Instant Pot 8 Quart Vs. 6 Quart Differences And Buyer’s Guide

Instant Pot 6 Quart VS 8 Quart Slow Cooker Differences to Know

instant pot 6 quart vs 8 quart slow cooker differences to know

  • The 8-quart size is available for the Instant Pot Duo, Duo Plus, Pro, and Ultra models. While the different variations offer unique features, the 8 quart is really just a bigger size and does not offer any extra options.
  • The 8-quart size allows you to make enough food to serve more than six people, so it’s great for larger families or potlucks.
  • The 6-quart size is available for every Instant Pot variation. This includes the Instant Pot Duo, Duo Plus, Pro, Max, and Ultra.

The Max is the only variation of this slow cooker that is available exclusively in the 6-quart size.

Depending on your needs, this may be the determining factor in your decision to purchase a 6 quart Instant Pot over the 8-quart. The 6-quart size can feed smaller families of 4-6 people.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooking Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

instant pot pressure cooking frequently asked questions (faq)

How is an Instant Pot different from a pressure cooker?

Mainly it comes down to safety, ease of use, and versatility. While a regular pressure cooker possesses all of these qualities to a degree, Instant Pots are much safer, easier to use, and capable of much more than your average pressure cooker.

All Instant Pot models, even the more basic models, have several safety features in place. The available programs make using the machine as easy as pressing a button for many items. And Instant Pots do much more than just pressure cook.

Even the most basic Instant Pot Duo offers several different functions including pressure cooking and slow cooking.

What Instant Pot sizes are available?

There are five different Instant Pot models with three size options. The Duo, Duo Plus, and Ultra models are available in 3 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart sizes, while the Pro is only manufactured in the 6 quart and 8 quart sizes, and the Max is available exclusively in the 6 quart size.

How can you tell if your Instant Pot is 6 quart or 8 quart?

All Instant Pot models should have a sticker on the back with pertinent information. You’ll be able to find the specific model of your Instant Pot as well as the size.

While it’s likely you have the 6 quart model due to its popularity, checking this sticker will help you confirm this information. If the sticker is not available for whatever reason, you can manually take measurements.

The 6 quart is 14″x12″x13″, while the 8 quart is 15″x14″x15″.

Can you cook small portions in a large Instant Pot?

Absolutely! However, there is a minimum amount of water that needs to be added each time you use the Instant Pot. This minimum will vary depending on model and size, so it’s important to check the product manual to verify this before use.

As long as you adhere to this guideline, your portions can be as small as you want!

Should you adjust your recipes for the 8 quart model?

Most Instant Pot recipes you find will be with the 6 quart model in mind. However, no adjustments need to be made to these recipes if you are using the 8 quart model.

As I mentioned above, there’s a minimum water requirement for each size so make sure you keep this in mind!

Is the 8 quart cooker slower to build pressure than the 6 quart?

Models of both sizes come to pressure within 10 minutes. However, the 6 quart is faster by a minute or so. This may or may not be a determining factor for some. Interestingly, due to the difference in power, both the 6 quart and 8 quart sizes come to pressure more quickly than the smallest available 3 quart size!

How crazy is that?

Why do different size Instant Pots take more time to come to pressure?

This is largely due to the science behind air pressure. Instant Pots seal a designated area, ie inside the Pot, and the water contained within becomes steam. This gas is what creates the pressure inside Instant Pots. When the contained area is larger, it takes longer for this pressure to build.

However, as was mentioned earlier, the 6 quart and 8 quart sizes receive more power and so are able to come to pressure quicker than the smaller and less powerful 3 quart electric pressure cooker.

How to Use Your Instant Pot for Air Frying Cooking

how to use your instant pot for air frying cooking

Some Instant Pot models like the Instant Pot Pro Crisp and Air Fryer come equipped with air frying capabilities. However, there are Instant Pot lids available for purchase to add this function to your Instant Pot.

Unfortunately these lids are only for use with the 6 quart size.

But there are third party air fryer lids you can obtain for the 8 quart size that will also allow your Instant Pot to air fry.

How do You Know What Size Instant Pot to Get?

how do you know what size instant pot to get

Taking into account all of the factors discussed above, this decision will largely be based on your family size and required functions.

The difference in time it takes for both sizes to come to pressure is fairly insignificant, but this may weigh into your decision. The 8 quart is slightly bigger than the 6 quart, as well, so storage space may be a factor for you.

If you want the Instant Pot Max, the 6 quart is the only size available.

Which Instant Pot is best for a family of four?

Both the 6 quart and 8 quart sizes will accommodate a smaller family, but the 6 quart may be better for you if you will regularly be using your Instant Pot for four people or less.

The 6 quart costs less, is slightly easier to store, and most recipes are created with the 6 quart size in mind, although these recipes can be used for the 8 quart Instant Pot.

If you want to have the capability of cooking larger portions, the 8 quart model is also viable even if you have a smaller family.

What Are Instant Pot Smart Programs?

what are instant pot smart programs

All Instant Pot models, regardless of size, are equipped with a variety of Smart programs. These can be used with the touch of a button.

Outside of the pressure cook option that is standard for all models, your Instant Pot may also have saute, rice, beans, soup, and even cake programs! These programs can be further adjusted according to preference.

What are the Different Accessories I can Buy for My Instant Pot?

what are the different accessories i can buy for my instant pot

There’s a great range of accessories out there available for your Instant Pot, both directly from Instant and from third party companies.

The Instant site has lids, inner pots, steamers, racks, bake pans, trays, grills, and more. There are also Instant air fryer lids for 6 quart size models.

If you’re not against buying third party accessories, the list goes on for miles! You’ll be able to cook like a pro-level chef (or even better than one!) with those kinds of great options.

Overall, a standard Instant Pot is capable of more than most people will ever need from a kitchen appliance but with accessories, the possibilities are wonderful!

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »