Are you thinking about buying an Instant Pot Mini or just purchased a 3 quart and wondering that to do next? Check out my overview of this popular electric pressure cooker.
If you’re new to pressure cooking (like I was and sometimes still am), deciding on an Instant Pot Mini can take a lot of thought. I put together this quick guide that’s focused on the 3 quart model. There are definitely opinions on which model and size you should buy. I hope this guide helps you gather more information or let me know if you have any questions.
What is the Instant Pot Mini
The Instant Pot Mini is a 3 quart model of Instant Pot’s popular electric pressure cooker. They designed it to be safe, convenient, and dependable. It’s also energy efficient, because it speeds up cooking times and can be used for preparing tasty dishes that are healthy.
The Instant Pot is available in different models (Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Ultra, Viva, and Max) in sizes of 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. Each model has a different combination of pre-set programs. Not all models are available at all sizes. The 3 quart Mini is currently available in the Lux, Duo, Duo Plus and Ultra models.
Deciding between the Instant Pot 3 Quart vs 6 Quart
For anyone that’s been thinking about buying their first Instant Pot, quart size is a hot topic of discussion, which has strong opinions on both sides. For myself I decided to buy a 3 quart model.
Some of the first considerations are:
- the number of people you need to cook for,
- how much you want to cook (aka how much do you like leftovers), and
- how much counter or storage space you have.
Both sizes of Instant Pot has the same safety features. Besides cooking less food in the 3 quart, it has a slightly lower heating element wattage (700 vs 1,000 for the 6 quart) and slightly lower cooking pressure: 10.1psi (70kPa) vs 11.6psi (80kPa).
One other thing to note, the 3 quart version of a model doesn’t always have all of the smart programs or buttons that the larger 6 quart model has. For example the 3qt models generally don’t have the “cake button” that it’s larger siblings have. Usually you can work around this by setting the right time and pressure manually. This is something to double check if you really want a specific program as part of your Instant Pot.
Most recipes are written for the 6 quart model, unless specifically noted to be scaled to the 3 quart. Usually you’ll need to cut a recipe in a half to fit the mini and occasionally adjust cooking times. Check this cooking times guide for questions or ask in a Facebook group for suggestions before you cook something.
For myself, I decided since I was cooking for one and have limited counter/storage space, the Instant Pot Mini 3 quart was a better option.
Instant Pot Mini Accessories
Part of the fun with the Instant Pot is making different types of recipes and with that comes the “need” for accessories! PS – if you know someone that recently purchased an Instant Pot, accessories make a great gift!
If you have a 3 quart Instant Pot, the selection of accessories is not as vast compared to the 6 quart.
At a minimum, make sure you purchase:
- an extra sealing ring or two, because they notoriously pick up cooking smells, and
- an extra liner insert if you think you’ll try cooking a few dishes back to back.
I also like the glass lid to keep splatters down while sautéing.
You’ll also need to find smaller pans that fit inside the liner for pot-in-pot cooking. What you’ll find is that you can reuse certain accessories for different types of recipes, if you’re concerned about cluttering your kitchen with even more stuff. The Daddio Push pan is a popular favorite to use for anything from small cakes, cheesecakes, mini lasagna or potentially meatloaf.
Instant Pot Mini Tips
A few quick tips to help you get started with your Instant Pot Mini, especially if you’re trying to decide if this is the right one of you.
- Do the water test first, especially if you’re concerned about using a pressure cooker for the first time.
- Try to stick to tried-and-true recipes for your first few cooking attempts, until you get the hang of it.
- The Instant Pot isn’t a replacement for all your appliances, and if you already like a slow cooker, then you’ll likely like a pressure cooker.
- Generally you’ll need to cut recipes in half to fit into the 3 quart as most are written for 6 quart models
- Accessories can be a little challenging to find, but depending on your cooking style this may not be an issue.
- If you’re concerned about buying too many accessories, check to see what else you can make using the accessory.
Over to you. Are you thinking about buying an Instant Pot Mini?
What are you thinking about? What additional questions or concerns do you have?