Air fryers and Instant Pots are everywhere these days. Some people are air fryer people, others swear by the Instant Pot. And some of us love them both. The one thing that can be said for both is that they help us cook quick and easy meals that don’t skimp on quality or flavor.
If you don’t want to try both, or you have limited space in your kitchen, then determining which one is better, or which one you will click with the most, is something you’ll have to put some thought into.
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Without knowing the differences between the two and the major benefits, it is difficult to decide which one best suits you. So we’re breaking down the differences, the pros and the cons for you here in this article.
See our pros and cons list for the Air Fryer vs Instant Pot to decide. These points will help you decide which machine reigns supreme in the kitchen.
What’s the Difference Between an Instant Pot and an Air Fryer?
While both appliances allow you to cook faster and healthier meals, their cooking methods differ quite a bit. The most significant distinction between an Instant Pot and an air fryer is how each appliance cooks food.
An air fryer cooks meals the same way that a convection oven would. It circulates hot air on and around your food. The rapid circulation of hot air also means that food cooks more evenly and faster than in regular ovens. This circulating air also almost eliminating the need for oil to make food crispy.
An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that cooks food using hot steam. The appliance creates steam at a high temperature trapping it under a tight seal so it can’t escape. This method can cook a whole meal at a fraction of the time a standard oven or stovetop can.
Air Fryer vs Instant Pot: Pros and Cons
To get a better idea of the differences between an air fryer and an Instant Pot, take a look at the pros and cons of both.
Here are some advantages of an air fryer:
- It is very easy to clean your air fryer. Depending on the model, some detachable parts are dishwasher-safe.
- Air fryers cook fried food to a nice golden crunch without adding extra oil.
- Air fryers come in varying sizes and capacities, so you can find one that fits you, from the smallest air fryers to extra large ones that will cook for an entire family.
- Compared to other appliances, an air fryer is very safe to use. Kids can operate them safely, unlike the oven and stovetop.
- It minimizes the use of oil, so there are no oil splatters or messy pans to clean up.
- It also doesn’t emit radiation, like microwave ovens do.
- You don’t have to preheat them, cutting down the energy they use and shortening prep time.
Here are some disadvantages of an air fryer:
- Regarding air fryer functions, you’re spoiled for choice. However, each air fryer comes with its own modes and settings. The unique settings mean that what works for one air fryer might not work for another.
- While air fryers come in different sizes and capacities, they aren’t as big as instant pots. Instant pots can cook large quantities of food for big families with ease. While a few large air fryers like the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL still can’t cook as much food as an instant pot can.
- Most air fryers have a short cable and need to be set right in front of a power outlet. If you don’t have counter space, you might need an extension cord.
- The interior of the air fryer can be difficult to clean, but with food splatter, it’s a necessary evil.
Here are some advantages of an Instant Pot:
- Instant Pots have many functions. It can be a steamer, slow cooker, pressure cooker, food warmer, and more.
- An Instant Pot is excellent for flavorful stews, soups, and broths. It cuts down the cooking time for a perfect bone broth from 24 hours to just two.
- You can use the pot-in-pot method to make multiple things at once.
- Cooking tough meats like roasts that typically take hours in the oven, takes just 40 minutes in the Instant Pot.
- An Instant Pot can convert into an air fryer with the Air Fryer lid. Or you can try this Instant Vortex Plus that’s an Instant Pot air fryer to get the best of both worlds.
Here are some disadvantages of an instant pot:
- Food can burn onto the bottom of the pot in sauté mode, which can be difficult to clean.
- You can’t crisp up foods in the Instant Pot. Some food has to be put under the broiler to get crispy skin.
- While a delay start timer can help you out in a pinch, it can be risky to do. If you leave your uncooked food out on the counter for a few hours, it can get spoiled and cause food poisoning.
- If used improperly, an Instant Pot can cause harm. Hot steam can leave nasty burns.
- The Instant Pot is quite big and can take up a lot of space in the kitchen.
- If you don’t clean the sealing rings properly, they can also hold smells.
After you‘ve looked at both appliances’ pros and cons lists, you might be able to better decide which machine is best for you.
Choose an air fryer if:
- If you typically cook smaller meals that don’t require a lot of time to cook, like chicken thighs, hamburgers, or sausages.
- You often cook fried snack foods like French fries, onion rings, or pizza rolls.
- You like the ease of just putting food in to cook, with no fuss.
- You want cooking to be super easy.
Choose an Instant Pot if:
- You like to cook stews and soups
- You make a lot of beef or pork roasts
- You want to make things like yogurt, bone broth, or cheesecake
- You’re cooking for a large number of people
- You want to get creative and don’t mind a complicated recipe
- Air fryers are great for light and crispy meals, whereas an Instant Pot is great for soups, stews, and broths.
- Instant Pots are great for larger families, whereas an air fryer is ideal for a small family or a couple.
- Both appliances are versatile and allow you to cook a wide range of things.
- Instant Pot has a delayed start timer that allows you to start cooking while you’re out. It also has a warmer function that helps keep food warm until you’re ready to eat.
Ultimately, in the great debate of which is better, the answer is ‘it depends.’ It depends on your family’s needs and what exactly you want out of your cooking appliance.
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🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.