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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124 Comments

  1. Laura,
    This Ultra Model sounds Ultra special!! I love how new generations or updated models in and of themselves improves from the last. I had just ordered last week on back order a SMART for son and his new wife because they are digitally minded. Here you are explaining features without an app but, as much as the app and using in zinc with the SMART instant pot was confusing or defunct to some, I liked the idea that one could upgrade it, store recipes and adapt them and other little conveniences.
    However, saying that, I really like the added functions on the Ultra and its adaptability to owner or family needs and wants!!! Very versatile and exciting!
    Can’t wait for these improvements of digital and Ultra to be incorporated into 8qt and higher with 15spi. I would gladly lay out the money for having its workhorse in the daily kitchen function. When one thinks about it, a medium LeCrueset dutch oven cost up to $400.00. Instant pot is a quality bargain!
    Debra.

    1. “When one thinks about it, a medium LeCrueset dutch oven cost up to $400.00. Instant pot is a quality bargain!”

      True, Debra but your LeCrueset will last a lifetime. No so for the IP – of if it were true. Still I agree that the IP is a fabulous appliance for the kitchen.

  2. I just purchased the ultra. Can you tell me how to adjust the altitude? I could not figure out from manual and customer service could not answer when I called this am

    1. Sarah, This is how to adjust the Altitude setting on the Instant Pot ULTRA:
      1. Un-plug and re-plug the cooker.
      2. Press “cancel” until it beeps two times- it will take about 10 seconds.
      3. Then, press the selector (hi-fi knob) until the settings screen appears.
      4. It’s a little hidden, but on the second line, after temperature select “Alt” and choose either “ft” or “m”
      5. A number will appear at the top of the screen spin the knob to adjust the Altitude.
      6. Don’t touch anything until it beeps and goes back to some other cooking screen.
      The settings will keep even if you un-plug (we did that at the beginning to re-set the screen).

      Adjusting Altitude on Instant Pot ULTRA

      Ciao,

      L

  3. Does it come in a 6qt or 8qt?

    1. For now, only 6 quart.

      Ciao,

      L

  4. Thank you thank you thank you Laura…it worked!

  5. Ok, I decided this is a must have. Ordered placed with Sur La Table :-) Got the free shipment along with a discount of $29.99 using the coupon code LILAC17.

    1. Thanks!! That code just worked for me too!!

  6. I think they are in danger of making it too complicated. Recipes are not written for that level of specificity regarding temperature

    1. Yes, you’re right. At the moment only Sous Vide recipes are specifically written by temperature. If one wants to raise bread or ferment kefir they have to do a little bit of digging to find this information. However, the ULTRA is one function of many so if someone is not comfortable with using it at least there are others already programmed that are easy enough to use.

      Ciao,

      L

  7. Another question. Can you pressure can jams, applesauce etc in this one? I ask because
    1. You can sterilise
    2. you can control the temperature (I think this is the only model that lets you do that)

    I looked at Instapots Q&A on amazon and they said you cannot pressure can because you cannot control the temperature… yet in this model you can control that.

    Your thoughts?

    1. No, you cannot pressure can with the Instant Pot ULTRA – there are no guidelines for pressure canning high-acid foods in an electric pressure cooker. Or even just pressure cooking them – specifically because the heat penetration in the jar via steam could be different than if the jar is immersed in water. You can use it as a hot water boiling canner by following the instructions on the National Center for Home Food Processing (NCHFP) website.

      I will write a short piece about this, soon as I’m in contact with an NCHFP extension officer and she has given me lots of information about what they have and have not studied and approved.

      Ciao,

      L

  8. I just got the Ultra! The manual is a bit vague on the how-to of making yogurt. Just turn dial to temp and such. If anyone asks, high makes the boil, and medium is the incubation tune. I”m not sure what low does, but I’ve read others use the low to proof bread!
    I have a question though, does setting the altitude improve the performance of it? I’ve literally only just made yogurt, following a well used recipe, and it didn’t come out. Could it be because I didn’t set the altitude? I will have to set it and find out. :)

    1. Sarah if you’re at sea level the altitude is already set for you (at 0). I believe it only affects the pressure cooking programs. Try making yogurt following my video – directly in the jar that are briefly pressure cooked. I get more consistent results from that.
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/video-how-to-make-yogurt-in-instant-pot-duo/

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Sarah I was having issues making yogurt when I first got my Ultra. I put in a trouble ticket and received the following response if it helps. :)

        Thank you for your inquiry and I am sorry you are having an issue with the yogurt function.

        There is an error in the manual regarding the milk temperature. The pasteurization point is 161 degrees F not the 180F as stated. It will help to heat faster if you keep the lid on and in the sealing position and do not exceed 3.5 litres of milk.

        For the yogurt function itself, you will need to verify what temperature setting comes on as the cooker will remember the previous setting. If you are still on the yogurt function after the milk has cooled then press the central dial again to set the time and continue as per the manual instructions.

        I hope this helps but if you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know.

  9. Laura,
    I just read that Robert Wang said that IP will be coming out with 4 new models. We know of the Ultra and the DUO Plus, but what are the other two – simply 8 qt sizes of the first two?

    1. I don’t know. Where did you read this? I know that he’s already working on the next two – a manufacturer usually already has plans for the next model by the time a new model is launched.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Not sure where I read it, Laura but I’m trying to locate what I read again.

      2. Laura,
        I don’t know if this is where I originally saw the info about 4 new models this year, but here it is an article that mentions it.

        http://www.metronews.ca/life/food/2017/03/08/instant-pot-ottawa-engineer-kitchen-gadget.html

        1. Interesting! I’ll have to ask about the other two – though I suspect they could just be new versions, sizes or EU-compatibility of existing models. I know that there is a functionality they’ve been trying to get off the ground for a while and I was surprised NOT to see it in Ultra. But if anything significantly new is coming down the pipeline I’ll know about it relatively quickly since Instant Pot always sends me one of the initial production samples hot off the factory floor.

          I specifically asked them not to send me the minor increments, anymore, because it would just create un-needed waste on my end. I’m in Italy I cannot give them away because all the initial releases are designed for the U.S. electricity and require a $150 converter to operate in Europe or $200 shipping to send to the U.S. So, not worth it! : (

          Ciao,

          L

  10. The sealing knob perplexes me. When in the un-pressed position, it just spins around and around, and when pressed, spinning it will cause it to pop up, when in one position. I hope at least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s pretty obvious that if you take the regulator off the sealing knob merely serves to lift the regulator up to release pressure. Also I found that just pressing in the knob for a few seconds will go to the settings, with nothing else necessary. Just be sure to press start after making changes, or they won’t be saved!

    1. Yes, that is how it should work. The weight is just rested onto the valve to prevent steam below a certain “pound per square inch” from exiting. Pushing the release button tips the weight to release pressure. As I wrote in the story, there is a second hidden mechanism that re-sets the lever when you close the lid.

      Good point, yes. Now you have to press START!!!

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Is there a way to press the button once and have it do a full release without holding it down the whole time? So far I have had to hold the button down during the whole release. :(

        1. Yes, you have to push it down and slightly twist it clockwise (it won’t go anywhere but it will “stick”) and it will remain pressed and continue to release pressure.

          Ciao,

          L

  11. Hi is this available in the UK?

    1. Mike, IF the UK distributor decides to carry THAT Instant Pot model they generally introduce it a year later. I spoke with the folks there a while ago and it’s to make sure that Instant Pot works out any kinks in the model.

      Ciao,

      L

  12. Just saw Instant Pot at a friend’s house, an older model. I am going to buy one but total newbie. I do have a stovetop pressure cooker, and use it sometimes. We cook a lot, including lots of beans/legumes and Indian cooking. I read your reviews. Between the Duo60 Plus and the Ultra, which would you recommend?

    1. Avidcook, if the price is no object I would go with the Ultra. It has everything the DUO Plus has plus that extra “ultra” functionality.

      Ciao,

      L

  13. @ Razzy 7.

    lol with your comment about Le Crueset vs. IP.
    You are correct!!
    Le Crueset can last a lifetime if properly cared for and ceramic interior lining doesnt, with use over time, crack or chip.

    I love Le Crueset and have workhorse pieces for utility and presentation in my well function home kitchen. However, in my post about the Ultra IP I was comparing prices for readers as an example.

    As we all know, the 6qt IP’s have a price point that most can justify on a purchase to increase their ease and function and nutrtion in thier kitchen; especially for busy people and families. The IP Ultra 10 n 1 justs adds to it!!

  14. @Razzy 7

    I am curious too about the other two models of four coming out. So far the first two, Duo Plus and Ultra are great!

  15. Laura,

    I am not too sure about the slow cook function on any of the IP’s although I read your tips on preset vs.actual accurate settings!

    Have you heard any more about this setting on Duo Plus and Ultra?

    I have also read that some don’t use this function on their IP’s prefering, their own methods.

    BTW my son and new wife recently received their SMART IP ( which was on back order) and, being digatlly minded are in Heaven!!

    I also sent them some accessories to enhance their IP cooking joys. Its like Christmas in their home!!

    Mom scores high on this one. YES!

    1. Yay for super-mom! I have been doing some testing of the Slow Cooker setting with all of my multi cookers using popular Slow Cooker recipes. They all performed well.

      From what I’ve read, some people had an issue with putting some recipes directly on “Low” (less) mode – though most slow cooker recipes have you put the recipe on “High” (more) for about an hour and then switch to “Low”. Following this convention, I have not had any problems with Fagor Lux, Instant Pot DUO or Breville Fast Slow Pro using the slow cooker setting.

      HOWEVER, I have not compared the multi cooker “slow cooker” setting to an actual slow cooker because there is such a variation between them and when I had one back in the U.S. I only used it to make herb-infused and roasted garlic olive oils.

      So, just as with pressure cooking, I think the success of the “slow cooker” setting comes down to following a good, reliable recipe and techniques from a trustworthy source.

      Ciao,

      L

  16. Laura,

    What’s going to happen to the previous models including the “Smart” one? Discontinue, no updates/upgrades to the smart app? No more smart scripts available? Etc. Can I go ahead and buy one or should I buy the new model. Thank you

    1. Instant Pot tells me they’re going to keep the line going along with updates to the software. In the future, there may even be a hardware update. It’s too far in the future for them to give me any specifics, but even if they did I wouldn’t be able to share what they are. But I can tell you that so far I haven’t heard anything on that front.

      The SMART is still the only pressure cooker where you can program SEQUENTIAL temperature changes. For example, cook at one temperature for x amount of time, then pressure cook at x temperature for x amount, then turn off for x amount of time, then slow cook for x amount of time. While for the ULTRA, you can program the time and temperature OR pressure, but you need to be there to punch in the second phase of cooking.

      The SMART is a product for the master tinkerer that requires a bit of knowledge to get connected and going with the app – but then you can send it off on its merry way to complete a task – while the ULTRA gives you the same amount of control, but only one temperature or pressure range at a time (which is what the majority of cooks need, anyway).

      I’m a big believer and supporter of the SMART but since its launch, to my dismay, I’ve seen only 50% of the people who bought it be able to fully utilize it because of the added complexity, compatibility and usability issues surrounding the app. And it’s that app that must be used to access the sequential cooking programs in the SMART.

      So, the benefit of the ULTRA is accessing the temperature level programming without an app and with a hi-fi knob. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thank you Laura. I’m going to buy the Smart pot today. Great Web Site by the way…

        Ciao,

        Ivan

  17. Hi Laura,

    I ordered an IP ULTRA model yesterday . I am wondering if , is it possible to cook long grain rice with out any pressure ? With ULTRA model, can we just cook with no-pressure or STEAM setting for 20 mins, just like regular rice cooker ?

    I had bad experiences with other models where rice even under low pressure also getting mushy and 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water .
    Regular rice cooker does not have pressure and rice comes clean and separated.

    -Thanks,

    1. Raj, yes you can cook and steam rice without pressure in the ULTRA. But I cannot recommend the cooking times, temperatures or water ratios to use for rice without it. Before you go and experiment, I recommend trying my rice ratios. If you notice on the chart, for Bamsati rice for example, there is a different ratio if the rice is rinsed or soaked. You’ll also notice a 2:1 ratio is not used for anything other than risotto (which explains your mushy rice experience):
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/easy-pressure-cooker-steamed-rice/

      If you still have one of those other models, try my rice technique and ratios in one of them before buying the Ultra. All electric pressure cookers function very similarly – it’s the bells and whistles on the front and the quality of the inner pot that make the biggest difference between brands. : )

      Ciao,

      L

  18. Laura,

    You always give thorough detailed advice, thanks so much. I really enjoy your website, its knowledge and comparison and the comments answered. I will follow up with my son on how the SMART is working for him and household. He is very tech savy. so, we will see.

    I am now going to alert my husband to try the slow cook setting again on his Duo with your advice and see how it comes out.

    I am wanting a new IP and it is a tough call between the Plus and SMART. Since the household already has a Duo 6qt, I am waiting for an updated 8qt. but I am very tempted to buy right now a 6qt Ultra or SMART. hmm………

  19. Thank you Laura for this information and your thorough explanation of the models.

  20. Do we have a price scale on the new models?

    1. They are all for sale, click on the links at the bottom of the article to see the price. : )

      Ciao,

      L

  21. I bought the ultra 6qt right now, should I buy any accessories? it is for my mother.

    Also for interested peopleI used ‘fresh17’ code on surlatable.com to get 20% off and free shipping.

  22. I really need justification to buy this. My current IP I brought December 2015. Help please :(.

    1. When you move almost all of your cooking to the pressure cooker – I typically recommend getting a second one to concurrently cook the side and main dish. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  23. I wish the Instant Pot would be available in Australia. It’s so frustrating that we can’t buy it here :(

    1. Allison, take a look a the Breville Fast Slow pro – it’s designed by Aussies and it is also one of my top three recommendations.
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/5-electric-pressure-cooker-buying-tips-3-top-recommendations/

      It is technically more advanced than the ULTRA because it has a temperature sensor on the lid and it also releases its own pressure. The only downside (for me) is that it doesn’t make yogurt and there is no “delay” timer. But these might not be features you need.
      https://www.hippressurecooking.com/breville-fast-slow-pro-pressure-cooker-review/

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thanks!

  24. Is the Duo the only model that comes in the 8Q? I have a family of 5, and I worry that the 6Q meals really won’t go far. Are most of the recipes designed for the 6Q? Is it complicated to modify to make more (more complicated than making any recipe larger)?

  25. Does the extra pot of 6qt duo/plus will fit in ultra?

    1. Yes, the 6qt “replacement” pot will fit in any Instant Pot 6qt. model. : )

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thanks Laura

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