When the Instant Pot hit the market, it seemed to be the only one of its kind. Customers flocked to it and a cult-following quickly emerged. Since then, a number of other electric pressure cooker/multi-cookers have emerged, offering consumers a better variety of options. The primary difference in these is price, at least so far. Some boast more “functions” than others, but this doesn’t necessarily mean much, as most programs and functions are simply pre-set timers and pressure levels, and it’s easy enough to change those yourself.
With all that in mind, we had the chance to test one of the top selling non-Instant Pots, the Cosori 6 Quart 8-In-1 Programmable Multi-Cooker. After thorough testing of the product on its own (check out our full review here), we put it head-to-head with the popular Instant Pot Duo 6 Quart 7-In-1.
At first glance, these two electric pressure cookers seem to be remarkably similar in construction and functionality. Both are made with stainless steel, feature twist-off lids with similar designs, and both have similar program buttons. The Cosori is slightly taller and the Instant Pot has a removable plug.
The primary difference is price, as the Cosori is regularly $20 cheaper than the Instant Pot and tends to go on sale for even less on occasion.
The interface is a bit different as well, and we ultimately preferred the Cosori in this area. The Cosori has the ability to adjust pressure level from levels 1-6, while the Instant Pot has high and low pressure. However, you can adjust saute temperature on the Instant Pot, a feature that the Cosori lacks.
The Cosori does have a few extra buttons and programs, but you’ll find that most recipes call for manual settings anyway. We rarely use the programs, so the additional functions on the Cosori aren’t really anything to brag about.
When it comes to included accessories, the Cosori has a few more than the Instant Pot, including a glass lid that’s useful for sauteing and during the ‘keep warm’ program. It also has a much better steam rack — the Instant Pot’s is not great at all.
As we mentioned above, these look and function very similar. They also cook about the same — the Instant Pot heats up about 20 seconds faster, but otherwise we found the food to be cooked exactly the same when we split recipes in half and cooked them exactly the same. They are both programmable as well.
Most, if not all, of the recipes you’ll find online can be used interchangeably between these two. I’ve yet to see a recipe that wouldn’t work in one or the other, since most use manual settings or a program that both cookers have.
Multi-cookers are pretty amazing. They offer one-pot capability and are very versatile. The pressure cooking function lets you get dinner on the table quickly and easily.
No matter which pot you end up with, there are a few things to know about cooking with a multi-cooker/electric pressure cooker. Here are some of our best tips.
- Plan for extra time for the cooker to heat up — this takes anywhere from 5-30 minutes depending on how full the pot is. Most recipes’ cook times do not account for this extra time, so don’t think that a 9 minute recipe is exactly 9 minutes (like I did the first time).
- Plan for a bit of time at the end of cooking as well. Quick release (opening up the valve) takes a few minutes, but natural release can take 15 minutes or more.
- There’s a bit of a learning curve. Don’t expect to take it out of the box and use it without any problems or without reading the manual. Similarly, don’t be discouraged if you feel overwhelmed by it at first. It’s different from any other small appliance you’ve ever owned!
- You might need additional accessories for some of the most popular recipes online. For example, we kept seeing Instant Pot cheesecake, but it doesn’t come with a springform pan, and the ones we already own were too large for the pots.
- Multi-cookers are versatile, but they’re not for everything. In some ways, electric pressure cookers are kind of over-hyped. You might be made to believe that you can use it for literally anything. The truth is, they do a lot of things well, but they’re not the best for everything: namely crisp veggies, whole chickens (if you want the roasted flavor and texture) — really, anything crisp or crunchy — or short recipes.
We’ve yet to find any real differences between the cooking abilities of the Cosori and Instant Pot.
The beauty of one pot cooking is it reduces the number of dishes you have to do, so the multi-cooker already has that going for it. So far, both the Instant Pot and the Cosori have been easy to clean, even when polenta burnt on the bottom of the Cosori. The stainless pots clean quickly and are dishwasher safe.
The lids are kind of tricky to clean, but they don’t actually need that thorough of a cleaning because they stay pretty spot-free. Running the cooker with water and vinegar or baking soda is an easy way to loosen anything on the lid, and it helps the pot smell better.
Where the Cosori Wins
There are a few ways that we found the Cosori to be better than the Instant Pot, including:
- Start button: This might be minor, but I appreciated being able to press “Start” when I was done plugging in my settings. With the Instant Pot, you just wait and after 10 seconds it just starts.
- There is more flexibility in adjustments (with the exception of the saute function)
- It includes a better steaming rack and an extra sealing ring. Many multi-cooker owners recommend using two different rings for sweet/savory foods, as the rings tend to trap smells.
Where the Instant Pot Wins
And here are a few perks of the Instant Pot to keep in mind.
- More available models. While this doesn’t directly relate to what we’ve discussed so far, if the 6 quart isn’t what you have in mind, you might be better off looking at all the Instant Pot options. Currently, Cosori is just available in the 6 quart, an 8 quart, and a 2 quart. There are a few different types of Instant Pots, including a Smart cooker.
- Slightly smaller overall
- Lid is slightly easier to deal with (the Cosori lid can be a pain)
- Beeps are quieter than the Cosori
Overall, we’ve been impressed by both of these, but we’ve found that we prefer the Cosori for the interface, for the extra accessories, and because it’s $20+ cheaper.
The Instant Pot is great, and it has the advantage of being a well-known name. However, if you are looking to save a bit of money, or you’re just interested in the Cosori, we highly recommend it!
Shop now for the Cosori 6 Quart Multicooker
Shop now for the Instant Pot DUO 6 Quart