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What Size Instant Pot Should I Buy?

What Size Instant Pot Should I Buy?

One of the questions I see regularly in my Meal Planning group and on this blog is, “What size Instant Pot should I buy?” And I totally get it because I asked the same question not too long ago! There are so many Instant Pot size choices – it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.

What Size Instant Pot Should I Get

The Instant Pot comes in four different sizes – 3 quart, 5 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart. Not all sizes are available for all models. The biggest debate I see is between the 6 and 8 quarts, so I’m going to focus on those…but I have notes on the 3 quart option, too!

Based on our FB group and the main Instant Pot FB group (with over a million members!), I feel pretty confident that the most popular Instant Pot is the 6 qt Duo Plus (this is what I have!). Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits of each size…hopefully, this will help you decide what size Instant Pot you should buy.

What Size Instant Pot

What Size Instant Pot Should I Buy?

Let’s talk about Instant Pot sizes! 

Instant Pot 3 qt – If you’re cooking meals for one or maybe two, the 3 qt might be all that you need. With most of the features of the larger versions, this option has a smaller footprint and is perfect for small spaces, an RV, or travel. 

front face of instant pot

This is also a handy second pot if you want a smaller one for cooking rice, soups, or eggs while your larger pot is in use.

If you are single or cooking for two, but do a lot of meal prep or batch cooking, you’ll probably want to size up to to the 6qt. You can make bigger batches of food in the 6 quart, and if you have the space for the larger pot, I feel like you can’t go wrong with the 6 quart.

If you like cooking larger food items, like a full butternut squash or a chicken, opt for the 6 quart over the 3 quart.

Instant Pot 6 qt – This is what I have. I have a family of four, and it’s plenty big enough for my pretty basic cooking needs. I use it to meal prep (we makes lots of soups, hard-boiled eggs, and steel cut oats in this pot!). It’s also been great for dinners (this shredded chicken is an example of a full dinner that we made in the Instant Pot).

front face of an instant pot

You can easily fit a whole chicken inside the 6 qt.

This would be my recommendation if you’re cooking for 3-4 people or doing meal prep. If you’re doing a lot of meal prep, check out the 8 qt.

Instant Pot 8 qt – This slightly bigger pot is perfect if you have a large family or do a lot of cooking. If you’re the person who spends Sunday afternoon making giant batches of food for the week, this might be your pot!

front face of an instant pot

If you are cooking for more than four people, this is probably a safe bet. 

The 8 qt has a larger footprint and will require more space. And due to its size, it will take longer to come to pressure than the 6 qt. The trade-off, of course, is that you can cook more food inside it.

You can find useful accessories, like this stackable egg steamer rack, for both sizes.

A lot of your decision is going to boil down to your most basic needs and personal preference, but I think we’re all just afraid to make the wrong choice! I wondered if I should go with the bigger option, but ultimately chose the 6 quart due to the smaller size and how I thought I’d use it. It’s been perfect for us.

Do you have an Instant Pot? Which size did you get, and what were the deciding factors?


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Thank you for these tips. Now, I know which one to buy for my family size.

Empty-nester here. I first bought a 6-qt IP. It’s now relegated to the basement, unless I need to cook large quantities for groups.

I use the 3-qt for steel-cut oats for she & me in the morning, and for rice or beans for meals. Have a 16-minute chicken & rice (or lentil) recipe that can easily feed 3 when our son visits. The 3-qt. IP is one of the best kitchen purchases that I’ve made.

[…] Ideal for: The average family size of 3-4 people, and is the most popular and versatile size [44] [45]. […]

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