This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

The Instant Pot hits its stride this time of year. If your ideal fall or winter dinner involves some tender, fall-off-the-bone meat but you haven’t quite perfected the art of starting dinner 3 or 4 hours in advance, then you definitely want an Instant Pot. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a hybrid slow cooker and pressure cooker — those are its two most popular functions — but it also does a number of other things including cooking perfect rice, steaming vegetables, and making yogurt, eggs, steel oats and more. Most Instant Pots also have a sear function so you don’t even have to bust out a skillet to get a crusty edge before you let the pressure cooker or slow cooker function work their magic. 

With the holidays approaching, the Instant Pot is great for making quick main courses such as short ribs or pot roast. You can also make side dishes like creamed spinach or mac and cheese, and there’s recipes for hearty soups, stews, chilis, warm dips and a whole lot more. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you pounce on one of these Instant Pots deals from the many kitchen and cookware sales we’ll see this season.  

Read more: Best Instant Pots of 2020: Duo, Ultra, Lux and more models compared  

And that, of course, is the challenge. Instant Pots come in more variations than laptops, it seems, and pricing is often all over the map. The good news is that the holiday season is the best time to buy, whether you’re getting a real Instant Pot or one of the many knockoff (but still capable) knockoff brands. 

The main rule: Don’t pay more than $60 for a 6-quart model. We’re already seeing models available for $60 to $70, but the best deal on deck is the Instant Pot Viva for $49. That price — which is half off — will hit at Walmart when its early Black Friday sale starts at 4 p.m. PT Wednesday, Nov. 4. 

If there are any better Instant Pot sales between now and the end of the year, we’ll be sure to root them out, so be sure to check back here for the best deals on Instant Pot for the 2020 holiday season. 

Instant Pot

The Viva appears to be an offshoot of the popular Duo model with the addition of sous vide and cake-making (!) options, according to Instantpotology. This Instant Pot does just about everything you’d want or need a multicooker to do and under $50 is about as low as you’ll see it go. It features 15 cook settings including soup, meat/stew, chili, cake, egg, slow cook, pressure cook, saute, rice, multigrain, steam, sterilize, porridge, warm and yogurt. Six quarts is the most popular size: It’s large enough to cook for groups but not so huge that you’ll find it difficult to store. It also has OverHeat Protection, a safety lock to ensure safe pressure cooking

The only minor drawback of the Viva is that it’s limited to 4 hours of cooking time. For context, most slow-cooked meals won’t take you more than 4 hours including pot roasts, pulled chicken and pork shoulder. In fact, if you cook anything for longer than that, it’s likely to turn mushy, so this isn’t something that would deter me from buying.

This Instant Pot Viva also qualifies for Walmart’s free shipping and should be to you by next week at the latest. Note that this deal appears limited to the black model, though it appears more silver-y in the photos.



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