If you’re somewhat new to the Instant Pot you’re going to love these 81 Instant Pot Tips! Most of these aren’t tips you’ll read in your Instant Pot instruction manual. Which tip would you add to this list?
81 Instant Pot Tips
- Instant Pot is the a brand of electric pressure. It’s Instant Pot not Insta Pot. There is no appliance called an “instapot.”
- The steam knob is wiggly. It’s supposed to be that way.
- Manual button and the pressure cook button are the same thing. Different models have buttons that say different things but have the VERY SAME function in recipes.
- 99% of the time you can and will use the manual button/pressure cook button. You don’t need all the other buttons on your Instant Pot (like rice, eggs, meat, etc.).
- Despite the name INSTANT Pot the pot doesn’t cook anything instantly. It takes time for the pot to come to pressure (usually 10 minutes) and time to release pressure.
- It is, however, mostly a hands off method of cooking which allows you to accomplish other tasks while your food is cooking.
- You can deep clean your Instant Pot.
- You can wash your lid by hand or you can wash it in the top rack of the dishwasher.
- The stainless steel liner is not ruined if it is marked or cloudy after a few uses. A little white vinegar or Barkeeper’s Friend will make the liner shine again.
- The sealing ring gets smelly. Store your Instant Pot with the lid upside down to allow odor to dissipate.
- Clean the rim under the lid with a foam paint brush, q-tip or a rag covered butter knife.
- Always add thin liquid (water, broth, juice, etc.). You need at least 1 cup for the 6 quart Instant Pot and 1 ½ cups for the 8 quart pot.
- The burn notice happens when things burn on the bottom of the pot before the water or thin liquid make enough steam to bring the pot to pressure.
- Burn problems happen when you start adding things that thicken and stir them into your liquid (examples would be tomato sauce or other tomato products, cream soups, thick sauces, etc). When you do that, now that liquid is too thick to boil without burning on the bottom of the pot. Once that happens, the pot will never come to pressure until you scrape off anything burned on the bottom and add more liquid to thin it out.
- The fuller the pot and the cooler the temperature of the food the longer it will take for the pot to come to pressure.
- The larger the pot the longer it takes to reach pressure and the more liquid you need to come to pressure. Consider this when deciding to buy a 6 quart or an 8 quart.
- Natural Pressure Release (NPR) means that you let the pressure in the pot dissipate on its own.
- A natural pressure release happens when the cooking time is over and the valve is left closed. The pressure decreases without doing anything.
- The time it will take to release all the pressure depends on the ingredients and the amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. For a very full pot it can take up to 30 minutes to release all the pressure. For a less full pot with little liquid it can be as quick as 5 minutes.
- QR refers to Quick Release. It is a way to let all the pressure in the Instant Pot escape as fast as possible.
- To release pressure quickly, move the valve from sealing to venting and allow the pot to release steam and pressure.
- In most cases, do not fill your pot more than 2/3 full. For beans and other expanding/foaming ingredients do not fill more than 1/2 full.
- There is a big difference between a pot full of liquid as “full” and a chicken or other food that merely sticks up past the 2/3 line. One is a liquid that will be heated past boiling when done cooking and the other is a solid that will not sputter out the valve and possibly burn you. Common sense applies.
- NPR is recommended for meat. QR of meat causes the muscle fibers to seize up and makes for tough meat.
- However, you can QR a roast to add vegetables during the cooking process as long as you will be sealing the pot back and pressure cooking longer. Then make sure to finish with a proper NPR.
- QR can sometimes start sputtering just move the valve to sealing and wait 20 seconds before trying again.
- Give yourself enough time to let the pot release the pressure naturally for roast or else you’ll end up with a doorstop of a roast instead of meat that is fork tender.
- Most of the time quick release is, well, fairly quick. But it depends on how full the pot is and how much liquid is inside. If there is a lot of liquid it can take up to 5 minutes of steam escaping before it’s all released.
- Most of the time I write recipes that call for a combination of the natural pressure release and the quick release. I’ll say something like, “let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting.” This just means that you’ll let some of the pressure dissipate normally and the rest of the pressure is quickly released.
- Some people will unplug their Instant Pot to natural release. Others keep the pot plugged in and the display will turn to L0:00. For those who leave the pot plugged in the “Keep Warm” setting will automatically turn on.
- Whether your pot is off or is on keep warm setting will NOT affect how long it takes to naturally release the pressure. So it’s totally up to you. I like to keep the pot on so I can see how long it has been done.
- PIP refers to Pot-in-Pot cooking method. This means that you are cooking your food in an oven safe dish inside your Instant Pot on top of a trivet.
- An oven safe container is safe to cook with inside your pot.
- Pyrex is a brand of cookware. Some Pyrex is oven safe, some is not.
- Do not cook with plastic in your Instant Pot under pressure. Silicone cookware is okay to use.
- There are many accessories for the Instant Pot.
- If I could only have 2 it would be this OXO sling/trivet* and a pan that is good for pot in pot cooking, like this stainless steel pan*.
- You can make yogurt in your Instant Pot.
- Lux models do not have low pressure or yogurt incubation capabilities.
- If you don’t have a yogurt button you can still make yogurt, although I haven’t tried it myself.
- Greek yogurt is strained regular yogurt. You do not have to strain your yogurt. But it makes it nice and thick if you do.
- If you’re making a cheesecake or other dessert like banana bread you can cover with a loose dome of foil. It will help minimally with water drippage. It isn’t guaranteed though and expect the contents of the pot to be wet because the Instant Pot uses steam under pressure to cook.
- There are LOTS of methods for making hard boiled eggs. But this is the way that I do it.
- You can fill up your liner with as many eggs as will fit and still only need 1 cup of water (or 1 1/2 cups for an 8 quart).
- There are many ways people make rice in the Instant Pot. Here is one way.
- Just because you CAN cook something in the Instant Pot does not mean the Instant Pot is the best cooking method for that food.
- Much of the outer portion of your Instant Pot is made of plastic. It will melt on stove top burners. Keep your Instant Pot away from the stove.
- Do not ever cook anything without the liner in your pot.
- Do not POUR anything into the pot, always use the liner.
- If you accidentally pour something into the pot, turn your pot upside down and dry it completely at least 72 hours before plugging in to test it.
- There are Instant Pot appliances that are not pressure cookers. If you have a Gem, that is not a pressure cooker.
- Doubling a recipe does not require you to double the amount of time. Sometimes you actually need to decrease the cooking time.
- Doubling the THICKNESS of meats, veggies, and other foods DOES require increasing cook time.
- You can halve recipes. Just follow these instructions.
- A 2 pound roast is not necessarily twice as thick as a 1 pound roast.
- Milk, cheese, and other dairy products do not typically hold up well to pressure cooking. They do better added after the food has pressure cooked.
- Milk is likely to curdle if you pressure cook it.
- There is no single cook time that will work for all chicken breasts. Size matters!
- Some models have lids with little fins on the side handles. And if you want to take the lid off while cooking, you can just stick that fin into the matching tab on the side of the Instant Pot. They’re the same size and fit right together.
- The Instant Pot comes with a little plastic cup that clips to the back and catches any condensation that drips down.
- Some models have cords that unplug from the back of the pot. If your pot suddenly stops working check this first. Make sure the cord is snugly attached.
- The liner IS somewhat domed. This is not a defect. Yes, this causes oil to run to the edges of the liner. Just swirl the oil around and you will be fine.
- Put your water or broth in the pot first before ingredients. This will put a buffer of water between the food and the liner and help prevent burning.
- Steam released from the valve is HOT and WILL BURN. Use common sense.
- The first thing you should do with your Instant Pot is read the instruction manual and perform the water test.
- I have 3 different Instant Pots. However my go-to pot is my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*.
- The Instant Pot does have a slow cooker function on it. However, in my opinion, this is the one Achilles heel of the Instant Pot. The slow cooker function isn’t great.
- The slow cooker function works best if you get the pot hot before turning it down. It only heats from the bottom. You may need to stir every now and then.
- You can cook rice at the same time you cook your chicken using the pot in pot method.
- If you like to have a step by step guide to get you started you can print one off here.
- When the pot is done with a cooking cycle it switches over to the keep warm setting and starts counting up. The display will start with an L. The L stands for Lapsed Time.
- You can set food to cook on a delay. I would not recommend using this feature for meats, however, as that could cause foodborne illness.
- To delay cooking just set your Instant Pot to the time that you want it to cook using the manual button (or other button) and then press the button called Timer. Set the timer for how long you want the Instant Pot to delay cooking using the + or – buttons.
- You can adjust the saute setting to different heat settings. Use the adjust button to set the saute to LESS for simmer, NORMAL to sauté and MORE for browning.
- When you get a new Instant Pot there will be a invisible plastic cover on the display. You probably won’t even know that it’s there until it starts to bubble up in a few weeks. Just peel it off and discard.
- You can use your Instant Pot to proof bread.
- The pressure cooker doesn’t allow for evaporation to occur. Foods can become somewhat watered down. Make sure to season to taste before serving food. You can thicken foods with a cornstarch slurry.
- Many people complain that food sticks to their stainless steel pot when they use the saute setting. Turn the pot to the saute setting and wait for the display to read HOT. Once it says hot you can add in your cool oil and saute your onions or brown your roast. The food won’t stick!
- You’ll come across recipes every now and then that say to cook for 0 (zero) minutes on high or low pressure. Here’s how to do it.
- There are lots of places on the internet to find Instant Pot recipes. Some are more better than others. 365 Days has a great recipe index to find lots of recipes.
- Leave your Instant Pot on the counter and use it and love it! The more you use it the more familiar you’ll get with it.
Bonus tips from 365 Days readers!
- Bob says, “altitude does affect cooking time. I live half the year at sea level and half the year at 6650ft. There is a big difference. https://healthyinstantpotrecipes.com/instant-pot-high-altitude-cooking-time-adjustments/“
- Brenda says, ” using the low setting on the slow cooker function is basically just keeping things warm, lol. High setting works ok as a slow cooker.”
- Karen says, “the pot is cooking when it is building pressure. It is also cooking when it is naturally releasing the pressure.”
- Lou says, ” Once I have waited the 10 min for a natural release on an aromatic recipe like fajitas, I unplug my IP and take it outside to release the final steam so my house doesn’t smell.”
You might also like…
My YouTube channel about Instant Pot stuff
The 365 Days of Instant Pot Recipes facebook group
*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.
Thank you so much for this. I am not a good cook and still have issues cooking with my IP. This helps. I really appreciate it.
Side note, I purchased your cook book but have a hard time with the small print. Any thoughts of a larger print option? Thanks for all you do!
I’m sorry about the print size. You could get the pdf version for your device. That may help??
No need to be sorry at all. Good suggestion and again thanks for all you do 🙂
Karen, huge kudos on another great Instant Pot resource. I think this should come as a handbook to all new IP owners…and there are reminders and new treasures in there even for longer Instant Pot users.
Thank you 😊
So glad it was helpful!
I love your recipes and have tried so many. Please thank Bob for the high altitude tip as I live a mile high in beautiful Denver and didn’t ever consider the adjustment but certainly will now. I took my elderly parents the BBQ bacon meatloaf and they raved the whole weekend ! My son and I’s favorite so far is the Tuscan chicken pasta, with the beef barbacoa a close 2nd. There are so many blogs for instant pot but yours is the only one I read and follow. Thank you !!
Hi Michele, thanks so much for sharing! I am so happy you are here.
Wendy L Jones says
Thank you for number one….
You’re welcome 🙂
Grins. Yes, Wendy, that one bugs me too. I appreciate that Karen stated it: how hard is it to add an ‘n’ & a ‘t’? Maybe it’s my nitpickery, but it rankles me – comes off as both inaccurate and lazy.
Traci Sellers says
On #26 did you mean “sealing” instead of “venting”?
Oops! thanks for keeping an eye out for me! I fixed it.
Such a helpful list! Thank you so much 😊..
Glad you think it was helpful! Thanks Nichole.
Love your list and all your recipes. My one tip is : Once I have waited the 10 min for a natural release on an aromatic recipe like fajitas, I unplug my IP and take it outside to release the final steam so my house doesn’t smell.
Great tip! I’m adding this to the article!
Brenda Miraglia says
Great list! Regarding slow cooking, you might mention that using the low setting on the slow cooker function is basically just keeping things warm, lol. High setting works ok as a slow cooker.
oh yes, good tip Brenda!
I have learned so much from your site love it and thank-you.
So glad to hear Deborah!
Kathy E. says
I love my Instant Pot and now know so much more about it!
You’ve answered many questions I had, but didn’t know who to ask. Thank you so much!
Glad it was helpful to you Kathy!
Terrific hints! Thanks for sending. I use your recipes all the time- with good results!
Just to say thank you, Karen. You spend so much of your valuable time helping us and I, for one, appreciate your wonderful efforts. Best wishes, Suzanne
Thanks so much Suzanne!!
Carolyn Hill says
Thanks! A great list.
Thanks Carolyn! Glad it was helpful!
Vanessa Faukner says
You are a gem!!
Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!
Ahhh thanks Vanessa! You’re welcome.