Instant Pot vs Cuisinart – an honest pressure cooker review



If you spend any time at all online looking at recipes, I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz about pressure cookers.  I’ve been a little slow to jump on the pressure cooker band wagon – and honestly I’m not sure I’d say I’m really on the band wagon – but an electric pressure cooker is a great tool for getting dinner on the table.  In this post I want to share with you my honest thoughts about pressure cookers, whether you need to own one or not and what I think of the two major brands.

First of all, I’m only discussing electric pressure cookers here.  I don’t have any experience with the stove top type, but these new electric pressure cookers are safe and easy to use.

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The Pressure Cookers I own:


I bought my Cuisinart pressure cooker a couple years ago.  Most of the time I’ve owned it, I used it for Mac & Cheese (best recipe for that classic you’ll ever eat!)  A few months ago, I decided to seriously try some recipes in it.  I’d been about to write it off as too expensive for just making mac & cheese.  I’ve since made several different recipes in the Cuisinart, most of them adaptations of slow cooker recipes.  My Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker is a six-quart.

Instant Pot

I’ve only owned the Instant Pot for a few weeks.  I bought it specifically so that I could compare the two brands for you.  I’ve used it to make several different recipes during the time I’ve had it.  My Instant Pot is a six-quart.




Both the Cuisinart and Instant Pot can be used to brown, saute, and cook under pressure.  The controls for both are easy to use and understand.  Both are easy to wash and care for.


Interior cooking pot

The Cuisinart has a non-stick cooking pot.  Clean up is really quick and easy.

Instant Pot has a stainless steel cooking pot.  It’s still easy to clean, and a lot of people prefer the stainless steel.

Slow Cooker function

Instant Pot has a slow cooker function.  One thing about slow cooking in the Instant Pot I didn’t like was not being able to see through the lid.  I really like being able to see my food cooking through the glass lid.  They do sell glass lids for the Instant Pot though, so if saving space in your kitchen is important, you could easily ditch the slow cooker and only use the Instant Pot.

The Cuisinart does not have a slow cooker function.

Delay timer

I love the delay timer on the Instant Pot.  It’s perfect for cooking oatmeal.  I can set it up at night and time it to be ready at breakfast.  Oatmeal cooks better in the pressure cooker than it does in the slow cooker.

The Cuisinart does not have a delay timer on it.

And the winner is:

Instant Pot!  In my opinion, if you’re going to buy one of these appliances, Instant Pot is the way to go.  It’s extra features mean it out-performs the Cuisinart.

But do you even need a pressure cooker?

I don’t think everyone needs one of these.  Here are a few guidelines to know if it would be useful to you:

Do you have 30 minutes before dinner to cook?  Pressure cooker meals – even the fastest that only require 12 minutes of cook time – take at least 25-40 minutes to cook, including the time it takes to reach full pressure.  If you’re cooking a large cut of meat or full pot of something else, it could take longer.  Of course, it’s all hands off cook time once it’s in the pot, so you can go do something else while it cooks.

If you don’t own a slow cooker and want to invest in a multi-function appliance, then a pressure cooker is for you.

If you don’t mind or really enjoy learning to use a new kitchen tool, this is a fun way to do it.  It does have a small learning curve though.  Mostly for me it’s been getting used to it so I can know what it can really do for me.  I had the same experience with the slow cooker.  The more I used it, the more I understood how to cook with it and the more helpful the appliance was to me.


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  1. Thank you!! this was extremely helpful to in deciding whether or not our family would benefit enough from this to make it worth the investment. With my young adult son’s physical disability, it’s not safe for him to use our stove. Now, I’m confident that he can learn to cook using the Instant Pot. I’ll of course enjoy using it as well.

  2. I feel like the instant pot has unnecessary buttons. Beans etc. My Cuisinart will do everything the instant pot will do. Things either cook on high or low. And of course it has brown, sauté, simmer and keep warm. I love it so much I just bought a second one!

    • I agree with you about the extra buttons. I don’t use most of them. The one thing the Instant Pot does that Cuisinart doesn’t is the delay timer which is perfect for oats. And having two pressure cookers has come in handy several times for me too!

  3. You need to look at the Fagor Lux which has all the features of the instant pot except for the buttons.

    • I have a friend who bought the Fagor Lux from Bed, Bath and Beyond. She absolutely loved it with one big exception. She had cooked one meal with onions, cleaned it thoroughly, and then made yoghurt which smelled of onions. She complained that the gasket doesn’t release the odor of previously cooked food. She called Fagor who told her to clean it with bleach, vinegar, baking soda, all of which she had tried prior to that call. She returned her purchase. I personally have a Cuisinart electric pressure cooker which I’ve used for years, and the silicone gasket never holds cooking odors.

  4. Trisha Watson says:

    I got me one I use it for meats. I don’t understand why people use it for Mac/ cheese and oatmeal. I can cook them on the stove top faster than waiting on the pressure to build up. I love it for meats but I really wish I hadn’t spent 90$ on one for just my husband and I.

    • I use it for mac and cheese because it’s simply the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had. The oatmeal is just convenient because I can time it to be ready when I walk in the kitchen in the morning.

  5. Andrea Sayer says:

    I love my Instant Pot. I have a lot of food allergies and I think I’ve used all but the settings for oatmeal. I am going to tackle yogurt in it soon. But I love that I can cook a frozen chicken whole in less than an hour and it produces lots of broth which I can then use for other cooking uses. I use the bean setting to make myself cooked beans in less than an hour or two depending on the size batch I make. I also love that I can cook a roast and leave it on keep warm and 9 hours later I still have tender warm roast but not the watered down kind like a crockpot does. I can make rice in very short time and then in less than 10 minutes have a traditional rice casserole made by just blending in the rest of the ingredients and shutting it back up and hitting manual for like 5 minutes. For me this appliance has been a lifesaver because it mean I can eat the same food as my family on short notice. I even take it with me on quilt retreats and such.

  6. I hear the instant pot is also suppose to make the best hard boiled eggs. Super easy and the shells come right off. I personally haven’t used mine yet but it is on my to do list this week to get it out and learn how to use it.

  7. Is it possible to do canning in either? I would use it for that, for sure.

    • Birute Skurdenis says:

      I believe the instructions say not to use for canning as the temperature reached is not hot enough. I googled that question and across the board advise was NO.

  8. My mother worked full-time when I was growing up and she always had a 5 course meal, plus dessert, every night. Looking back, I realize how extraordinary she was. She used her pressure cooker often. She would cook a roast at least once a week…on a weeknight, in her pressure cooker. I’m sure there were plenty of other things she used it for that I don’t remember. I have a pressure cooker but haven’t used it in years. I’d love an Insta-pot for my bone broth…..that I normally cook for 24-36 hours. But I’m not sure it could take the place of my slow cooker, which I also enjoy using. They both ….or all three, have their place in the kitchen…;) imo

  9. I thought this review was on the use of pressure Cooking, what i read is based on functions.
    I have the Cuisinart for a few years and i would not exchange it for any other,, never failed me and everything has turned out wonderful from it. It does exactly what it was made for, Pressure Cooking. One day i put together a recipe and after mixing all the ingredients except the meat i poured it all into the pressure cooker and immediately realized as the liquid started draining out i had forgot to insert the inner pot i had taken out to rinse and not put back in. I ran water through it, sat it outside (arizona) in the sun for the entire day to “dry out” . It did and still works perfectly. Love my Cuisinart. .Just saying! They have tried to get people to buy and use pressure cooking and for some reason the Insta pot did that, it’s just a craze as many things go through until another company comes along and offers the same thing with additional features. My response to that is if it quits working for any reason all the additional functions also quite, so i have all the appliances that was made to do a function and have had them for many years and still going strong. I can also do more things cooking at the same time with the many appliances but with just one that does many functions i would have to wait to do the next thing i want to make. So it’s just a matter of what you like. However this is not a review of pressure cooking. Otherwise you would have read which one made what better or did they turn out the same and do they both cook at the same rate? Guess we won’t know.

    • Lindsay Preece says:

      Have you ever had a problem with your Cuisinart not reaching pressure? I have cooked two recipes this week where the pressure cooker never reached full pressure and clicked right over to “keep warm”.

      • I haven’t had this with the cuisinart, but the instant pot has done this a couple times. It’s usually because there isn’t enough liquid in the pot.

        • I have the cuisinart and have had this trouble. I find when this happens the silicone ring is worn out. Order a new one and your good to go. I used to put the lid and ring in the dishwasher and I think this shortens the silicone rings lifespan significantly. I have owned my cusinart since 2007 and the last time I replaced my silicone ring was in 2012. You can order on Amazon:

      • I’ve had this happen also and realized I did not have enough liquids in the pot to produce the steam needed to reach pressure.

        • I’ve had this with my Cuisinart when it doesn’t reach pressure and goes directly into ‘keep warm’. I add a little more liquid and it cooks just fine. I agree with the above comment if there isn’t enough liquid it wont produce enough steam to reach the pressure. I’ve used Stove top pressure cookers before where it would burn the food if there wasn’t enough liquid inside so I like that the Cuisinart just changes to ‘keep warm’ when there isn’t enough liquid.

  10. I have done pork roast in both my pressure cooker (cuisinart) and my slow cooker and found the roast more tender in the pressure cooker. I would love to see if the your two pressure cookers cook meat similarly. I recently dropped the lid of my cuisinart and will need to replace it. I have loved it and am curious how the two compare, but I mainly use them for frozen meat, or large amounts of fresh meat.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you cook frozen roasts in your pressure cooker?

      • Beth Moore says:

        You can cook a frozen roast but you’ll need to add some time to make sure it’s done. You can also thaw it a little in the microwave first if you want to speed up the process.

  11. I have been very pleased with my Cuisinart, and figured I didn’t need all those buttons….however, I now want to make yogurt and though I might be able to use the “keep warm” setting to do so, I don’t know and hate to experiment. Has anyone tried making yogurt in the Cuisinart?

  12. never tried the instapot because I have the Cuisinart.
    I love it for soup. I think they are honestly the same thing with really minor differences like buttons and one being non stick and the other not. They work exactly the same way as far as pressure cooking goes.

  13. I use my Cuisinart for the best green beans ever. I use Hanover Blue Lake cut green beans. Drain, add on onion quartered, 2 chicken bouillon cubes. and about 1 1/2 cups water. Cook on low for about 50 minutes. I like them a little soft. You can cut the time. Also good with quartered Potaties. Try it.

  14. Edye Wagstaff says:

    I want that recipe for Macaroni and Cheese that you make in your Cuisinart. Please??!??!

  15. I really enjoy my Instant Pot. Love making hardboiled eggs in it. I was just about to purchase a glass lid for when I used it as a slow cooker, but found that I had a glass pot lid that fit … Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

  16. I have a weird question — I have the cuisinart cooker myself, but would love to get a stainless steel pot as well…..does the instant pot cooker pot fit in the cuisinart?! Loved this side by side comparison! One day I’ll
    Switch to the instant pot to get rid of the slow
    Cooker too!

    • Beth Moore says:

      Lindsay – Interchanging the two is not something we’ve tried, but just looking at them they don’t seem to be the same size, so I would guess the answer is no. I’m glad you enjoyed the side-by-side comparison and as much as we love the instant pot, the slow cooker is a good one to hang on too as it can cook some things that you can’t do in an instant pot. Let us know what you decide to do!

  17. I’ve had my Cuisinart for 4 years and it never failed me…until I dropped the insert. The dent prevents it from fitting into the pot. Totally my fault, of course. I’m looking at the Instant Pot, but I read a review that said the Saute setting doesn’t do a good job browning meat. I regularly used the Browning setting, which gave a very good sear. I’d be interested in any comparisons on browning if anyone has something to say. Thanks.

    • Beth Moore says:

      Sue – I asked Tiffany about this and she said though she doesn’t do a lot of browning in her instant pot, it does seem to do a decent job of it. Hope that helps!

  18. I have to replace the pot again in my Cuisinart CPC 600 pressure cooker due to the interior coating chipping.. This will be my third pot in 6 years. I complained to Cuisinart about the chipping inside the pots but they would do nothing, that I would have to purchase another pot for over $50. The pots have to be defective or not designed for pressure cooking. I am exploring other options.

  19. April Childress says:

    Can you use an Instapot/Power pressure cooker cookbook for a traditional pressure cooker? I have a Cuisinart pressure cooker and am looking for a good healthy cookbook for it that gives calories counts. I can’t seem to find a good rated one except for one that is for a Power pressure cooker. Help would be appreciated. Any suggestions on a good healthy and well rated cookbook would be appreciated too. If you have used a cookbook and love it, please let me know.

  20. I have a Cuisinart PC and have used it for many years!! LOVE it, but it finally cratered on me, I make my own yogurt (or have) and was looking at the Instant Pot for the yogurt feature….but then ran across a Cosori brand (never heard of it) but it gets good reviews. Anyone have experience with this brand? The thing that turned me off about the IP is that I am already familiar with cooking in an electric PC but to get the “set your own time” feature you have to upgrade to the $350 model!! That’s ridiculous, so I am looking for an economical alternative….any help would be greatly appreciated.

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