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Are you looking to buy an instant pot or air fryer and can’t decide which to go with? If you don’t want to pick one, you can also go with the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer!
In this post, we’ll review the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer and walk you through the differences between the instant pot vs air fryer if you only have the budget to buy one of these great kitchen appliances!
Instant Pots (i.e. electric pressure cookers) and air fryers have both become insanely popular over the last couple of years. The Instant Pot is basically a pressure cooker that allows you to cook food quickly–it’s like a microwave version of a crockpot. An air fryer uses circulating hot air to “fry” your food — think of it like a countertop-sized convection oven.
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer combines these two awesome kitchen products into one! The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer comes with one base and two different lids that allow you to use it as an air fryer or as an instant pot.
My wife and I got one of these instant pot air fryer combos for Christmas and we absolutely love it! The downside is that it is more expensive.
If you only have the budget for one, then we’ll help you know the strengths and weaknesses of each and what you can use them for.
Instant Pot Air Fryer Duo Review
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer offers Instant Pot aficionados a new way to conquer their kitchen tasks. Simply put: if you can’t live without your Instant Pot, then you’re going to want to make room for this new instant pot air fryer combo.
This new model in the Instant Pot lineup comes in 6qt and 8qt size, so this could definitely be a step up from your old, “classic” 6 qt Instant Pot as well as a size up from many of the biggest pot-style family-sized air fryers on the market.
Obviously where this model differs significantly from Instant’s other pressure cookers is the additional air fryer lid. This offers not only a crisping capability, but you can pressure cook AND crisp right in the same appliance! This appliance is even smart enough to restrict you from using pressure cooking settings with the air fryer lid and air fryer settings with the pressure cooker lid.
The air fryer lid also expands your capabilities to be able to bake, broil, roast, and dehydrate with this one appliance. This is awesome news for storage struggles in smaller kitchens!
They’ve even added the handy feature to beep at various intervals when air frying to audibly remind you to flip your food for a nice, even crisp! Many air fryer only models don’t offer a feature like that, so this is extra awesome!
Besides all that, there are also multiple preset programs to make cooking take just a couple of button pushes and you’re on your way to dinner.
In The Box:
- 6 or 8qt Instant Pot base with removable stainless cooking pot
- Pressure cooker lid
- Air fryer lid
- Multi-level air fryer basket
- Air fryer lid rest (heat resistant to save your countertops)
Pros & Cons:
- Can replace two separate appliances with one appliance to store
- Multiple functions makes this a solid investment
- Reduces dishwashing needs — can do multiple cooking types in one pot without needing to switch appliances
- Extra large size compared to many pressure cooker or air fryer sizes; better for larger families
- Can even slow cook with this one appliance
- Most parts (inner parts, but not the lids) are dishwasher safe
- Can safely use oven-safe cookware with the air fryer settings
- Mutliple functions won’t help when you want to cook multiple foods at different settings
- Slow cooker function isn’t quite as good as a traditional crockpot (doesn’t release the steam as effectively; cooking settings are slightly different)
- Has a smaller display and smaller buttons, so a little harder for some people to use
- No full user manual included — must download online (only includes the quick start guide)
- Delay start and keep warm settings aren’t compatible with the air fry lid
- Need extra space around it to safely use air fryer lid (5 inches all around the unit)
Overall, just about anyone would love this appliance. Whether you’re looking to make French fries, chicken teriyaki, or carnitas, you’re going to be able to make it all perfectly with just this one tool!
Instant Pot Duo Crisp FAQ
Is the Instant Pot Duo Crisp worth it?
That’s a fairly personal choice, since a lot of the answer depends on how YOU personally cook and use your current appliances. If you NEVER eat fried/deep fried sort of foods, you most likely don’t need to pay the extra for the air fry capabilities.
In our experience though, French fries come out better than from the oven. That might be enough to convince just about anyone in America that this is worth the price!
Which is better, the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer or the Instant Pot Duo Crisp?
We did a full review of the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer, so we would encourage you to read that to help you make your own decision.
Barring great sales, the Instant Pot Duo tends to be more affordable, and it also offers a few more features to make the it the slightly more versatile appliance. The Ninja Foodi noticeable lacks the slow cooker function. Many people also prefer that the lid is entirely removable on the Instant Pot, whereas it is hinged on the Ninja Foodi, so it’s occasionally in the way on the second option.
Should I buy an Instant Pot Duo or an Instant Pot and and air fryer separate?
This really chalks up to how you and your family cook most of the time. If you’re constantly using multiple appliances (like pressure cooked chicken with fries in the oven) you might find that the versatility of this appliance doesn’t fit the bill. As mentioned above, if you can’t cook multiple foods with different cooking needs at the same time, then maybe sticking to separate appliances will better suit your needs.
If you’re typically only using one appliance at a time to get dinner on the table, though, then having one appliance to store that covers just about anything you could want to cook is worth it.
So, Instant Pot vs Air Fryer: what’s the difference?
The difference between the instant pot and air fryer, when considering the standalone appliances, is in the way they cook. The Instant Pot is a multi-function pressure cooker that utilizes pressure cooking technology to cook food faster and more efficiently. On the other hand, the air fryer cooks with hot air and uses minimal to none of the oil typically used to cook “fried” style foods, producing a deep-fried food but without the deep-fried calories (ie oil dripping off your food). An air fryer is definitely a healthier alternative for cooking and frying different meals in your kitchen.
These great appliances are not expensive considering the functions they have like the instant pot which can cook more than 7 functions.
Below, we will look more closely at the important functions of both the Instant Pot and air fryers and also the differences.
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What Is An Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is an upgrade from the traditional pressure cooker with multiple cooking functions. It is an electric pressure cooker which utilizes the pressure cooker steam cooking and slow cooking and other technologies.
The Instant Pot has been advertised as the appliance that can do it all in the kitchen.
What can an instant pot cook?
Instant Pots have the capability of preparing most of the foods we love. Some of these foods are;
- Rice (white or brown)
- Soups & stews
- Slow cooked foods
These are just examples of the most common but its not limited to the foods it can prepare and types of cooking it is capable of. There are hundreds of Instant Pot recipes all over to guide you on the foods you would like to prepare.
Different models have different functions to enable them to prepare the foods needed. Some models have 6-in-1, 7-in-1 and 10-in-1 functions extending the versatility of the Instant Pot.
Just like other appliances, as the time goes the manufacturer continues to improve the models by introducing new ones to the market. The instant pot has the following models.
One great thing about Instant Pot is that the Delay Start timer allows cooking food automatically by setting the time even if you are not around. Program it all and you can have dinner finish cooking to be ready at a precise time, instead of cooking it and hoping it stays warm long enough without burning. Some models also have recipes to simplify the process and eliminate guesswork when cooking. All you have to do is just click the buttons to cook the recipe.
- Saves time (pressure cooking is a very fast cooking method vs. some other traditional methods like a slow cooker or the oven — super handy for all of you meal preppers!)
- Stainless steel interior (fairly non-stick without potentially unhealthy non-stick coatings)
- Good capacity options
- Easy to clean
- Plenty of Accessories
- Learning curve (can be a little odd to learn to use at first, if you’re not familiar with how pressure cooking works
- Roiund cooking pot may not fit things like a whole chicken very nicely
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What Is An Air Fryer?
Just like the name suggests, an air fryer is an appliance that uses hot air and minimal oil to cook food. It is advertised as a healthier alternative to preparing foods in the kitchen.
Air fryers were made to replace the deep fryer which you have to use too much cooking oil which is not healthy. With an air fryer, food is fried resulting in crispy texture because of minimum oil. Air fryers can be very affordable.
An air fryer has the ability to prepare a variety of foods like an instant pot and not limited to frying. You can fry, grill, bake, and roast in an air fryer.
It’s very easy to prepare a lot of meals you like in an air fryer. Some of the common foods an air fryer can cook to pretty much perfection are:
- French fries
- Potato Chips
- Roasted nuts
- chicken wings
- Fried chicken
- Fried fish
- pork chops
- Vegetables (cauliflower, mushrooms)
- Cakes (small cakes, quiche, cupcakes)
- Portable and flexible
- Cooks with less oil
- Electricity consumption (can actually use a lot of electricity to run an air fryer)
- Longer cooking times (many recipes are faster than ovens but due to size it can slow you down considerably)\
- Capacity (most models are very small and compact and won’t fit much)
- High risk of burnt food (you’ll need to flip the food regularly to avoid burning one side; many models solve this problem with preset programs that auto-shutoff)
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Instant Pot Vs Air Fryer: The Main Differences
After understanding some great features and capabilities of the Instant pot and Air fryers, its time to compare the differences. This will help you to make the right decision on which to buy between the two and decide which is the better long-term addition to your kitchen. We already know one difference in how the two work and process food, but now we look more different.
An air fryer is more portable than an Instant pot due to their sizes. It’s easy to carry an air fryer in your travel vacations. This doesn’t mean you can’t carry an instant pot in your travels but if you have a big instant pot, then it harder.
The Instant pot has more features and capabilities compared to the Air fryer. The types of food which can be prepared in an instant pot are extensive than the air fryer.
In terms of the cooking time taken by these two appliances, an air fryer takes 15 to 25 minutes to cook most of the foods. An instant pot is also faster because the foods are different. Instant cooks even tough ingredients like cereals in 25-30 minutes depending on the specific one. All in all, the air fryer seems to be faster because of the light meals it prepares.
The price of the appliances mostly falls under $100 which is affordable to many people. Considering some advantages the instant pot possesses, I would say that the instant pot is cheaper. Buying an instant pot with multiple functions and the capability to cook hundreds of recipes at under $90 is a wise action to take.
The air fryer on average is smaller in size compared to the instant pot. Different models have different sizes of instant pots and also the air fryers.
Difference In The Food To Cook
Foods that can be prepared in the two appliances are different since the instant pot is versatile in the meals cooked. Each has outstanding food that can be prepared without any struggle. Instant pot latest models can prepare yogurt and rice something an air fryer cant cook.
Safety is an important thing especially for appliances using hot pressure and air. There have been some complaints about air fryer smelling plastic, overheating and smoking. The instant pot has safety mechanisms in place to prevent accidents. It’s safer cooking with an instant pot because of their safety features.
Ease of Use
Using an air fryer is very easy, unlike Instant pot which you have to take some time to understand all the functions for cooking. Most of the air fryers have few buttons to set time and temperature and you are good to cook.
The instant pot is built with quality material and technology which makes them durable because they don’t break down easily. There are some known issues about air fryers like the tray breaking down makes them less long-lasting. As time goes, they will improve on the issues because they are newer on the market than the instant pots.
For the guidance of cooking recipes, the instant pot beats the air fryer down because of the thousands of recipes available for instant pot. Some instant pot model comes with a mobile app for recipes to get you started. There are so many groups and communities dedicated to instant pot like the instant pot community on Facebook. The recipes for air fryer are there but not in plenty like for instant pot.
Frequently Asked Questions (Instant Pot vs Air Fryer)
Does Instant Pot have an air fryer?
Obviously the Instant Pot Duo Crisp offers air fryer capabilities but it is not a standalone air fryer. But they do now make the Instant Vortex Plus 7-in-1 Air Fryer is one of the releases from Instant Brands in the air fryer market. This is NOT a combination with a pressure cooker. You can do more than just air fry though, as with most air fryer models, and you can also bake, broil, roast, etc.
What size air fryer do I need?
The size of an air fryer will depend on the number of people you are preparing food for. The sizes of air fryers range between 3 to above quarts but the popular is around 5 quarts. For one person, a 3 quart-sized air fryer is ideal and for 3 to 5 people, 5.8-quart size is great.
What size of Instant pot would I need?
Instant Pot offers pressure cookers in sizes ranging from 3 quarts to 8 quarts. You’ll want to stay on the higher end of that range to cook a whole chicken, for example, but if you typically only cook smaller meat cuts or have a small family then the smaller size should be sufficient.
Air fryer vs. Instant pot – Which is healthier?
The answer to this depends on what you’re cooking most often. If you’re regularly deep frying or frying foods on the stove, then going with an air fryer is the better choice than a deep fryer since it will significantly reduce your oil/fat intake, but give you the same sort of flavors and final product as deep frying. An Instant Pot can’t do that.
If you’re looking for a way to cook the same healthy foods you’re already eating but just faster (ie without the oven), then an Instant Pot is going to give you a better mimic than the air fryer, for the final product (taste, texture, etc).
In terms of overall versatility, you’re going to be able to cook a wider variety of foods in the Instant Pot (think roasts, sides, vegetables, healthy soups, etc) but if you need that deep-fried flavor to get more veggies in, you still might consider the air fryer just to get you started.
As far as healthy foods go, you’ll be fine on oil content with either cooking appliance.
Can I use the Instant pot as an air fryer?
Actually, yes. There is an accessory lid that you can purchase that essentially turns your Instant Pot into an air fryer, which might solve this debate once and for all for many readers. It’s also a more affordable option to upgrade your existing 6 qt Instant Pot as opposed to buying a whole new appliance to do basically the same thing. You won’t be able to make rotisserie the same way, but that’s really the only missing feature.
Can I use an air fryer as an Instant Pot?
No. You can cook a variety of foods in many air fryers, especially those that more closely resemble toaster ovens in appearance. But overall you’re not going to be cooking soups and stews in your air fryer, and you won’t be able to cook simple white rice for your homemade Chinese dinner in 15 or so minutes like you can with an Instant Pot.
Conclusion (Instant Pot Vs Air Fryer – Which Is Better)
These are both a great appliance to have in the kitchen but if you have to choose one, the Instant Pot is a smart choice and especially the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. This Instant Pot model in particular is much more versatile with many cooking functions to cover most of the common and best-loved foods.
Both Instant Pot (i.e. multi-function pressure cookers) and air fryers are important to carefully compare because they are different from each other and owning both can bring more joy in the kitchen. With their affordability, you can buy the air fryer for preparing crispy foods like chips and the Instant Pot for quality meals. Or you can buy the Instant Pot Duo Crisp to cover both these needs but with half the dishes to wash (sort of)!
Air fryers are said to healthier but the Instant Pot also prepares healthy foods with more range of capability than the air fryer. Most of the keto loss weight diet, for example, is based on cooking with an Instant Pot and not air fryers, which may sway many of you towards the more versatile (and less “fried”-style) appliance.
If you don’t own an Instant Pot or air fryer, it’s time to take action and buy one them. If you must have just ONE appliance in your kitchen to cover just about everything you could want, then the Instant Pot Duo Crisp is your best bet.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.