A versatile all-in-one pressure cooker, air fryer and more, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is a handy device for pretty much every style of cooking. It’s largely successful at what it does, although air frying in particular could be more even. The controls are a little annoying at times, and the competition is a touch better, but this is a good-value product if your budget won’t stretch further.
- Lots of features
- Cooks well for the most part
- Smart design
- Not the most even air frying
- No pause after pre-heating
- CapacityThis air fryer, pressure cooker and more has a large 6.2-litre capacity, which is enough to take a whole chicken.
Part air fryer, part pressure cooker, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is built to be a single cooking appliance for all of your kitchen needs.
It largely gets things right, with a huge number of cooking modes and relatively simple controls. However, a lack of accessories and a somewhat more fiddly lid than its main competition do limit its appeal slightly.
Design and Features
- Thirteen cooking functions
- Integrated pressure cooker lid
- Only one basket in the box
A large device, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid has a 6.2-litre capacity. Note that this model is slightly squatter and a touch wider than the previous versions, so it may not be compatible with all optional accessories.
As with the Ninja Foodi Max OL750UK, one of the main selling points of the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is that it has an integrated pressure cooker lid, whereas previous models required the main lid to be swapped when moving from air frying to pressure cooking.
But, unlike the Ninja OL750UK, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp has an insert in its lid: this has to be added for steaming and pressure cooking and removed for the other functions.
This doesn’t make a difference for storage, but it does make a difference for cooking. With Ninja’s design, it can use steam alongside other cooking modes. For example, steam combined with air frying delivered the best chips I’ve ever had. Here, you can steam or air fry, but not do both together.
This is not to say that the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is lacking in functions. It has 13 cooking options, including pressure cooking, sautéing (this can be done with the lid open), steaming, slow cooking, sous vide, yoghurt, air frying, roasting, grilling, baking, dehydrating and proofing.
Each mode has its own button, which makes the front control panel awash with labels. These were initially a little overwhelming, but I soon got used to them.
Modes typically let you set the cooking temperature and time, although the pressure cooking option lets you choose the time and steam release option: Natural releases slowly, Pulse in bursts, and Quick all in one go. Once steam has been released, the lid can be unlocked.
While the controls aren’t difficult to understand, it would be better if the Instant Pot Duo Crisp shipped with a proper manual. Instead, the simple Getting Started Guide pointed me to the website, which just had lots of videos. I had to use Google to find the actual manual.
Again, this is where the Ninja OL750UK is better, as it has a proper manual and an inspiration guide that gives standard cooking settings for different types of food.
There’s a main inner bowl on the Instant Pot Duo Crisp, into which the trivet and basket go. That’s enough for most uses, but I’d like to have a wire rack, as Ninja provides, as standard, because this allows for larger joints of meat or even multi-level cooking.
Most modes have a pre-heating mode. However, I had to keep an eye on this appliance. Once it was pre-heated, the air fryer jumped straight into the cooking phase without pause or warning.
- Slightly uneven air frying
- Fast pressure cooking
- Good results
To see how well the Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid cooks, I used it in multiple ways. First, I started with chips, cooking at 200°C for 20mins. Here, the results were good, but the cooking was quite uneven: the chips towards the back of the basket were cooked more than the ones at the front. Regular shaking and moving the food about is the best option.
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp tops at 204°C, which feels like a strange cut-off point. I used this temperature to cook hash browns. The results were good, but an air fryer with a higher maximum temperature can do a better job.
Next, I tried out the pressure cooker with chicken breast. Adding 500ml of water, it took just 10 minutes to cook. The chicken breast came out succulent and moist, with the steam helping to lock in the moisture. I could eat the chicken as it was, but the moisture level also made the meat ideal for shredding.
Should you buy it?
If you want a good-value all-in-one cooking device, the range of modes and features make the Instant Pot Duo Crisp a good choice.
If you want more intuitive controls and even cooking, then there are better options available.
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid is a clever device with many cooking modes. It’s slightly frustrating to use at times – not helped by the lack of a manual – and it would make more sense if the cooker would pause and warn after the pre-heating phase.
Air-frying results were a little uneven, although some shaking during the cooking process would have been enough to sort out the food. I would like a few more accessories in the box, although the steaming racks are available quite cheaply.
The main competition here is the Ninja OL750UK, which is easier to use, cooks better and even has a temperature sensor – all for only a little more cash. Or, if you don’t care about the temperature probe, the Ninja OL650UK is a bit cheaper than its big brother and only a little more expensive than the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.
For alternatives, check out my guide to the best air fryers.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every air fryer we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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We cook real food in each air fryer, making chips, frying sausages and cooking frozen hash browns. This lets us compare quality between each air fryer that we test.
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Pressure cooking, sautéing, steaming, slow cooking, sous vide, yoghurt, air frying, roasting, grilling, baking, dehydrating and proofing.
This cooker can take 6.2 litres of food, which is enough for a whole chicken.
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