Heads up, pressure cookin’ pals! There’s a new Instant Pot on the market, appropriately named the Instant Pot Ultra. If you’ve already developed a healthy love affair with your Instant Pot, perhaps you’re considering an upgrade. After all, you deserve it, you kitchen aficionado!
A loyal Instant Pot user should have the best product on the market, of course. Maybe you’re still considering taking the plunge in the first place. In that case, I suggest you check out my review of the original Instant Pot to see why I like it so much if the recipes aren’t convincing enough.
Regardless of where you stand, it’s worth noting your original Instant Pot is probably doing the trick and you know what they say: don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. At the same time, I do mention in my review that I have two Instant Pots, and I hardly find it excessive. Double the cooking power is double the fun, so maybe your lone pot deserves a companion.
I’m going to delve into the difference in the Instant Pot Ultra versus its predecessor, the pros, the cons, and everything in between. It’s our review of sorts.
What makes the Instant Pot ultra?
The pros of the new and improved Instant Pot are pretty amazing. It’s taken on ‘gadget’ territory outside of the kitchen, and it’s safe to say that even someone who prefers tech over the kitchen could appreciate this device’s feature upgrades. Let’s run through the list of pros.
Easy sous vide cooking
It sounds fancy, but the Instant Pot makes it easy. With a generally hands-off approach to cooking, the Ultra is taking it one step further. Cooking sous vide in the IP doesn’t require a circulator to keep the water moving while cooking which is the trick to sous vide in the first place. Instead, it holds the water at the proper temperature for desired cooking within a five degree range, making it pretty precise and pretty failproof.
If you’ve ever moved around from low to high elevation or vice versa, you know that cooking times and following recipes can be a struggle. Take this from someone who lives in the mountains! The Instant Pot knows what’s up. Instead of doing all the guesswork yourself, the Instant Pot Ultra does it for you. You can adjust the cooking settings up to 9,900 feet by simply plugging it into the machine, and it will subsequently adjust cooking time for you under the assumption that the cooking time plugged in is for cooking at sea level.
Turn the dial
The original Instant Pot model features plenty of incredibly useful buttons, but there’s no doubt some of us were missing a simpler way to turn things up a notch.
The sterilise button
Yoghurt makers – rejoice! You can’t make yoghurt without a clean slate because you’re adding good bacteria to the mix. Bad bacteria is something you want to avoid at all costs. With this model, a push of the button means a clean pot and lid. Moreover, you can set it to low, medium, or high, choosing from a steam/sterilisation lasting from as little as a minute up to four hours. If you own an Instant Pot, you know that time is of the essence.
- Larger display. Because you know, being able to see what your Instant Pot is up to from across the room is important. The display is larger, easier to read, and overall a more beautiful interface. It displays cooking progress while the IP is hard at work so you can better monitor (patiently or not) when your food will be done and how long the food is taking to preheat.
- Fewer time limits. The previous version allowed you to pressure cook for two hours at a time. The Instant Pot Ultra allows you to pressure cook for six hours! While we can’t quite think of a recipe that needs such a long cooking time, it’s nice to have the flexibility.
- It automatically keeps your food warm. Once the pressure is off, the contents of the pot are officially on ‘keep warm’ mode so you can enjoy your dish after the fact without worrying about food safety.
- Button vs. valve. The Instant Pot Ultra implements a button that you’ll press to release pressure rather than having to handle the valve. While this is hardly dangerous, it can get hot fast, and it can cause injury if you’re not careful.
- Set it for later. You can choose ‘delay start’ so that cooking begins after you dump the food in. This is great for people on a schedule that needs some flexibility, or those of us who just want dinner WHEN we want it. Plus, remember – it will kick into ‘keep warm’ mode right after. Hands-off cooking at its finest here!
- There’s a cake button. Need I say more? Have your cake and eat it too… by pressing a button. It’s never been easier. Be careful with this one.
- There’s also an egg button. You know we LOVE eggs in the Instant Pot every which way. For seamlessly perfect “boiled” eggs every time, this is going to be a button that gets pushed quite a bit.
- It’s still the same as the original at the core. The Instant Pot Ultra was all about addition; it still features all of the same functionality as the previous Instant Pot model, so you won’t be lost without your favourite settings.
Cons of the Instant Pot Ultra
There isn’t much negative to say about the Instant Pot Ultra! It’s new and improved with the same classic features you already love about your current model. What can we say? The IP can do no wrong.
- The Instant Pot Ultra is still a 6-quart model. While it isn’t necessarily a con, that is the only size option. This is the same size as the original Instant Pot, so you won’t be getting a roomy upgrade. This probably won’t be a turn-off for most, though, as you can fit quite a bounty of food into the pot.
- There will be a learning curve. New things take time. This is especially true with any electronic item! If you’ve been using the original Instant Pot for a while, you’re probably quite accustomed to its abilities and how to use it for what you want. The Instant Pot Ultra might take some time, trial and error, and maybe a few “oops” meals before you get the swing of things. Practice makes perfect.
Where to buy the Instant Pot Ultra
The Instant Pot Ultra is currently only available from Sur La Table. You can pick it up here online or in-store. You can also order it on Amazon!
What’s the verdict for you? Are you going to upgrade, or will the Instant Pot Ultra be your first pressure cooker? Let us know, and make sure to take it for a test drive with one of our delicious and healthy recipes! Happy cooking.
How do I change the time? I want to cook rice on pressure cook at 7,000 feet elevation. I am stuck with their time labels. Help!
7000 ft / 2100 m – increase cooking by 25% (or multiply it by 1.25) Here is a handy guide: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/high-altitude-pressure-cooking-adustments/
I just got one!!
Need more recipes
did Instant Pot Ultra Mini 10-in-1 sous-vide ?
My question is re: sous vide. What is the lowest manual temperature setting you can turn the temperature down to on the Instant Pot Ultra? For that matter – can/do the other earlier models also be turned down to a low manual setting?
Ultra Mode & Slow Cook Mode – 104°F – 208°F / 40°C – 97.8°C
Keep Warm Mode – 104°F – 194°F / 40°C – 90°C
Yogurt Mode – 104°F – 176°F / 40°C – 80°C
Saute Mode – 104°F – 338°F / 40°C – 170°C
No, other earlier models don’t have the unique feature that the ultra has for being able to control temperatures.
I’m considering the Ultra as my first pot. Can anyone tell me why I would want to use it for boiled eggs, rather than a pot on the stove?
Hard-boiled eggs turn out perfectly every time when they’re steamed under pressure in the Instant Pot. They’re always evenly cooked, plus they are easier to peel than traditional boiled eggs.
I loved my Ultra until the quick release button broke. There are no replacements listed for it, just the valves.
The other models without the separate button, parts are unde $20. In the case of the Ultra, to replace the lid, half the price of a whole new system.
Hi Rene. This is actually really useful information, and something I failed to consider the possibility of. Thanks for shedding light on that issue!
I am planning to get an instant pot for my family. We are 4 people and I hope it will be enough to cater our needs. As per my research Ultra is the top model around. So, I’ll definitely go with it. BTW, I loved the way you explained its features. Thank you!
Hi Paul! I hope that you enjoy your new Instant Pot. I’m so glad you found this article helpful. I think the Ultra is the perfect investment for your family kitchen.
I bought the instant pot ultra specifically for the altitude adjustment. I contacted instant pot and was told the adjustment only works for recipes in the presets. But I am confused about the presets are they only used for the few recipes in the booklet? If not how do you know the quantities of meat, liquid, etc you are suppose to use if you use a preset button?
Neither my kitchen or my wallet can afford the Ultra. Can someone give me the timing and the pressure for the egg setting on the Ultra, so I could use Manual on my DUO60?
There are a few methods. For a soft boil, I like 3/3/3 – 3 minutes high pressure, 3 minutes before quick release, and 3 minutes in cold water. For a medium boil, you want 4-5 minutes. For a hard boil, you want about 6-7 minutes.
Why is my ultra takes 30 mins to preheat. By the time the cooking start, it show on the screen BURN. How do I adjust the preheat time.
Seow Lee I have the same question. Everytime it starts cooking it shows on the screen burn. Why is this happening?
Pro tip is to preheat the pot on the stove.
I sautée there as well. Way more power.
I have a question about the egg feature on the Ultra. I’ve looked in the Ultra recipe book that came with my Instant Pot, but it doesn’t list using the egg feature for hard boiled eggs. I’ve just been using 5 mins High Pressure (after 5 mins pre-heat), Natural Release for 5 mins and then Quick Release. How is the egg feature on my Ultra any different than cooking it via manual High Pressure? Has anyone posting comments used the egg feature on the Ultra?
There is no difference besides the convenience factor. I use the buttons as a guide personally, but many folks don’t know recipes so rely on the buttons to do the work for them. This is why the IP rocks 😉 With eggs, a 3/3/3, 5/5/5/ or 7/7/7/ method is very effective for controlling what your yolk looks/tastes like.
Can I ask here if the Smart also adjusts for altitude?
I don’t believe so.
I’m confused about the altitude function. You say: Altitude adjustment. If you’ve ever moved around from low to high elevation or vice versa, you know that cooking times and following recipes can be a struggle. Take this from someone who lives in the mountains! The Instant Pot knows what’s up. Instead of doing all the guesswork yourself, the IP Ultra does it for you. You can adjust the cooking settings up to 9,900 feet by simply plugging it into the machine, and it will subsequently adjust cooking time for you under the assumption that the cooking time plugged in is for cooking at sea level.
Does this mean that if I’ve plugged in my altitude (9100 feet!) and use Pressure Cook and set the time for what a recipe says, such as 10 minutes, that the pot will change that to what’s right for my altitude? Or is it only for the pre-programmed settings. I want to love this pot, but I don’t want to ruin expensive dishes trying to figure out how it works.
Yes, you can plug in your altitude and it will adjust the cooking time for you.
This still isn’t clear. If I plug in 10 minutes, it cooks for 10 minutes. How do I know if I’ve correctly plugged in the altitude setting.
From the Instant Pot website:
The Altitude must only be set once for all programs. Once the altitude is adjusted, it will apply to all programs.
To adjust the ‘Altitude’, follow these steps:
– Return the cooker to the ‘Standby’ mode by pressing ‘Cancel’;
– Press and hold the central dial until the cooker beeps and enters into the system-level settings change;
– Rotate the dial to ‘Alt’ and press to select and rotate to the desired altitude units in feet or meters;
– When the altitude unit is selected, press the central dial to enter the ‘Altitude’ adjustment mode, rotate the central dial to make the adjustments;
– Once the adjustments are made, press the ‘Start’ key to save the system-level settings changes and exit
For any settings? I’ve already ruined two batches of rice trying to find the right way to program the pot.
I know this is a silly question but how do you turn the ultra off? I just got it and I see the start button and cancel button but no off button. How do I turn it off and perform the natural release without the keep warm feature kicking in? Thanks.
I believe you want to press CANCEL to display off on the screen.
It is the cancel button. I learned about the Instant Pot via my MIL’s Duo. It was intimidating at first and I hated the pressure release valve. I asked Santa for the Ultra and that’s what I use. I love it so much. I don’t know how I ever survived in the kitchen before I owned the Instant Pot Ultra.
I noticed there is no poultry function for the Ultra when looking at the comparison chart on the instant pot website. Is there a way to cook chicken in the Ultra? That is the main source of protein for my family but I also love all of the new features of the Ultra.
Yes, just follow any chicken recipe online. Unfortunately, if there is no button for it, it’s hard to tell. The poultry button on the regular pot just cooks at high pressure for 20 minutes, so if you set your Ultra manually, you can achieve the same technique.
I have the Ultra and I cook chicken in mine. ANY Instant Pot (or Pressure Cooker) recipe is interchangeable no matter the version of Instant Pot you own. I’m addicted to watching YouTube videos and I’ve made a few of Pressure Luck’s (Jeffrey) recipes (google his website or YouTube channel). His applesauce tastes better than store-bought and is super easy. And OMG you have to try his French Onion Chicken recipe. It’s to die for and I’m not normally a huge French Onion or even onion fan. It is so yummy!
NB for any of us IP lovers ,that have cerebellar dysfunction [a lack of movement coordination],spasticity from fatigue or physical trauma [speaking from experience & as an Ultra+-DUO owner] …it’s WAY more easier to push the IP-DUO’s pad settings than fight the many frustrating central knob fiddles which depend on fine motor control. In fact, it makes sense to this ret mechanic that if you are gifting a ‘older’ person or accident prone athlete, the IP-DUO is the best choice. cheers
I fail to see the added value of having any kind of connectivity with a kitchen machine, other than with my coffee maker, and I’m a gadget freak!
That said, I’m still coming to grips with my IP. The amount of liquid, possibilities compared to my crock-pot, and so on. One thing I have figured out though that making 1 person meals such as cubed chicken teriyaki is best left to the traditional frying pan. For making a great chili con carne in half the time the IP has become my device to go. Flavors are intense!
Definitely! Cooking for one is easier on the stove top or oven, but the IP is a lifesaver for batch cooking even when you’re cooking for one. I’m glad you’re starting to enjoy your IP a bit more 🙂
The Ultra is my first Instant Pot are there any recipies specifically developed for the Ultra ……
Can’t wait to see videos on YouTube for this one. Just bought this at kohls.. Between my coupons and Kohls cash.. I got this little gem for 94.00! I can’t wait how to figure out how to use it!
Can anyone tell me how to clean the lid? Do all the knobs come off a for through cleaning? I see nothing in the instructions for this.
Google paintthekitchenred.com/instant-pot-ultra-beginners-quick-start-manual/. They show how to remove all the parts of the lid for complete cleaning.
I left my first Instant pot at my son’s home and, when I got to my home I realized this fact and, since I live over 500 miles away I figured that the gas alone would be the cost of a new one. So, now I have two IP DUO 60 (when I go for another visit) since he already had an IP too. I have made yogurt, Baby Back Ribs and a slough of other dishes. I’ve never had a “so-so” recipe dysfunction. I use the IP almost every day. I think it should have been named it the magic pot!
I totally agree! I’d be honest that it took a few goes to figure out exactly how much liquid to use, as the pressure cooking actually produces some liquid, but once you get the hang of that, the uses are endless. Definitely a magic pot!
Thanks for this review. Very useful. I own a DUO 60 and wanted to buy another one. Guess it should be an Ultra after reading this review.
Disappointing the ultra doesn’t have wifi. The big mistake on the Smart was using bluetooth instead of wifi; bluetooth is shorter range and much flakier. The only reason to use bluetooth is because it’s lower power, but the Instant Pots plug into the wall, so who cares.
I was thinking the same thing. I am interested in the idea of controls through the app and having the ability to download recipe scripts to the Instant Pot. Would like to see wifi added to the ultra as they develop it more.
That’s taking it to the next level! Instant Pot from the future 🙂
Can you recommend any videos that actually provide a step by step instruction on how to use the Ultra? The instruction manuals that came with my pot absolutely do NOT match up with what my Ultra is doing from the time I plug it in. For example, the pressure setting for high and low, just keeps jumping back and forth. When High lights up, I push the button in, which should lock in that temperature, and it just goes back to low. I know this pot is new, but I can’t find anything online that shows how this particular pot works. Very frustrating.
Hey Judy, We’ll do some digging around. I imagine that aren’t too may out just yet as it’s a new product but there may be some videos on the Instant Pot official website. I’d check there first.
Thanks. Hoping Instant Pot’s website catches up to their technology.
Judy, you are having the same issue with high and low that I am. Did you ever figure out a solution or is there a problem with the machine?
Hi Judy, I’m not familiar with the Ultra but my IP has a delay start button and I had the same issue with it. The time would keep flashing. I found that if I just let it flash it would beep in less than a minute and go off and do what I had set it for. Confusing but easy once you know how it works. Hopefully that is the case in your situation as well.
Thanks for the info. I’ll give it another try.
Ms Judy, here ya go [with pics!] : https://www.paintthekitchenred.com/instant-pot-ultra-beginners-quick-start-manual/
look up “Pressure Luck”. Jeff will guide you thru how the whole instant pot works. very informative!