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Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus review: Delightfully stylish and feature-packed

Danielle Amato
23 Jun 2021
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
130
inc VAT

An attractive, easy-to-use one pot wonder ideal for cheap cuts, curry and rice

Pros 
Lots of preset functions make cooking easier
Enhanced safety features
Easy-to-use digital display
Cons 
Quite pricey
Disappointing accessories
Inner pot discolours easily
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You may or may not have heard of the Instant Pot before. The brand has a cult following in the US but is less well known here in the UK. In fact, Instant Pot’s following is so huge in America that the name is now synonymous with any multi-cooker appliance, much like the hoover is to the vacuum cleaner.

The Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus is the brand’s newest model, making it one of three now available to UK households. It’s a clear move away from the look and feel of the classic Instant Pot Duo and comes with a slew of new features worth talking about. This upgrade doesn’t come cheap, though, so is it worth splashing out?

Instant pot Duo Evo Plus review: What you need to know

  • Multi cooker with eight one-touch cooking buttons for pressure cooking, slow cooking, sous vide, rice/grains, steaming, sauteing, baking, yoghurt
  • 48 preset digital functions for a variety of ingredients and meals
  • Enhanced safety features
  • Inner pot safe to use on all hob types
  • Capacity: 5.7l
  • Dimensions: 32.2 x 33.1 x 32.5cm (WDH)
  • Weight: 6.1kg

What’s the difference between the Instant Pot Duo and the Duo Evo Plus?

The Instant Pot Duo is the brand’s original, classic multi cooker, which has been around in the UK for some time now. It starts at £70 for the 3l model, while the 5.7l and 8l models are £80 and £90 respectively. The new Duo Evo Plus is only available in a 5.7l size and will set you back £130.

When comparing the two models, the first thing that strikes you is the new digital interface. The upgraded LCD display is both nicer to look at and easier to use. Unlike the Duo, the Duo Evo Plus has a progress timer that allows you to quickly see where you are in the cooking process – be that preheating, cooking or keeping warm.

You also get a greater variety of digital preset functions, which optimise cooking times and temperatures for a variety of ingredients and dishes like ribs, chilli and risotto. However these presets can also be used to do things like fermenting and dough proofing. There are 48 in total, as well as eight one-touch buttons on the front of the machine for things like rice, slow cooking and a brand new addition to the Instant Pot – sous vide. The Duo lacks this variety, with just 12 one-touch buttons and no presets.

Cooking functions aside, the Duo Evo Plus has an additional steam-release cap, making steam release gentler and, in our opinion, safer. The machine also plays a jingle when it’s safely sealed, so you can be certain you’re ready to start cooking. A new quick-cool cover on the outside can be removed after cooking to speed up natural pressure release.

The inner pot has had an upgrade, too. Soft easy-grip handles make it easy to transfer the pot from surface to surface, and a stove-safe, flat-bottomed bowl means you can use the inner pot on any hob type, even induction. The bottom of the stainless-steel bowl does discolour easier than expected, but can be brought back to life with a quick soak in white wine vinegar.

What’s it good at?

During testing the Instant Pot was exceptional at quickly breaking down tough meats, which would normally take several hours in an oven. In just one hour, it cooked 500g of lamb’s neck to perfection – this included 13 minutes of preheating, 25 minutes of cooking and 22 minutes of “natural release” depressurising.

The meat was cooked in a packet curry sauce with no additional water, and became so tender that it fell off the bone as we were removing it from the pot. We also threw in a few cubed raw potatoes alongside our meat to see how well these would cope. Impressively, they cooked through but still completely held their shape and texture.

It’s a dab hand at cooking rice, too, and has a number of preset functions to help you get it just right. There was no burning or crusting at the bottom during cooking and, in our white rice test, we had beautifully fluffy rice for three in 24 minutes. This is a little longer than it would typically take in a dedicated rice cooker, but that’s a small price to pay for decent rice in a multifunction cooker.

What could be improved?

It’s not always easy to calculate cooking times. An informative chart in the manual lists timings by weight for a range of meats, veggies and grains, which is expanded upon further on the Instant Pot UK website. However, if you are cooking more or less than the weights specified in these charts, trying to calculate the right timings can be a little overwhelming. There are tried-and-tested recipes online and on the Instant Pot app, but if you want to create your own, you’ll probably need to use your own judgement alongside the charts provided.

It would be great if the Instant Pot could automatically adjust timings, making this appliance more accessible to less confident cooks. We’ve seen this on other multi cookers such as the Tefal 45-in-1, so it doesn’t seem like too much to expect from such a premium model.

This Instant Pot also lacks the accessories I would expect from a premium appliance. While the Duo Evo Plus has a metal steam rack and a spare sealing ring, the lack of measuring cup and ladle is a bit disappointing, especially considering the cheaper Duo model comes with these accessories included. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, but it does seem a rather odd thing to omit.

Should I buy it?

The Duo Evo Plus is a fair bit pricier than the classic Instant Pot Duo, but its additional features make it a more than worthy upgrade. Improved safety, pressure and steam features, as well as the new 48 presets, make it difficult to go wrong with this multi cooker. Its smooth-running digital interface is a joy to use and actively encourages you to switch up the things you cook in it. In fact, I found myself experimenting more in the kitchen because of it.

It’s disappointing that it can’t automatically adjust timings based on weight, and this might scare off some amateur cooks. That being said, it’s a great all-in-one, and if you don’t mind taking on a bit of a challenge or you’re already familiar with one-pot and pressure cooking, it’s well worth splashing out on.

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