I‘m a huge fan of Instant Pots, and this one is the best I’ve used to date. However, the name Instant Pot Pro suggests a level of polish that isn’t quite there in reality. These are my three main reservations about this Instant Pot, as well as 2 things I really love about it. Ultimately, all Instant Pots are excellent products; the brand has updated the humble pressure cooker for the 21st century via microchip control, improved user-friendliness and greater versatility – this one has 10 cooking functions in all. If it wants to take the concept further upmarket, it just needs to address a few issues.
Needs improvement: You will never, ever use the sous vide setting
First world problems I know, but part of the fun of kitchen gadgets is doing fancy stuff.
One of the reasons I upgraded to the Instant Pot Pro is because it does sous vide, the slow, low temperature immersion in water that's famed for making amazing steaks, veg and salmon. And out of the many hundreds of cooks I've done in that Instant Pot, the number of times I've used the sous vide feature is zero.
That's because (a) sous vide is still a lot of faff and (b) the Instant Pot doesn't quite deliver the real thing. Normal sous vide cooking uses a circulator to keep the water moving around the pot for consistent temperatures, but the Instant Pot Pro merely heats the water to a specific temperature. Without circulation the water at the bottom is warmer than the water towards the surface, so the results aren't quite as controlled or precise as with traditional sous vide cooking.
I love: It's completely flat
Having a flat pot doesn't sound like a big deal, but it really is: other Instant Pots I've owned had a faintly dome-shaped bottom, and that meant that they didn't deliver even cooking when I was browning beef or sautéing ingredients. The Instant Pot Pro has a completely flat bottom and it really does make all kinds of cooking much easier and faster too: there's a particular soup recipe I use a lot that involves sautéing veg and browning chorizo, and it's much more predictable in my Pro.
Needs improvement: The pot still isn't non-stick
You need to watch this one: because the pot isn't non-stick you need to use features such as the hotter sauté setting with care or you'll end up with food that isn't so much burnt on as welded to the bottom. Lentils are a particular menace: leave them alone on a too-hot setting and they'll turn into a substance that feels tough enough to withstand power tools. Thankfully, though...
I love: You can stick it all in the dishwasher
Okay, not the outside bit with the control panel and heating element. But the inner pot isn't the only dishwasher-safe part of the Instant Pot Pro: like other Instant Pots (and many similar rivals, but always check the manual to be sure) the lid is dishwasher safe too, even though it looks so complex that you wouldn't expect it to be dishwasher safe. That's useful if you're cooking a lot of strong flavours because it helps get rid of them between cooks.
Needs improvement: The steaming rack is rubbish
The included rack for steaming is great for steaming eggs – which, if you haven't tried them, you absolutely should; they're glorious – but it's no good for steaming vegetables due to its relatively sparse ribs: smaller veg just fall down to the bottom of the pot. It's hardly the end of the world as the pot has more than enough room for a mesh basket to fit in there, but it'd be nice if the standard rack had narrower ribs so you didn't need to do that.