My jumbo Instant Pot is here!
I’ve only had it since last Friday, but I want to share my excitement. The Instant Pot IP-DUO80 is the big brother of my favorite pressure cooker, the IP-DUO60. The main difference between the two cookers is size – they look almost exactly alike, but the 80 is scaled up. This is a good thing – the 80 has all of my favorite extras from the 60, including the one piece lid and silicone gasket holder, and the lid holder built into the handles. The only visible difference is the fancy red pressure valve, marked with lines so it is easier to tell when the cooker is pressurized. (With the 60, I had to use it a few times to know just by looking if the pressure valve was up or down.)
Why is bigger such a big deal? The extra large pot makes my favorite cooker even easier to use. That extra width has already come in handy; I store used chicken carcasses in the freezer, after we’ve picked all the meat off of them; when I want to make chicken stock, I pull the zip-top bag out of the freezer, open it, and dump the frozen bones into the cooker. This is where the size comes in – a lot of times, the frozen bird is just a little too long for my pot – the chicken’s pygostyle is poking up above the max-fill line. I have to break apart the frozen carcass to get it to fit. As a test, I grabbed my bag of frozen carcasses from the freezer and made stock. The bones fit well under the max fill line in the wider pot of the IP–80.
The other advantage, of course, is I can fill the 8 quart cooker with more stuff when I’m cooking. That really helps when I’m making a big batch of broth, but…most of my other recipes fit just fine in a 6 quart cooker, even cooking for my family of five. If you already have the 6 quart cooker, and it’s working for you, don’t rush out and get the 8 quart. If you’ve been eyeing a second pressure cooker for side dishes, or you’re looking at your first cooker (and cook for bigger groups), get the 8 quart. I have multiple cookers, and in a couple days the 8 quart replaced my 6 quart as the “keep under the kitchen island for easy access” cooker.
One more difference I noticed: the IP-DUO80 remembers your last timer setting. For example, the first thing I did with the cooker was do a water test – 2 cups of water, set it to Manual, 5 minutes under pressure. Everything worked fine, so I took it apart, cleaned it, and put it in the dish drain to dry out. The next day, I wanted to make some beef broth. When I hit the Manual button, 5 minutes was back – not like the old DUO60, which always reset back to 30 minutes as the starting time. I think this will be a change for the better…but I’m not sure. If I cook in the same general range of temperatures this feature is a good thing – but if I jump around, cooking a 4 minute mac and cheese one day, then a 75 minute beef broth the next, this won’t be as useful. (Both options – remembering the last time set, or defaulting to 30 minutes, work better for me than some other pressure cookers that always start at zero and force you to count up. I make a lot of 30 to 60 minute recipes, so starting higher than zero means less button pressing.)