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:
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.
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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.