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Published Sep. 15, 2021

Instant Pot appliances have gained a cult following over the years and it’s easy to see why. These smart, multi-use kitchen gadgets are designed to do the work of multiple other devices, including slow cookers, rice cookers, and steaming pots. And while some Instant Pot models can be big, bulky, and hard to store or manage, the miniature 3-quart Instant Pots are a great size for portability and storage in small spaces. 

If you’re looking for a single device to help streamline your favorite recipes at home, a small and compact mini Instant Pot is a great option. Here’s what you need to know about the best small Instant Pots on the market in 2021.

How We Picked the Best Mini Instant Pots

Methodology: To choose the best mini Instant Pots for every budget, skill level, and household, we dug into the minute differences between models. We brought to bear our experience as a trained chef and product reviews and considered everything from maintenance to versatility to price in order to find the best small pressure cookers for every kind of cook. Our criteria included:

Size: To qualify as a mini Instant Pot, every device on this list has a 3-quart capacity. 

Functionality: We looked at the number of functions that each device can perform in addition to pressure cooking. These include slow cooking, steaming, sanitizing, and yogurt-making. 

Ease of use: To make this list, the Instant Pots needed to be easy to use and approachable by cooks of all levels, including first-time pressure cooker users. 

Safety: We looked into the built-in safety features to make sure that the appliances on this list protect users from accidents and spills. 

Maintenance: We opted for the appliances that are the easiest to keep clean, thanks to dishwasher-safe parts and stainless steel construction.

The Best Mini Instant Pots: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Mini

Highly Versatile

This 7-in-1 pressure cooker does everything from braising meat to fermenting tangy homemade yogurt.
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Why It Made The Cut: This is the best miniature model from the Instant Pot brand. It’s compact but packs all of the features you expect in an Instant Pot, including sautéing, stewing, and rice making.

Specs:

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 11.81 x 10.51 x 10.98 inches
  • Weight: 8.65 pounds

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use digital touch controls
  • 13 pre-set cooking functions
  • Dishwasher-safe pot

Cons:

  • Not compatible with the Instant Pot air fryer lid

Instant Pot is known for making highly durable and versatile multi-use appliances, and this miniature 3-quart model doesn’t disappoint. The compact pressure cooker takes up minimal storage space but offers seven different cooking techniques, all available at the touch of a button on the easy-to-access digital control panel.

This is also one of the safest Instant Pots, with smart safety features like overheat protection, a locking lid, and loud alerts if anything goes wrong. You can confidently start a recipe and walk away, knowing that this appliance will do its job safely and effectively every time.

Another great thing about this Instant Pot model is that it comes with an abundance of informational resources. You can access the large community of avid Instant Pot fans online to discover new recipes and culinary tricks to try in your new appliance. Plus, there’s always someone who can answer your question, so even if you’re brand new to pressure cooking, you’ll quickly master the art with this miniature Instant Pot on hand. 

Best Value: Instant Pot Duo Nova 3-Quart

Best Bang for your Buck

This affordable pressure cooker does the work of seven kitchen appliances and takes up minimal space. Instant Pot

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Why It Made The Cut: This Instant Pot model is significantly less expensive than other minis, but does almost the same amount of work. It’s easy to use and straightforward for beginners too. 

Specs: 

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 11.42 x 10.04 x 11.22 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds

Pros:

  • Includes two sealing rings
  • Comes with a stainless steel steaming rack
  • Auto-sealing lid

Cons:

  • No sterilization setting
  • Lid gets hot during pressure cooking

The Duo Nova is a newer addition to the Instant Pot line of mini pressure cookers. It has a few enhanced features beyond the Instant Pot Duo. These include an easy steam release feature which uses a button for safe steam release, rather than the wobbly dial used on older models. 

The Duo Nova also comes with an extra sealing ring which will come in handy, especially if you plan to do both savory and sweet cooking in your Instant Pot. The silicone sealing rings tend to take on the flavors and smells of strong ingredients like spices and meat, so it’s best to use one ring for savory cooking and keep another for just sweets (unless you want your cheesecake to taste like BBQ sauce!).

This model also offers seven cooking techniques, including stewing, grain cookery, steaming, yogurt making, and sauteing. It also doubles as a slow cooker. 

Best Features: Instant Pot Duo Mini Plus

Highly Intuitive

This next-generation Instant Pot Duo includes handy features like automatic venting and a sous vide program. Instant Pot

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Why It Made The Cut: This advanced model is equipped with helpful safety features that make it one of the easiest pressure cookers to use.

Specs: 

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 10.2 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds

Pros: 

  • 15 pre-programmed cooking settings
  • Dishwasher-safe stainless steel cooking pot
  • Cooking progress bar

Cons 

  • Multi-button display can feel overwhelming

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is the next step up from the Duo. This second-generation model comes with enhanced features including two more pre-programmed cooking settings: sous vide and sterilize. The sous vide setting is handy if you’re interested in the technique (cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath) but don’t want to buy an additional appliance. 

The sterilization program is great for anyone making baby food or preserved foods like jams, pickles, and sauces. Instead of constantly monitoring the temperature of hot water baths, you can rely on your Instant Pot to ensure that everything reaches the proper temperature for food safety and sterilization. 

The Instant Pot Duo Plus is also the better appliance if you plan to “bake” in your cooker. It has a cake-making program that makes perfectly set cheesecakes and springy bundt cakes. The mini is the perfect size to make dessert for two.  

For ease of use, this model has an enhanced venting feature that makes it easier to release the pressure in your pot. The valve automatically switches to “sealing” when the lid is locked in place, so you never forget to seal the lid before walking away.

Best for Beginners: Instant Pot Lux

Straightforward and Hassle-free

This is the most basic Instant Pot for beginners who want to cook their food quickly without the bells and whistles. Instant Pot

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Why It Made The Cut; This is the best mini Instant Pot for first-time pressure cooker users. It may not have all the features of newer models, but it has the same reliability and durability Instant Pot promises. 

Specs:  

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 10.51 x 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.5 pounds

Pros:

  • Comes with a steaming rack and rice paddle
  • Pared-down touch screen control panel
  • Up to 24-hour delay start time

Cons: 

  • No cooking progress bar
  • No easy steam release feature

First-time Instant Pot owners will appreciate the straightforward nature and ease of use of the Instant Pot Lux. This small but highly functional appliance does everything you expect from an Instant Pot, including cooking perfectly fluffy rice and grains, making creamy stews, and delicious one-pot dinners. It operates as a slow cooker and reheater as well, and the 24-hour delay start feature means you can set up an entire meal the night before and come home to a hot and ready meal after work. 

This model has high- and low-pressure settings so you can cook things long and slow or speed up the cooking process when you’re in a rush. It seamlessly fits your lifestyle and offers enough internal space to feed up to three people. And for beginners, Instant Pot also has a handy compatible smartphone app that helps guide you through basic and more advanced recipes so you can get to know all of the features on your new device.

Best For Kids: Instant Pot Star Wars Duo Mini 

Make Cooking More Fun

The Star Wars design makes this Instant Pot mini that much more fun to use.
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Why It Made The Cut: It’s hard not to smile when you see this cute but highly functional device. It combines the fun of sci-fi with the practicality of an excellent culinary appliance. 

Specs: 

  • Capacity: 3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 12.01 x 12.01 x 12.13 inches
  • Weight: 8.65 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with a condensation collector
  • 7 cooking features
  • 14 built-in presets

Cons: 

  • Slightly larger than other mini Instant Pots

Enjoy dinner from a galaxy far, far away with this adorable Star Wars edition of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. It has all the same features of the Duo with a fun pattern that mimics the BB-8 robot. Star Wars fans will love the whimsical look of this device, and home cooks will appreciate the functionality and versatility. 

This Instant Pot has 14 preset cooking programs, including steaming, rice-making, slow cooking, and poultry cooking. It also has the reliable pressure cooking and manual modes that give cooks the flexibility to follow recipes or develop their own. 

If you have young budding chefs at home, they’ll love the opportunity to cook with a gadget from outer space, so this is a great way to generate more excitement in the kitchen. Kids can browse the Instant Pot smartphone app to find a recipe that inspires them. And thanks to all the safety features and built-in cooking presets, all you’ll have to do is sit back and relax while the kids make dinner. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Mini Instant Pot

Uses

Consider the main reasons you want to buy a pressure cooker. Is it for making fall-apart-tender braised short ribs? To sanitize baby bottles? Maybe you want to replace your old slow cooker. If there’s a specific culinary function that you plan to use most, make sure that the model you choose offers that feature. 

Location

It’s also important to consider where you’ll use the new appliance. If you’re shopping for a dorm room, RV, or office space, make sure you have the proper electrical outlet. Most Instant Pots have a three-prong power cord that fits a 110-volt outlet. Most models come with a 4-foot power cord, though you can find 6-foot cords if you need the extra slack. 

FAQs

Q: Is the 3 QT Instant Pot Too Small?

The 3-quart capacity Instant Pots are ideal for feeding three or fewer people. If you have a small household, this is the perfect size. The compact size is also easier to store and much more portable than bulkier 6- and 8-quart models. 

Q: What is the Instant Pot Mini Good For?

The Instant Pot Mini is the perfect size for making dinner for one to three people. You can cook up perfectly tender grains, tangy homemade yogurt, miniature cakes, and hearty soups and stews with the push of a few buttons. 

Q: Does the Instant Pot Mini Air-Fry?

No, Instant Pot does not currently offer an air fryer lid for their 3-quart models. However, there are 6- and 8-quart devices that have compatible air fryer lids. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your skills as a home cook, an Instant Pot is a fantastic appliance to add to your toolkit. It makes complicated meals like meaty stews, braises, and soups straightforward and hands-off. And with a compact 3-quart Instant Pot like the Duo, you can replace multiple kitchen appliances with one compact device that’s easy to store and even travel with. 

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