8 Instant Pot Tips and Tricks

There is something new(ish) that is taking the cooking world by a storm! I’ve never seen anything quite like the Instant Pot phenomenon. I first started hearing whispers of its magical superfast cooking skills on play dates at the park, whilst pushing giggling toddlers on the swings.

“I cooked a pot roast dinner in literally like 6 minutes flat!”

“Oh. My. Goodness! I HAVE to get one!!!!!”

Ok, That is a titch over exaggerated but with the dramatics of how my friends and sisters were talking about these it might as well have been a pot roast in 6 minutes :) Instant pots are incredible! It’s true. But they certainly come with a little trial and error. That is one thing I know for sure! It is definitely well worth it though.

Here are a few tips for you and your Instant Pot so you can get it down in no time at all!


Tip #1: Hold off on dairy ingredients

Cooking dairy ingredients in the Instant Pot is a lot different than cooking them on the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. If a recipe calls for dairy ingredients make sure to add them once you have cooked and depressurized your Instant Pot. This is key when trying to convert recipes to Instant Pot cooking.

The high heat and pressure and cause dairy and milk ingredients to scorch and that’s an easy way to ruin dinner.

Tip #2: Scale recipes to fit the Instant Pot

When you are working to convert recipes to Instant Pot it’s about more than just cooking time and temperatures. You should be mindful of how full the Instant Pot will get. If you are using anything that expands (think about pasta, rice, beans, etc.) you will need to scale the recipe back to make sure it won’t overfill your Instant Pot.

Pressure cookers should never be more than 2/3 full for safety and proper cooking. Full Instant Pot = a pot that won’t come to pressure.

Tip #3 Take advantage of Instant Pot features

You probably know this by now, but one of the coolest features of the Instant Pot that sets it apart from the slow cookers or the oven is that it can actually saute vegetables and sear meat before cooking! Hallelujah!

If you are going to convert recipes to Instant Pot cooking times and temperatures be sure to take advantage of the sauté feature to make sure everything is cooking properly and all of the usual flavors come together!

Tip #4: Use similar recipes as a guide

Not all recipes are suitable for the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker. When trying to convert recipes to Instant Pot cook times make sure that the recipe is a) suitable for such a cooking environment and b) similar to another Instant Pot recipe! Using a similar recipe that contains similar ingredients will help you calculate a cook time and temperature.

For example, when deciding how to cook my favorite chicken tortilla soup  in the Instant Pot vs the Crock Pot, I looked for similar soups and chilis online to see how they were cooked. That gave me a great starting point for converting my recipe!


Tip #5: Figure out the cook time

The hardest part to figure out when trying to convert recipes to Instant Pot standards is the cook time. Check out this chart for Instant Pot cooking times from the One Good Thing by Jillee blog. It is a lifesaver if you don’t have a similar recipe that you can use for that information.

They’ll help you determine the base cooking time that is necessary for your ingredients.

Tip #6: Match up your ingredients

If you don’t want to cook in stages, make sure the ingredients you are using have similar cook times. Determine your cook times using the charts linked above and then make sure you alter the ingredients so that they have similar cook times.

If that means pre-cooking a few of the items or cutting up meat so it is in smaller chunks you may have to do some trial and error in this process the first few times around!

Tip #7: Determine how much liquid to use

Another big part of Instant Pot cooking that is not so important in other recipes is the amount of liquid you need to use. A good general rule of thumb when trying to convert recipes to Instant Pot cooking is to use at least 1 cup of water.

There will be very little water lost when cooking with a pressure cooker so adjust this accordingly if you have a lot of wet vegetables or chicken in your recipe. Items that have a high water content already won’t need a full cup of water or liquid to cook properly in the Instant Pot.

Tip #8: Select the proper pressure release

If you are not sure which pressure release to use just do the quick release method. While meat can usually benefit from a natural pressure release, things like rice, pasta, and delicate vegetables can overcook quickly at the end and do better with the quick pressure release.

I hope these tips were helpful to you guys. Do you have any other tips you’d like to share as you’ve learned how to use your Instant Pot through trial and error?

  •   www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com
  •   www.thenovicechef.com
  •   www.thekitchn.com
  •   www.thrivinghomeblog.com
  •   www.365daysofcrockpot.com
  •   www.mycrazygoodlife.com

    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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