Instant Pot ULTRA Preview

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Instant Pot ULTRA Preview

Instant Pot’s newest model, ULTRA,  not only re-designs the way we interact with a pressure cooker – but it can do all this without the requisite app that pleased and confounded an equal number of cooks using their previous model (SMART).

Instant Pot is not one to follow the rules.  They tend to break them.  When the pack was introducing a new pressure cooker model every two to five years, Instant Pot was introducing them every 18 months.  Now, with the arrival of the ULTRA, Instant Pot introduces two new models not only in the same year but just a month apart.

Shocker!

Let’s get right into the good stuff, and cover the details later. Specifically, the new functionality that turns this a multi cooker into an unlimited cooker – though Instant Pot calls it a 10-in-1.

Ultracool, Ultrafast, Ultraconvenient… Ultra

The new function of the Instant Pot ULTRA is a setting on the control panel that is similar to custom and manual mode, except now you, can do more than just choose the cooking time and pressure – you can choose the cooking temperature, too! Here are all of the settings under this function.

Choose the Time

Instant Pot ULTRA settingWhen you first select Ultra, you spin and punch our way through the menu to first choose the cooking time (from 1 minute to 6 hours).

Choose the Pressure & Temp

Then, once the cooking time is confirmed, there is the option to choose the cooking pressure: High Pressure (10.2 – 11.6 psi), Low Pressure (5.8 – 7.2 psi) or No Pressure at all.

The “no pressure” feature is neat because from there you can either choose a pre-set temperature (Low 131°F, Med 197°F, or High 208°F) or choose the specific temperature, one degree at a time, from 104-208°F. BTW, if you want to use this for Sous Vide cooking – be aware that the temperature is accurate +/- 5°F and it can vary from the base to the top without the addition of a circulator (which Instant Pot sells separately).

Delay Timer & Keep Warm

This is one of my favorite features – because it gets dinner going while I’m out of the house.  The Ultra lets you choose to delay cooking anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours – don’t know when the latter would come in use but it’s an option.  Also, this panel lets you choose whether you want “keep warm” to kick-in at the end of cooking or not.

Spin and Go

Spin & Go - Instant Pot UltraNow that we’ve seen this kind of spin dial interface on three different pressure cooker brands – we can safely call it a trend.  The plastic foil-coated knobs that disappeared with hi-fis back in the 80’s have been given new life as selectors. Now the cook can easily choose a cooking program and drill down into the options.

The first spin will illuminate the main programs on the outer rim of the screen. Punch in the one you want, and the “start” button to go or keep selecting and tweaking options for that program – some options drill down three levels deep! Because… options.

Cooking Progress Indicator

In my years of teaching pressure cookery, I’ve found that those new to pressure cooking don’t immediately grasp that the water needs to come to a boil in order for the cooker to build pressure – and this takes time.  Instant Pot ULTRA’s new cooking indicator will display when the cooker is Preheating (aka not quite boiling or the selected temperature), Cooking (pressure cooking, slow cooking, or whatever was chosen) or Keep[ing] Warm.

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a boa constrictor swallowing an elephant?

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Instant Pot ULTRA - Programs and FunctionsFunctions, Programs & Settings

The Instant Pot ULTRA multi cooker features the following  cooking functions:

  • Pressure Cook – at high or low pressure from 1 minute to six hours.
  • Steam – at high, low or no pressure from 1 minute to four hours
  • Slow Cook – at high, medium, low or custom temperature from 30 minutes to 20 hours
  • Saute’ – at  high (sear), medium (saute’), low (simmer) or custom temperatures from 1 to 30 minutes
  • Warm –  at high, low medium or custom temperature for 10 minutes to 99 hours
  • Sterilize – at high, low or no pressure from 1 minute to 4 hours. There are no official guidelines (time, temperature or method) on how to use an electric pressure cooker for sterilization. However, Instant Pot told me that this setting is mainly to be used to pasteurize milk (for yogurt-making)  and sterilize baby bottles.  It cannot be used for pressure canning.
  • Yogurt – There are no instructions on how to use this setting but we think the process will be similar to that used in previous models.
  • Ultra – described in detail, above.

Instant Pot Ultra also includes the following cooking programs, which are basically recommended pre-set times and pressures for cooking that particular food, with the ability to further customize and memorize the settings: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Cake, and Egg.

This cooker also features an automatic elevation adjustment that you can turn on in the settings screen for up to 9,900 feet.  The automatic part is that the ULTRA re-calculates the pressure cooking time for you (assuming the timing of the recipe you punch-in is timed for sea level). On the same screen, you can also choose the temperature scale (F° or C°) and turn off the sound.

Pressure Release “Button” & Trick

Another feature this pressure cooker has is pressure release “button”  which acts as a lever to open the valve.  It’s supposed to distance the cook from the act of actually spinning the valve open – but honestly, the button is still right next to the valve so take this new feature with a grain of salt (because we’ve seen this button much further away from the valve elsewhere).

But not all is as it appears with this awkward button.  There is a little trick behind this mechanism to ensure the valve is in the correct position to pressure cook automatically just by closing the lid.  Raise your hand if you set-and-forget something only to realize half an hour later that you hadn’t closed the pressure valve and nothing has even started pressure cooking, yet.  Me too.  The hidden mechanism ensures that this scenario never happens again.

Accessories

The Instant Pot Ultra comes with an offset rice paddle (so you can put it on the counter top without a spoon rest) a mini soup ladle, a rice cooker measuring cup, and stainless steel wire rack with handles.

Instant Pot ULTRA Accessories

The insert, like all other Instant Pot models is stainless steel.

Instant Pot Ultra Stainless Steel Liner

Instant Pot Ultra is due to be released in the middle of May 2017  watch this amazon listing for details. It is already shipping from Sur La Table (affiliate link, thank you for your support!)

Leave a comment with any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!

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131 Comments

  1. I have a new instant pot ultra. I love to cook but this is a whole new ball game. So I can’t figure out a very basic thing: how you get the menu options from ultra button. Do you press start?
    I did that and it did not offer options. Can you explain? Thanks very much Stephanie

  2. I think that I figured this out. You press in on the button itself.

    1. Yes, push and spin. Push and spin. The blinking item is the option that you can change by twisting. Then you can push to set or confirm it and spin to the next option.

      Congrats on your new pressure cooker!!

      Ciao,

      L

  3. Laura, From the time I’ve had the Ultra, I just realized, it has never remembered the last used setting for any of the individual cook modes. It always goes back to the original default settings. Isn’t it supposed to remember your last setting? For instance if I use the Pressure Cook button it always defaults to 35 mins and I have to dial it down to 7 minutes for my daily rice fare. Isn’t it suppose to show 7 mins the next time onward? Can you help, please?

  4. Hi, I use a Panasonic multicooker but have never used pressure cookers of any kind. I’m a reasonably proficient but pragmatic cook (nothing too fancy except on special occasions) and am comfortable with technology. Would you recommend a Breville or the instant pot ultra as the first pressure cooker to own?

  5. Not sure I get this, when I made Mongolian beef tonight I couldn’t get time to change to10 minutes, therefore meat came out too soft. Are you saying press ultra and even though using meat setting I can change the time?

    1. Anne, I’m not familiar with the recipe you used, but on the Ultra all the programmed settings can be adjusted. You can select the meat program, and then spin the knob around until the square around the time blinks, select that (push the knob), and then the time will flash so you can adjust it up or down by spinning the knob. When you’re all done in choosing the correct time push the knob in again to “save” it, and then press “start”.

      Ciao,

      L

  6. Any idea if they have up graded their manuel. Havr tead real negative things about it.

    1. I don’t know. But you cna download it from this site and decide for yourself.

  7. Does the SMART have any way to factor elevation?

  8. I just Purchased a Instant pot Ultra. I have not been able to find any info on the egg feature, any info on how to use would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Lynn

    1. Hi Lynn, you can follow our video – instead of hitting the “manual” button, you can push the “Egg” button. ; )
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/cracked-soft-medium-and-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-pressure-cooker/

      Ciao,

      L

  9. I just got my new instant pot ultra and am running the test by steaming water. I have to tell you your instructions leave a LOT to be desired. I am an experienced cook but this is almost at a dead end for me. Is there any place I can find more explicit instructions? Such as how to use the ultra. If I want to cook chicken thighs with sauce do I put it on meat/stew? And how many minutes would it take for 6-8 thighs?

    1. Welcome Gail,
      Pressure cooking is quite different to other modes of cooking. For a start, you cannot monitor while it is all happening so you need to plan more.

      Most experienced pressure cookers just use manual mode and set pressure (if possible) and time manually. But you could absolutely use meat/Stew (which will default to high pressure) and adjust time as necessary. You will find one of the most complete cooking time charts anywhere here – check out the links to find them. They used to be at the top of the page. I am not sure where they are on this new look website. 8 thighs will take the same time as one.

    2. Gail, we’re not Instant Pot – but I feel your pain. The new manuals compared to the old are all flash and no info. For instructions on how to pressure cook cakes, eggs, or anything else with your ULTRA. Just look-those up on this website by clicking on the search box. : )

      Ciao,

      L

  10. I have read all the reviews and am confused about whether to get the Duo Plus or the Ultra. One of main differences seems that you can steam without pressure and have the knob to make fine adjustments. I am concerned that it will be difficult to understand how to use. Will the website give enough support?

    1. Grace, we’ll do what we can to help. Instant Pot also has a very active Facebook Group as well.

      Ciao,

      L

  11. Can you please tell me how to set the timer on this pot as I have tried and tried to find a means of setting it and so far have not been successful.

    1. Mairi, once you choose the function you want, push the knob again to change the cooking time, etc. Spin the knob to turn on “Delay” mode, and then the cooking time display (at the top of the screen) will flash to 0 and you can adjust it by spinning the knob to indicate how much time you’d like to delay the start of the program. Press again after putting in the time and press start lock it all in.

      Ciao,

      L

  12. Hi! We are trying to decide between the DUO-60 or the Ultra-60. I am looking at the comparisons here http://instantpot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Instant-Pot-Product-Comparison.pdf. What are we losing by not having a poultry program option? I would say that 75% of what we cook is chicken.

    Thanks,
    Reese

    1. Reese, you can use the Meat/Stew program and adjust the cooking time down to 20 minutes. The “program” is just a pre-set cooking time and pressure. That being said, the default “Poultry” cooking program usually takes more time than you’ll ever need for anything but a whole chicken. When you follow a recipe, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time according to the recipe, anyway. In short: you’re not losing anything. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

      P.S. The DUO Plus is on sale today on amazon: http://amzn.to/2BpwqM9

    2. Reese, I suspect you’ll find as many, if not most, IP users have that you won’t use any of the presets. At our home, we just use the Manual setting and whatever amount of cooking time the recipe calls for. Easy peasy. Hence it won’t matter which model you purchase.

  13. Are the inner Stainless steel pots different on the Ultra? I just tried to use one of my other inner pots and the lid wouldn’t seal. Was this user error or are the inner pots not interchangeable

    1. Are you sure both are Instant Pots and both are the same size? The inner pots are not interchangeable between brands but they are interchangeable between Instant Pot models of the same size. I have a stack of 6qt stainless steel inserts that I’ve collected from LUX, DUO, SMART, DUO Plus and ULTRA and it doesn’t matter which inner pot I put in which cooker. They all fit.

      Ciao,

      L

  14. Hi, I do Indian cooking. I cook Rice and lentils in one shot using stacked vessels. Currently it takes slightly above 30 mins (around 10 mins for preheating and another 21 mins for cooking). I am putting it in Rice mode I heard Instant pot cooks faster. Where am I going wrong?

    1. The heat-up time is going to be the same as it’s just the time it takes to boil water, but the cooking time should depend on the kind of rice you’re using. That’s 3 minutes for Basmati and 20 minutes for brown rice – here is my rice cooking time chart..
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/easy-pressure-cooker-steamed-rice/

      Ciao,

      L

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