Ambiano 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker

Instant Pots are all the rage. Just about every cooking website, mom blog, and foodie site has, at some point, chronicled their experiences with the versatile little machine. An Instant Pot is a high-tech take on a centuries-old device, a pressure cooker, which uses pressure and steam to considerably speed up the cooking process. Several design choices set the Instant Pot apart, but one of the most important is the fact that the Instant Pot’s programmable cooking modes take out much of the guesswork.

Aldi is not one to shy away from cloning popular appliances, and the grocer has done it here, too.

The Ambiano 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, an Aldi Special Buy (ALDI Find), retails for $39.99. At press time, this is about half the cost of a comparably equipped Instant Pot, so on paper this is a pretty solid deal. The Ambiano’s materials don’t indicate who the manufacturer is, but the device does come with a 3-year warranty backed by a company called “Customer Care USA,” which has been known to appear on Aldi-related products in the past.

The pressure cooker’s features include:

  • A 6-quart capacity
  • Six operating functions: traditional pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, saute, and warmer
  • 10 pre-programmed cooking modes: chicken, oatmeal, beans/tenderize, fast cooking, long cooking, rice, meat, soup, steam, fish
  • A 24 hour delay timer
  • A keep warm function
  • A self-locking lid that claims to close easily and prevents the lid from being opened when the contents are under pressure
  • Indicator lights for power and for when the pot is ready
  • Cool touch handles

In addition, the Ambiano Pressure Cooker comes with:

  • An inner pot
  • A rack
  • A measuring cup and spoon
  • A recipe book
  • A manual

It’s worth noting here that the Ambiano uses a nonstick interior for its inner pot. This is different from the stainless steel inner pot of an Instant Pot. Which one you prefer will probably depend on individual taste. Users will want to make sure they use a nonscratch utensil such as a wooden spoon.

The accessories.

The Ambiano, like most electronic pressure cookers, is a complex device, and users would be well-advised to spend some time with the manual before first use. There are a lot of important steps and safety considerations, especially for those who haven’t used a device like this before, and while the learning curve does get easier over time, it’s important to make sure everything is assembled, cleaned, set up, and used correctly.

Once properly set up, it’s a matter of setting the appropriate cooking setting, setting the cook time, and starting the process. The Ambiano, like many Instant Pots, has six functions and ten pre-programmed cooking modes, which are the meat and potatoes, figuratively speaking, of the device. The timer allows for delayed start, meaning that users can set the Ambiano, go out, and have it start cooking while they’re gone.

The Verdict:

While it’s hard to argue with the success — and generally positive reviews — of the name brand Instant Pot, shoppers looking to try out the Instant Pot cooking approach on a budget might want to give this Aldi appliance a close look, especially as the Ambiano Pressure Cooker has many of the same programming functions for a lot less money. The 3-year warranty is a nice extra.


About Joshua

Joshua writes about a variety of topics, including video games, parenting, and, of course, Aldi. He's also a science fiction novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

16 Comments

  1. I had been tossing around the idea of buying an Instant Pot, but the price tag for another appliance that I really didn’t need was a bit high. When I saw this one for $39.99 in the Aldi ad, I ran down and purchased one.

    My first thought was “where have you been all of my life?” I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The first meal I made was a pot roast with potatoes and gravy. It was perfect. Next I tried some chicken and rice. The rice was fluffy and chicken was tender and juicy in 5 minutes cooking time. I see what all of the hubbub is about.

    If you can still find one, buy it. At about 1/3 of the price of an Instant Pot, this is a steal. You will love it!

  2. I bought this last year and absolutely love it. I could not justify buying a nice InstantPot because I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it. After using this pressure cooker I am sold with the technique, I use it pretty often and never have had issues (besides my own mistakes)

    When it breaks I’ll buy an InstantPot because they reach higher pressure and are generally higher quality but this one works just great for now.

  3. Did you take the cooker at of the box and give it a test run? I am interested in the unit’s performance. I just bought one as a companion to my Farberware 7 in 1. I love pressure cooking and I’ve had a pretty steep learning curve.

  4. Will the Ambiano 6 in 1 do yogurt? I have a small yogurt maker and do batches at least once a week, I like the larger size of the Ambiano, but the ad copy doesn’t indicate if it can do yogurt.

  5. What setting do I use for cooking hard boiled eggs?????

    • I used the “Oatmeal” setting since this pot does not have a “Manual” setting and it was the ONLY setting that went down to 3 Minutes, and they came out great! Can do 2 to 12 at same setting. Use natural release, and they come out perfect for me. Use 1 cup of water 3 minute cook time,and set the eggs on the trivet so they are out of the water. Good Luck!

  6. I recently purchased one of these units and overall it is not a bad unit for the price, however it doesn’t reach the temperatures and pressures of some of the name brand units which means it takes a little longer for things to cook (but it is still way faster than stovetop cooking).

    Additionally trying to “brown” a roast before cooking it takes forever (30 minutes). I usually brown my meat on the stovetop which takes like 10 minutes and then pressure cook it in the unit.

    This is a good “first” pressure cooker to buy as it is rather inexpensive but if you use it a lot etc you will probably want to upgrade when you go to replace this unit.

  7. I found this on clearance at Aldi for twenty bucks, so I figured why not? The cooker appears nicely made and of quality. The first thing I cooked in it was 5 skinless chicken tighs. I seared them on one setting (no pressure and lid off), seasoning the down side first with lemon-pepper and using real butter to cook them in, after 5-6 minutes flipped them over for another 5-6 min repeated seasoning & butter. Removed on a plate, added a little water to the bottom, placed the rack in, placed the seared tighs on it, pressed chicken and set to 10 minutes, placed pressure lid on, after time was up let them sit 10 minutes. These turned out really moist and tasty, so easy. Great first experience with this cooker, recommended!

  8. This pot makes wonderful, quic chilli that taste like it has been simmering for hours, a definite time saver for this application.

  9. Does anyone know? What is the difference between the different cook modes? Is it JUST the time, or are there different PRESSURES, or something else? Does it matter whether I cook in RICE MODE or Oatmeal, or MEAT? I know the preset time is different, but cannot find ANY explanation of what is different about the different modes other than the TIME and range it can be set for. Seems like they would have just put ONE button labeled TIME if there was nothing different about them. Appreciate any input. I just bought this, and am happy with the results so far, but its hard to make it work properly without understanding what it does! lol

  10. I’ve noticed that it has no start button, makes it alttle difficult if you are a novice user. There wasn’t a beep sound when time was reached- had to watch clock for time, did try to set time wanted but couldn’t get that function to work. Manual that comes with cooker is not very usable- explanations may work for some but not for all. Did make broccoli cheese soup today but not easily! It seemed like the pressure valve was really wobbly- should it be that woobly? To release pressure I had to hold up valve with wooden spoon for quite some time- is that the way it should be? So far I’m feeling if I had spent a little more money & bought a different pot, I would be happier.

    • Hi Jean – If you think the Aldi cooker panel is complicated, other instant-pot-style cookers have even more presets and are more complicated. However, although the control panel can look intimidating at first, it’s really quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. Most of the buttons are presets, and you can adjust the time after you select one. For example, if you press the “Chicken” button, P15 is the default time. If you would rather cook for 10 minutes instead of 15, press the black button on the left (has minus sign on bottom) 5 times, and you will see the time decrease. On the other hand, if you want the time to increase, press the black button on the right (has plus sign on bottom) 5 times, and the time will increase from P15 to P20. After food is cooked, there are three beeps, but they are not loud. You can also tell food is done cooking because there are a string of “bbbb” characters across the panel. Also, when your food is done, you have a choice of letting the food stay warm in the default setting, of you can turn off the cooker by pressing the black button on the right. As for allowing the cooker to depressurize, you can either allow it to come down on its own, or you can manually release the pressure by SLOWLY turning the pressure-release valve to the right. (That what I always do.) BTW, the chicken preset is perfect for cooking chicken wings or thighs. I love my ALDI programmable pressure cooker. You can basically adapt almost any Instant Pot recipe for it. Here’s an easy BBQ chicken recipe: 5lb chicken wings or thighs, 1 18oz. bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Put BBQ sauce and chicken into pot. Mix with hands to coat chicken. Close the lid to the cooker pot. Push the Chicken preset once (P15) will show. In about 30 minutes you’ll have BBQ chicken. You can add vegetables such as sliced bell peppers, diced tomatoes, or diced onions if you like, but it’s not necessary. Anyway, best of luck!

  11. Thank you so much for your insight, you have helped me some. I did try the BBQ chicken, it turned out pretty good but could have cooked a bit longer, I think. l have another question that maybe you could help with- if I want to make Mac& cheese, which button do I use since my cooker doesn’t have a “manual” button that I can set for high pressure, I’m confused which buttons to use for the different pressure levels. Thank you again for all your help, it is much appreciated.

    • Hi Jean – Mark is correct. The pressure is uniform with the Aldi programmable pressure cooker. Some models from other makers have variable pressure levels, but the Aldi model cooks everything that I’ve thrown at it just fine. Also, some models come to full pressure faster (or slower), and that depends on the heating element and the temperature of the liquids and other ingredients you put into the pot before cooking. For example, if you cook a meal using room-temp vegetables and hot water from the tap, your cooker will come to full pressure much faster that if you use vegetables straight from the fridge and cold water. As for cooking mac & cheese, it’s very easy to do. First, I recommend that you go online and adapt an instant-pot recipe that interests you. There are tons of them posted. Use the same set times that they recommend. Macaroni usually cooks at about four minutes under pressure, so once you’ve added the correct amount of pasta, water, and salt, press a preset button, such as “chicken,” and then press the black minus (-) button on the right until you get the time to move from P15 to P04. Your macaroni should come out perfectly when it finishes cooking. Then you can stir in the milk, cheeses, ham chunks, pepper, or whatever you like. Just be sure to use a wooden or plastic stirring spoon to mix and/or serve your mac & cheese. Have fun! 😉

  12. According to a conversation that I just had with the manufacture on the phone, the pressure is the same regardless of mode. The designed pressure is 8.7 psi. The only difference between the molds is the default time, and range of total cooking time. That is what I was told when I asked a similar question. Good luck,. And enjoy.

  13. So far I’ve made hard boiled eggs, spaghetti, chili and chicken & noodles. Everything and come out great!! I too bought this pot to gauge how much I would use another appliance before buying the Instant Pot. I’m very pleased and so is my family.

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