8 Qt vs 6 Qt Instant Pot: Which Size Is Best For You?

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The Instant Pot is an indispensible tool in the kitchen. It can make cooking for a few or cooking for a lot very easy. And the good news is that it’s available in multiple sizes so you can cook as big or small as you like.

If you’re trying to decide between the 8 qt vs 6 qt Instant Pot, below are a few simple considerations that will help you make the decision easier. Keep in mind that that is also a 3 qt and 10 qt size.

» You might also want to read our full guide to choosing the right Instant Pot and our rundown of the 15 Instant Pot Accessories You Need

6 vs 8 quart instant pots

Whether you’re about to be a first-time Instant Pot owner or adding another one of these nifty appliances to your kitchen, it’s important to choose the right size for you. Each size is available in various models, offering wonderful benefits.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

8 Qt vs 6 Qt Instant Pot: Size, Pressure & Water Requirements

Wondering which Instant Pot to buy? You’ll first want to consider the number of people you’ll be cooking for. This will help you decide whether a 6 qt is too small or an 8 qt size is too big.

Here is a more in-depth look at the size, pressure, water requirements, and models available.

Size Comparison: 6 Quart vs. 8 Quart Instant Pot

Although you can cook smaller portions in a larger Instant Pot, it’s best to choose the ideal size for your household needs. Keep in mind that an 8 qt Instant Pot is generally more pricey, so be sure to consider your budget when deciding.

How Big Is a 6 Quart Instant Pot?

The 6-quart Instant Pot is 13″ x 12.2″ x 12.6″.

This is the original size that the Instant Pot was manufactured in and is the most popular size. It’s an excellent option for smaller households of 2-5 people. You can cook most things in a 6 qt, including a small-sized full chicken, spaghetti for 4, a full cake, and 4-quarts of yogurt.

Keep in mind that you can’t fill the inner pot full to the top, so while the total capacity is 6 quarts, you can only fit 4 quarts of food inside. There is a max-fill line that you don’t want to exceed.

How Big Is an 8 Quart Instant Pot?

The 8-quart Instant Pot is 14.8″ x 13.3″ x 14.2″.

With an 8 quart Instant Pot, you can easily feed more than 6 individuals. It’s also a great pick if you have large dinner parties, cook the whole family on holidays, or like to do food prep on a Sunday for the whole week.

The pot holds 6 quarts of water to the max fill line, so you can make up to 6 quarts of soup. You can also fit a large whole chicken.

If you have a large family, I’d say don’t bother with the 6-quart size, unless you’re using it as a backup or additional cooking space.

8 Quart and 6 Quart side by side


When it comes to the 6 qt vs. 8 qt Instant Pot, it’s good to look at how long each one takes to come up to pressure.

Generally, the 6 qt Instant Pot takes around 5 to 10 minutes to come to pressure. As you may have suspected, the 8 qt Instant Pot takes a bit longer to come to pressure than smaller units. Typically, you can expect 10-15 minutes. However, after the 8 qt pot reaches pressure, the cooking time will be the same.

The pressure release time will vary more based on the type of food in the pot than on the size, but more food always takes longer to depressurize.

releasing pressure from an Instant Pot

Water Requirements

The Instant Pot requires water to build steam. Without the proper amount of water, the steam won’t build properly and your food could burn, or the pot will turn off prematurely. Each Instant Pot size requires a different amount of liquid.

When using a 6 qt pot, you will need at least one cup of water (or another liquid) to pressure cook safely. On the other hand, a minimum of 2 cups of water is needed for an 8 qt pot.

That’s quite a big difference if you’re cooking only small amounts of food. I requires you to cook a larger quantity in the 8-quart to make up for the increase in water. For instance, rice is cooked at a 1:1 ratio or water to rice. You would be required to cook a minimum of 2 cups of rice with 2 cups of water in the 8-quart, which is a lot of cooked rice. In the 6-quart you would be able to cook half that amount.

You’ll find that many Instant Pot recipes are tailored to the 6 qt pots, so you might have to adjust the water requirements if you’re cooking with an 8 qt pot.

Models Available

Now that you better understand the differences in the Instant Pot 6 vs. 8 quarts, it’s time to see what product options are available. Here are a few Instant Pot models to check out:

Would You Get a 6 or 8 Quart Instant Pot?

After looking at the various specifications and benefits, hopefully, you can confidently choose the right size for you. Remember to consider the size of your family, how often you cook, your kitchen space, your budget, and which model you would prefer.

Whether you pick an Instant Pot 6 or 8 quart, you’ll have a wonderful time cooking in it. So get ready to save time and energy with your new little kitchen helper.

Instant Pot Pro Plus

Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.


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which instant pot to buy

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