Which Instant Pot Accessories Are Worth It?

We tried 10 of them to see which ones are game changers—and which are a waste of space

Instant-Pot-Accessories Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

One of the selling points of an Instant Pot multi-cooker is that it saves space by replacing a number of other countertop appliances—slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker.

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What no one tells you is that in order to make the most of your Instant Pot, you’ll need a bunch of accessories that will clutter your cabinets.

But which ones are actually worth the money and storage space? We bought 10 of these accessories so that I could test them at home to see which ones boost my Instant Pot game—which I’ve been honing for eight years now—and which ones languish alongside my other kitchen outcasts.

Below are the details on the accessories that would make a great gift for yourself and your loved ones, plus two that you should skip.

Air-Fryer Lid

Price: From $63. Buy at: Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.
The air-fryer lid combines two of the most popular countertop appliances—multi-cookers and air fryers—into a cooker that can do it all. The lid fits on top of the Instant Pot, turning it into a mini convection oven that adds roasting, baking, broiling, reheating, and dehydrating functions to the multi-cooker’s already long list of programs. But while it saves you from buying yet another space-hogging appliance, it’s not exactly compact: It’s 11 inches wide and 7 inches tall. And it’s not compatible with all Instant Pot models, so be sure to check here before you buy.

Instant-Pot-Accessories-Air-Fryer
The air-frying lid adds bake, roast, broil, reheat, dehydrate, and (of course) air-frying functions to many 6-quart Instant Pots.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

The lid comes with an air-fryer basket that you slip into the Instant Pot’s stainless steel inner pot. The downside is that the 3.5-quart basket is quite small. (The air fryers in our ratings range from 2 to 5.8 quarts.) It may not make sense for large families, but it’s just right for couples or people cooking for one, or if you’re willing to do multiple batches.

Though you need the basket to crisp up fries, you can use the air-fryer lid with just the Instant Pot’s stainless steel pot to brown and bake. I pressure-cooked a whole chicken in the stainless steel pot and swapped out the lid for the air-fryer lid to crisp up the skin. The result was a tender, juicy chicken with golden-brown skin.

The lid’s bake function didn’t disappoint when I used it to make Parker House rolls. The tops were uniformly browned, and the insides were moist and pillowy. The reheat function crisped up my dim sum takeout, and the roast function got my smashed potatoes nice and crackling.

I found the lid’s dehydrate function disappointing, though. For one, I could barely fit enough fruit on the tray to justify the 4-hour cook time. The mango and apple slices came out rubbery and hard to chew, nothing like the dried mango and apple chips you find at the grocery store.

Metal Egg Racks

Price: From $15. Buy at: Amazon, Best Buy, and Kohl’s.
There are two types of egg racks available for the Instant Pot: silicone and metal. Both hold whole eggs, so they cook evenly and the yolks stay centered when you’re making soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. But the metal racks proved to be even more useful.

Inline-Instant-Pot-Accessories-Egg-Racks
This rack holds eggs for boiling and also lets you to cook, say, curry in the pot and rice on the rack—pot-in-pot cooking.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

There are two types of egg racks available for the Instant Pot: silicone and metal. Both hold whole eggs, so they cook evenly and the yolks stay centered when you’re making soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. But the metal racks proved to be even more useful.

In addition to being able to fit 14 eggs at a time (the silicone one fits nine), the multitiered racks are perfect for cooking two dishes at once, also known in the Instant Pot community as pot-in-pot cooking. I used the tall one to hold a bowl of rice and water, which steamed while curry cooked underneath. You can cook as little as a half-cup of rice this way, which is too small an amount to cook in the larger Instant Pot insert.

Ceramic Nonstick Inner Pot

Price: From $20. Buy at: Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
The Instant Pot comes with a stainless steel inner pot that’s durable and works great for most meals but can be a pain to clean if you make sticky or starchy foods. This ceramic pot was a breeze to clean after cooking rice and cheesy pasta, so it could be worth it if these types of dishes are on regular rotation in your household. The pot is oven-safe up to 680° F, so you can pop your mac and cheese under the broiler to get a crispy topping. (You may think you could achieve the same result without the broiler by using the air-fryer lid to crisp, but that lid isn’t compatible with this ceramic pot.)

Non Stick Pot
A nonstick ceramic-coated pot makes cleanup easier when making sticky or starchy meals.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Springform Cake Pan

Price: From $11. Buy at: Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.
The moist environment of a multi-cooker is ideal for making cheesecake and other custardy desserts. I will always choose this method over using an oven. And though you don’t need a special pan for it, this 7.5-inch pan (an uncommon size) fits perfectly in the pot, letting me squeeze in as much cheesecake as possible. It’s even more convenient if you have the silicone steam rack (below), because it locks into the rack for easy removal from the Instant Pot. If you’re a cheesecake lover like me, this pan would be nice to have.

Spring form pan.
The nonstick springform pan is a must for any cheesecake fan. It fits perfectly in the Instant Pot.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Silicone Steam Rack

Price: From $9. Buy at: Amazon and Walmart.
This silicone rack is great for recipes that require a dish, pan, or other item from the same Instant Pot silicone collection (like the steamer basket, below) to be placed inside the Instant Pot. It also works for other items that fit, like the springform pan, above. A locking-rim design secures accessories to the rack, and the legs stand higher out of the water than the metal rack that comes with the Instant Pot, which helps prevent food from getting wet. The long handles let you easily lower and lift the dish in and out of the pot without accidentally burning yourself. In the past, I crafted an aluminum foil sling to lower and lift my dishes, but it always felt unbalanced and precarious. The silicone steam rack truly is a game-changer for me and worth every penny.

Steamer Set
The silicone collection is a set that includes a cake pan (left), steamer basket (center), and steamer rack (right). They're also sold individually.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Silicone Steamer Basket

Price: $10. Buy at: Amazon and Walmart.
The silicone basket looks like a traditional bamboo steamer, but the silicone prevents food from sticking. It locks onto the silicone steam rack accessory, and you can nest three of them on top of each other. It did a great job steaming dumplings, and I appreciated the flat surface for steaming fish. (Most other steamers I’ve tried for the Instant Pot are concave and don’t allow food to lie flat.) This steamer is also cheaper than bamboo steamers, easier to clean (just toss it in the dishwasher!), and fits snugly in the Instant Pot due to its custom size.

Yogurt-Maker Cups

Price: From $5. Buy at: Amazon, Kohl’s, and Walmart.
I’ve found that yogurt made directly in the Instant Pot’s stainless steel insert tastes a bit metallic, so I was looking forward to trying out these plastic yogurt cups. Each of the five cups fits a half-cup. Depending on how much yogurt you eat a week, this may or may not be enough.

If you’ve made Instant Pot yogurt the regular way, you know that sterilizing milk directly in the insert always leaves scalded milk stuck to the bottom of the pot. That means you have to transfer the milk into another bowl to clean out the pot, then pour it back into the pot to be cultured into yogurt. With these yogurt cups, milk goes straight into them and turns into yogurt—no messy cleaning required. Then you just put the cups in the refrigerator. The only downside is the Instant Pot tends to distribute heat unevenly, so some yogurt thickened more than the rest.

Yogurt cups
Yogurt cups are convenient when making yogurt, although some of it may thicken more than the rest.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Mini Mitts

Price: $10. Buy at: Walmart.
I admit I rolled my eyes when we purchased these silicone mitts because I didn’t see how they would work any better than a regular oven mitt. I was proved wrong, especially in my attempts to remove the various racks, pots, and baskets I tried out for this article. The mitts are thin and much more pliable, allowing for precision gripping. But if you don’t plan on getting any of the other stuff on this list, you can probably pass on these mitts as well.

Mitts
These mitts are thin and pliable—ideal when precision is required to grab small handles and pans out of the pot.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Instant Pot Accessories That Are Not Worth It

Mesh Baskets
Price: $30. Buy at: Amazon.
All the Instant Pot models in our ratings do relatively poorly in our lab tests for steaming vegetables. Do fine-mesh wire baskets help at all? They do not. Still, if you use your Instant Pot to steam veggies regularly, this basket allows you to make large batches without having to transfer the pieces one by one out of the pot when they’re done. The smaller basket also nests inside the larger basket, so you can steam two vegetables while keeping them separated.

Mesh baskets
Wire mesh baskets are handy for steaming big batches of veggies but don't help the Instant Pot cook them any better.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

Tempered-Glass Lid

Price: From $15. Buy at: Amazon, Target, and Walmart.
The transparent glass lid lets you see what’s cooking, like with a slow cooker, and provides a looser seal than the pressure-cooker lid. If the lid allowed for more evaporation, I thought it might improve slow-cooked dishes—a task that Instant Pot models underperform on in our lab tests. But the beef stew I slow-cooked with the glass lid came out just as tough and watery as the beef stew I slow-cooked with the pressure-cooker lid. My recommendation would be to save your money.

Glass lid
The glass lid doesn't do much beyond letting you watch your food cook.

Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports Photo: Perry Santanachote/Consumer Reports

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Headshot of Perry Santanachote, editor with the Home editorial team at Consumer Reports

Perry Santanachote

I cover the intersection of people, products, and sustainability, and try to provide humorous but useful advice for everyday living. I love to dive deep into how things work, and debunking myths might be my favorite pastime. But what I aim to be above all else is a guiding voice while you're shopping, telling you what's a value, what's a ripoff, and what's just right for you and your family.