Wide range of functions
Dishwasher safe accessories
Air fries unevenly
Faulty yogurt function
Manual is lacking
About the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid
An upgrade from the original Duo Crisp, which requires you to switch lids between air frying and pressure cooking, this machine is built to provide further functionality with even more convenience.
Instead of switching between lids, there's a removable pressure cooking cover that can be easily inserted for pressure cooking tasks and removed for air frying and roasting.
The Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid goes beyond the basics, boasting 13 cooking functions, including:
- Pressure Cook
- Air Fry
- Slow Cook
- Mini Oven
- Sous Vide
- Bread Proof
In addition to the pressure cooking cover, this machine also comes with a 6.5-quart cooking pot and a stainless steel rack for air frying and steaming.
How we tested
Given that the functionality of this multicooker is vast, we put it through a variety of tests before diving into a review.
First, we made a batch of caramelized onions with the Saute function to gauge how the function works, how quickly the onions browned, and how easy it was to clean the pot afterwards.
We then made saffron risotto using the Saute and Pressure Cooking functions to see how the recipe turned out, how easy it was to accomplish, and whether the rice had an appropriate texture.
We also followed a Instant-provided recipe (via their website, since there were next-to-none provided in the manual) of coconut curry with crispy tofu, which utilizes the Saute, Air Fry, and Pressure Cook functions. This was to get a feel for the convenience and flavors provided by a branded recipe.
We tested the air fryer by making a batch of fried chicken thighs to see whether they turned out crispy and to monitor how difficult it was to clean the air frying rack.
Finally, we tested the Yogurt function by following another Instant recipe for plain yogurt, to utilize the built-in Yogurt function.
And since this machine was hanging out on our countertop for a couple of weeks, we used it for additional (less formal) dinnertime tasks, like air fried salmon and frozen fries.
Master the kitchen.
What we like
Its singular lid functionality
The convenience that comes with a singular lid model—compared to its dual-lid predecessor—has many benefits.
There's no need to haul around a clunky lid when switching between pressure cooking and air frying, which are sometimes needed back-to-back in a singular recipe. So you can save the time and steps required for those kinds of tasks. (Cooking is stressful enough!)
And when it comes to storage, it's obviously space-saving without an extra lid. So you're more likely to store the entire machine away when it's not in use, since all the accessories can fit right inside.
You will have to find room for the pressure cooking cover when it's not in use, but given that this accessory is merely a flat disc and just a fraction of what another full lid would be, it's much easier to store. And clicking this piece in and out of place takes seconds. (The Instant Pot will even alert you when it needs to be attached or removed for a certain function.)
Pressure cooking is a breeze
Even if you consider yourself new to the pressure cooking world (or, ahem, intimidated by its horror stories), this machine will soothe your worries.
Installing the pressure cooking cover and locking the lid into place is a breeze, and the machine will warn you if you forgot either of those steps before it starts pressure cooking.
There are dozens of pressure cooking recipes available online—both via the Instant app and on more general websites—that will make your dinner prep a much better experience than standing over a hot stove.
When we made a batch of risotto, it took just 6 minutes to pressure cook after some obligatory sauteing. Releasing the pressure was fast and stress-free; it took just about a minute with the "Quick Release" option. And don't worry about dangerously unlocking the lid too soon—the pot will let you know when it's "OK to open." (Bonus points: the risotto turned out creamy and delicious.)
Accessories are dishwasher safe
One of the main benefits of making dinner in a multicooker is the lack of several pots and pans piled up in the sink at the end of the night.
This machine comes with just three pieces: the cooking pot, air frying rack, and pressure cooking cover. And they can all be tossed into the dishwasher after use, so clean-up won't take hours of manual scrubbing and drying.
What we don't like
The yogurt function is faulty
Given that Yogurt is one of the functions on this machine with its own designated button, we were surprised to see that it failed our tests—twice.
We followed the Plain Yogurt recipe on the Instant App, and were at first pleasantly surprised by how clearly the control panel walked us through the process. After adding milk, the pasteurization process started, then the machine instructed us to open the lid while the milk cooled (albeit, without a set timer), then we were told to add the yogurt starter, and the 8-hour fermentation countdown began.
But opening the pot after the timer ended just revealed warm milk that had slightly curdled—not yogurt. We even tested this recipe twice (to be sure there was no user error on our end) and got the same results.
Needless to say, if you're passionate about making your own yogurt in a multicooker, this model may not be for you.
The air fry function didn't ace our tests
The added air fry feature in this model is definitely a benefit, but unfortunately it doesn't work as well as other air fryers we've tested.
Although our tofu pieces came out nice and crispy, our fried chicken had uneven browning. While the tops of the thighs got nice and crispy, the bottoms were several shades lighter and much less crispy. It seems that the air flow in this machine is lacking—and it doesn't help that we didn't get an alert to turn our food halfway through cooking time.
This machine doesn't come with an air fry basket, just a singular rack. That means there's not much room for large batches (we barely squeezed four thighs on there), so if air frying is one of your top priorities, be mindful that this machine might not check all your boxes.
Tacked-on foods are difficult to clean
Because the accessories on this model are made from stainless steel materials (without a nonstick coating), they sometimes required some extra elbow grease to get them clean.
The lack of a nonstick surface meant things like oily breadcrumbs, salmon skin, and caramelized onion residue required a few minutes of scrubbing before tossing the rack and pot in the dishwasher. And sometimes they came out of the dishwasher with some lingering remnants, too.
The user experience can be a headache
Unfortunately, we encountered a few additional mishaps with this machine that we'd be remiss not to share.
The first brand-new Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid that we unboxed flashed a daunting C6 error almost immediately after turning it on for the first time. We tried unplugging and replugging it, but after just a glimmer of simmering hope, the pot turned cold again.
When attempting to contact customer service about the error, we were put on hold for over an hour (with the "estimated time" only increasing by the minute). We gave up, reaching out to a personal Instant contact directly, who was then forced to replace it with a new machine altogether.
Apart from those unfortunate technical difficulties (the second machine worked just fine), we found it difficult to get familiar with this multicooker. Similar to Instant's Vortex Plus Air Fryers, this machine only comes with one recipe (and it's for banana bread). That means you'll have to resort to the Instant app for guidance on making even simple dishes like yogurt and risotto.
But those recipes aren't model-specific—they're just labeled as "Instant Pot"—so you'll have to fill in the blanks on features or steps that differ from older models.
We were also surprised that all-in-one recipes—like what we were able to make in the Ninja Foodi—were lacking with this machine. I was expecting to be able to cook rice and crisp tofu simultaneously when I made the coconut curry with crispy tofu recipe. Instead, I had to wash the pot in between air frying tofu and pressure cooking veggies—and the rice had to be made separately on the stove.
Should you buy the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Ultimate Lid?
Maybe, but there are better alternatives
If you're loyal to the Instant brand and frequently use basic functions like pressure cooking, slow cooking, and sauteing—with the occasional air fried meal—this might be a great pick for you. Its interface is easy to use, and the Instant app has a wide range of recipes to try out.
But if you're looking for a machine that'll make you a one-step dinner—or crisp up food to perfection—this isn't the best choice. Although it comes with a bigger price tag, the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Steam Fryer covers a wider range of cooking tasks with more consistent results. During testing, it excelled at everything from homemade yogurt to fried chicken to one-step fajitas. Plus, it includes additional accessories like an air fryer basket and probe thermometer for more convenient cooking.
Of course, there is a lot to consider when investing in a hefty appliance like this one. That's why we've rounded up a whole list of the best multicookers to find the perfect one for you.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer, Kitchen & Cooking@monicatpetrucci
Monica is Reviewed's senior Kitchen & Cooking staff writer and an avid home cook. A graduate of Emerson College, she's had her work published in The Boston Globe, Culture Cheese Magazine, Modern Luxury, and more. In her spare time, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen, practicing yoga, or falling down a TikTok rabbit hole.
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