mealtimes, and it's certainly the kind of gadget you'll get ample use from. Many will be also swayed by the air fryer functionality, but the game-changer for us was the sliding lock function, which felt incredibly safe and secure when pressure cooking.
Dimensions (cm): 39 x 39 x 34
Materials: stainless steel
Guarantee: one year
All costs-to-run calculations were done against the variable tariff at the time of testing (31.8p/kWh), which may have since changed – read more on the current energy price guarantee rates.
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