Instant Pot Vs Air Fryer – What’s the Difference Between 2021

Air fryers and instant pots are among the most innovative cooking appliances you can find in people’s kitchen today. These appliances come with unique methods of cooking, and they are best known for reducing the cooking time.

They are trending kitchen appliances that can cook almost everything. But which is the best out of the two? It wouldn’t be fair just to point out one unit and claim that it is the best without exploring them deeper. That being said, here is a detailed air fryer vs instant pot comparison to help you know the difference.

Instant Pot Vs Air Fryer

What is an Air Fryer?

The first reason for having an air fryer was to replace the deep fryers that involved submerging food in boiling oil. But an air fryer works by circulating super heated air around the food. A fan at the top of eh fryer is used to blow the air down towards a heating element. Throughout this process, the hot air will pass through the food so that it is fully cooked.

The food in an air fryer will be placed inside a basket that resembles that one in a deep fryer. The hot air then bounces off the bottom section of the air fryer and back up through the food. When cooking with an air fryer, the food will be cooked evenly on all sides. In the process of circulating super heated air, the Maillard effect will be formed.

The Maillard effect is when food is crunchy and crusty on the outside but tender inside.

So, what can an air fryer do? Most air fryers are designed to bake, roast, grill, and fry food. This way, you can be confident of versatility when cooking food using an air fryer.

Most people use the air fryer to fry chips, chicken, fries, and other food that are best prepared through deep frying.

Pros of an Air Fryer – Air Fryer Vs Instant Pot


An air fryer doesn’t work like the deep fryers. Mostly, the food that you cook in an air fryer has low cholesterol and fat content. Plus, it is cooked with 0 to 20% of the oil used in a deep fryer. As a result, you will be consuming food that is low in fat and calories.


You can use the air fryer to make just about anything. It can be used to make scrambled or fried food. Keep in mind that these appliances can also be used to grill, bake, roast, or fry. Some manufacturers include a detailed cookbook to help you practice how to cook different dishes with the air fryer.


An air fryer is cost-effective in many ways. First off, it helps you save on the use of cooking oil since you will only need almost none or a spoonful of oil. With that little oil, the air fryer can perfectly cook by generating super-heated oil inside. They are also affordable and cook food pretty fast.

Cons of Air Fryer

  • High energy consumption
  • Food can develop Acrylamide, which is the black crust that builds upon the meat as you cook

Instant Pots

An instant pot uses steam and pressure to cook food, and they are almost similar to pressure cookers. With the instant pot, you can cook foods ranging from, veggies, soup, and rice. Besides that, some people also use instant pots to cook meat, beans, chicken (not fried), pasta, porridge, or any other food that is best prepared by steam/boiling.

You can find advanced instant pots that come with unique features like a cake setting. With this, you can prepare desserts in the instant pots. Plus, the instant pots can be used as an emergency sauté pan. With the sauté function, you can stir dry food with less oil.

To help you get more air fryer vs instant pot differences, here are the pros and cons of an instant pot:

  • Energy Saving

While the air fryer might be consuming a lot of energy, an instant pot saves you a lot of energy. These appliances use an electronic heat source like a pressure cooker. You won’t need an electric stove, gas, or oil when cooking with an instant pot. They are self-regulating, which is another plus feature.

  • Time-saving

So yes, an air fryer can cook food very fast, but instant pots seem to be a little faster than air fryers. The instant pot can cook some food in less than 10 minutes, which is a good thing if you are in a rush. The best part is that they use pressure and steam to cook, so you won’t have to worry about excess fat or calories in the cooked food.

  • Stainless steel interior

The interior of an instant pot is made of stainless steel, which assures you of healthy cooking. This also makes it durable and easy to use. You won’t have to worry about stains of any kind when using the instant pot.

  • Programmable

One plus feature of the instant pots is that they are programmable. You can find instant pots that are programmable up to 24 hours. Here, you can go to work and set the instant pot to start cooking when you are about to get home.

Cons of Instant Pots

  • It can release steam that might burn you if you handle it without proper care
  • It cannot cook crunchy foods like an air fryer
  • Learning how to use an instant pot can be somewhat complex.
  • Some instant pots can be quite costly

Generally, the air fryer would be your to-go appliance if you want one with versatile cooking options. You can fry, grill, bake, or roast your food in an air fryer. Some instant pots are very costly and they generally have safety concerns. Since instant pots come with programmable features, they might be complex to use for a beginner. In terms of the cost, the air fryer tends to be more affordable than instant pots. Instant pots can come in a larger size than air fryers, but they both easily fit on the kitchen counter. So, which one do you prefer? That depends on your personal preferences and cooking needs.

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