If you’ve been wondering, “What Size Instant Pot should I use?” this is the guide for you! Read on to learn about the different Instant Pot sizes available, and get useful info and handy tips that will help you make sure you’re using the right size for your needs.
Shopping for Instant Pots but not sure where to start? Whether you’re thinking about adding your first electric pressure cooker to your collection of kitchen appliances, preparing to upgrade to a new Instant Pot, or just looking for a quick and easy way to make family meals, the most important factors are understanding the various Instant Pot sizes and the different Instant Pot models available.
What Is An Instant Pot?
The term Instant Pot actually refers to the super popular Canadian brand of Pressure Cooker or Multicooker. An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that creates heat inside the pot that is tightly sealed and won’t let steam out. The temperature is much hotter than the boiling point of water and uses the steam it creates to quickly cook the food inside the pot faster than in an oven or on a stovetop.
Instant Pots are available at great sale prices almost all year long but look for the very best deals during holidays. And while you’re at it, make sure to get your hands on some super helpful accessories. They make cooking and baking with your Instant Pot even faster, easier, and more efficient.
And since there are so many different options out there to choose from, it’s important to determine the Instant Pot size you need before you head to the store or push that ‘buy now’ button.
Why You’ll Love The Instant Pot
- Cooks sooooo much faster than recipes traditionally cooked in the oven or on the stove.
- Offer multiple functions and automatic programs for easier and more efficient cooking.
- Ideal for using to cook all meal categories, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and beverages.
- They are available in various sizes and different models, so there’s truly something for everyone.
How To Know What Size Instant Pot To Buy?
Here are some of the factors to consider when comparing the size difference and other models to determine the right Instant Pot size for you;
- number of people you cook for (large groups or a smaller family?)
- type of recipes you want to make (whole chicken, meal prep, two dishes at once?)
- important features (slow cooker, smart programs, air fryer lid, etc.)
- amount of available counter space (larger Instant Pots take up more space)
How Many Different Instant Pot Sizes Are There?
With such a variety of different brands and sizes, you’re likely asking yourself, what size Instant Pot do I need? You want to make sure to determine which Instant Pots will best fit your needs and your family’s needs.
Luckily, these tips and suggestions should answer those burning questions and you’ll feel confident knowing which of the Instant Pot sizes is the perfect Instant Pot for you.
If you’re buying the Instant Pot Brand of Pressure Cooker, they offer these Instant Pot sizes:
Other brands of electric pressure cookers may offer different sizes and features as well.
What Model Instant Pot Should I Get?
The Instant Pot Brand has a variety of options to choose from. Keeping in mind that not all Instant brands models come in all sizes, these are some of the most popular Instant Pot Model to choose from;
Lux: Available in 3 different instant pot sizes with 6 different functions. A basic model with all the basic pressure cooking functions that can slow cook too.
Instant Pot Duo: This was the most popular model for a while. And guys, if you’re looking for a great 7-in-1 pot that you can use as a steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more, the 8 quart Instant Pot Duo is a wonderful option.
Viva: This large instant pot model took all the great features from the Duo and added a few more, like an easy-seal lid and sous vide feature, to create an even more functional multicooker.
Ultra: Just like many of the other models, this is a great pot that still comes in a variety of sizes, and has multiple cooking options still with both high and low pressure cooking settings. It also has a great option for easy poultry cooking as well.
Smart Wi-fi: This 6 quart option is perfect for those who would like to control their gadget with an app on their smartphone. You can easily cook, schedule, adjust, and monitor the progress of your meal with this model. You still get all the same great Instant Pot functions and abilities, plus you get hundreds of preprogrammed recipes and smart programs to choose from.
Other Models To Consider
Ninja Foodi: This 8 quart 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer is a great combination option. It not only pressure cooks, but it’s an air fryer too. You can use it like you would any Instant Pot: to sauté, bake cakes, as a yogurt maker, etc., but you can also get things nice golden, crispy, and “fried” without all the deep fryer guilt. Plus, it uses a dial function which is great if you prefer more of a visual aid in your choices and what you’re selecting.
What Size Instant Pot Do I Need?
The type of dishes you’re planning to make and the number of servings you most often need will help determine what size Instant Pot you should get. Out of the four sizes listed above, the most popular size is the 6 quart. This is a versatile size and the one most often referenced in various Instant Pot recipes.
Keep in mind the max fill line capacity of each sized pot. Since pressure cooking requires room for expansion, the inner pot of an 8 quart pot technically doesn’t really hold 8 quarts of food.
It’s always smarter to size up when buying these. You’ll never regret having a bigger one, but you will grumble if you opt for a smaller size instant pot and can’t make the recipe you are craving because you don’t have a big enough pot. Generally speaking, a larger capacity with more cooking functions makes it easier to prepare meals.
This size is great for feeding a smaller family of 1-2 people and perfect for making smaller side dishes, small amounts of yogurts, oatmeal, and soups. It’s a great option for dorm rooms too.
Pro Tip: What size Instant Pot for a family of 4? This is a common size to cook for, so you can go with a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot.
Instant Pot 6qt vs 8qt
The bigger pots are great for so many things. Here are some reasons why you’re going to want either the 6qt or 8qt size pot.
- Pro: Most recipes are made for the 6 quart cooker, as this is the most popular size.
- Pro: The 6 quart can cook most roasts and meats and doesn’t require as much storage space.
- Con: Not ideal for those who cook for large groups or for large batch cooking.
Pro Tip: you can cook recipes that are created for the 6 quart in an 8 quart Instant Pot. You may just need to adjust the cooking time slightly or add a little more cooking liquid.
- Pro: The 8 quart is great for large families or someone who cooks more food at once.
- Pro: This size is ideal for cooking for more than 4-6 people and great for feeding crowds and weekly meal prep.
- Con: The 8 quart does require more storage space, and cook time is slightly longer due to its size.
What Instant Pot Size For Each Recipe Type
Just like the number of people you plan on feeding helps you decide what size Instant Pot you need, knowing what kind of recipes you want to make can help you solidify that decision as well.
Soups, small side dishes, and meals for 1-2 people are best suited for the 3 quart size.
Try this recipe: Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes.
Pro Tip: Looking to make hard boiled eggs fast? The 3-quart Instant Pot is the option for you.
Whole Chicken or Turkey
Want to make a whole chicken in the Instant Pot? You’ll want a larger pot, so look for a model with a 6 quart or 8 quart capacity. Average size whole chickens will fit inside a 6-quart Instant Pot.
If you want to cook a larger bird, or even 2 smaller turkeys, then opt for the 8 quart. This is a good option for making soups with large amounts of meat or cooking bone broth.
Try this recipe: Instant Pot Cornish Hen
The 6 quart cooks a 4-5 pound roast well. If you’re looking to cook larger cuts of meat like a large ham or add vegetables and potatoes, I recommend a larger instant pot like the 8 quart or 10 quart.
Try this recipe: Best Ever Instant Pot Pot Roast
Large Quantity Recipes for Meal Prepping: I highly recommend a larger size instant pot, like the 8 quart or 10 quart, for meal prepping, big batch cooking, and making freezer meals.
A lot of my recipes, like beans, chili, rice, and more, can be doubled or even tripled, which works best in the largest instant pot size.
Try this recipe: Instant Pot Spiced Pinto Beans.
Instant Pot Accessories
Now that you’ve figured out which Instant Pot is right for you and you’re ready to get cooking, you’re going to need some accessories too. This 22-piece set is the one I always recommend. It’s chock full of everything you need to easily whip up all sorts of delicious recipes!
More Instant Pot Recipes
Here are a few more must-try dishes that you will love making in your Instant Pot:
Thank you for reading my Instant Pot Sizes post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.