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Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid review: It’s time to upgrade

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £230
inc VAT

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is a must-have for keen cooks who want it all


  • Supremely versatile
  • Excellent results
  • Generous capacity


  • Big and heavy
  • Little guidance or instructions

The Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is the brand’s latest multi cooker to combine air frying and pressure cooking with a multitude of other functions. The third of its kind, this 6.2L model comes with a smattering of welcome improvements to make cooking even easier. The most noticeable of these is the introduction of a single lid, which allows you to cook with hob- and oven-based functions without switching to a specific air-frying lid.

It’s also done away with the steam release handle, with this now being fully controlled via buttons. On-screen instructions have also been improved to make pressure cooking and other modes a little less intimidating. In addition, you’ll also find plenty of the classic Instant Pot functions, including a slow cooker, sauté, steam and more.

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Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid review: What do you get for the money?

The Duo Crisp has 12 cooking functions in total: pressure cooking, slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, sous vide, air frying, baking, grilling, roasting, dehydrating, proofing and yoghurt. Unlike previous models, which required you to switch to a separate lid for air frying, there’s now a removable cooking cover inside the lid that detaches to expose the oven-style heating element, allowing you to use oven- and hob-based modes with ease. In the box, you’ll also find a separate crisper basket for air frying alongside a 6.2L stainless steel cooking pot.

Stress-free, safe, simple cooking is this multi cooker’s forté. The digital screen allows you to manually adjust times and temperatures across most of the functions in 1ºC and one-minute increments, and there are clear details and instructions displayed on screen. For pressure cooking specifically, the screen displays messages alerting you not to open the lid, as well as letting you know when it’s safe to do so and when to close.

The latest model also comes with a snazzy redesign in the form of a flat lid, sleek black exterior and easy open lever on the front. Instant has designed this latest version to be as unobtrusive as possible, though there’s no getting away from the size and weight of the multi cooker. At 39.1 × 34 x 39.3cm (WDH), it takes up a lot of counter space, and its hefty 10.6kg weight means you’ll want to avoid moving it around regularly.

Design wise, it’s strikingly similar to another of our favourite multi cookers, the Ninja MultiLid 11-in-1 (£300), and it shares a lot of similar features. Both offer classic multi cooker functions such as steaming, air frying, pressure cooking, slow cooking, grilling, baking and roasting, but the Duo Crisp adds a professional-style sous vide mode, while the Ninja’s combination steam setting ingeniously blends steaming and air frying.

The Ninja does come with more user-friendly instructions, but you pay a hefty premium for the slickness of the overall package. Price-wise, the Instant Pot is easily the better value, with its RRP of £230 comparing very favourably to the Ninja’s loftier £300.

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Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid review: What’s good about it?

Value for money aside, there’s a lot to love about the Duo Crisp; Instant has done an excellent job of upgrading and modernising the design of this model. The lever to lock and unlock the lid is really easy to use, making light work of such a heavy lid, while the digital screen, buttons and dial are all super responsive. The introduction of the single lid is the big news here, though, as it’s both easier to use and store, and far neater.

Pressure cooking is also easier thanks to the new design, as the pressure lever that you’d typically find on top of the lid for quick steam release is now done automatically at the touch of a button, so there’s no more awkward, towel-over-the-hand manual release.

The addition of clear on-screen instructions is very welcome, too. While in pressure cooking mode, it will plainly state “OK to open lid” or “Do not open lid”, making the whole experience a lot less scary. Other cooking modes, such as sautéing and sous vide, also offer clear indications of cooking times and temperatures, and provide prompts to add food after preheating has finished.

The Duo Crisp has pretty much every cooking function you could need and then some, and the results are impressive. I achieved great results using its air-frying mode: an entire 1.6kg chicken cooked in just 40 minutes at 180ºC. The meat came out incredibly juicy, the juiciest I’ve seen through air frying alone, and while the outside was perhaps not quite as crispy as it would have been if done in my oven, it was still well cooked.

As always, Instant has created a simple, easy-to-use pressure cooker that delivers great results. I was able to cook 1.7kg of beef short rib to tender perfection in around an hour and a half with 15 minutes of natural steam release, while a 1.6kg lamb shoulder took one hour and 45 minutes – far quicker and more energy-efficient than having the oven on for six or seven hours.

Other highlights included the sauté function, which, at its highest temperature, is hot enough to sear and seal meat to a good standard. It’s still not quite as fierce as my gas hob, but pretty impressive when compared to other multi cookers I’ve tested previously. I also found the proofing mode very useful for pizza dough, especially at times when the cold weather hampers your dough-rising ability.

I didn’t find that the Duo Crisp’s other cooking modes had improved in any drastic way from previous iterations, but they still produced excellent results nonetheless. Whether you’re steaming vegetables, slow cooking a curry or roasting chicken, you can expect good results across the board.

READ NEXT: The best multi cookers

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid review: What could be better?

One qualm I’ve had with previous Instant Pot appliances is the lack of instructions. Unfortunately, the Duo Crisp is no different and comes with very little guidance for using the different modes. This is something the Ninja cookers do brilliantly, with booklets providing basic step-by-step guides on using the various functions as well as reference guides for cooking times and temperatures for popular ingredients. While this may not be an issue for the more seasoned Instant Pot user – and admittedly, there is a lot of guidance online if you’re willing to do some homework – it might put some first-timers off experimenting and getting the best out of this model.

Another, albeit smaller issue is that this model is very big and very heavy. I found it quite a slog to move it from its box to my countertop and certainly wouldn’t want to have to store it in a cupboard when not in use. Both its size and weight mean it might not be suitable for people with mobility or strength issues. Solo households or couples might also find this 6.2L model is just a bit too big for their needs – and while this certainly isn’t a fault, it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you’re not serving up big portions on a regular basis.

Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid review: Should you buy it?

If you’re cooking for a crowd, there’s no doubt the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is one of the best multi cookers you can buy. There’s oodles of functionality packed into it and, thanks to the introduction of a single lid, air frying is now almost effortless. What’s more, little tweaks have ensured this model is the easiest to use to date. Easy steam release at the touch of a button and clear on-screen instructions guide you through using the cooker from start to finish.

It’s a bit frustrating that Instant still doesn’t provide much guidance in the box, as I do think this makes some of the functions a bit daunting for multi cooker newbies, but the sheer quality of the appliance and the results it serves up are impossible to fault. Take the time to master its myriad functions, and the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is do-it-all multi cooker perfection.

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