Instant Pots have become one of the most popular kitchen appliances in recent years, allowing home cooks to prepare meals quickly and easily with pressure cooking. The mini Instant Pot is a more compact version of the standard sized Instant Pot, making it great for smaller households, dorm rooms, or anyone with limited counter space. But how much can you actually cook in a mini Instant Pot?
What is the mini Instant Pot size?
The most common mini Instant Pot size is 3 quarts, which is 12 cups or 2.8 liters. Some key specs for the 3 quart mini Instant Pot include:
- Height: 10.5 inches
- Width: 10.5 inches
- Depth: 11 inches
- Internal cooking capacity: 3 quarts or 12 cups
- Total volume with lid: 3.6 quarts
- Weight: 9.2 pounds
There are a few other mini Instant Pot sizes available as well:
- 2 quart mini – 8 cups capacity
- 5 quart mini – 20 cups capacity
- 6 quart mini – 24 cups capacity
But the most popular and commonly sold model is the 3 quart size.
What can you cook in a 3 quart mini Instant Pot?
Despite its small size, you can cook a variety of dishes in a 3 quart mini Instant Pot. Here are some guidelines for capacities:
A 3 quart Instant Pot can cook up to 6 cups of uncooked rice. The general ratio for cooking rice in an Instant Pot is a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1 cup of uncooked rice to 1 cup water or broth.
You can cook up to 2 cups of dried beans in a 3 quart Instant Pot. Make sure to account for simmer liquid when calculating capacity.
A 3 quart Instant Pot can hold a small batch of chili using 1 pound of ground meat, canned beans, tomatoes, and other ingredients. It can serve 3-4 people.
The 3 quart Instant Pot is great for making small batches of soup. You can make soup for 3-4 servings using ingredients like vegetables, beans, small amounts of meat, broth, pasta etc.
Similar to soup and chili, you can make stews for 3-4 people using 1-2 pounds of meat along with veggies, stock, and starch.
For roasts, you’ll need to stick to smaller cuts of meat, like pork tenderloin, beef roast, or cornish hens. You can fit up to a 2 pound roast in a 3 quart Instant Pot.
You can cook a whole chicken in a 3 quart Instant Pot if it’s 3 pounds or under. A larger chicken won’t fit. Chicken breasts or leg quarters for 2-3 people will work well.
A rack of baby back ribs or 2-3 pounds of pork spareribs can cook in a 3 quart model. You’ll have to cut country style ribs in half.
You can easily cook up to a dozen eggs in a 3 quart Instant Pot using a steamer basket.
The 3 quart Instant Pot can accommodate up to 1 pound of dried pasta, including lasagna noodles broken in half to fit.
Steel cut oats
You can cook steel cut oats for 2-3 servings in the mini Instant Pot.
Small cheesecakes in ramekins or a 6 inch springform pan will fit in the 3 quart model for dessert.
Tips for cooking in a 3 quart mini Instant Pot
Here are some tips to maximize the capacity of your mini Instant Pot:
- Cut large pieces of meat into smaller chunks to fit better in the pot.
- Layer ingredients like potatoes and carrots under roasts and chicken to lift it off the bottom.
- Use a tall, narrow trivet or steamer basket to hold foods upright.
- For soup, use more broth and less chunky ingredients.
- Adjust recipe ingredient amounts down if needed.
- Stick to thin, bone-in chicken breasts instead of thick, boneless.
- Cook foods in batches for larger quantities.
Size comparison to other Instant Pot models
To give some perspective, here is how the 3 quart mini Instant Pot compares in capacity to other available Instant Pot sizes:
|Instant Pot Model||Quart Capacity||Cup Capacity|
|Mini Duo||3 quarts||12 cups|
|Lux Mini||3 quarts||12 cups|
|Duo Mini||3 quarts||12 cups|
|Duo||6 quarts||24 cups|
|Duo Plus||6, 8 quarts||24, 32 cups|
|Duo Nova||6, 8 quarts||24, 32 cups|
|Ultra||6, 8 quarts||24, 32 cups|
|Max||6, 8, 10 quarts||24, 32, 40 cups|
As you can see, the 3 quart mini holds significantly less than most standard sized models. But it’s still perfect for cooking small batches!
Common questions about mini Instant Pots
Can you cook frozen foods in a mini Instant Pot?
Yes, you can cook frozen foods like meats, rice, and vegetables in a mini Instant Pot. The key is to use smaller portion sizes. Try cooking 1 frozen chicken breast or 4-6 frozen meatballs rather than a whole bag.
What mini Instant Pot accessories are recommended?
Some handy accessories for a mini Instant Pot include:
- Extra mini silicone trivet or steamer basket for stacking foods
- Mini springform pan for cheesecakes and small cakes
- Mini cake pan
- Ramekins for desserts
- Stainless steel pot-in-pot for layered cooking
- Glass lid to use the inner pot for browning or sautéing
Can you double recipes in a mini Instant Pot?
It’s not recommended to double recipes unless you have a very small batch to start with. Oftentimes doubled recipes overflow and don’t cook properly in the mini. You’re better off cooking in batches for larger yields.
Should I get a mini or standard sized Instant Pot?
The mini is great for one or two people. Families may want a standard 6 or 8 quart model that can accommodate bigger batches of food. Consider how many people you cook for most nights and choose accordingly.
While small in size, the 3 quart mini Instant Pot can cook an impressive variety of dishes. From rice and beans to eggs, pasta, chili, chicken and more, you’d be amazed what these little Instant Pots can handle. Just remember to stick to the recommended maximum capacities for different ingredients. With a few smart cooking strategies and recipe adjustments, the mini Instant Pot is a versatile appliance that’s big on convenience for small households.