If you’re semi-new to the world of electric pressure cooking, these 5 things not to do with your Instant Pot will come in handy as you start using this awesome countertop appliance.
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5 Things Not To Do With Your Instant Pot (Video)
1. Don’t store your Instant Pot with the lid on top. As you may know by now, the sealing ring of your Instant Pot can get pretty smelly. If you store your pot with the lid on top securely in place the sealing ring won’t get to air out. I always store my Instant Pot with the lid on top but upside down. That way the sealing ring will get to air out and it becomes less smelly. Some other ways to get that sealing ring to not stink are to air it out in the sunshine, put it in a ziplock bag with baking soda or clean it with white vinegar or lemon. I have two sealing rings.* One for savory dishes and one for sweet dishes or for making yogurt.
2. Don’t add dairy until the food is done pressure cooking. Just like slow cooking you can’t add some dairy items to the Instant Pot until the food is done cooking. If you do it will curdle. Sour cream, milk, half and half and cream are the major culprits. Canned milk, cream cheese and jarred alfredo sauce seem to do okay under pressure. Cheesecakes turn out great in the Instant Pot! For example in my Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta I stir in milk after the pasta and chicken has pressure cooked.
3. Don’t act like you know what you’re doing and don’t give up. Although I’m a good stovetop cook, who likes to “wing it” when cooking, I find that pressure cooking is a whole different thing. Entirely. I met constant failures and frustrations, until I realized I needed to pretend like I knew nothing about cooking, and go into it with that mindset, so I could learn afresh. I followed recipes, from trusted resources, because winging it didn’t work until I knew this new method of cooking. Once I came into it with that mindset, it all became a LOT easier. Once you get a handle on the “rules” of pressure cooking you can experiment a bit. But until then, follow recipes and don’t give up if you have a recipe fail every now and then!
4. Don’t get frustrated by how long it takes. Just because a recipe has a pressure cook time of 2 minutes doesn’t mean that the food will actually be done in 2 minutes. There is a good 10 minutes of heating up the pot and letting the pressure build and then the recipe might also call for a “natural pressure release” which will take another 10 minutes or so. Don’t get irritated by this! Use your time wisely by doing all the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen in the meantime. I like to prepare a salad or fresh veggies during this time as well. I have gotten a lot of laundry folded and put away in the time the pressure is releasing. Make it a game to see how much you can get done while your Instant Pot is cooking your food! Remember it’s all hands-off cooking time which is such a blessing when you have a busy family that needs your attention on something other than stirring the risotto.
5. Don’t quick release meats. If you’re making a pot roast or pulled pork don’t use a quick release (QR)! A quick pressure release is when you open the valve and allow the steam to release quickly. If you’re using an Instant Pot, you turn the valve from sealing to venting to release the pressure. This quick release dries out the meat and it won’t be as tender.
When possible use a natural pressure release (NPR) when cooking meats. A natural pressure release is when the cooking time is over and you leave the valve closed and allow the pressure to decrease without doing anything. Your Instant Pot will automatically switch to the Keep Warm setting. As soon as it switches to Keep Warm the pressure will begin to drop. The time it will take to release all the pressure depends on the ingredients and the amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. Unfortunately, there is no beep or signal when the pressure is released. The float valve will simply drop down and you’ll be able to open the lid. Sometimes you can hear the float valve drop if you’re close by. You can see the pin (float valve) drop in this video if you’re interested in seeing what that looks like:
Even doing a partial natural pressure release (let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting) will be better than moving the valve to venting right away. You don’t have to wait for all the pressure to release to get the benefit of a natural pressure release.
I hope these tips for 5 things not to do with your Instant Pot have helped you! What are some Instant Pot “rules” that have helped you?
Some of my favorite recipes for beginners…
Hard Boiled Eggs. One of my very favorite things to make in the Instant Pot is hard boiled eggs. We love to eat them for a quick on the go snack. There are so many methods of making them. Here is the method I use for making Instant Pot hard boiled eggs.
Brown Rice. I could never get brown rice perfect when I tried to make it on the stove. Now it’s a cinch! I use this method of making Instant Pot brown rice and I love it. Works every time!!
Seasoned Shredded Chicken. Sometimes it’s just nice to have some flavorful shredded chicken on hand. It goes well in other recipes (like chicken salad or chicken tetrazzini) or served by itself. This is my favorite recipes for basic shredded chicken. You can even cook the chicken from frozen.
Chicken Gyros. Our whole family loves these Instant Pot Chicken Gyros. They are very flavorful! This recipe has a video to go with it of my daughter demonstrating the recipe.
Mississippi Roast. This roast is super flavorful and fall apart tender. We like to serve it on toasted buns.
What Pressure Cooker Do You Use?
I use a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
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*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Can I cook with beer or carbonated beverages in my Pot?
Barb B. says
Someone made a comment about ads. I don’t have a blog, but I know the ads help pay for the expense of having a blog and sometimes a little extra. I have Pinterest Boards for everything I’m interested in. Blogs have saved me a lot of money not having to buy as many books. (Not good for the authors.). I pin their recipes and sewing/quilting instructions, etc. I save on paper because I don’t print recipes or instructions. I carry my iPad from room to room. I would be lost without blogs and subscribe to several. Every morning I look forward to reading what’s new. This is a big thanks to all of the bloggers, especially Karen.
Thanks so much Barb! I spend about 40 hours a week on my blog. It has become my full time job and the ads are my main source of income. Yes they are annoying at times but it is free content so I hope people can understand that 🙂 Thanks for your comment.
Barb B. says
You’re welcome, Karen. I spend about that much time reading blogs. I’m retired, so there’s always tomorrow to get things done. I think the Instant Pot is the greatest invention ever, and I’ve made many of your recipes. They were all great. So thank you for all you do.
You’re welcome Barb! It is a pleasure.
Linda Fundytus says
wow! 40 hours a week. No wonder your recipies are so awesome. I dont care how much advertising, etc we see, it is soooo worth your gift of your recipies. I make almost every one that appears in my in box. Thank you Karen for all you do!!!
Ahhh, thanks Linda!
I really enjoy your posts, but all these darn pop-up advertising is driving me crazy. Is it because I view on cellphone?
Question…..#2 says to NOT add dairy during the pressure cook, because it separates. I just cooked another cheesecake and all wet well.
Hi Mike, I guess I should clarify on dairy. What I meant was milk, half and half and cream mostly. Cream cheese, alfredo sauce, canned milk do okay under pressure! I will try to add that in so people know. And yes cheesecake works great in the Instant Pot!
Virginia Thompson says
Can you cook turkey breast that comes in oven bag in instant pot?
I would not cook with an oven bag in the Instant Pot. They are made for oven temps or slow cooker temps not pressure cooker temps.
Can I use a silicon cake pan in my IP ?
Hi Karen. I am new to the Instant pot. I am a kitchen gadget queen. My husband wanted to get me one of these years ago, but I read the reviews and they said that the times were not accurate. So I didn’t want one. Now that I have one I realized the people must not have taken into consideration the build up pressure time. Now that I have one, I don’t know how I lived without one. I even bought an extra one so I will never be without one. My husband passed away two years ago and it has been hard to cook for one. I lost all interest in cooking. Now cooking is fun again. I’m looking forward to getting your recipes. And thank you for sharing.
God bless you Linda! I’m so glad you are liking cooking again.
maureen tagle says
I found a lasagne recipe for the instapot but I was wondering if I could use my sealed flanera pan for it. There are locking clips and no visible vents on the pan. Would that be a problem? Is it necessary to use a vented pan in the pressure cooker liner?
Do you have to lock it? I would just leave the clips unlocked.
Norma Luther says
Thanks so much. I love my 2 instant pot (both Ultra one is a 6 and one is an 8) and I love reading as much as there is to get better and better. You are a gracious lady
You’re welcome Norma!
DJ HIXSON says
It says in an email that this is a printable page, I see no way to print
Are you thinking of this one? https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/printable-instant-pot-guide/
Do not quick release meats. Does that include meatloaf?
No. I find meatloaf is okay. Mostly don’t quick release roasts.
Linda Shortley says
These 5 tips were helpful. I remember how frustrated I was the first time I used my InstaPot. It took me soooo long to cook that first meal. LOL I thought, “this is instant?” I have learned to love it, when I use it. Your recipes are great. I know keeping this site up is a lot of work and I appreciate all the work you put into it.
Thank you so much Linda! It is a lot of work but it is great fun too!!!
Bonnie Lippincott says
I love your recipes! When I got my microwave years ago I did what you are suggesting, pretend you don’t know how to cook and follow the recipes until you learn how IT cooks. I did the same thing when I got my Instant Pot. But until I found you it was still hit or miss on the recipes.
Your recipes are tried and true! I have been writing on the recipes (I like to print them out) the actual time from “start to on the table.” It really helps me to plan my time.
I love my Instant Pot and have recommended you and your site for my friends that are leery of getting one.
So far no fails with your recipes and after one year I am branching out and converting old family favorites to the Instant Pot.
I love it!
Thank you so much! What a nice comment to get.
I can’t get my email to go through
What do you mean? I’m confused.
Paul King says
I do steel cut oatmeal in the morning and frequently use coconut milk for flavour and have never had a problem…
Laura V Spiro says
Glad to hear that. I’m making Aid and oatmeal recipe with coconut milk as we speak!
Laura V Spiro says
My last reply was supposed to say “making an oatmeal recipe with coconut milk.”
Why is it that when you unpacked your Instant Pot, the silver pressure valve was solid silver, but when you should it in the video after releasing all the pressure and dropping down, it was hollow inside? Thank you.
Hi Vicki, the one from the box was the Instant Pot Duo and the one on the counter was the Instant Pot Lux.
Thank you so much for the tips! Very helpful, especially the one about being a novice again.
Yes! It’s such a learning curve.
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Karen, I still haven’t gotten into the Instant Pot, but I’m seriously thinking about it now. How well does it function as a slow cooker? I’m thinking of replacing my slow cooker with it because of its stainless steel cooking pot. My slow cooker’s nonstick-coated aluminum cooking pot is getting worn and I much prefer stainless steel.
Hi Jean, to tell you the truth I haven’t used the slow cooker function much. From what I read it isn’t the best as a slow cooker. Make sure not to use the lowest setting. It functions as WARM and the middle setting is Low and the other one is High. I just use my ceramic slow cooker instead for my slow cooker recipes.
Jean there are slow cooker liners and they work beautifully. I never cook in my slow cooker without them, they are made by Reynolds, think about replacing your slow cooker non-stick with the ceramic pot, gives very even cooking as well.
BE HILLE says
Oh, thank you! I was just not on the Instant Pot bandwagon, but my mother-in-law got us one as a gift. (Bless her heart.) It sat for two weeks before I really read how to use it. Then on to Google for real recipes. Thank you for real do-able recipes! AND – These tips helped me! #3 and #4 is so me!
You’re welcome! I hope that I can be helpful to you in your instant pot journey!
Pam Ubidia says
Thank you so much for the tips and all the recipes you send. You and the Instant Pot have revolutionized the way I cook and I am very grateful and my husband most appreciative! He can’t believe I can cook like that!! 😋
PAM! This is awesome!!!
yes the steam is escaping?
john hall says
The two crucial things I feel are not emphasized enough:
1. A liquid must always be added, it is a pressure/steam cooker that uses vaporized liquid, steam to cook the food.
2. It is critical to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Use a liquid like wine or vinegar and/or use a wooden spoon to scrape it. This is critical if meat is being seared.
YES! Good tips, John. Thank you.
Karen, thanks a TON for the tip about always usually using npr for meat! Yaaay, now I have another vital tool to keep them from that dreaded ‘dry-out.’
You’re welcome Jennie!!
What is npr?
Natural Pressure Release.
Once I get my IP locked and loaded (er, swap that), I love being able to cycle the dishwasher, cycle the washer/dryer, or even just sit down and read a page in a book before the next interruption. It’s nice not to be tied to the kitchen.
It’s so freeing!
Is the pressure release valve in the VENT position and releasing all the steam? Or perhaps you are filling it too full, I have experienced it a couple times myself but made adjustments to these.
I’m really knew to Instant Pot; the model that I bought is IP-LUX60 V3, I don’t have a chicken mode on my model.
Besides scorching my chicken and roast; I keep running out of liquid. Even cooking my pinto beans I still run out of liquid and have to cook them for another three hours to get them soft. I even put more liquid in the pot.
Today I tried cooking boiled eggs putting in two cups of water on the trivet; still running out of water.
Trying to push the button to increase the pressure it only stays on low. + –
What I’m I doing wrong.
This is very weird! Is the sealing ring in place? Does steam escape the entire time that the food is cooking?
It sounds like the vent is not in the closed position.