UPDATED: More details on “the stirring” feature are revealed.
Instant Pot’s gave a peek of their upcoming pressure cooker model at pre-International Housewares Show news conference in New York, yesterday. Where top cooking websites were able to take a few photos of the pre-production model and ask questions.
Since this was a quick preview, it’s likely that there are some finer points of this new model that might have been missed or misreported so we’ll need to wait for Instant Pot to release more information about it or for Hip Cooking to get their hands on it for more details.
Here’s a round-up of what I’ve been shown and told from Instant Pot, along with reports from The Kitchn and Bon Appetit have seen.
Late Spring Release
The new model should be released in May or June 2018 – a precise date will be released later.
New Pressure Setting
The new model is called “Max” a reference to the “Maximum Pressure” it can reach. It will have three pressure levels the two standard “low” and “high” pressure (which is 11.6 psi). The new pressure setting is “max” pressure – which is a completely new pressure setting for electric pressure cookers which can reach, and maintain, the temperature equivalent to 15psi.
The higher pressure setting has made it possible for Instant Pot to propose a “pressure canning” function. However, as of the time of this writing, it is important to note that the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) – the organization that shares tested processing times, temperatures and pressure for pressure canning – has yet to announce their support for this (or any) electric pressure cooker to be used for canning.
Using “untested” processing times means that food pressure canned in this unit could look and smell great but be contaminated by a tasteless and odorless deadly toxin. It also could not be, but there is no way to know without proper testing from a certified independent laboratory following the guidelines set out by the USDA to establish processing times and pressures.
And, as Elizabeth Andress, the director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation said in a cNet interview, “[Pressure canning] is not a cooking function. This is a public health issue.”
See Also: Pressure Canning Guide & FAQ – Put ’em up!
Releases Pressure by Itself
The lid will feature an automated valve, that will open by itself to release pressure. It will have three venting options: vent fully, vent intermittently or don’t vent at all.
Both TheKitchn and the Bon Appetit’s articles mention a stirring option – I have not personally heard or seen it. But it could be. Instant Pot does have power going into the lid to control the valve, so this power could control something else as well.
However, in a recent interview with Bob Wang posted on wirecutter, mentions that “stirring” is achieved by releasing short bursts of pressure to break the pressure equilibrium. Wang notes that “As soon as some of the pressure is released, the liquid bubbles up and takes whatever you’re cooking for the ride”. According to Robert Wang, “this agitation makes a cloudier and more collagen-rich bone broth.”
This feature is actually a variation of the novel technique I came up with for Instant Pot four years ago to make a cloudy bone broth – but with the added benefit of the valve opening itself.
While in an earlier version of this article we discussed in the comments how a “stirring” feature would be great for thick recipes – such as risotto or polenta – short bursts of pressure are actually a terrible idea for pressure cooking thick recipes. Quick bursts of pressure will certainly take the thick recipe for a ride but it will be right out of the pressure valve to redecorate your kitchen!
The Max will have the spin-dial, previously seen on the Ultra, but also have a touch-screen. Making it easier to choose an option by tapping on it, and then spinning the dial to set it.
Additional options will include a temperature sensor in the lid which tracks the temperature of the steam inside, the ability to lock the interface so kids and spouses won’t change the programming and few favorite features from the previous model which include: tracking the cooking program, turning off all the sounds, and altitude adjustment. There may also be some kind of connectivity – but there are no specific details about this, yet.
Here’s are the latest articles with information on Instant Pot’s new model (we’ll add more sources as they’re published):
- Exclusive Scoop: Here’s a First Look at the Brand New Instant Pot, Coming Out in Spring – TheKitchn
- The Instant Pot Max Is the Next Generation of the Cult Favorite Product – Bon Appetit
- What’s Different on the New Instant Pot MAX?-wirecutter
- The New Instant Pot Max has a canning feature. Is it safe?-CNet
Wow. An electric pressure cooker which can COOK and MAINTAIN 15 psi! If this is true, I hope other manufacturers of electrics will follow suit.
Laura, if you get to test one of these, please do a temperature test of this “Max” pressure and see if it really does reach – and maintain – 121.1C (or higher).
I will! Instant Pot purchased the same logging thermometer that I use and they showed me the results on a pre-announcement skype call. What they showed me results did show 121°C the entire test period. There was at least one flaws in their test such as laying the probe on a stainless steel rack – which could skew the readings – but I’m pretty sure they’re going to tweak it to work well.
The person I spoke to said they would run the tests again using a rack that would not transfer heat to the probe (like slicone).
If the temperature can stay at 121°C (or 121.1°C) at the high/max pressure setting, this would be a first for an electric pressure cooker. Hopefully your tests will reveal if it can sustain at least 121°C. I hope their European models in future will also offer full 15psi 121°C. Hopefully they are reading this; I’m happy for you to show Instant Pot this comment.
Actually the Carey/Chard pressure cooker canner has both a 10 and 15 psi weighted gauge, just like a legit stove top pressure canner. And when using the pressure canning function it continously vents steam to ensure the user that it is maintaining the proper pressure/temperature.
Carol, it can reach 20psi, the National Center for Home Food Preservation still does not recommend following USDA Pressure Canning guidelines with anty electric pressure cookers. The pressure is not the only issue, the size, and cyclical on/off cycles are also an issue. You can read more about this in detail here:
If you have evidence from any other official governmental, health or research body that pressure canning in electric pressure cookers has been tested and deemed safe, please send the info.
I’m intrigued by the stirring option. Bet it would be useful for polenta to prevent scorching.
Franco! Yes, would love to see it for that!!
Could you please check with them if they have a 220 volts (European) model for the MAX? We are out of stock since December on this other side of the pond (only LUX and DUO were available here) and no one shares any news.
On a side note, it is fun to see that a cooking related website uses… cookies :)
Thanks a lot,
I don’t have any recent news, but when I went to visit the UK distributor they told me they like to wait a year until after a new Instant Pot model is released before making an EU model. In fact, they have not brought all the US models to Europe. As far as I know, they have not changed this conservative approach.
Thanks a lot!
And here is the price…. (you can still see the webpage cashed by Google)
Thanks, Augustin. I wonder why it was put on there an taken off? I find this line of the description interesting: “Power-connected lid allows for agitated cooking, as well as slow and fast press release with app. controlled failsafe”. I mean, could this be where the confusion about the self-stirring lid be coming from? Agitated?
This article describes what the “stirring” feature is: a pulse release of pressure that agitates the food by letting the water quickly boil. Also, the addition of a second temperature sensor in the lid means the Max will ship with sous-vide functionality.
OK, so basically they took my idea – which breaks the pressure equilibrium to use the bubbles to stir the food – for the custom bone broth recipe script I wrote for the SMART. I used my knowledge of how the pressure cooker works to make a “cloudy” broth:
Personally, I think it’s funny that I wasn’t even told about it.
My work is responsible for the egg button, and the new “max 1/2” and “max 3/4” markings and more.
Glad to find out about the pressure “pulses” from someone else. Not.
Wow! Laura, you deserve recognition for your hard work and ideas. I’m glad they are listening to you.
Instant Pot wants feedback from it’s users to improve their products, which has proven to be a great strategy. Lauren is the ultimate Instant Pot fan/expert/contributor, so I think some type of recognition or partnership is in order.
I could quite happily share my views with Instant Pot, to help improve their products.
In the above “Max” article under “Mixed-Interface”, second paragraph, change “lack” to lock. Otherwise, keep up the good work!
Ooops! Fixed. Thank you.
I am anxiously waiting the release of the Instant Pot Max.
Will we have to use special recipes developed just for the Max, since the psi is higher, or can we use recipes developed for any multi cooker.
Also I read on America’s Test Kitchen reviews of multicookers about the Slow Cooker function.
“To figure out why the Instant Pot was slower than the other models, we contacted Dr. Robert A. Heard, professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He helped us calculate the potential amount of energy, in the form of heat, that ends up in each machine’s insert to cook the food, based on the dimensions of each machine’s base and insert and the amount of watts (or power) it’s equipped with.
Unsurprisingly, the Instant Pot had the least amount of energy reaching the food: 0.19 watts per cubic centimeter, compared to 0.21 to 0.23 watts per cubic centimeter in the other models. While seemingly minuscule, these differences mean that the Instant Pot had 7.6 percent to 18.5 percent less available energy to cook with than the other models did. No wonder it ran slower.”
Do you think that the wattage on the new Max will be higher and do a better job than previous Instant Pot models for slow cooking.
I love your website and all the work that you put into it.
Diane, I’m no longer receiving pre-production models from Instant Pot, so I cannot answer your question. I can say that the critique on their Slow Cooking program came out after they started producing the first batch of retail MAXes, so – even if Instant Pot wanted to correct this problem – the fix would not be available in the first batch of MAX.
I’m working on the last episode of the pressure cooking school – which is on the “Slow Cook” program for multicookers and how to get the best from it. I measured the temperatures on several electric pressure cooker models and brands, including the Crock Pot Express (their multi-cooker) and an original slow cooker. The badly working slow cooker program noted by America’s Test Kitchen is not just from Instant Pot – almost all brands have flawed slow cooking programs that end up under-cooking the food. In fact, the only multi-cooker that worked in the same way as a traditional crock pot was the Crockpot Express.
If the Slow Cooking cooking function is very important to you, or you want to use the tested slow cooker recipes you already have without any adjustments, I recommend looking into the Crockpot Express Multicooker, instead.
Thanks for your reply.
I see that they recommend for their first choice Fagor LUX LCD Multicooker.
I read on your website this morning that the Fagor company will be going out of business in the U.S.A.
My first question I was referring to pressure cooking recipes. “Will we have to use special recipes developed just for the Max, since the psi is higher, or can we use recipes developed for any multi cooker.”
I thought maybe to take advantage of the higher psi in the Max, it would cook faster and the cook times would have to be reduced.
The slow cooker function is not the most important thing to me, since I already have 3 good slow cookers that I could continue to use.
I think that I will still buy the Max, because if its’ other features.
It will be my first multicooker.
I look forward to going through all of your tutorials.
Diane, the Max will have both a “regular” pressure setting – that will work with all recipes that have been published so far and a “max” 15psi setting which is equivalent to the cooking times for stovetop pressure cookers. You don’t have to do any adjustments, if you want to cook a recipe with the, slightly faster, MAX setting you can just adjust the cooking time of the main ingredient to the cooking time on my chart:
(if you look, you’ll see the cooking difference between 11.9 and 15psi is usually between 1 and 5 minutes)
So with all these new features in the lid will it still be dishwasher safe?
No official word from Instant Pot, yet, about whether the MAX lid is dishwasher safe. Since there is a sensor in the lid, now, I would think not. Actually, in previous models, the lid was never “officially” dishwasher safe – but I did get confirmation from Instant Pot that there was nothing in the lid that would be affected by heat or detergent functionally (though the thermoplastic could change color).
Thank you for your meticulous review of MAX and other models.
Are you aware of this critical review of the Max model by CNET? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzxUgeQ5y-s
If so, do you have any comments?
Also, the MAX was supposed to be released in May or June 2018, however I can’t find it available for purchase online. Are they nixing the first model of MAX and working on the second model in view of the critique?
I think the CNET review is right on target. In the end the only novelty in the MAX is that the valve can open itself and there is a “15 psi” setting which, since it can’t be used for pressure canning (there’s nothing new in the USDA’s position against using electric appliances for pressure canning), it is being marketed as a way to cook things “faster” – at least according to the expectations in the CNET review.
The only problem is (and anyone who has looked at my timing chart already knows) that the difference between 12 and 15 psi is just a few minutes of pressure cooking time. PLUS if you heat up the cooker to a higher temperature Natural Release will take longer… so it’s not really “faster.”
I offered Instant Pot a set of features and adjustments during the development phase of the MAX that would have really distinguished their next model as the top of its class in all of the multi-cooking functions (some of which they are being criticised for) but the negotiations didn’t go well. I don’t work for free or “maybe exposure” or “zero acknowledgment” so maybe you’ll see the collection ideas being brought out by another manufacturer (I work with more than a handful – some under NDA).
One of the ideas in the package may be an article in a few months. Then, Instant Pot can read about it on this website (like they did with pressure cooker eggs, bone broth “stirring”, correcting max-full lines among others) and roll it out as a feature in a few years. : )
Once produced, the cookers take a month to a month-and-a-half to ship from China to the distribution centers – bad weather, strikes, etc. can slow this down. Like you, I hope they’re using the feedback to improve the model – but the cookers are probably just on a slow boat from China.
I’m always here and willing to help Instant Pot (and any manufacturer) behind the scenes as I have for years – but I’m not a blogger and they’re not a start-up. I might be sassy, but I’m not stupid.
I’ve seen pictures of the new Max on different sites, yours is the only one with a WiFi indicator at the upper right. Is the Max going to be WiFi-capable?
The photos are of a pre-production model. They make these to test out features and suss out any bugs. My understanding is that the retail model will not include “wifi”. But we won’t know for sure until they’re actually for sale.
how important would the auto pressure release button be for a person who has never used a pressure cooker before? I only want the max for that reason and wonder if it is necessary