Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus UK review

Col has pointed out that the giant Marmite jar in the landscape photo makes the Instant Pot look smaller than it really is. Apologies - next time I'll include a banana for scale.

  • + Speeds up cooking time
  • + Multi purpose
  • + Easy to use
  • + Sous vide function
  • + Prove bread
  • + Easy to clean
  • + Loud beep
  • ± Burn warning
  • ± Deceptive cooking times
  • ± Initially scary to use
  • ± Not a true slow cooker but good enough for me
  • Unexplained error code and questionable customer service
  • C8 error
  • No '0 minute' pressure cook function
  • Large, bulky appliance
  • American recipes
  • Sealing ring retains smells even after being cleaned


According to an Instant Pot customer service rep, the slow cooking temperatures for the Duo Evo Plus are:

  • Low: 82-87.8°C / 180-190°F
  • High: 93-99°C / 200-210°F

I follow a lot of American food blogs so it was inevitable that I would buy an Instant Pot (affiliate link). A friend told me that people who own them tend to be really, really enthusiastic about them and I can see why. I’ve owned mine for several months and it’s been a huge help in the kitchen. I use it a few times a week and it’s completely opened up my weeknight cooking, allowing me to make dishes that used to be reserved for weekends only (hello, pulled chicken).

Currently there are four Instant Pot models to choose from in the UK. The UK website is lighter in detail than the US website and is missing the model comparison chart (the US has more models to choose from). I went for the Duo Evo Plus because it has all the features I want (sous vide, yoghurt maker, hob-friendly flat bottomed pot) and is the only model with handles attached to the pot. The handles are mentioned in a lot of user reviews and I read variations of “This version is worth getting just for the handles alone” multiple times.

Pressure Cooking Today reviewed the Duo Evo Plus against previous models and said: “You can really tell the Instant Pot team researched what people loved and what people struggled with and tried to fix the bad without disrupting the good”. The Pressure Cooking Today review is helpful as the reviewers have used Instant Pots for years and know the ins and outs of the different models. My review is more about my experience of using a pressure cooker for the first time, my likes and dislikes, and my experience as a UK consumer.

The good bits

Speeds up cooking time

The first recipe I made in my Instant Pot was Pinch of Yum’s Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Tacos. I’d previously slow cooked this dish for 8 hours but the Instant Pot reduced the cooking time to just 15 minutes.

Hardier cuts of meat cook quickly but for me the Instant Pot's best feature is how quickly it cooks pulses. I love Indian dishes like daal and chana masala but they often involve a long soak followed by hours of boiling on the hob. Not any more. The black lentils for Dishoom’s House Black Daal cooked to tender perfection in just 30 minutes (with a 10 minute soak) and unsoaked chickpeas took 40 minutes. I should say that the total time is more like an hour for chickpeas as the Instant Pot takes a while to come up to pressure but it’s still a big time saver and is almost completely hands off. Adding boiled water to the pot instead of cold speeds things up.

Multi purpose

The ability to switch between functions is another huge plus. For years I’ve been boiling pasta on my hob while a pan of sauce cooks next to it. I still do this but if it’s possible to cook the same recipe in an Instant Pot, I will. I sauté onions or garlic, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, some tuna or chorizo, a large cup of water and the pasta. Everything gets pressure cooked on high for 4 minutes (wholemeal pasta needs 5 minutes) and that’s it. No boiling water, only one pan to clean up and most importantly, al dente pasta.

For Dishoom’s House Black Daal I use the Instant Pot to pressure cook, sauté, then slow cook, which sounds involved but is easier than cooking the daal on a hob.

Easy to use

I mostly use the Instant Pot to pressure cook, which involves pressing a preset button, choosing the time and temperature, then pressing ‘start’. The display is clear and the dial allows you to amend the cooking time or temperature midway through cooking (I only discovered this recently and had previously been cancelling and restarting to make changes).

Once the Instant Pot starts cooking there’s nothing to do until it finishes. It’s perfect for dishes like chana masala, freeing you up to prepare the sauce while the chickpeas cook.

Sous vide function

The Instant Pot has revolutionised steak for me. I love rare or blue steak but find it tricky to cook at home. The line between blue and raw is fine and out of fear of overcooking my steak I often think: “Should I have given this another minute? Am I actually eating raw meat?”. Now I sous vide my steaks to 51°C (rare) then finish them on a smoking hot griddle pan. The steaks are still pink inside but I know that they're cooked all the way through.

Prove bread

The proving function is great for bread dough; I no longer have to heat my oven for 5 minutes, switch it off and hope for the best. My 500g bread banneton just about squeezes into the inner pot. It’s supposed to have space around it to allow the heat to circulate but it doesn’t and it’s never been a problem.

Easy to clean

The pot, lid, sealing ring and other small bits are dishwasher safe.

Loud beep

The beep on the Instant Pot is set to a helpful volume - loud enough so I can hear it in another room but not so ear splitting that it offends me if I’m in the same room. It’s much better than the soft beep on my bread maker, which is so quiet I have to set a timer on my phone.

Some neutral points

I don’t want to list these as good or bad because they’re neither.

Burn warning

I’ve occasionally experienced the “dreaded burn warning” but it’s always because I haven’t used enough liquid. The manual says that the Duo Evo Plus needs a minimum of 1.5 cups of water but Pressure Cooking Today says 1 cup is enough. Regardless, a lot of recipes seem to use far less liquid and rely on ingredients like mushrooms or chicken to release water as they cook. This can be hit or miss but I’ve learned that the burn warning isn’t a disaster. If it happens I cancel the cooking programme, allow the pressure to release, add more liquid and give everything a stir to release any food stuck to the pot. I either continue with the recipe, or if it’s a pasta dish that’s almost cooked, I sauté it until the pasta is done.

Deceptive cooking times

It’s worth noting that if a recipe says it’ll take 30 minutes to pressure cook it’ll likely take longer. Pasta in tomato sauce takes about 7 minutes to come up to pressure then another 5 minutes to cook. Chickpeas in cold water can take more than 20 minutes to come up to pressure before cooking begins.

Initially scary to use

The first time I pressure cooked I was nervous and stayed in the kitchen the whole time, leaving a good distance between myself and the pot. The Instant Pot gurgles, whistles and emits steam as it comes up to pressure. When it’s finished you can either let the pressure release naturally or flip the switch to manually release it (the steam shoots out dramatically). Now that I’m used to pressure cooking I don’t give it a second thought.

Not a true slow cooker but good enough for me

Dedicated slow cookers heat food from the bottom and sides of the pot. The Instant Pot only heats from the bottom and I’ve come across mixed reviews regarding the slow cook setting. So far I’ve only slow cooked Dishoom’s House Black Daal and caramelised some onions but I’ve found that the Instant Pot does the job nicely. I’ve never owned a dedicated slow cooker though so I can't really compare.

I thought I would slow cook more but I mostly choose to pressure cook as it’s a big time saver and yields similar, if not better, results.

The bad bits

Unexplained error code and questionable customer service

When I turn off the power to my Instant Pot or unplug the cable, 4 times out of 5, the Instant Pot beeps and shows me a C6H error (“faulty sensor”). I contacted customer services and received no reply. This was during lockdown and the Instant Pot was still working so it was understandable. I contacted customer services again and heard nothing back. I then contacted them six weeks later, after receiving a slew of C6H errors. They finally replied and said that as long as the Instant Pot wasn’t erroring during the cooking process it’s “nothing to worry about” and “does not affect the function of the cooker”. They were “asking the US” but I’ve yet to hear back and don't expect to.

The Instant Pot customer service is generally raved about but I wonder if it’s for the US side of things rather than the UK. (Update, three years later: I still get the error but the Instant Pot is still working.)

C8 error

I haven’t encountered a C8 error (“wrong inner pot in cooker base”) but it’s a widely reported problem with the Duo Evo Plus. It seems to happen when sautéing on level 5 or 6. I’ve never used level 6 as I find that anything above a 3 requires constant vigilance and stirring to prevent the food from sticking and burning. The advice is to sauté on lower settings.

No '0 minute' pressure cook function

This is a minor bugbear but the minimum setting for pressure cooking on my Duo Evo Plus is 1 minute. It sounds like a strange problem: why would you want to cook something for 0 minutes? A lot of recipes specify this setting, like Amy + Jacky’s Instant Pot Whole Chicken and it’s a good setting to avoid overcooking vegetables. It means that the food is cooked in the time it takes the Instant Pot to come up to pressure. If I want to replicate this in my Duo Evo Plus I need to wait for the moment pressure cooking begins then press ‘cancel’. Some people have reported that their Duo Evo Plus does have the 0 minute setting so there must be a few iterations out in the wild.

Large, bulky appliance

The Instant Pot is pretty big (38 x 35.5 x 35cm) and it's the first gadget I’ve bought that I don’t keep permanently on a countertop. Instead, I store it on a shelf and leave the cord plugged in on my countertop so it’s ready to attach when I want to use it. The Pressure Cooking Today review mentions that the Duo Evo Plus doesn’t have a detachable cord but this isn’t the case for my model.

American recipes

A lot of recipes for the Instant Pot specify ingredients in cups, pounds and ounces whereas I’m used to the metric system. It’s not a huge deal but I find myself having to do a lot of converting and I can’t glance at a recipe and immediately know how many it will feed.

Sealing ring retains smells even after being cleaned

The Duo Evo Plus comes with two sealing rings and it’s worth assigning one for savoury dishes and one for sweet. I read a recipe where someone made a cheesecake that smelled of their previous chicken dish. I haven’t made anything sweet in my Instant Pot yet and I haven’t had any cross contamination issues with the sealing ring but it’s worth bearing in mind.

Spare sealing rings can be purchased if you plan to cook a wide variety of savoury and sweet dishes.

Overall thoughts

I love cooking with my Instant Pot and I’m a total convert to pressure cooking. The wealth of functions means that I reach for the Instant Pot for all kinds of dishes. The C6H error annoys me and I have visions of the sensor breaking a short while after my warranty expires but for now my Instant Pot is working just fine. I haven’t used it to make yoghurt or desserts yet but I’m getting a lot of use out of it for savoury dishes.

The only accessory I’ve purchased is a glass lid (affiliate link) that costs £12.99. It can’t be used to pressure cook but it’s useful for being able to see what’s happening when proving bread or slow cooking.

I’ve only had one fail and it was due to the recipe rather than the Instant Pot. Curry is an Instant Pot staple and I tried a well reviewed American recipe that used a tin of coconut milk and a lot of spices. It smelled amazing. As a British person who’s used to eating incredible Indian cuisine, the Instant Pot curry was bland and disappointing. It had no complexity or depth of flavour; I’ve had better microwavable ready meal curries. I haven’t given up and will try the famous Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe next or an Amy + Jacky curry.

Speaking of Amy + Jacky, if you’re wondering where to start with Instant Pot recipes, look no further. Amy + Jacky work directly with Instant Pot as recipe developers and everything’s tried and tested. I knew I was in for a treat when I made their umami chili, which involves fish sauce and soy sauce. No, that’s not a typo. It’s an amazing recipe and they have loads more as well as general Instant Pot tips and advice.

Would I replace it if it broke tomorrow?

This is the first kitchen appliance I’ve bought that feels like it might not last for a good few years. I hope it does because if it broke I would replace it immediately.

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