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Instant Pot Max cooks faster, has more features than other models

The Instant Pot Max cooks faster thanks to higher pressure. It also sports slick touchscreen controls.

Meet the new Instant Pot Max.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The newest Instant Pot promises to cook food faster and give you more options than other models of the popular electric pressure cooker. 

The Instant Pot Max was on display Saturday at the International Home and Housewares Show here in Chicago. It's a 6-quart (5.6-liter) electric pressure cooker that can crank up its pressure to a full 15 pounds per square inch (psi), an ability once reserved to stovetop pressure cookers. (Other Instant Pot models have a 12 psi maximum.) The higher pressure means that the Instant Pot Max should cook ingredients up to 15 percent faster than the company's quickest appliances do today. The higher pressure will also let you use the Instant Pot Max for home canning, the company said. 

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Instant Pot reps said the Max will be able to hold its pressure at a high level continually, as opposed to other available electric models, whose levels are prone to fluctuate.

Another new feature for the Instant Pot Max is the ability to sous vide, a method of cooking that involves vacuum sealing food in a plastic bag and putting it in a temperature-controlled water bath. An Instant Pot rep said future versions of the Max will have a sous vide setting that will heat water to a specific temperature for sous vide, but it hasn't yet been made clear whether the first version of the Max will include it. We've reached out to Instant Pot for further clarification.

The Instant Pot Max's other enhancements include a slick touchscreen display, updated controls with backlit LED labels and a central control dial you can use to navigate through the Max's menu options.

A look at the Instant Pot Max's new controls.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Beside canning, other cooking options on the Instant Pot Max include manual pressure cook, sauté or brown, steam, slow cook, soup or broth and yogurt. You can also tweak how these presets handle food. For instance, you can adjust pressure and temperature or add a delayed start.

The Instant Pot Max has touchscreen controls.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Perhaps most interesting is the new automatic pressure-venting function. With current Instant Pots, you either wait for a natural release or manually open the steam valve. With the Max, you can program it to release its pressure quickly, slowly or pulse for moderate speed. Also useful is a planned agitation feature that will stir food.

First published March 10 at 10:50 a.m. PT.
Update March 12, 10:18 a.m. PT: Adds details about the Instant Pot Max getting a sous vide cooking feature.

Where to Buy

Instant Pot Max

Visit manufacturer site for details.

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