Best 3 Quart Instant Pots (2023) Small Yet Functional Pressure Cookers

3-Quart Instant Pots Perfect for Single Adults

Are you looking for the best 3-quart Instant Pot for your studio apartment or your dorm?

For the average household, 6-quart Instant Pots are just the perfect size. It can make 5-6 servings in one go. But, if you’re a student, living independently, starting to build a family, or simply if you don’t have that much space, a compact Instapot would be good enough.

By the way, the brand also refers to their 3-qt electric pressure cooker line as Instant Pot Minis, or they’ll append 30 at the end of the product name. So, when you see an Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini or an Instant Pot Duo Plus 30, you’re looking at a 3-quart (2.84 L) compact electric pressure cooker.

With that said, here are the best small Instant Pots of the year.

That’s the condensed version of this buying guide. You can click on any of the links above to read the full review of each Instant Pot. Or, you can carry on and read the brief review of each small electric pressure cooker down below.

Best 3 Quart Instant Pots

3 Qt Instant Pot Duo Plus – Best Overall

Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel, 3 Quart
  • Minimalist design with easy-to-understand LCD screen
  • 9-in-1 appliance
  • Easy to use with 13 one-touch programs
  • Programmable pressure, temperature, and duration
  • Safer steam release
  • Automatic sealing when the lid closes
  • Both Fahrenheit and Celsius are available
  • Delay start + keep warm
  • Cooking progress indicator
  • 3, 6, and 8 quarts capacity
  • Durable stainless steel pot
  • 6-quart model is compatible with the Instant Pot Air Fryer Attachment
  • PFOA, PTFE, and BPA free
  • Dishwasher safe lid and pot for easy cleaning
  • 1-year warranty
  • Sautéing in Instapot is not the most convenient (because of the height)
  • Classic product
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The Instant Pot Duo Plus line is the upgraded version of the classic Duo Series. It has a safer pressure release and a more refined look.

Cooking Functions

  1. Pressure Cooker
  2. Slow Cooker
  3. Rice Cooker
  4. Steamer
  5. Sauté Pan

6. Yogurt Maker
7. Warmer
8. Sous Vide
9. Sterilize

Other 1-Touch Programs

  • Soup/Broth
  • Cake
  • Egg
  • Rice
  • Bean/Grain
  • Keep Warm

This version, called the Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini by the manufacturer, is the 3-qt version of the best-selling (Duo Plus) pressure cooker.

Why is it the Best Small Instant Pot?

From a feature standpoint, this device is as capable as its 6 or 8-qt sibling. No feature was spared in this compact configuration. Whatever the size you’re getting, you’ll have access to all 15 smart programs.

The Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini has nine core cooking functions—pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté/searing pan, sous vide, sterilizer, and food warmer. Hence, it’s also called the 9-in-1 Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot Duo Plus Mini also has the Whisper Quiet steam release and safer lid design. The steam release switch is on the other side of the handle from the steam release valve, which also has a lid on it to help prevent injury and reduce noise.

3 Qt Instant Pot Duo Nova

Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel, 3 Quart
  • Most budget-friendly Instant Pot
  • 7-in-1 appliance
  • 11 smart programs and customizable
  • Remembers your custom settings for certain programs
  • Delay cooking + keep warm
  • Durable stainless steel pot
  • 6-quart model is compatible with the air fryer attachment
  • PFOA, PTFE, and BPA free
  • Dishwasher safe lid and pot for easy cleaning
  • 1-year warranty
  • Classic model, one of the very first Instant Pots
  • Sautéing in an Instapot isn't comfortable
  • No progress (preheat) indicator
  • Old steam release valve design
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02/18/2024 01:27 pm GMT

The Instant Pot Duo Nova Mini is more like the protege of the original Instant Pot Duo. It also has seven cooking functions and 7 more 1-touch smart cooking programs. What I love about this is that it has a much lower price tag than previous versions.

7 Cooking Functions

✅ Pressure Cooker
✅ Slow Cooker
✅ Rice Cooker
✅ Steam
✅ Sauté

✅ Yogurt Maker
✅ Keep Warm
❌ Sterilize
❌ Sous Vide

Other 1-Touch Programs

✅ Soup/Broth
✅ Meat/Stew
✅ Bean/Chili
✅ Poultry
✅ Rice

✅ Multigrain
✅ Porridge
❌ Egg
❌ Cake

This item has been discontinued but is still available for purchase. Instead of taking the original Instant Pot Duo’s place, the brand has been updating its classic models with new features.

As a matter of fact, Instant Pot Duo has already been refreshed for five times while the Duo Plus is on its third version. My point is, you can’t go wrong with those two classic small instant pots.

There are two main reasons to go with the Instant Pot Duo Nova. It has a simpler control panel, which is great if you’re new to pressure cooking. It also has a much lower price tag, when you can find one new.

What to consider when buying a Mini Instant Pot?


You get a small discount when opting for a 3-quart Instant Pot vs a larger size.

budget graphics

When I’m writing this buying guide, the price of a 3-quart Instant Pot Duo Plus is $30 – $40 less than the larger ones.

In my humble opinion, you’ll get the best bang for your buck on a 6-quart Instant Pot. It offers a bigger capacity, and on some you can, upgrade to an Air Fryer lid later on.

If you’re looking for an even more budget friendly option, I suggest the Instant Pot Duo Mini. Just keep in mind it doesn’t have as many presets and has the old steam release.


If you’re concerned about your safety when operating a pressure cooker, you are not alone. The risk is never zero, but most modern electric pressure cookers have a multitude of features to keep them from exploding.

instant pot pro lid with arrow
Pressure release switch located farther away from the vent

For Instant Pots, it includes these ten safeguards:

  • close lid detection
  • leak protection
  • anti-block vent
  • automatic temperature controls
  • high-temperature warning
  • pressure detection
  • automatic pressure control
  • excess pressure protection
  • extreme temperature and power protection
  • pressure regulator

Some models like the IP ProIP Ultra, or the IP Pro Plus are also equipped with overheat protection.

The steam or pressure release is the most dangerous part of having a pressure cooker, but if you read the manual and watch a video you’ll be able to see how it works to operate it safely. Of the models listed here, the Instant Pot Duo Plus has the safest steam release.

In conclusion, operating an electric pressure cooker is generally safe. However, this doesn’t exempt you from reading the product manual.


The Instant Pot Duo Nova is the more limited of the two 3-quart Instant Pots featured on this page. It can’t sous vide or sterilize. It also doesn’t have the 1-touch cake or egg “smart” cooking presets. Other than that, it can do everything the Duo Plus model can do.

instant pot capabilities

Inner Pot Design

Sadly, there aren’t any compact Instant Pot that offers this convenient pot design. It’s only available with the IP Pro Plus, IP Pro, and IP Pro Crisp.

Smart Features

Another downside of a 3-quart Instant Pot is there are no WiFi or smartphone-enabled models in this size category. But as a consolation, the Instant Pot Ultra Mini offers a modern touchscreen interface just like the Instant Pot Max.


Cleaning your electric pressure cooker can be a daunting task, but it’s one that you should not worry about. The inner pot is very straightforward to wash, plus the lid is dishwasher safe.

Here’s a quick demonstration on how to clean your pressure cooker. The cleaning instructions for most Instant Pots are the same, although the Instant Pot Duo Plus has a different lid design that doesn’t allow access to the float valve.

Why Buy a 3-Quart Instant Pot?

You might be wondering why you would want a 3-Quart Instant Pot when they come with fewer cooking programs than larger versions of the same models. The 3-Quart Instant Pots are also only big enough for sides and individual meals.

If you’re cooking for one or two people most of the time, a 3-quart Instant Pot is sufficient for most recipes you will make. The smaller Instant Pot takes up less space on your counter, which is a big consideration when you look at the size of the 6-quart or 8-quart options.

So why would you want a 3-quart Instant Pot?

I’ve owned both a 3-quart and a 6-quart Instant Pot model. The 6-quart model is compatible with the air fryer lid to give it even more capabilities, and it can cook whole meals for 4-6 people.

But I also loved my 3-quart Instant Pot because it allows me to do sides and smaller portions. I can make my main dish in the larger Instant Pot at the same time my sides are cooking.

I also love the 3-quart Instant Pot because it takes the place of a rice cooker, making one less appliance I have to have in my kitchen.

Over To You

In our opinion, every household should own a multi-cooker. The pressure cooking function alone will pay for itself in no time. Instead of waiting for hours, your can tenderize your meat in 10 to 20 minutes.

Now, if your kitchen doesn’t have much space for a massive kitchen appliance, a 3 quart Instant Pot would be your best option.

However, in most cases, if you have the space for it I recommend getting a 6-quart Instant Pot instead. Get one compatible with the air fryer lid accessory for even more functionality. I recommend the 6-quart Instant Pot Duo Plus as the best affordable Instant Pot.

With that said, I’m leaving you with our best small Instant PotIP Duo Plus Mini.

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