Instant Pot Duo Mini11 minute read
11 minute read|
Updated for March, 2019
The Instant Pot Duo Mini is a three-quart, 9-in-1 multi-use programmable pressure cooker. It works as a traditional slow cooker, rice cooker, a porridge maker, an egg cooker, a sauté pot, steamer, food warmer, a sterilizer, and even a yogurt maker!
This multi-use cooker is compact for storage and tiny kitchens. It measures only 11.50 × 10.20 × 10.98 inches, so it provides a variety of uses for those who love to cook but live in smaller spaces, have kitchenettes, or just want a less bulky slow cooker.
This product is a great buy for seniors who are aging in place independently and need an easy way to prepare their own food, or even for a caregiver who needs to quickly prepare food while taking care of other responsibilities. The pot is easy to use and sits out of the way, so it can also be safer for seniors to use in comparison to ovens, stoves or other large cooking tools.
- Thousands of outstanding reviews.
- Three-ply bottom for even cooking.
- Bright, easy-to-read LCD display.
- Cooking style indication lights.
- Three temperatures in sauté mode.
- Food-grade stainless steel inner pot.
- No chemical coating inside.
- Fingerprint-resistant lid.
- Option to cook high-pressure or low-pressure.
- 13 built-in temperatures and programs.
- Available in three, six, and eight-quart sizes.
- UL/ULC safety certified.
- In rare cases, broke after a few months.
- Customer support can be unreliable.
- A bit costly.
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Ease of Use
Value and Functionality
Introduction to the Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini
The Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini can either work as a companion to the Duo Plus (six-quart) 9-in-1 programmable multi-cooker or works excellently as a stand-alone kitchen appliance. We love this multi-purpose slow cooker—much more than a slow cooker alone—for its compact size yet multitude of uses.
This single device can replace nine frequently used kitchen appliances. The Duo Plus Mini combines the tasks of a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, a slow cooker, and a steamer for anything from vegetables to fish. It will also serve as a sauté pot, a yogurt maker, a sterilizer, and a warmer. If you have grandkids or great-grandkids in the infant years, the Duo Plus Mini can sterilize baby bottles, as well!
Even the volume of food is part of the programming of this model, making for more efficient and properly cooked food. Similar to some newer versions of slow cookers, the Duo Plus Mini has a 24-hour delay start timer. This is fantastic for planning ahead and having food ready later when you need it. We also love the auto-on warmer that holds the temperature of your meal after cooking until you serve it.
For seniors who are used to cooking full meals yet can’t lift or easily use tools like fryers, steamers, and frying pans, this pot will allow you to continue making many of the dishes you love while pairing down your effort into simply preparing the food, putting it inside the pot, and pressing a couple of buttons. The ease of use with this pot also helps seniors maintain their health. While it may seem like a good idea to opt for fast food once cooking becomes harder, choosing a pot like this one makes cooking much easier and also helps you maintain your nutritition.
History of the Instant Pot Duo Mini
Instant Pot is one of the best-selling brands on Amazon with remarkable reviews. Instant Brands Inc. was created in 2009 by a group of Canadian technology veterans who set out to investigate the food preparation market based on their own life experiences. Their goal was to find solutions that would allow active families and individuals to prepare quality meals in less time. The team wanted to promote better eating and less consumption of fast food.
In 2010, after 18 months of research, design, and development Instant Brands Inc. introduced the Instant Pot® CSG Programmable Pressure Cooker. The pressure cooker was developed with a microprocessor and combined the functions of five cooking appliances into one: pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, and warmer. This product launch was successful, pushing the team to develop even more versatile cooking products.
Each successive Instant Pot® product launch has increased their level of standards on functionality, user-friendliness, and safety. The Duo Plus Mini has two new programs: egg cooking and the sterilizing function.
The egg function was developed to cook perfect eggs within minutes. The sterilize program can pasteurize milk, and disinfect baby bottles, jars, and utensils. This function can also perform a few types of canning more handily than before.
The Duo Plus Mini is made with the company’s most up-to-date, 3rd generation technology. During cooking, the microprocessor observes pressure, time, temperature, and adjusts the heat intensity and duration if needed.
Features and Types of Cooking
Sealed and Chemical-Free
The well-sealed interior of the Duo Plus Mini traps the flavors, nutrients, and aromas within the food—also keeping it tender—without heating up your kitchen. The three-ply stainless steel inner bottom is exceptionally durable. Better yet, it leaves no health concerns associated with non-stick coatings, as it is chemical-free.
The brushed stainless steel exterior is not only modern and attractive. The finish is fingerprint resistant and even has a lid holder for both right and left-handed users. We love that the resistant finish keeps the pot looking clean longer.
Compact and Light
The Duo Plus Mini is ideal for smaller kitchens, minimal counter space, or individuals who prefer a lighter weight appliance. This multi-cooker is an easy-to-lift 8.8 pounds, which weighs roughly half the weight of a traditional slow cooker. This makes it an ideal meal-prep device for those with less upper body strength or arthritis that can cause pain when lifting.
The nine different programmed food preparation options take some of the stress and guesswork out of cooking. This is also helpful if you struggle to remember how to cook something you haven’t in a long time.
The Duo Plus Mini also have varying temperature options, three functions for sautéing mode, and high or low-pressure cooking options. Using the high-pressure function reduces cooking time by up to 70 percent, and the low-pressure setting prevents overcooking delicate fares.
Instant Pot was carefully constructed to remove many common errors in pressure cookers and other small kitchen appliances that can cause harm. The Duo Plus Mini passed stringent UL and ULC certification requirements, assuring safety. The company states they have 10 safeguard mechanisms built in the Duo Plus Mini and patents on safety technologies in the area of kitchen cooking.
These safety features include:
- steam release
- anti-block shield
- safety lid lock
- lid position detection
- automatic temperature control
- overheat (burn) protection
- auto-pressure control
- electrical fuse
- thermal fuse
- leaky lid detection
This multi-cooker has outstanding reviews—with over 3,000 users leaving feedback, it has an 80 percent five-star rating. For anyone who uses Amazon often, you know this means it’s a seriously high-quality product. It’s usually difficult to find products with that many reviews without the overall rating falling down to four stars or lower
With our own evaluation of the Duo Plus Mini, we found it to work well. It operates as it should, is easy to handle and operate within the desired cook mode you want, and has a bright, easy-to-read light up display. It feels sturdy and durable, yet lightweight enough it’s simple to lift and put back in a cabinet once you’re done using it.
The Duo Plus Mini is a perfect example of the old adage “you get what you pay for.” It’s not the cheapest slow cooker, but it’s also higher quality than many of them. In comparison to a traditional slow cooker (which lacks many of the food preparation features and pre-programming of this unit), the Duo Plus Mini is a bit more expensive.
However, it’s ratings far exceed some of the basic slow cookers such as the Crock-Pot, especially when you look at how many users left feedback. Regarding the entire market of slow cookers and multi-cookers, including some of the top of the line models like Tiger brand and Breville cookers, the Duo Plus Mini runs about the middle of the pack in cost.
When it comes to health and safety, it’s also best to splurge on something that will accommodate your needs rather than settling for a different pot that might be too heavy or too complicated for your use.
Delivery and Packaging
For Amazon Prime members, this device is Prime eligible and comes with free two-day shipping. The Duo Plus Mini comes in a standard small kitchen appliance box and is straightforward to set up and get cooking. With several unboxing and operating videos online, it’s simple to find help getting it started if needed.
It’s also worth noting that a three-year or four-year protection plan is available for extremely cheap (under $10). If you’ve never used the Instant Pot brand before, and want to give it a shot but would like some peace of mind about parts or quality, this is available.
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Size and Capacity
The Duo Plus Mini is the compact version of Instant Pot’s multi-cooker line. This model is designed to be ideal for individuals as well as those making food for up to two to three people. It measures roughly 12 x 10 x 11 inches and is perfect for small meal preparation or side dishes.
The Duo Plus Mini is a three-quart container. As an example, this unit can handle 12 cups of cooked rice (six cups uncooked). Instant Pot also has six and eight-quart sizes available if you like the features but desire a larger pot.
The package for the Duo Plus Mini includes the cooker base, the lid, a UL-compliant power cord, and the stainless-steel inner pot. It also includes a set of accessories, including a bonus spatula, a rice paddle, a condensation container, one measuring cup, and a stainless steel rack for steaming.
Other Programmed Options
While this product states it’s a 9-in-1 cooker, there are actually 12 pre-set buttons for specific meal preparation needs. As mentioned before there are the sauté, egg, pressure cook, slow cook, steam, rice, yogurt, and sterilize buttons. However, there are also soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili, and porridge settings programmed on the simple display
The Bottom Line
In some situations, saving money and buying the lowest price product is an excellent idea. However, when it comes to devices such as kitchen appliances, we don’t think this is always the case. They are more painful to have to throw out if they break entirely—not to mention an unfriendly addition to landfills. Furthermore, cooking can affect your safety and health. If you suffer from arthritis or generally can’t carry the same weight you used to, it can be dangerous to continue using heavy appliances or using cooking techniques that affect your joint pain.
So, we think purchasing something of at least decent quality is more important when selecting a small kitchen appliance. We absolutely love the Instant Pot Duo Mini not only because of its numerous features but because of the overwhelmingly excellent reviews and reasonable cost for such a highly-rated product.
You won’t be spending several hundreds of dollars as you would with a Tiger or Breville cooker, yet you still get an outstanding quality product. This device is what we consider an ideal balance between affordability and high-end quality.
Additionally, for elderly individuals, those living alone, or people who need easier meal preparation with several safety features, this cooker is an ideal option. The lightweight, smaller design and several safeguards make it a perfect choice for seniors, arthritic patients, people with more limited mobility, or those who just don’t need to cook for a large family every day.
The Duo Plus Mini is one of our favorite products we’ve looked into this year. So, we think the mid-range price is worth every penny if you’re in the market for a slow or multi-cooker device. If you are curious about more specific questions, there are hundreds and hundreds of answered questions about this exact model available. We can’t say enough positive things about this multi-cooker and think it is indeed worth some serious consideration if you are in the market for one.