It's apparently OK to gift a kitchen appliance this year.
Instant Pot appears to be one of the hottest holiday gifts judging by how many stores are sold out. It's listed as out of stock on retailers like Wal-Mart (though in-store pick up for various cities is still an option) and doesn't even show up in searches on websites like Kohl's (even though the retailer said it was one of its top sellers on Black Friday). Instant Pot's own website is sold out of some variations.
On Amazon it was once again among the site's top-selling items and it was listed as a "recommended Cyber Monday deal. " The availability on Amazon is likely due to the fact it is easier for an online retailer to manage its products than stores that balance inventory across brick-and-mortar stores and online.
Retailers straddling the two have to manage inventory so they don't advertise products online that are out of stock in stores. Amazon also tends to be more willing to take a big bet on a newer product like Instant Pot, while traditional retailers tend to be more cautious.
Shoppers who miss the online deals — or who don't need to have the popular brand — will find there are a number of competing multicookers for sale. Rivals such as Crock-Pot, Breville, Fagor, NuWave and others offer similar products.
"There are a few brands that are growing," said NPD analyst Joe Derochowski. "The category is growing, with Instant Pot leading it, but there are others that are benefiting."
Arguably the most recognized brand, Instant Pot, has played up those products' ability to cook dinner quickly and conveniently. Multicookers combine pressure cooking and slow cooking — neither of which are new.
But the device has gone viral as countless Facebook groups dedicated to sharing recipes have cropped up and fans are raving about how the gadget has changed their lives.
It's too soon to know exact stats from the Black Friday weekend, but multicooker sales are already surging this year. They grew 68 percent to $264.5 million in the 12 months ended in October, according to NPD.
And that's before the holiday rush.
An Instant Pot spokeswoman said it's too soon to comment on sales with Cyber Monday underway. Crock-Pot said it had "a very successful holiday weekend with sales that far surpassed estimates." The Newell Brands line released its multicooker in October.
"The Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker was hugely successful over the weekend with retailers including Target, Walmart, and Best Buy, and we will be working hard to keep products in stock, as we expect demand to continue throughout the holiday season," Crock-Pot's director of brand development, David Worthington, said in a statement.
Discounts on multicookers could have played a role in how fast they sold over the Black Friday weekend. Yet if figures from the year are any indication, the category will keep booming this holiday season.
Price: $59.95 and up
Buy now: Instant Pot
Disclosure: CNBC has affiliate relationships with some retailers so in some cases, if you purchase an item from one of our gift guides, we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchase. This holiday season, the proceeds will be donated to the Council for Economic Education, which supports economic and financial education.