How To Work Instant Pot

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Benefits Of The Instant Pot

How to Use an Instant Pot – Instant Pot 101 – Beginner? Start HERE!
  • One-pot meals and easy cleanup. Both the lid and the inner pot are machine washable.
  • Fast and easy. Cooks complete meals in a fraction of the time, even frozen meat!
  • No presoaking beans or seeds. Although you can, with the IP theres no need.
  • Use it for any meal any time of day. You can cook steel cut oats for breakfast and then Instant Pot ziti for dinner with minimal effort.
  • It contains the heat so there is no heating up the oven or your kitchen.
  • There is a warm function that when set it can keep your food warm for hours without drying it out.
  • It is foolproof and completely safe when used properly.

Your First Instant Pot Recipe

Once you have followed all of these initial steps and you have a basic idea of how your Instant Pot Duo works, then its time to actually cook something!

Until you feel really comfortable using a pressure cooker, then I would advise you to use recipes specifically for the Instant Pot. Pressure cooking is not like slow-cooking which is very forgiving.

Unless you want to have a bunch of Instant Pot fails, then its really best to use recipes. Here is a great post with beginner recipes for the Instant Pot.

Which Is Better: A Stainless Steel Or Nonstick Inner Pot

This is a matter of personal preference. All of the Instant Pots we tested featured stainless steel inner pots, while all of the other brands had nonstick. Stainless steel inner pots are great because they are dishwasher safe, heat evenly, and you can use metal utensils in them without fear of scratching the nonstick surface. On the other hand, its harder to remove stuck-on debris from stainless steel.

Nonstick inner pots are great because your food is less likely to stick to the inside, and thus, its easier to clean. Though it varies by brand, many nonstick pots are also dishwasher safe, but we recommend washing by hand to increase the longevity of the nonstick coating. The biggest negatives with nonstick pots are that they dont heat as evenly as stainless steel, and metal utensils can scratch them. We did not find there was a difference in cooking times or quality based on pot type.

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A Quick Recap Of Key Cooking Stages

As we discussed in this post, there are three key phases to cooking in the Instant Pot. Once you add all ingredients and liquids, secure and lock the lid and choose your setting and time, the following things happen:

  • Preheating & pressurizing stage the pot heats up creating steam and pressure inside. This takes 5-20 minutes depending on how much food and liquid you add. Note: food starts to cook during this stage, kind of like when you boil potatoes on the stove they start to cook even before the pot comes to a boil, although most of the cooking happens once the water is super hot.
  • Cooking stage the built-up pressure pushes all the heat and steam inside the pot into the food, cooking it rather quickly. This is when the time youve selected for cooking under pressure starts counting down.
  • Depressurizing stage once cooking under pressure is done , the pot stops heating allowing the steam and pressure inside to escape through the release pipe. If you leave the pot alone, the pressure will release naturally but this can take 10-20 minutes depending on the volume of food inside. During this time, the food continues to cook at a slower rate. If you want to stop the food from cooking right away or you want to eat asap, you can release the pressure manually, which is known as the quick release .
  • What Foods Are Best For A Pressure Cooker


    Pressure cooking uses wet heat only. You gotta have liquid in the cookerthe steam creates the pressure. No liquid, no steam, no pressure.

    Pressure cooking is for boiling, steaming, and braising. For example, you wouldnt cook French fries or make a crusty loaf of bread from start to finish by pressure cooking.

    But anything boiled or steamed or simmered is ace in your Instant Pot.

    Coco Morante

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    Natural Release Vs Quick Release

    Depending on what it is youre cooking, there are two different ways to release the pressure:

    Natural release: This is done by not doing anything! Once it beeps letting you know that its done cooking it will automatically start releasing the pressure . This method is used when the food inside could use a little extra tenderizing or when it wont affect the outcome of the recipe to keep it in there a little longer. Some recipes will ask you to naturally release for a few minutes before doing a quick release. Once its done naturally releasing, the pin will drop and you can then open the lid.

    Quick-release: This way requires extra precautions as youre turning the valve to the venting position which will allow the steam to escape quickly . I like to use the end of a wooden spoon to move the valve that way Im not touching it directly and Im far enough away that I know my face wont get in the way. This method is used when we want to make sure whatever is inside doesnt overcook and become mushy. Again, once the pin drops, you can open the lid.

    How To Use Instant Pot

    Dont be intimidated to use that brand new pressure cooker! Beginners can learn how to use an Instant Pot in minutes with this easy how-to guide, tips, and instructions.;;

    You need an instant pot!I love my instant pot!So, you got one.

    Now youre sick of staring at that brand new life changing Instant Pot still sitting in its box.

    I get it. Its intimidating and its never really the right time to learn how to use it. What you need is a quick tutorial to start using your pressure cooker and finally see what everyone is raving about.

    Give me 5 minutes and soon youll be drinking the Instant Pot kool-aid!

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    Back To The Multi Cookeryou Have A Few Brand Options

    While the Instant Pot is its own brand, Cuisinart, Gourmia, and Breville all offer pressure cookers and slow-cookers that can do similar things as an Instant Pot, so do your research to see which will best suit your needs before purchasing. For example, the Instant Pot has a slow-cooker function, while the Cuisinart does not. The Gourmia has a non-stick, aluminum pot for easy clean-up, and the Instant Pot has a stainless pot. The Breville is the most costly at $248.

    Tips For Using Instant Pot

    How to Use Your Instant Pot | A First Timers Guide | Well Done

    Instant Pot Recipes

    Tips 1: When youre running late, this hack can be your life savior. Add 1 cup of liquid with your food ingredients in the pot. It will bring the food to boil a lot faster. Another hacking method is Sauté or preheat. Try this and add wheels to your cooking.

    ;Tips 2: Sanitize the silicone seals when you need to deodorize. Use 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, and 1-drop of liquid soap. Submerge seals by folding or twisting them. To keep seals submerged, use a frying trivet. Cover the pot with a lid, Sauté till it comes to boil, then turn off the power. Let it sit for half an hour.

    Tips 3: If you havent tried cooking rice in your Instant Pot, then do it today! You will never repeat cooking rice in your rice cooker again because your Instant Pot makes the perfect rice ever.

    Tips 4: If you have trouble placing the lid, you can put it on the notches on both sides of your Instant Pot. And while releasing pressure, you can take out the instant pot on an open surface thatll help you prevent the spread of food smell in the house. Thats only if the smell of food makes you or the others uncomfortable.

    Tips 5: To clean the outer black rim, you can use a small paintbrush. Use a foamy soap liquid, then dip the brush in the liquid soap and clean the rim. It is the easiest and most convenient way of cleaning.

    Read Also: Which Instant Pot To Get

    Instant Pot Parts And Accessories

  • Base Unit this contains the heating element.
  • Stainless Steel Inner Pot fits into the base unit.
  • Lid the look of the lid varies between Instant Pot models.
  • Steam Release Valve this fits on the top of the lid and may already be attached.
  • Condensation Collector attach this to the back of your Instant Pot.
  • Trivet be sure to keep this, as you will use it often.
  • Power Cord removable in some Instant Pot models.
  • Measuring Cup & Utensils These come with the Instant Pot. I use my own measuring cups and utensils instead of these.
  • The first thing youll want to do is wash the parts of your Instant Pot. The Instant Pot lid, steam release valve and stainless steel inner pot are dishwasher safe; however, I wash mine by hand. The base unit is not dishwasher safe never immerse the base unit in water.

    First Things First What Is An Instant Pot

    Links in this post are Amazon affiliate links to products we love.

    The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker but also a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, big sauté pot, steamer, and more. We have the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo which is what we use for all our Instant Pot recipes. They also make a 3-Quart Instant Pot Mini and a hefty 8-quart Instant Pot.

    The Instant Pot is an absolute game-changer, especially on busy nights. Most recipes are dump and cook, and all you have to do is set it all up and then WALK AWAY to do other fun stuff like watch TV, walk your dog, clean your house, have a dance party, etc.

    BONUS: it also cooks food way faster than other ways to cook and its all done in one pot. Do you get why we love this thing yet?

    If youre still not convinced, the Instant Pot is PRIME for meal prepping and freezer meals no thawing required. You can check out all our freezer meal Instant Pot recipes here if youre into that kind of stuff .

    Well also just drop the obvious: its also a pretty excellent gift for a certain holiday coming around the corner.

    Alright, lets get on with it. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this little gem.

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    What Are The Best Things To Cook In An Instant Pot

    The options are endless! You can use an Instant Pot to make rice, cook hard-boiled eggs, and more. Plus, they’re great for large families or anyone who meal preps. I’m not even a good cook, but I love making a huge batch of rice in it, then using the same pot to sauté veggies and simmer with my favorite tikka masala sauce. Whenever I make that meal, my coworkers often say that my lunch smells great and I always tell them how easy it was to make in my Instant Pot!

    Pro tip: Your Instant Pot takes time to come to pressure first before the actual cooking process begins. Expect meals with less liquid to come to pressure and start cooking much quicker than recipes that are mostly liquid , which can take a while to come to pressure first.

    You may have thought making pasta was already easy, but wait until you realize how simple it is to make in an Instant Pot. There’s no need to wait around for the water to boil, and you don’t even have to drain it after cooking the little bit of starchy water that’s left over helps the sauce stick to the pasta.

    Our Kitchen Appliance experts love cooking soup, stock, and chili in their Instant Pots. If you’re a fan of steel-cut oats, then you know how long they take to make on the stove but in an Instant Pot, they only take eight minutes! If you’re cooking meat, be sure to cut large chunks into smaller pieces so it cooks faster.

    This Sounds Too Good To Be True

    How Does The Instant Pot Work?

    I wouldnt lie to you. Instant Pot is a misnomer. Its not a miracle, and it does not cook food in an instant. Nothing does, unless you live on Cup Noodles.

    Here’s the catch: It takes time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.

    Typically, the time it takes the cooker to get to pressure is not part of that cooking time. For instance, if a pot roast cooks for 30 minutes at pressure, the total time from start to finish for a recipe like this might be more like 45 minutes or more. An Instant Pots heating element has less juice than the burners on your range, so it takes longer to heat food enough to get to pressure.

    BUT! The ease of use frees you up to do other things. With most recipes, Instant Pots truly are set it and forget it. Lets say youre making a stir-fry, and youd like brown rice to go with it. Before you start prepping the stir-fry, put the rice and water in the Instant Pot, program it to cook for 22 minutes at pressure, then go about your business.

    Emma Christensen

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    When To Use Natural Release

    Certain recipes need, taste and come out better using Natural Release. But in general, I try to develop Instant Pot recipes with Quick Release. Because time, friends. Time. I need to feed my hungry family asap. Aint nobody got time for NR.

    But lets go over recipes when you want to use Natural Release:

    How To Natural Release Instant Pot

    This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

    Everything you need to know about How to Natural Release Instant Pot vs. Quick Release, when its safe to open the lid, and how long it takes.

    Dont have an Instant Pot yer or new to it? Check out our Instant Pot guide, start learning the basics with beginner Instant Pot recipes and also browse our Instant Pot healthy recipes.

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    How To Use An Instant Pot: What You Need To Know To Get Started With Instant Pot Cooking

    There are a few basic things that you need to know when using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Once you use yours a few times, these will be like second nature. Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the buttons may be labeled slightly differently. Consult the manual that came with your Instant Pot.

    Minimum Liquid Required: As a general rule, you want to use at least 1 cup of liquid in your Instant Pot every time you cook with it. The Instant Pot uses steam and pressure to cook food, and you need liquid to create the steam and pressure. Some recipes may call for more or less liquid. I recommend following recipes from a trusted source while you are learning to use your Instant Pot.

    Fill Level: Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marked. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 line with food or liquid . If you are cooking food that will expand during the cook time such as rice, quinoa or beans, do not fill the Instant Pot higher than the 1/2 line.

    Pressure Cook or Manual Button: Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the Pressure Cook button is sometimes labeled Manual and sometimes Pressure Cook. This is the button that you will press to start a pressure cooking cycle. Its your basic pressure cooking button.

    +/- Buttons: Use these buttons to adjust the cook time.

    Keep Warm/Cancel Button: Use this button to end a cooking program or turn on/off the keep warm function.

    Cautions For Using Instant Pot

    How to Use the Instant Pot
    • Do not fill the pot up to the neck during pressure cooking because many pressure cooking recipes include ingredients that expand, such as rice, beans, pasta, oatmeal, cornmeal, and so on.
    • Do not use your Instant Pot for deep frying. Though instant pot certainly can do incredible things, it is an electric pressure cooker, and electric pressure cookers are not designed for deep frying. If you try this, then it might be dangerous for both you and your pot.
    • Maintain a distance from the steam. While opening the lid, make sure the smoke doesnt get direct contact with your skin. The smell might be excellent and tempting, but this might cause a burning sensation in your skin. For extra safety, you can always use gloves before a quick release.;
    • Keep an eye on the sealing ring. It is said to be the most vulnerable part of the Instant Pot. So keep checking for cracks and damages. Its better to replace the sealing ring once or twice a year.
    • While cooking for better and faster results, maintain 1 cup of liquid. This 1 cup liquid helps the pot preheat, steam, and cook faster, and the food comes to a juicy consistency.

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    Wow That Was No Big Deal Which Recipes To Make Now

    Great job! Take the tape off the front of the cooker and read the owners manual.

    Heres the scope of whats possible in your Instant Pot, and eventually youll hone in on what makes sense for you: You might cook primarily beans and grains, shaving minutes off cooking components of other recipes. You might steam vegetables most often . You might lean toward multicomponent one-pot meals. Youre the boss of this thing, so have fun!

    • Hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot are actually steamed. The plus with them? So easy to peel!
    • Do you love cooking dry beans from scratch? In the Instant Pot, they are fast and plump in the pressure cooker. A game-changer.
    • Regular steamed rice in an Instant Pot frees you to focus on cooking the rest of the meal. An IP is essentially a rice cooker on steroids.
    • Chicken soup from scratch, ready in 60 minutes.
    • Classic chili is weeknight-compatible in an Instant Pot.
    • Need cooked butternut squash or other winter squash? Steam it in a pressure cooker!
    • Cheesecake is a breeze in an Instant Pot, because you steam itno messing with tipsy water baths and multiple pans like you would in an oven.
    • Steel-cut oats are an everyday luxury if you program it to cook right when you wake up. Your oatmeal is ready once your coffees brewed and youre dressed!

    Want more recipe ideas? Check out our full list of Instant Pot recipes!

    Alison Conklin

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