Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L review

After weeks of testing, we finally have a verdict on the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L for our review, and it's not what we expected.

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8Expert Score
A considered purchase

The Instant Pot Pro Plus is a beloved cooking appliance, but its safety restrictions mean it’s not a great fit for every kitchen, including mine.

Design
8.5
Performance
7.5
Pros
  • Well built, stylish design
  • Silicon handles on inner pot
  • Integrated slots for standing the lid
Cons
  • Placement is really restricted
  • App isn't overly useful
  • Cooking results vary

I have never been so intimidated by a kitchen appliance as I was when I first set up the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L for this review. 

Part of the reason for that was the fact that despite cooking for over two and a half decades, I had never used a pressure cooker before. I’ve used rice cookers and slow cookers and electric frypans – all functions included in the Instant Pot Pro – but never a pressure cooker (though technically this is a multi-cooker).

Things got more intense when I read the manual. There are literally six pages of safety warnings. There is lots of bold text proclaiming 38 different things you DO NOT do when using the appliance.

I broke into a sweat reading them, concerned I was going to severely injure myself, burn down my house, or both.

Of course, safety is paramount – I’m not suggesting six pages of warnings is a bad thing. It’s just… a lot.

And as it turned out, it was nigh on impossible for me to actually use the product in my kitchen without breaking some of those rules. I was extremely careful about it, though.

Despite my initial intimidation, using the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L turned out to be a reasonably painless affair, with varied cooking results. Its smart connectivity is a let-down, though. It’s still a long way from automating the cooking process.

Close up of the Instant Pot's pressure valve

Design

The Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L is a multi cooker that lets you cook in numerous ways. The primary function is a pressure cooker, but the appliance also lets you slow cook, steam, sauté, and sous vide. It has dedicated settings for cooking rice and yoghurt, as well as canning if you want to make your own preserves.

I’m going to own up here — In my time testing the appliance, I am yet to have used the Yoghurt, Canning, or Sous Vide settings. Even if I had more time, I don’t think I ever would use those settings, to be honest.

If those are things you’re looking for in a multi cooker, I’m sorry to tell you this review can’t help you. 

The cooker itself looks like a big pot with a complicated lid and a large, complex screen on the front. To be honest, the screen looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. 

From that forward facing screen, you control the cooking mode, the cooking time, the temperature, and the pressure. The buttons run around the outside of a large digital timer, which also acts as a touchscreen when you want to adjust the timing of something you cook.

It ultimately looks complex, but still pretty sleek. Black and silver combine to look at home in any kitchen.

For pressure-cooking, the lid of the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L drops into place, then rotates with a satisfying click to lock into place.

Conveniently, there are a couple of slots at the back – one on either side – that let you stand the lid into when you open it up to fluff rice or sauté some vegetables. There’s also a tiny little jug that will collect any water drips from when you use this stand, which is a nice touch that helps prevent making a big mess.

Inside the main body of the appliance is the inner pot. Rubberised handles mean you can easily remove the inner pot from the unit to serve, even if it’s been pressure-cooking for a couple of hours on high heat.

Both the lid and the inner pot are dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning up much easier. I also appreciate that the appliance came with a second sealing ring, so you can swap them over fairly effortlessly.

The Instant Pot's list standing upright

Limitations

What I rapidly discovered when trying to set up the Instant Pot Pro Plus was that not every kitchen is suited to having a pressure cooker.

The manual clearly states (in its six pages of warnings) that you should not use the pot on a stovetop, and that the power cable is kept intentionally short for safety, and you shouldn’t use extension cords.

For my kitchen, that meant the only possible locations to use the appliance was under a wall-mounted cupboard, or in the sink (which breaks the rule of using the appliance near water).

Because of the appliance’s height, that meant quick release steam would be blasted from the top valve directly to the underside of a cupboard from a distance of about 20 cm.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have the budget to replace my cupboards should the steam damage them.

I also have to ask (because I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to pressure-cooking), but wouldn’t the best place to release steam be into a range hood? And where are range hoods typically placed? Over a stovetop.

I understand that you don’t want to burn the bottom of the appliance, but could you consider the steam release into your home a design flaw?

Of course, I can hardly place responsibility for my kitchen design on the engineers at Instant Pot. But it also made it abundantly clear that you need to consider your kitchen’s design before you spend the money on a pressure cooker or multi-cooker.

Rice came out great in the Instant Pot Pro Plus

Performance

When it comes to cooking, I had mixed results with the Instant Pot Pro Plus. My first attempted meal was some braised lamb shanks with mushrooms and marsala. 

Pressure cooked for 45 minutes on high with 35 minutes of additional natural release, the meat fell off the bone. But it was fatty and slimy, and hadn’t broken down in the same way I find shanks do in the slow cooker. 

The sauce also didn’t thicken properly, and came out far too watery.

But that said – I am not a professional chef, and I am happy to put that attempt down to user error.

Subsequent meals fared a lot better. Cooking wholemeal basmati rice was easy and painless and ended up with light, fluffy grains. It did take longer than boiling rice on the stove, but given the ease of cooking, I was okay with that.

Sweet Potato and sage risotto – a meal my wife usually cooks on the stove because I always manage to both undercook and overcook the rice at the same time – came out delicious, and didn’t actually require one of us standing over it.

Swapping between cooking modes – within the parameters of a recipe, of course – was quick and easy. 

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The Instant Pot app

One of the big selling points with the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L is the fact it’s Wi-Fi enabled. You can connect it to an app on your smartphone to find recipes, and then remotely control the cooker for step-by-step guidance through the app.

I had no problems connecting the device to Wi-Fi, or even connecting it to the app on my phone. But I’ve been remarkably underwhelmed by the app itself.

First off is the recipes. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of recipes available. They seem to come from a wide range of sources, from Instant Pot itself to random names. 

Every single recipe is “Not rated”. That’s right — there is no way to see if a recipe is regarded as “Good” or “Bad”. 

Similarly, you cannot rate the recipes. That disaster of a lamb shank recipe I tried? I couldn’t rate it to warn off other users (and my future self) from trying it again.

Admittedly, that’s a minor UX issue. More frustrating is that you can’t adjust the number of portions a recipe makes. If it says it’s for four people, and you need it for six, then you need to wing it.

The whole idea, in my mind at least, of connecting a cooking appliance to the cloud is so that it can help you cook. Online recipes can scale a recipe to more or less people, so why can’t this smart appliance with a smart app?

I did like that the app allows you to cook with a step by step mode, that slides up from the bottom of the screen and shows you the individual requirements of each step.

When it comes to the cooking step, you can start it directly from the app with the settings pre-set… to a degree. I was trying to make the Base porridge recipe, and when it came time to press the big green button to “Start Pressure Cook”, it did nothing.

Without touching the appliance, I jumped to the Base soup recipe, scrolled across to the card that told me to start pressure-cooking. It suddenly started beeping at me and began the pre-heating process.

Looking at it, I think the settings aren’t in there correctly. Instead of listing a pressure level, or steam release setting, it just has a 10-minute timer and a five-minute timer displayed.

But this recipe is apparently from Instant Brands. If it can’t sort out its own recipes, what hope do the rest of us have?

I’d argue that if I could modify the recipe a bit — even a copy of it — to try to fix that issue, then maybe it would be better. But that’s not possible, which leaves me feeling all the more underwhelmed.

After battling with the first porridge recipe, I found a different recipe that told me to pressure-cook on high for 5 minutes, natural vent for 10 minutes then carefully quick release the remaining steam. I told it to start in the app, and it actually followed those instructions.

That’s the promise I wanted the Instant Pot to deliver. But the bulk of the recipes I tried didn’t work. Until Instant can sort that out, this feature just isn’t worth the extra cost.

The Instant Pot Pro Plus

Verdict

A small caveat here: I do feel like my kitchen’s design impacted how I used the Instant Pot Pro Plus, and that in turn impacted my verdict here.

The Instant Pot Pro did a good job cooking rice, either plain or as a risotto, though I found other recipes were a bit hit and miss.

And I agree, that could be user error! Or maybe the quality of the recipe. I am certainly not a chef. 

But for someone new to pressure-cooking, I still found the entire process more work than I expected it to be. 

I had hoped that the app connectivity would help make the bulk of the process easier, but ultimately, it mostly just created additional challenges. 

What I will say is that the Instant Pot Pro Plus is a well-built appliance, with some intelligent design elements like silicon handles and slots to hold the lid. 

If you love pressure-cooking, then this could be a nice upgrade path for you. 

But you should make sure you can use it in your kitchen before you buy it.

Buy the Instant Pot Pro Plus 5.7L online

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AU $299.95
18 April 2024 3:38 pm
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Product disclosure

Instant provided this product for review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

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