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.
About the Instant Pot Vortex Plus
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
- 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.