Instant Pot Air Fryer Review

Einkaufs By Amanda Neal and Rachel Trujillo for Food Network Kitchen nowadays, it seems everyone needs two things: an instant pot and an air fryer. Combining two of the most common kitchen appliances at the moment, Instant Pot recently launched the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid, compatible with the Instant Pot that you probably already own. This lid matches the base of your Instant Pot, making it a mini convection oven that can air fried, roast, bake, broil, heat and dehydrate.

The cap, introduced earlier this year, suits most 6-quarter Instant Pot models and comes with everything you need to air fry, including an air fryer basket, a broiling and dehydration tray, a counter protective pad and a storage cover. Having learned Instant Pot’s newest gadget news, we had to get our hands on one. After numerous checks, including pitting the lid against the Instant Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer and another air fryer lid on the market, we can honestly say we’re impressed. Learn how the lid compares to the competition.

Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid Vs. Instant Vortex 4-In-1 Air Fryer

We tested the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid against the Instant Vortex 6-Quart 4-in-1 Air Fryer (Food Network Kitchen’s favorite air fryer). In the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid and Instant Vortex, we made a side-by-side comparison of frozen steak fries and found identical results and cooking times. The key difference in comparing the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid to the Instant Vortex is power and cooking time. Here’s a comparison rundown.

They Cook Differently

We decided to cook both French fries and chicken nuggets while checking both air fryer lids. Within the pot, the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid created more convection-cooking atmosphere than the Mealthy CrispLid. The Mealthy CrispLid appears to heat from above and behaves more like a broiler than a convection cooker. The Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid did not involve flipping the fries halfway through cooking, and we preferred the plump and juicy nuggets after cooking.

There was a clear difference in chicken nuggets’ texture and shape, and we were impressed that the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid didn’t dry them out. The Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid had longer cooking time, as preheating requires a few minutes. The Mealthy CrispLid does not preheat and cooks instantly.

What We Like About The Instant Pot Duo Crisp

The Duo Crisp acts as both a pressure cooker and an air fryer, and it’s very useful to make one-pot meals. It can cook a whole chicken until tender, then brown the skin afterwards, or heat a small batch of frozen fries faster than an oven. And it’s better built than the other pressure cooker/air fryer we checked, the Ninja Foodi (which we wrote about in our guide to electric pressure cookers After cooking a whole chicken on a bed of carrots and potatoes in the Duo Crisp, we were able to brown the exposed skin in seven minutes using the air-fryer lid on the Roast setting.

The Duo Crisp also did a decent job cooking a steak after we played around with the cooking process. It didn’t produce a dark sear like you would get from a scorching-hot pan, but it makes sense: Air doesn’t conduct heat well. Our New York strip steak was pale, gray and undercooked after roasting at 400°F for the recommended 12 minutes. The Duo Crisp is reasonably well built.

If you need to toss the food inside, you can easily catch the removable air-fryer basket with oven mitts. We also like you can fit an 8-inch cake pan in the Duo Crisp, if you’re inclined to bake with it the most dedicated air-fryers we’ve tested can fit just a 6-inch pan. We made a Duncan Hines cake in the Duo Crisp, and while it required timing double.

Design: It’S A Hat

The Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid reminds us of a funny hat on top of an Instant Pot. It adds quite a bit of height to the entire machine, but it’s still short enough to slip for storage under the upper kitchen cabinets. The controls are on top of the unit, which we found convenient when the Instant Pot was put on a regular height counter. The Spruce Eats/Donna Currie Controls are simple and should be familiar to anyone with an Instant Pot.

Start and cancel buttons are obvious, and programs include air fry, broil, bake, roast, reheat, and dehydrate. Pressing these programs offers default time and temperature, while plus and minus buttons allow changes for certain programs. The lid doesn’t twist on, but instead sits on top of the pressure cooker shell. Nevertheless, it needs to fit correctly to make it feel like it’s okay to heat up (more on that below).

A handle flips up to make lifting the lid easy and flips down when not in use. The lid comes with a pad to put the lid on. This shielded our counter from fryer lid fire, but we were surprised the pad was made of hard plastic. After much use, though, it seemed undamaged. The pad can be reversed to twist the lid, keeping it secure from harm in storage.

Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid Review

The included fryer basket has small wire side handles to raise it, and a removable base to hold it off the pot rim. Since it has to fit in the Instant Pot’s inner pot with space around for air circulation, the basket isn’t very large.

Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid Review

The broiler/dehydration tray fits into the basket and has two wider holes that are ideal for sticking a finger and thumb in the frying basket. When it’s time to remove the basket, it’s a little trickier as it’s hot and food could cover the holes. We used a pair of very narrow-ended tongs that nudged away the food and fit into the lifting holes. The manual states that the broiling tray should not be used for pressure cooking, but does not mention the fryer basket restriction.

For 8 minutes, we liked using the basket for pressure steaming potato wedges, then frying them to brown and crisp. It took 20 minutes, but it was worth waiting. They were crisp outside and creamy inside. Aside from different temperature ranges, it’s hard to tell precisely what the variations are. We checked one program at a time and listened to the fan, sounding identical for each program except the dehydrate setting where the fan sounded less powerful.

Because the lid automatically turns off when lifted from the pressure cooker, we couldn’t hear variations. For 8 minutes, we liked using the basket for pressure steaming potato wedges, then frying them to brown and crisp.

What Are Your Takeaways?

I’ve previously written about Ninja Foodi vs. Instant Pot and since then I’m so glad that Instant Pot came out with a 6 quarter Instant Pot fryer lid attachment. If you haven’t read that article, the key takeaway is that I was searching for a machine that would air fry plus have my Instant Pot’s capabilities, because I love the pressure cooker feature. I didn’t like the size of the Foodi and I just couldn’t part with my Instant Pot so I kept my Instant Pot. I didn’t even miss an air fryer because I never used one extensively.

However, seeing all these online recipes always fascinated me, and I would constantly go back and forth to buy one or not. Recently, a reader tipped me off that Instant Pot came out with an air fryer lid for their 6-quarter machines and I bought it instantly. I LOVE they made this instant pot attachment beautifully. It avoids purchasing an additional small appliance and connects effortlessly to my Instant Pot. When you have the air fryer lid on it, you don’t plug your Instant Pot base. Just plug in the air fryer lid.

@7@ If you’re on the air fryer market and already have a compatible 6 quarter Instant Pot, I’d highly suggest considering the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid instead of buying another unit. I’m really pleased with mine, and while I don’t think I’m going to use it every day, it’s certainly something I’m happy to have in my cabinets on those days I want to use. I haven’t used all the functions on it (such as broil, bake, roast, dehydrate) but I can see the reheat function working well (if you don’t have a microwave) or the fast crisping choice. I feel like I’d probably use my usual oven or toaster.

I appreciate the basket being non-stick (but I still spray it with cooking spray) and it’s easy to store everything in the stainless steel insert. Final thought If you’re just plunging your toe into the world of air frying, the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid might be a good choice. Compared to the other air fryer lid on the market, Instant Pot’s version was our favorite as it cooked evenly without drying the food. If you’re still obsessed with the Instant Pot brand and want to give a crispy exterior to your pressurized foods like chicken, mac and cheese and vegetables, we think it’s definitely worth adding to your cart. The Instant Vortex is the perfect choice for those looking to cook in larger batches using an air fryer.