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Instant Pot Vortex Plus Review

Instant Pot is at it again with the Instant Pot 7 in 1 Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven, creating an appliance that can do multiple functions. I got one hot off the shelves at Walmart and this Instant Pot Vortex review takes a look at it!

Update: Now the Instant Pot Omni is being released. It is larger than the Vortex, but lacks a rotating basket. See our Instant Pot Omni Review for more information. Also, after writing this, Instant released the smaller Vortex. This review is of the larger Vortex Plus. I will update soon with information about the smaller Vortex as well.

Update! For a comparison chart of all of the Instant air fryers and toaster ovens, see my Instant Vortex v. Instant Omni Comparison Chart! Also check out my post on Instant Vortex Accessories

 

Instant Pot Vortex Review

About the Instant Pot Vortex Plus

Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer

The Instant Pot  Vortex Plus Air Fryer was initially exclusive to Walmart.  But now it is also at Kohls. I am assuming/hoping that will change at some point, but for now you have to order it or get it in the store at Walmart. The vortex is another 7 in 1 Kitchen appliance from Instant Pot, but this time, instead of pressure cooking and slow cooking, it focuses on air frying and baking etc. It includes 7 programs:

  • Air Fry
  • Roast
  • Broil
  • Bake
  • Reheat
  • Dehydrate
  • Rotate (for Rotisserie and rotating basket cooking)

It comes with preset smart programs with rotate being an option.  Because of the multi-function programs, the Instant Pot Vortex can essentially replace your toaster oven, dehydrator, and air fryer. Ultimately though, I suspect that most people will be buying this for the air fryer function.

Instant Vortex Review

About Air Frying

Air frying prepares food by circulating super-heated air around it using very little or no cooking oil.  The result is that food gets that crispy golden brown fried look and taste without using a ton of oil. Hence it is healthier and it is cleaner and quicker to boot. Really it is that quick and clean part that appeals to many. No way am I going to deal with an oil fryer and the mess that it creates, but I will happily use an air fryer.

Instant Pot Vortex Review

The Vortex  is fairly large, with a 10 quart capacity aimed at cooking for up to 6 people. It does look a bit tight to me in terms of being able to do a whole rotisserie chicken, but I have already seen some videos in the Instant Pot Community Facebook Group of whole chickens being done, including one over 5 pounds (note that a maximum is 4 pounds is recommended to avoid damage to the rotisserie). I intend to try it soon.   Update: Here is my Instant Pot Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken Recipe.

Instant Pot Vortex Manual

Instant Pot Vortex Features

The Vortex  lists the following product highlights:

  •  Multi-Use Programmable Air Fryer with Rotisserie – Popular mid-size air fryer oven, 10 quart capacity
  • 7 Built-In Smart Programs – Air Fry, Roast, Broil, Bake, Reheat, Dehydrate Preset Smart Programs with an option to Rotate for rotisserie-style cooking
  • Accessories included – Drip pan, 2 cooking trays, rotisserie spit and forks, rotisserie basket, rotisserie fetch tool
  • Rotate Function – Cook a rotisserie-style chicken up to 4 lbs, and enjoy juicy, tender, flavorful results with a beautiful crispy skin

The Instant Vortex Plus comes with a drip tray, two cooking trays, a rotating basket, a rotisserie rod with hooks/forks to hold the meat, and a tool for removing the hot basket or rotisserie rod. It also features an automatic shut off and has overheating protection. I think it is an attractive item, and it does not take up too crazy of an amount of counter space. The square design  looks much better to me than the rounded design of many air fryers.  This can also replace any toaster ovens or mini convection ovens that you might own.

Some people have complained of a smell when the product is new. I did not notice any issues with that.

The cord is about 2.5 feet long and is not detachable. The dimensions of the trays measure approximately 9.5 x 10.25 inches and the usable area is really more like approximately 9×10.

Missing Instant Pot Vortex Manual

Update: The full manual for the Vortex is now online here.  I still wish that it would be included in the box. Perhaps that will change down the road. If anyone buys one with a full manual in the box, please let me know so that I can update this post!

What The Vortex really lacks is a manual! There is a quick start guide, but no actual Instant Pot Vortex manual provided that shows how to use the basket and rotisserie items or how to remove the door for cleaning.  I spent a fair amount of time being frustrated with trying to figure out how to insert and remove the basket and rotisserie rod and, if there is an easy way to remove the door for cleaning I sure would like to know it!

Cooking with the Instant Vortex Plus

Cooking is pretty straightforward. Insert the drip tray and then depending on your recipe, use the the trays, basket, or rotisserie spit. The spit is inserted and removed using the red lever on the side of the Instant Vortex.  Use the basket for things like wings and fries, the trays for dehydrating and other basic cooking functions, and the spit for whole meats.

The controls light up when the Vortex is plugged in. They are pretty intuitive and self explanatory. But again, a true manual would have been nice to have. The quick start guide does at least walk you through the basics of air frying with a tray.

The baking temperature range runs from 180 to 400. Dehydrating has a lower threshold.

Instant Pot Vortex Controls

Over the coming weeks I will experiment with the various functions and update this review as I do so.

My Air Frying Test

For my first air frying try, I didn’t stay super simple. Instead I adapted my favorite Nebraska Cheese Frenchee recipe to try in the air fryer. A Cheese Frenchee is basically a deep fried cheese sandwich.   Cooking was easy. The machine does make a fair amount of noise, but I think really any air fryer does.  My sandwiches came out crisp and golden brown in six minutes. I was impressed! You can get the recipe for them here: Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee Recipe.

air fryer cheese frenchee sandwiches

Cleaning the Instant Pot Vortex

Cleaning is easy. You can simply wipe it down with a wet cloth and basic cleaning supplies. Covering the drip pan in foil will also make cleaning easier. Also nice for cleaning is that the door is removable, but it takes more than a bit of work to figure it out and it is anything but easy. Basically, you have to open the door part way and wiggle the door around from one side until it pops out. I find it annoying and difficult. On the good side, I don’t necessarily see a big need to remove the door for cleaning. It is fairly easy enough to do with the door on. But, my frenchees did leave a lot of crumbs around the door, and if it were easier to remove I would have done so for cleaning.

How to Remove the Instant Pot Vortex Door

Update: After using it more, removing the Vortex door for cleaning it sometimes very necessary, especially with greasy or battered items. To remove it, place one hand on top of the air fryer to hold it in place, open the door to a 45 degree angle and pull up from the right side until it pops out of the track. I find that I have to jiggle it around some. To replace it, hold the door at a 45 degree angle, align the teeth at the bottom of the door with the groves in the oven, and press down on the right side of the door until it pops into place, then press down the left side. Once you remove it a few times it gets easier.

Instant Vortex Plus trays

Instant Pot Vortex Air Fryer Cost

As far as air fryer ovens go, the Instant Pot 7 in 1 Vortex Air Fryer Oven is quite affordable when compared to other air fryers.  At $119, it comes in lower than the best air fryers that include multiple functions such as dehydrating. In terms of air frying alone the price is similar to many other models. Watch for it on sale for much less, as it tends to get marked down fairly often.

Vortex Plus Problems/Concerns

Various concerns or glitches have been mentioned with the Vortex in Facebook groups. Others don’t seem to affect the majority of users, but regardless, some issues have been reported. One of the main issues seems to be the rotisserie rod bending . Often this is due to user error when a person puts and item on it weighting over the 4 pound maximum recommendation, but there have been a few reports of the problem happening with items under four pounds  Some people have reported that the rotisserie screws were rusted (mine were fine) or that the coating on the trays was flaking (mine have been fine there as well).

Also, if a person does not property seat the rotisserie rod, it can cause issues with the plastic part that it sits into.  Reports are that a newer version of the Vortex has replaced the plastic part with a metal one. Finally, some people report that the appliance puts off a smell when it is first used for the test run.  I did not notice a smell, but reports of this are a good reason to be sure to do that test run when you get the Vortex so that you can burn off that smell.

Instant Pot Vortex Recipes

Update: I am curating a list of Instant Pot Vortex recipes. These are recipes either specifically for the Vortex, or for oven style air fryers that will convert particularly well over to the Vortex.

The Vortex oven did not come with a recipe book. However, any air fryer recipe can basically be used for it. I will start adding recipes for the Vortex to this site and many good recipes can be found on Pinterest and in Facebook groups. I have an air fryer board on my personal Pinterest page here. And the Instant Pot Cooking Pinterest account also has an air fryer board. I will add more specialty boards for air fryer recipes there too as I start developing them.

Overall Opinion/Review

Instant Pot Vortex Plus Counter Space

My bottom line is that I am impressed. The Instant Pot Vortex provides a nice selection of functions in a relatively easy to use package and at a good cost.  The downside is the lack of a manual or Vortex recipe book, but I’m sure in coming weeks there will be a plethora of bloggers and vloggers covering how to use the Vortex.

Buy the Vortex

You can get the Vortex air fryer at Walmart. I bought mine in store, but they also offer easy online ordering and delivery.

Buy the Vortex at Walmart

Buy the Vortex at Kohl’s

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52 Comments

  1. Does the air fryer cycle have varable temperatures or is it preset to one? I see where you can tosst a bagel, but how do you do regular toast if the heater is at the top? What is the temperature range for baking, and what is the increment? Looking forward to more info out here! Thx

    1. Hi! Yes, it has variable temperature. On baking it goes from 180 to 400. It goes lower when set on dehydrate. With air frying it prompts you to turn the food. If doing something like toast, you would likely have to turn it over half way through. Like other convection ovens it will bake faster and perhaps require a lower temperature than when using a big oven because it circulates the heat all around the food.

      1. Can you tell me the inside measurements LxWxH? Can’t seem to find this anywhere. Thanks so much for your great info!

        1. The measurements are roughly 10x9x8. That 8 inch height is probably actually closer to 7 usable space though because of the heating element.

  2. I haven’t seen the interior dimensions anywhere. Just wondering if I’ll be able to fit a frozen pizza in it.

    1. I don’t think a large pizza would fit, but a smaller one might. I’ll measure it when I get home from work tonight and post the dimensions!

  3. The trays measure approximately 9.5 x 10.25 inches and the usable area is really more like approximately 9×10, so any pizza would have to be on the rather small side.

  4. We are having a problem skewering a chicken on the rotisserie spit. We pass the rod through the chicken but setting the skewers into the meat so that the little knobs on the spit line up properly isn’t working at all. It almost looks like our spit is slightly curved. The skewers fit on the rod just fine when not trying to use the thing, not so when the chicken is the target. Please, please post a video showing how to do this. Thank you.

    1. My spit definitely is not curved. I wonder if you got a defective one? I made chicken last week and need to write up the post on it. I did not make a video, but next time I use the rotisserie I will do so. I plan to try a pork tenderloin soon.

  5. Above I noted our problems with the rotisserie device. We were stuck with a trussed chicken ready to go with a nice coating of spices. We stuck it into the Vortex as is, hit Roast button and let it go for 40 min at 380 degrees. We turned the chicken onto its breast at 14 min left. When finished, the meat thermometer measured temp’s from 152 to 170 degrees. The chicken was nicely golden brown and the skin is crispy. Whew! Missed a speeding rotisserie spit. 🙂

    1. When I did mine on the rotisserie, I found that it wan not browning quite as evenly as I anted, so I finished breast side up on a tray. It came out great. The rotisserie is cool, but things can be done pretty much just fine without it too. I plan to write something up on that later this week.

  6. Mine has the “new” smell even after cleaning everything before use.
    Does the display button lights and “OFF” ever go off like the Instant Pots?

    1. From what I can tell the “off” stays on as long as it is plugged in. I have been unplugging mine. I’ll try leaving it plugged in for awhile and see if it goes off!

  7. I’ve been thinking about getting one since it makes heathier foods but my current countertop space is limited 🙁 maybe after we move in few years! ☺️

  8. I’m not allowed to get one! I begged for an Air Fryer for my birthday and got one but returned it. We tried a different one and returned that too. I found them hard to clean and the smells bothered me. I know I’m in the minority though.

  9. What a handy appliance! I have an instant pot/pressure cooker. But I think an air fryer would be great for fries and nuggets for the kids.

      1. I have not found a way to pause it other than that opening the door pauses it. If I take items out to flip them for any length of time, I either leave the door open, or I just let it keep running and add a minute on the end if I need more time.

  10. We just bought one a couple weeks ago. Put chicken nuggets in and turned it on. Then we heard a loud crack and BAM the glass window was shattered. We bought it at Walmart with a warranty and they said kick rocks. So I called Instant and within two days had a new unit delivered. Just unpacked it. Hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen again. Other than the window the thing works great. I would still buy it again.

  11. Thanks for the thorough review. Lots of things mentioned here that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. I also used your recipe links and am following you. I can’t believe it’s been in the US for about 2 months now and here in Canada where it’s made, we can’t even find out when it will be for sale here or how much it will cost. Disappointing!

  12. Instantpot Hot Air Votex Oven from Wal-Mart.

    Just got mine 1 week ago.
    Smells like burnt plastic, even after 4 uses. I keep it under range hood fan. Would be even worse without a vent fan above it.
    Mine has a plastic rotiserie insert.

    I removed all packing, will be returning it soon, if the strong smell does not stop !

    1. It should not smell for that long. I suggest double checking that the plastic where the rotisserie attaches is not burnt. Regardless, if the smell is lingering that long, or if that plastic piece is burnt, you might try contacting Instant for a replacement. I have read of people having decent luck with that.

  13. Got one for a gift , plugged it it and no lights. It automatically comes on when I shut the door and gets hot like its baking… But since I can’t see the buttons I don’t know what it’s doing……..

    1. It definitely shouldn’t do that. I suggest trying to contact Instant about it. They have been pretty good about replacing defective products.

  14. I just got this for Christmas. I debated between this and the actual Instant Pot with air fryer. I love my Instant Pot (another Christmas gift), but I wanted to try air frying. I decided on this because I have the 6qt Instant Pot and I have trouble reaching and seeing inside of it (I am well under 5’ tall), with the 8qt I wouldn’t be able to comfortably use it, this being more like a toaster oven style, I don’t have to worry about being able to get inside of it. I used it for the first time last night and made a London broil. It turned out delicious, if a little overdone (just a little pink inside), but not bad for a first try. It was very tender and juicy. I was able to fit two full size steaks in it, so I was extremely impressed. It did have a users manual, but doesn’t tell you how to remove the door…kind of weird. I still had to go online to find that in their online user manual. Now I’m trying to find out if the glass comes out…

  15. I have just bought the instant pot vortex fryer. A few minutes into test run it started making a loud noise, sound like squeaky wheel. Now not so loud. Is this normal?

    1. The Vortex is not a particularly quiet appliance because the fan makes a fair amount of noise, but a squeaky wheel sound from it does not seem normal to me. If it stopped though and is now just a normal fan noise, I will venture a guess that all is OK.

    1. The basket may look smallish, but it holds a decent amount of food. I have made fries with enough for two very hungry people eating only fries. Probably enough for four regular small size side sizes. But it definitely won’t feed a crowd. Note that if you get the basket too full, it won’t cook as evenly or will take longer. If I get it rather full, I give it more time. Just never stuff it full.

  16. I bought it at Christmas and it worked fine for a while but did here squeaky noise but the now is you turn it on and in the middle of cooking it turns off the panel goes blank i have unplugged it if you let it sit for awhile it come back sometimes but my husband said last time he used it it wouldn’t come back on is anyone having problem like this

  17. Just bought a instant pot vortex. And first run emitted a completely toxic plastic smell which was overwhelming to say the least. This is unacceptable for any product to emit toxic gas at this level, one which lingered in the house for more than 8 hours. Imagine what toxins being layered onto your food and ingested by your family. This product should banned from sale in the US

    1. I did not personally experience an odor upon first use of mine, but some users have reported that. It is important to run the initial test run as described in the manual before cooking food in it for the first time.

  18. I just got one tonight and I ran it through the test run on air fry and it said at the end of the cycle it would go into cool cycle.
    It did not when the time was finished it just went to end and no cooling fan

    1. Hmmm, it should run the fan briefly. You might try one more test cycle to make sure that you didn’t miss it. The cooling fan doesn’t run very long.

    2. I have the same issue. The word “Cool” doesn’t even come up on the display and no cooling cycle happens. The fan blows a little when it says “End” but that’s it.

  19. I purchased the Vortex Plus last week. I’ve used it almost every day! I love it! I’ve made frozen fish fillets, French fries, steak & chicken kabobs, hot links, hamburgers, steak bites & a pork tenderloin. My family loved everything! There is a slight “new appliance “ smell, but I’ve left the door open for several days and the smell has gone away. Clean up is easy. I cover the drip pan with foil.

  20. I have been using the instantpot air fryer for about 6 months now. Straight out of the box everything has worked fine no problems or bad smells. So far have only used the trays and I have to say I really love this product!

  21. I had mine for several months now and I can’t get pass the plastic smell. It has deterred us from using it and fully enjoying it. We took out for Super Bowl for chicken wings and the chicken tasted like the smell. It was gross and my house smelled toxic after. I am getting frustrated with this purchase I want to resell it but fell bad for the next person who has to put up with the taste and smeLL. Anyone experiencing this as well?? Help!!

    1. It definitely should not persist with the smell. Most complaints I have seen with that is that it goes away after a test use or maybe two. I suggest writing to the company about it as your experience seems to be outside of the norm and certainly should not happen. You might be able to return it under warranty or get a replacement to see if that makes it better.

  22. I received a Vortex Instant Pot for my birthday from my daughter about a week ago. Everytime I turn it on the odor is nauseating. It smells like the plastic is melting. I have turned it on at least 12 times to see if the odor will “burn off” and nothing has changed. Can anything be done about this?

    1. Most people who get that odor report that it burns off after one or two times heating it up. I suggest contacting Instant Brands because it shouldn’t still be putting out an odor after 12 times.

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