Somewhat new to Instant Pot cooking? Have you heard of pot-in-pot (PIP)? Confused on what it means? Here’s everything you need to know about using the pot-in-pot method with your electric pressure cooker.
Pot-in-Pot Method Explained
What is Pot-in-Pot Cooking?
The Instant Pot pot-in-pot (PIP) cooking method is cooking food in a separate dish that’s placed on a trivet inside your Instant Pot liner. Steam is created from water below the trivet and builds pressure to cook the food.
To see this in action view my video where I make an apple cake in the Instant Pot using PIP. If you are a visual learner please subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Why Use the Pot-in-Pot Method?
- PIP allows you to pressure cook desserts, casseroles and other foods that don’t contain much liquid.
- PIP allows you to cook dishes that tend to burn and scorch (see my Instant Pot Burn article).
- With PIP you can cook two different items at the same time without the foods touching. For example, I make yellow chicken curry and jasmine rice using the PIP method.
- PIP allows you to reheat leftovers
- PIP allows you to dirty only one smaller dish instead of your entire Instant Pot liner. Many people like PIP for rice, steel cut oats and quinoa because it turns out well and doesn’t stick and burn to the bottom of the pot. Use a Pyrex dish to pressure cook rice and then you can store leftovers in the same dish!
How to Cook Using Pot-in-Pot Method
As noted above there are many reasons for using PIP. Here is the simplest form of using PIP:
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom of your Instant Pot liner.
- Place a trivet into the bottom of the Instant Pot liner.
- Put food in an oven-safe dish. No liquid is necessary inside the dish. Place the dish on top of the trivet. You can cover the dish with foil or a lid but you do not have to.
- Cover the Instant Pot and pressure cook.
One thing to remember is the amount of food you can cook in a PIP dish will be less than what you can cook directly in the inner liner. You may need to adjust your recipe.
What Equipment Do I Need for Pot-in-Pot Cooking?
You will need a trivet. I love this trivet/sling made by the OXO brand.* Many Instant Pots do come with a metal trivet. I prefer a trivet with handles so I can easily remove my PIP dish from the Instant Pot liner.
As noted in the video above there are many different types of dishes that will work in your Instant Pot. Make sure the dish you use is oven safe. From my experience Corningware and silicone dishes require a longer cooking time than metal cake pans and such. Here are the dishes that I use and love:
Stackable Stainless Steel Pans*
For your 6 quart Instant Pot you’ll want a dish with a 7 inch or less diameter.
What Recipes Should I Make with Pot-in-Pot Cooking?
Recipes that don’t have liquid or will scorch.
- Instant Pot Egg Casserole
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Instant Pot Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Meatloaf
- Instant Pot Chocolate Bundt Cake
If you’re using purchased sauces or canned soups (like cream of chicken) they may contain ingredients like flour or tapioca starch that will scorch. This can keep the Instant Pot from reaching pressure. PIP is a great way to cook with these types of foods without having to thin the sauce with water or worry about the burn message.
When Cooking Multiple Dishes Together:
- Instant Pot BBQ Bacon Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Yellow Curry and Jasmine Rice
- Instant Pot Cheater Korean Beef and Rice
You may need extra time
The trivet lifts foods up and away from the heating element on the bottom of the Instant Pot. In addition, the Instant Pot generally doesn’t take as long to come to pressure when using PIP. For both of these reasons you’ll need to add extra time than if you were cooking that food directly in the Instant Pot liner. Depending on what you’re cooking that could be just one additional minute or several minutes. You’ll have to experiment to find your perfect sweet spot for different recipes. And remember different dishes may take different times (pyrex and corningware take longer than metal cake pans).
What Pressure Cooker Do You Use?
I use my 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.
You Might Also Like…
Printable Instant Pot Beginners Guide
10 Most Often Made Instant Pot Recipes
5 Reasons I Love My Instant Pot
*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.
I have 2, 8 qt pressure cookers that are not IP, I was wondering if you knew if the metal stackable pots would work in a Ninja? I know the recipes will work and I really like the stackable pots. I want to try the honey garlic beef with rice. thank you for any information you can give.
I would assume that any 7 inch diameter pan would work…google the fat daddios 7×3 inch pan. I got mine on amazon.
Bettie Hammock says
can the IP containers be used for cooking on my regular stove?
I have heard people doing that but I don’t think the IP company approves of it
What a blessing to find this website. I struggle with my instant pot and wonder if I made a mistake buying it. Not much has turned out in it yet. All the recipes I’ve used haven’t turned out and no mention at all about using an inner pot.
I am really enjoying the daily hints, tips, and recipes. I did not know about the inner pot so that’s great news to learn. I have an 8 qt Duo and want to purchase an inner pot….should I get the size 6 qt or will the 8 qt size fit. Are there different size baking/cooking pans for the inner pot or just one standard size.
Alot to learn. Thank you so much for these daily emails. they are most helpful.
You can buy any oven safe pan that will fit inside. I use a 3 quart liner inside the 6 or 8 quart pot. The 6 quart is too big to fit inside a 8 quart pot.
Thank you. I’ll look for a 3qt one. You’re dailies are so helpful I’m excited to try cooking something else besides soup.
I just got my very first Instant Pot a 3 qt. Now how do I adapt your 6qt. recipes or any other to my 3 qt ?
These resources will help:
Karen Pegg says
I’m sorry to say but you are going to find the 3 quart inadequate …. volume wise. Ever since the Ninja Foodi was developed, you can purchase the larger iPods, 2nd hand, quite cheaply.
Karen Pegg says
Thanks so much for the info, that is exactly what I was looking for!!
Good morning Karen:
I was looking to purchase a set of two stackable stainless steel insert pans. When using them would I be limited to foods that would require the same time to cook, assuming I don’t want to open the pot to remove one that has reached time and one that hasn’t, does that question make sense?
Secondly, do you have any sort of cooking time chart available?
Thanks in advance!
Hi John, When using the stackable pans you can put the item that needs a longer cooking time on the bottom. Because it’s closer to the heating element it will cook quicker. The items will have to be somewhat close to the same cooking time. But don’t need to be exactly the same. I don’t have a pot in pot cooking chart. But I do have a chart for regular cooking: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-cooking-times/
I would add about 25% more cooking time for pot in pot.
Mark L Roberts Sr says
I made a mistake I gave you an email address for me that I have closed. My good email address is [email protected]. Thanks again. I still need the recipe for half a turkey 🦃 in the insta pot
Hi, this is probably a very dah question, but its one ‘I’ have.
QUESTION: Is it okay to use a 3 qt inner liner pot, inside a 6 qt unit?
Thank you so much!
Yes! I do this all the time! works great for pot in pot.
COOL! Thanks again, Karen! : )
Amber Smith says
You said any oven safe dish will work for the PIP method. Does that include ceramic like Pyrex dishes or glass pans?
As long as they are oven safe they should work. Pyrex and glass do tend to take longer to cook than metal pans.
Is their a video on how to actually use the Instant Pot? I am new just purchased one.
yes! watch this: https://youtu.be/EJd6dC5d62U
Jean COLEMAN says
How do you clean the grey part that surrounds the heating element button at the bottom of the insta pot – the grey at the bottom BEFORE you place your liner in place? I have never seen any directions for cleaning this.
I would use a damp magic eraser and gently rub off any marks.
That grey part has lead in it so be careful. Wiping it down regularly before dirt builds up would be enough- use a something you can throw away safely right away, don’t use a rag you will throw in the wash for example. Personally I use PIP as much as I can for everything just because of the lead, and so I can avoid cleaning the underside of the liner or the pot itself
Prior to my instant pot, I had power pressure XL, never had burn or scorching issues, I cook lots of pasta dishes, so inimgetting frustrated with this IP.
Thank you for tips, gonna give it a few more times and see.
Jane Brown says
I have cake option on my 8 qt instant pot. Can I use that instead of the pressure button and if so, would I seal vent?
Yes you always need to seal the vent if you are going to pressure cook. The cake button is just like any other button, but it has a pre-programmed time in it. The time on the recipe will be more accurate than the pre-programmed time. So you could push the cake button and then use the + or – buttons to adjust the time.
Sharon Schroeter says
I’m interested in the Pot in Pot method. Would it be possible to cook 2 small pork loins & 3 med sized sweet potatoes using the Pot in Pot method?
I belong to a couple of other pressure cooking groups, but I always come back to your group. Your recipes are delicious and easy to make.
yes I think you could do that. I would put the pork in the bottom of the pot directly and then place a pan on top of the pork with the sweet potatoes inside.
Sharon Schroeter says
Thanks Karen–wish me luck!
Do have the apple cake recipe you used in this tutorial? I looked but couldn’t find it and the cake looks very good! And perfect timing with apple season!
Hi Kathleen, I’m planning on blogging about it next week. But if you can’t wait you can go to my notes in the YouTube video and I wrote it out there: https://youtu.be/hhBVsREuCEw
S Young says
When cooking steel cut oats PIP, do you add the full amount of water required for the oats to the inner pot, in addition to the 1.5 cups in the bottom of the Instant Pot?
Yes you do.
So the water in the liner is for the pressure. The water in the pot is for the food itself to cook- This is good to know, thanks!