Instant Pot Duo is probably the most popular multifunctional pressure cooker (not just among the Instant Pot models). The Duo Plus is a newer upgraded version of the Duo, and comes with 2 added cooking functions.
Are the added functions worth the upgrade? What are the other differences? Which model suits you best?
We’ll seek to answer these questions in this in-depth comparison of the 2 most popular Instant Pot models – Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Plus.
Instant Pot Duo Plus has undergone another upgrade. The new Duo Plus now features a black LCD display with white text, compared to the blue LCD display in the earlier version. There are also some changes to the control panel, button placements and digital display. In this article, we’ll be comparing the new Duo Plus vs Instant Pot Duo.
What Are Instant Pots?
Instant Pots have taken the market by storm since 2016.
Depending on the model, it is essentially a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute pan, food warmer and yogurt maker… or more… combined in 1.
Not only can it promise to free up some space on your counter-top by eliminating the need for different appliances, it is designed to meet the demands of our fast-paced world.
With the pre-programmed settings, you can cook healthy and tasty meals even if you are a beginner cook.
And the best part? You don’t have to hover around it while its cooking. All you have to do is select your smart program and adjust the pressure/temperature settings and the timer if needed. The instant pot will do the rest for you.
Cooking and clean up is also made easy as you can cook delicious 1 pot meals using different cooking styles. You can use the sauté mode to stir-fry before pressure cooking or slow cooking. With the Duo Plus, you can even do a sear or reverse sear with the sous-vide steak.
However, with 12 different models and variations in sizes, we understand that can be rather overwhelming and intimidating to make a purchase. This is especially true if you are new to the world of pressure cookers.
That’s why we are here to help!
Instant Pot Duo Plus vs Duo: What Has Changed?
• New egg, cake, sous vide, sterilizer programs
• Improved LCD Digital Display
• More intuitive control panel and buttons
• Updated Easy Steam Release Switch
• Auto-seal pressure lid
• Anti-spin inner pot
• Comes in 3, 6 and 8 quarts
Upgraded From 7-in-1 to 9-in-1Cooker
The Instant Pot Duo is marketed as a 7-in-1 appliances, combining the pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer in 1.
2 new functionalities are added to the Duo Plus – sous vide and sterilizer.
New Cooking Programs
Both the Instant Pot Duo and Duo Plus features 13 one-touch customizable smart programs, but they differ slightly in the selections.
The Egg , Cake, Sous Vide and Sterilizer programs are new to Duo Plus, but you lose the Meat/Stew, Poultry, Multigrain and Steam programs.
I am not too concerned about losing the Meat/Stew, Poultry and Multigrain programs in the Duo Plus as these are nice to have presets which you may not use often. In fact, the most commonly used button is probably the “Pressure Cook” program where you can manually set the timer and pressure (high/low) to achieve the same results.
You can also replicate the steam function by selecting the “Pressure Cook” program and setting it to “Low Pressure”.
The “Cake” program is an interesting addition that allows you to do more with your instant pot. But do note that this is NOT a bake function. Rather, it resembles more of a cake steamer. It makes use of pressure cooking to heat water past its boiling temperature and uses the steam to cook the cake. So, even though it is faster and easier to clean up compared to an oven, it is suitable only for moist cakes (such as soufflés, sponge cakes, custards, Bundt cakes, pudding cakes, cheesecakes) but not cakes that require a crusty or crumbly texture.
13 Built-in programs in the Instant Pot Duo Plus:
- Pressure cook
- Slow Cook
- Sous Vides
- Keep Warm
Instant Pot Duo’s 13 Built-in programs:
- Slow Cook
- Pressure Cook
- Keep Warm
Improved LCD Digital Display
The Duo Plus comes with a larger LCD display screen which is more intuitive, displays more information and easier to read, as compared to the LED timer display in the Duo model.
At the top of the LCD screen of the Instant Pot Duo, you will also see a cooking progress bar so you can clearly know which stage of cooking are you at.
And just below the digital timer display, you will see the pressure and temperature settings. I really love the fact that in the upgraded Duo Plus, only the relevant setting for the selected program will light up.
For example, after selecting the “Pressure Cook” program, only the “Pressure” display will light up and you can select the “Low” or “High” setting by pressing on the up/down buttons. The “Temperature” setting will not light up as that is not adjustable for this program. In the Instant Pot Duo and older Duo Plus model, you will still see the Temperature – Low/Mid/High display, which can be somewhat confusing.
More Intuitive Control Panel and Buttons
Instant Pot Duo Plus has also re-arranged, removed and added new buttons to make it more user-friendly and intuitive to use.
There is a dedicated Start button now in the updated Duo Plus model.
In the Duo model, you will need to select your program and press on the selected program button again to scroll through the options and select the temperature/pressure settings. (ps. in the older Duo model, there’s the “Adjust” button) The +/- buttons are used to adjust the timer. After 10 seconds of not doing anything, the instant pot will start cooking automatically.
You will also find the “Less-Normal-More” settings on the Duo model. If you are confused by them, rest assured you are not the only one. These settings come with the preprogrammed functions and they refer to preset cook times or temperature.
For example, for the Salute/Slow Cook/Yogurt functions which are non pressure cooking, the “Less-Normal-More” settings refer to different preset temperatures. This can be further adjusted by using the up/down buttons.
For the pressure cooking functions such as soup/broth, meat/stew and beans, the “Less-Normal-More” settings refer to different preset cook times. You can again adjust it manually using the +/- buttons.
And in some modes, the “Less-Normal-More” buttons are not even relevant.
As most recipes call for manual settings rather using the smart programs directly, I find the “Less-Normal-More” options more confusing than helpful.
So I am really GLAD that the Duo Plus do away with the “Less-Normal-More” modes. Ultimately, everything can be set using the +/- button for the cook time and the up/down button for either the temperature or pressure setting (depending on your selected cook function).
Now, with the Duo Plus, after selecting the Program, simply use the up/down buttons to adjust the temperature/pressure setting and the +/- buttons for the timer settings. Then press on the “Start” button to begin. It is so simple and so intuitive.
Updated Easy Steam Release Switch
To do a quick release of the steam on the Duo model, you will need to turn the knob on the nozzle to the vent position. You need to be careful when you do so to avoid getting scaled by the hot steam. While most people get used to if after a few tries, it can be scary for some people who do resort to using things such as the back of a spoon to do so.
For the new Duo Plus, the release switch now separated from the nozzle itself so you no longer have to get so close to the nozzle and escaping steam.
Automatic Seal Lid
Previously in the Duo model, you will need to always remind yourself to set the nozzle to the “Seal” position. If you forgot about it, the pressure will not build up and the food will not start cooking.
Now, the lid has been upgraded in the new Duo Plus. When you lock the lid in place, it automatically pops into the seal position.
Anti-Spin Inner Pot
In the Duo, the stainless steel inner pot sits freely above the heating element of the outer pot. When you are sautéing and stirring, it can be a nuisance as the inner pot will spin around freely.
The Duo Plus now features 4 tiny pads on the inner walls of the outer pot to secure the inner pot in place so it no longer spins while you stir.
Instant Pot Duo vs Duo Plus: Similarities
Comes in 3 Different Sizes
Both the Duo and Duo Plus models come in 3 sizes, that being 3, 6 and 8 quarts. This means that you can choose the right version that suits your needs.
The 6-quarts size is the most common or popular option as it is ideal for serving families of 4-6 people. The mini 3-quarts version is suitable for 2-3 servings, while the 8-quarts option is ideal for larger families of more than 6 people.
Materials – Stainless Steel Pot
The inner pot, which is where you place and cook the food, is made from food-grade stainless steel. Stainless steel is a durable and safe material as you will be cooking the food and high pressure and high temperature.
Easy to Clean
The pressure cooker lid and inner pot are all dishwasher safe.
Cancel, Delayed Start, Keep Warm Functions
Both the Duo and Duo Plus features the Cancel, Delayed Start and Keep Warm buttons, which are all very useful features.
The Cancel button allows you to stop the unit and start-over again if you have input the wrong settings. You can also stop it mid-cycle to make changes or switch cooking functions.
While the Delayed Start function could be useful in some instances, I do want to caution against using that for raw foods that needs to be refrigerated. According to FDA’s food safety guidelines, it is not advisable to leaving foods that require refrigeration, such as meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, out at room temperature for more than two hours.
The Keep Warm function is my much loved feature as it helps keep the food warm until it’s time to be served. When the cooking program is completed, the instant pot automatically goes into the keep warm mode. The timer will start counting so that you know how long it’s been.
Basic Core Functionality
Both models share the same core functionality that has helped instant pot create such a strong following. And that’s combining pressure (fast) cooking, slow cooking, sautéing and yogurt making into 1 compact appliance.
Instant Pot Duo – Who Is It For?
There is a reason why the Instant Pot Duo is the most popular instant pot model. It lies on the sweet spot of maximum utility and price.
If you have a limited budget and don’t need the cake or sous vides function, then this 7-in-1 Instant Pot Duo will be everything that you need for fast yet high-quality cooking. The buttons and control panel may not be the most intuitive to use but you will get the hang of it.
Instant Pot Duo Plus – Who Is it For?
The Instant Pot Duo comes with the added Sterilizer, Sous Vides and Cake functionality.
The sterilizer can be used to make jam or pasteurize milk. It may also be appealing for families with babies as it can be used sterilize baby bottles. Personally, this is not a deal maker for me.
But I am really excited by the sous vides functionality and cake program. If you plan on using the sauté function often, you should also consider the Duo Plus due to the anti-spin design of the inner pot.
Overall, the upgraded features in the Duo Plus have made it more user friendly and intuitive to use.
If you have a little more budget to spare, I think you will like the Duo Plus more than the Duo as it allows you to do more with your instant pot with more ease.
Final Verdict: Instant Pot Duo Vs Duo Plus – Which Is Better?
The Instant Pot Duo is slightly cheaper compared to the Duo Plus.
Considering the added sterilization, sous vide and cake functionality, updated lid, improved LCD display, more intuitive buttons and control panel, and other upgraded user-friendly features, I would say that the Duo Plus provides better value.
However, if budget is indeed a constraint and you do not your instant pot for sterilization, sous vide cooking or making cakes/desserts, you can still go for the Duo. The core functionalities of pressure (fast) cooking and slow cooking are just as good in the Duo.
Instant Pots, whichever model you decided on, will prove to be a game-changer in your kitchen. You will be saving space and money from having to buy multiple appliances. And you can cook pretty much hands-off. 1 pot dishes have never been so easy.
You don’t have to worry if you are not an experienced cook. There are many free and amazing recipes that you can download from the Instant Pot app. Moreover, instant pots have received such a strong following over the years that you can easily find lots of recipes and tips on how to make the best out of your instant pot. So why not join the community of instant pots cooks now?