It’s easy to use
Is easily controlled through the app
Sauté function doesn’t have a timer
Can’t switch between release modes in real time
With apologies to my Vitamix, there was a time when I would have told you my Crockpot was the most important thing in my kitchen. When the Instant Pot pressure cooker came out as the hottest thing since sliced roast beef, I was super skeptical and kept my long-term allegiances to the long-term cooker.
Nothing could break the bond I had with this appliance that made my life easy with its set-it-and-forget it cooking. And then I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. My cheating heart became enamored with its ability to cook un-soaked beans, frozen chicken breasts, veggies, pasta, anything and everything in, well, an instant.
That’s why I was excited to get my hands on its newest iteration—the Instant Pot Pro Plus Wifi Electric Pressure Cooker. This promised to be even easier to use and I was ready to jump in.
What is the Instant Pot Pro Plus Wifi Electric Pressure Cooker?
Not only is this more of a digital masterpiece than the original, this space-age looking small appliance is your all-in-one pressure cooker, sous-vide cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, sterilizer, yogurt maker, cake maker, sauté pan and steamer.
Its six-quart pressure cooker is a versatile size, perfect for most recipes, and the display is a sleek face with a simple dial. When you plug it in that’s when the magic happens, with touchscreen options such as Pressure Cook, Rice, Canning, Sauté, Slow Cook (sorry crockpot), Steam, Yogurt and Sous Vide (“under vacuum” in French, this process cooks vacuum-sealed foods to a precise temperature in a water bath).
They got rid of most of the specific buttons, such as Poultry, Multi-grain, and Porridge, which is fine because I never used them anyway. There are also three programmable steam-release options, as well as something called NutriBoost (which agitates ingredients during the Soup/Broth and Rice functions, supposedly releasing more nutrients and flavor).
The Instant Pot app allows you to sync your smartphone to your appliance to schedule, adjust and monitor cooking progress whether you're away from home or just lazy on the couch 15 feet away.
How we tested the Instant Pot Pro Plus
To test the Instant Pot Pro Plus, we tried a variety of recipes that covered the gamut on cook times, methods, etc. These included pressure-cooker chicken noodle soup and saffron risotto (which also employed the sauté function), and slow cooker veggie chili.
We operated the appliance from the onboard control panel as well as the app, testing ease of operation as well as connectivity.
When it came time to clean up, we ran the pot through the dishwasher as prescribed in the instructions.
What we like
It heats up faster than the original
If there was a complaint about the first Instant Pot it was the overpromise/underdeliver of the “instant” aspect. At times, the heating time was longer than expected. Thanks to an upgraded stainless-steel inner pot with an extra-thick aluminum layer, I did notice faster heating times. The flat bottom was also great for even sautéing.
There’s an app for that
The Instant Pot app is great for controlling cooking, checking timing, and monitoring progress along the way. It’s free and incredibly intuitive, as well as a great helper when you have zero creative juices on what’s for dinner. The app provides access to more than 1,000 preprogrammed recipes that you can search by ingredients.
The inner pot is more user-friendly and the rim has built-in lid holders
Hooray for the stay-cool handles on the side that help you lift out the center pot after cooking without reaching for a potholder. There are also incredibly helpful measurements on the inside of the inner liner.
Pro tip: Stand your pressure cooking lid up to keep it off your countertop by inserting the left or right lid fin into one of the corresponding lid holders on the base to stand it up and save space.
The appliance is super chic looking
It comes with more user-friendly features
The upgraded steam release switch boasts a noise-diffusing cover. Translation: it doesn’t hiss at you. When you pick the Instant Pot up to move it while it’s cooking, the toggle doesn’t jiggle jiggle, it holds–no more spitting and hissing.
After a while, the Instant Pot’s silicone rings can take on the smell of more fragrant dishes. Thankfully, this iteration comes with two inner sealing rings, which allows you the freedom to swap between them for cooking your savory and sweet dishes.
The dial is easy to use
The large front dial allows you to quickly add or remove time and temperature quickly, a much smoother way than the original buttons that took you one number at a time crawling up to larger settings (like the 60 minutes required for bone broth or larger roasts).
What we don’t like
There’s a short warning before the steam is released
The Instant Pot does the steam release for you, but it does it on its own time. Translation: There’s a quick beep and burst to warn you that it’s about to happen, but then it’s man vs. machine–you have only a few seconds to get out of the way.
You’re not sure it’s cooking
This is an incredibly quiet pressure cooker. But, similar to when you’re on hold with a representative and there’s no hold music, you wonder, “did they hang up on me?” While you don’t miss the hiss of previous models, the sheer silence makes it hard to know it’s actually cooking. (Thankfully, there’s an app for that!)
Sauté doesn’t have a timer
When making the risotto, I had to use the sauté method. The original Instant Pot had a constant timer that showed how long you had been using the Sauté function, but they seem to have done away with this. I had to set a timer elsewhere.
You can’t switch between pressure release modes during release
There are three programmable venting methods—natural release, pulse release, and quick release. But when I was making the chicken soup, which required me to natural-release for five minutes then switch to quick release, I noticed that you can’t toggle between the two types mid-cooking.
Should you buy the Instant Pot Pro Plus Wifi Electric Pressure Cooker?
Yes, if you love the convenience of one-pot cooking
The Instant Pot Pro Plus has all the same consistently great cooking functions that it always has. But the company clearly invested in research on how to improve their original pressure cooker. Bravo for the follow-through. Thanks to its looks (the chic digital touch screen alone is a massive upgrade), user-friendly additions like lid holders, inner pot handles and large dial, and better functionality like the Instant Pot app, quicker heating times and programmable steam-release, would I buy this Instant Pot? In an instant.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
With a freelance career that spans 20 years on the lifestyle beat, Cheryl Fenton's byline has been seen in publications including the Boston Globe, Cooking Light, Fodor's Travel, and Women’s Health & Fitness. When she's not writing about life, she out living it—grabbing cocktails with friends, hiking with her dog and fam, or strolling Boston looking for the next story idea.
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