by Olena

Instant Pot Guide for Beginners

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 6 votes

Wondering how to use an Instant Pot? This real life Instant Pot Guide is for all of you who still have their pressure cookers in the box. Today I will explain what is an Instant Pot, how it works, share 15 tips and tricks for easy Instant Pot cooking, and share easy recipes perfect for beginners.

By doing so, you can learn how to eat healthy using an Instant Pot!

instant pot guide main photo

I have to say I was very sceptical about buying Instant Pot back in 2018. I was super against it but it grew on me so quickly, I now own 2 Instant Pots – 6 quart Instant Pot Lux and 8 quart Instant Pot Duo, and 6 quart Cosori electric pressure cooker which is basically the same thing as Instant Pot, just different buttons.

I also was super scared to use it the first time thinking it will explode on me. It did not! The days of exploding pressure cookers are gone. We all heard the horror stories. The difference is that pressure cookers back then were designed for the stovetop. Modern pressure cookers, have many safety features to control the pressure. 99% it will not explode on you.

More than that, I can guarantee you once you start using Instant Pot, you will wonder how did you live without it. The fact that you can wake up to Instant Pot steel cut oats or cook Instant Pot frozen chicken for dinner with 5 mins prep and no babysitting, I am sure will make you fall in love over the heels with this magical appliance of 21st century.

I have put together this Instant Pot guide in hopes to help you get started with all of the tips and tricks that I have learned through the last 3 years of testing hundreds of Instant Pot recipes on my family. All tried, tested and true through trial, error and research. This Instant Pot manual will tell you everything you need to know to use your Instant Pot for the first time. It is life changing!

What Is an Instant Pot?

Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It is a small kitchen appliance that cooks food fast under pressure unlike slow cooker cooks food slow on low heat setting. In Instant Pot, steam from water you add builds up pressure and cooks food in sealed environment super fast. An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, sauté pot, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker and warmer all in one appliance.

The end result is tasty and tender food in fraction of the time and with minimal effort. Foods like dried beans do not have to be soaked. Tough cuts of meat come out tender. Food is more flavorful than cooked on a stovetop. I have never tasted better roast than Instant Pot pot roast. It’s a magic pot!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.

Instant Pot Parts and Accessories

instant pot base unit, trivet, inner pot and lid
  • Base unit – the actual appliance with the heating element. Don’t submerge in water!
  • Inner pot – Stainless steel pot that fits into the base unit. Can also be used for reheating leftovers on the stove.
  • Lid – Contains silicone ring, steam release valve and float valve.
silicone ring inside the lid of pressure cooker

Silicone ring does wear out with use and time causing Instant Pot not to pressurize. You can buy a replacement. To give you an idea, I use my Instant Pot 2-3 times/week and replace silicone ring about once a year.

  • Steam release valve – Fits on top of the lid and can be removed.
  • Condensation collector – Duo models have it but not Lux. Attach it to the back to collect condensation dripping when you open the lid.
instant pot with steam collector cup attached

If your condensation collector is broken or missing, you can buy replacement online.

  • Trivet – Used to keep foods like meats and eggs being submerged in water.
  • Measuring cups and utensils – These come with Instant Pot, they do not have the same measurements as regular ones so I don’t use these.

How to Use an Instant Pot

  • Before cooking always inspect your Instant Pot to make sure:
    • Cord is plugged in both in electric outlet and in the base unit (some models can unplug).
    • Base unit under the inner stainless steel pot has no debris and is dry.
    • Sealing ring is in and fitted properly onto the lid (even smallest gap will make Instant Pot not come to pressure).
instant pot lid inside
  • Add water and ingredients.
pouring water into instant pot
  • Close the lid and set valve to Sealing position. This will ensure pressure will be sealed inside the pot when it comes to pressure.
pressure release valve turned to sealing position

If you leave the valve on Venting, steam will keep shooting from it eventually running out of water, Instant Pot not pressurizing and causing Burn. Make a habit to turn it to Sealing right after closing the lid.

  • Start Instant Pot by selecting Pressure Cook or Manual button. Name of the button will depend on the model of your Instant Pot. Regardless the model, display should say On. Not the set time you selected for the recipe – that’s next step.
instant pot displays duo and lux
  • Water gets heated and pressure builds up. During this time it is OK to see some steam coming out of a steam release valve.
  • Instant Pot comes to pressure, seals itself and food is being cooked. You will see countdown from set cook time begin now.
float valve up and down on instant pot lid

Float valve on Duo models is pink and protruding. On Lux model it is stainless steel color and is more set in.

  • Now you have to release the pressure. There are 2 ways to do so: Natural Release or Quick Release. Usually the recipe will indicate which one to use.
  • Dinner is ready!

For detailed video demonstration, check out our Youtube video on How to Use an Instant Pot + unboxing and water test.

15 Tips and Tricks for Easy Instant Pot Cooking

1. Always Add Water

In order for pressure to build up inside the pot, it has to be created. From what? From steam. From an ythin like liquid like water or broth. There is a minimum amount of liquid that has to be added even when “roasting” a whole chicken. Rule of thumb is 1 cup.

Tomato sauce or juice don’t count because their sugars will start caramelize and “burn” warning will go off.

2. Don’t Fill Past 2/3 PC Max Mark

Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marks. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 mark with food or liquid (before cooking). In order for pressure cooking method to work, the pot of your electric pressure cooker should never be more than 2/3 full when making soup, stew, chili etc., or 1/2 full for expanding foods like rice. Pressure needs room to build up.

If your inner pot doesn’t have 2/3 full marking (characteristic of older Instant Pot models and other brands), do your math and calculate your own 2/3 mark. Ignore the cups, L and near the edge Max ticks – they actually are quite inaccurate. Read more.

Instant Pot filled with water, chicken and veggies

3. Instant Pot Manual Setting Is the Most Used

There are many pre-programmed buttons on Instant Pot like “Porridge”, “Stew”, “Bean”, “Rice” etc. but you will find yourself using “Pressure Cook” or “Manual”, depending on a model, with customizable time for the most part. This is the button to press to start pressure cooking process.

4. Other Useful Buttons to Know

instant pot displays on duo and lux models
  • +/- Button – To adjust cook time.
  • Saute Button – Used for sauteing and browning ingredients before pressure cooking. And simmering, thickening and reducing liquids after.

Never have the lid on when sauteing (making yogurt as well). It will cause the pot to pressurize eventually and is not necessary for sauteing.

  • Adjust Button – Switches between Less, Normal and More to control the amount of heat during Saute mode.
  • Keep Warm/Cancel Button – Once a cooking program is selected, the Auto Keep Warm function is on by default but it can be turned off by pressing this button again before you begin pressure cooking. Cancel button ends cooking program at any time.

Even if you don’t need to keep food warm, it is handy to leave this function on when you are not around during cooking. So, when you come back to the kitchen you know exactly when Instant Pot has finished cooking. Display will say L and number of minutes.

display says L and minutes
  • Pressure Level Button – This button switches between Low and High pressure levels that is available on all Instant Pot models except Lux.

Most recipes you find online and in cookbooks call for cooking under High pressure.

  • Delay Start Button – Set the delayed time before a cooking program starts.

1. Press Delay Start button.
2. Use the +/- buttons to set the hours.
3. Press Delay Start again.
4. Use the +/- buttons to set the minutes.

5. You Don’t Need to Pre-Brown Most Foods

Before you rush to convert all your favourite recipes to electric pressure cooker versions, know many won’t turn out the same. The best part with Instant Pot is that you don’t need to brown or sauté ingredients for majority of stovetop recipes because flavors in food cooked under pressure are locked in the pot. I tested to saute and not saute veggies for Instant Pot chicken and rice and Instant Pot lentil soup recipes, and noticed no difference.

6. Avoid the Dreaded “Burn”

Oh, the dreaded burn. There are quite a few reasons why it happens. For example, one of the most common ones is when canned tomato products are stirred with other ingredients. To solve this issue, always add tomatoes on top and do not stir. Because Instant Pot’s heating element is located at the bottom and may.more likely will cause sugars caramelize and “burn”.

I have compiled a list with 10 tips on how to avoid Burn forever.

burn message on display

7. Best Order of Ingredients to Add to Instant Pot

The order in which you add ingredients to an Instant Pot does matter, to a certain degree. First of all, it helps to avoid Burn. Secondly, it cooks foods like rice properly.

Here is recommended by manufacturer, and tried and tested by me order of ingredients:

  1. Liquids (except tomato products)
  2. Veggies
  3. Grains (if any)
  4. Meat
  5. Canned tomato products

Use the steam rack to lift foods like meat out of the cooking liquid. This prevents Burn and helps to retain your food’s natural vitamins and minerals.

8. No Need to Stir before Cooking

With Instant Pot recipes, you don’t have to stir before cooking. Again, to avoid the dreaded “Burn” but more than that – it’s not necessary. The pot is often too full already, you will create unnecessary step for yourself and dirty an extra spoon. Instead, stir cooked food after.

Stirred ingredients will not come out more flavorful than unstirred.

9. Cooking Time Is Not the Same as Total Time

If you think you will have brown rice cooked in 22 minutes, it’s not the case. Cooking time is not the same as entire cooking cycle time. Once you add all ingredients and close the lid, Instant Pot will begin to boil the water, then build up pressure and only after countdown of actual cooking time will start. Usually pressure build up time is anywhere between 10-45 minutes and varies based on the type of ingredients, amount of liquid inside, fresh or frozen food and size of your Instant Pot. That is why soup takes the longest.Afterwards, food is done cooking, Instant Pot might need to bring pressure down using Natural Release – more time.

So, despite its name Instant Pot is not nearly as instant. However, it is convenient for throwing everything together and walking away. I would say not hovering over food waiting for it to boil, stir or turn off is the best feature of an electric pressure cooker. Completely hands off method is life changing.

10. Add Hot Water to Speed Things Up

To make Instant Pot come to pressure faster, turn on kettle at same time you start getting recipe’s ingredients ready. Use boiled water when recipe calls for water. This step will cut back time it takes Instant Pot to build up pressure.

I mostly use this trick to speed up Instant Pot soup recipes’ cook time. I wouldn’t use it with pot roast or frozen meat, because food starts cooking during pressure build up and if it’s horter, it may come out undercooked.

11. Turn Sound On or Off

Does Instant Pot beeping sound wake up your baby or bothers your furry friend? Press and hold the “-” key for 3 seconds to turn sound Off. Press and hold the “+” key for 3 seconds to turn sound On.

12. Store with Lid Upside Down

Silicone material absorbs taste and smell of food quickly which is hard to get rid off. Silicone ring inside the lid will smell even if you wash it with a dish soap, run through dishwasher or even after soaking in water with vinegar overnight (it helps a bit but not much and is a hassle). Instead, I recommend to store clean lid upside down which helps to air out the pot and the lid, thus making Instant Pot less smelly.

instant pot and lid on top

I tuck cord inside the inner pot so it creates a barrier and therefore an opening for air to circulate.

13. Keep It Away from Kitchen Cabinets

Steam coming out of a release valve during pressure build-up and quick release can (will) damage your kitchen cabinet doors. Even when cooking and not releasing pressure, keep electric pressure cooker distance away from cabinets because there is enough steam coming out during pressure build-up to do the damage.

Or get Henry or Ruby – steam divirters. Just make sure to attach them before cooking to avoid skin burns.

14. Most Models Have a Lid Holder

Models like Instant Pot Duo, Ultra (but not Lux) have built in lid holders on both, right and left, handles. Just stick in lid on the side convenient for you, and condensation will collect in a condensation cup without making the countertops messy.

instant pot with lid in a lid holder

15. Best Cleaner for Instant Pot

You can cleaning inner stainless steel pot with dish soap and baking soda. Some tough spots and build-up will need a stronger cleaner. I found, the best cleaner to make Instant Pot shiny again is bar keeper’s friend.

More Instant Pot Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Never place your hand or face over releasing pressure from a steam release valve – it will cause burn.
  • Do not force lid open while float valve is up – release pressure first.
  • Occasional ticking or light cracking sound is OK – it means power switching and expanding pressure board when changing temperature.

FAQs

Is an Instant Pot a pressure cooker?

Yes. Instant Pot is brand name of an electric pressure cooker. Ninja Foodi, Cosori, Crockpot (not to be confused with slow cooker), Power Pressure Xl are all electric pressure cookers and do exactly the same what Instant Pot does – cook food under pressure.

Is Instant Pot the same as a slow cooker?

No, it is not. Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that cooks food under sealed pressure and fast. Slow cooker is just a pot with a lid that cooks food slow on low heat setting.

Instant Pot does have Slow Cook function and you can use it with a regular lid, however its heat setting is lower than traditional stand alone slow cooker appliance, therefore taking longer time to cook.

How do I know my Instant Pot is cooking?

If the float valve is up and display says On or counting down time, your Instant Pot has pressurized and is cooking.

How to know when Instant Pot is done?

When timer has finished counting down from the time set indicated in the recipe. You will have to release the pressure, using quick or natural release. From here on, if the float valve is down it means Instant Pot has completed its cooking cycle and it’s safe to open the lid. Note: Lid will not open if pot is still under pressure – it’s a safety feature.

Can I double Instant Pot recipes?

You can only if there is enough room for double ingredients not exceeding PC max line. In most recipes online and especially my recipes, soups can’t be doubled because pot is already filled to the brim. But dished like Instant Pot butter chicken, Instant Pot BBQ chicken or Instant Pot potato salad can be doubled.

Also, you have better chances to double the recipe with 8 quart or 10 quart Instant Pot rather than with 6 quart.

Do I have to double the cook time if I double the recipe?

No. Keep the cook time the same. With Instant Pot cooking it is the thickness of food rather than its amount that matters.

Easy Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners

I chose these 6 easy “dump and go” Instant Pot recipes for you to try first.

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

I hope you enjoyed this Instant Pot guide! What is your favorite meal to cook in Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
Print
5 from 6 votes

Instant Pot Guide for Beginners + 15 Best Tips {Printable}

Wondering how to use an Instant Pot? This real life Instant Pot Guide is for all of you who still have their pressure cookers in the box. Today I will explain what is an Instant Pot, how it works and share 15 tips and tricks for easy Instant Pot cooking.
Course: Instant Pot
Author: Olena Osipov

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Instructions

  • Before cooking always inspect your Instant Pot to make sure:
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • a) Cord is plugged in both in electric outlet and in the base unit (some models can unplug).
  • b) Base unit under the inner stainless steel pot has no debris and is dry.
  • c) Sealing ring is in and fitted properly onto the lid (even smallest gap will make Instant Pot not come to pressure).
  • Add water and ingredients.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Close the lid and set valve to Sealing position. This will ensure pressure will be sealed inside the pot when it comes to pressure.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Start Instant Pot by selecting Pressure Cook or Manual button. Name of the button will depend on the model of your Instant Pot. Regardless the model, display should say On. Not the set time you selected for the recipe – that’s next step.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Water gets heated and pressure builds up. During this time it is OK to see some steam coming out of a steam release valve.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Instant Pot comes to pressure, seals itself and food is being cooked. You will see countdown from set cook time begin now.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Now you have to release the pressure. There are 2 ways to do so: Natural Release or Quick Release. Usually the recipe will indicate which one to use.
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners
  • Dinner is ready!
    Instant Pot Guide for Beginners

Video

Notes

15 Tips and Tricks for Easy Instant Pot Cooking
  1. Always Add Water: In order for pressure to build up inside the pot, it has to be created. From what? From steam. From an ythin like liquid like water or broth. There is a minimum amount of liquid that has to be added even when “roasting” a whole chicken. Rule of thumb is 1 cup.
  2. Don’t Fill Past 2/3 PC Max Mark: Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marks. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 mark with food or liquid (before cooking). In order for pressure cooking method to work, the pot of your electric pressure cooker should never be more than 2/3 full when making soup, stew, chili etc., or 1/2 full for expanding foods like rice. Pressure needs room to build up.
  3. Instant Pot Manual Setting Is the Most Used: There are many pre-programmed buttons on Instant Pot like “Porridge”, “Stew”, “Bean”, “Rice” etc. but you will find yourself using “Pressure Cook” or “Manual”, depending on a model, with customizable time for the most part. This is the button to press to start pressure cooking process.
  4. Other Useful Buttons to Know: +/- Button – To adjust cook time. Saute Button – Used for sauteing and browning ingredients before pressure cooking. And simmering, thickening and reducing liquids after. Adjust Button – Switches between Less, Normal and More to control the amount of heat during Saute mode. Keep Warm/Cancel Button – Once a cooking program is selected, the Auto Keep Warm function is on by default but it can be turned off by pressing this button again before you begin pressure cooking. Cancel button ends cooking program at any time. Pressure Level Button – This button switches between Low and High pressure levels that is available on all Instant Pot models except Lux. Delay Start Button – Set the delayed time before a cooking program starts.
  5. You Don’t Need to Pre-Brown Most Foods: Before you rush to convert all your favourite recipes to electric pressure cooker versions, know many won’t turn out the same. The best part with Instant Pot is that you don’t need to brown or sauté ingredients for majority of stovetop recipes because flavors in food cooked under pressure are locked in the pot. I tested to saute and not saute veggies for Instant Pot chicken and rice and Instant Pot lentil soup recipes, and noticed no difference.
  6. Avoid the Dreaded “Burn”: Oh, the dreaded burn. There are quite a few reasons why it happens. For example, one of the most common ones is when canned tomato products are stirred with other ingredients. To solve this issue, always add tomatoes on top and do not stir. Because Instant Pot’s heating element is located at the bottom and may.more likely will cause sugars caramelize and “burn”.
  7. Best Order of Ingredients to Add to Instant Pot: The order in which you add ingredients to an Instant Pot does matter, to a certain degree. First of all, it helps to avoid Burn. Secondly, it cooks foods like rice properly. Here is recommended by manufacturer, and tried and tested by me order of ingredients:
    • Liquids (except tomato products)
    • Veggies Grains (if any)
    • Meat
    • Canned tomato products.
  8. No Need to Stir before Cooking: With Instant Pot recipes, you don’t have to stir before cooking. Again, to avoid the dreaded “Burn” but more than that – it’s not necessary. The pot is often too full already, you will create unnecessary step for yourself and dirty an extra spoon. Instead, stir cooked food after.
  9. Cooking Time Is Not the Same as Total Time: If you think you will have brown rice cooked in 22 minutes, it’s not the case. Cooking time is not the same as entire cooking cycle time. Once you add all ingredients and close the lid, Instant Pot will begin to boil the water, then build up pressure and only after countdown of actual cooking time will start. Usually pressure build up time is anywhere between 10-45 minutes and varies based on the type of ingredients, amount of liquid inside, fresh or frozen food and size of your Instant Pot.
  10. Add Hot Water to Speed Things Up: To make Instant Pot come to pressure faster, turn on kettle at same time you start getting recipe’s ingredients ready. Use boiled water when recipe calls for water. This step will cut back time it takes Instant Pot to build up pressure.
  11. Turn Sound On or Off: Does Instant Pot beeping sound wake up your baby or bothers your furry friend? Press and hold the “-” key for 3 seconds to turn sound Off. Press and hold the “+” key for 3 seconds to turn sound On.
  12. Store with Lid Upside Down: Silicone material absorbs taste and smell of food quickly which is hard to get rid off. Silicone ring inside the lid will smell even if you wash it with a dish soap, run through dishwasher or even after soaking in water with vinegar overnight (it helps a bit but not much and is a hassle). Instead, I recommend to store clean lid upside down which helps to air out the pot and the lid, thus making Instant Pot less smelly.
  13. Keep It Away from Kitchen Cabinets: Steam coming out of a release valve during pressure build-up and quick release can (will) damage your kitchen cabinet doors. Even when cooking and not releasing pressure, keep electric pressure cooker distance away from cabinets because there is enough steam coming out during pressure build-up to do the damage.
  14. Most Models Have a Lid Holder: Models like Instant Pot Duo, Ultra (but not Lux) have built in lid holders on both, right and left, handles. Just stick in lid on the side convenient for you, and condensation will collect in a condensation cup without making the countertops messy.
  15. Best Cleaner for Instant Pot: You can cleaning inner stainless steel pot with dish soap and baking soda. Some tough spots and build-up will need a stronger cleaner. I found, the best cleaner to make Instant Pot shiny again is bar keeper’s friend.

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olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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  1. Are these tips in PDF form so I can print them out? Thank you. I often check out your recipes and love my Fast/Slow cooker from Breville. I use it frequently. Thank you for sharing all your recipes and tips.

  2. It is so nice to know that the inner pot can be used on stove tops. It saves me time in transferring food and washing extra containers and pots.
    Thanks.

  3. I’m a pretty ignorant (non-cooking) male living alone.

    I have an 8 quart pressure cooker. I like it. I mainly use it for soups and stews, I like the size because I freeze portions and then just microwave (do you diasapprove of microwaving?) or stovetop for quick meals.

    Will it do for most of your Instant Pot recipes? My kitchen space is pretty limited so I would prefer not to have to buy another appliance. But I confess I’m not sure how to do a quick release with my pressure cooker.

    Should I still buy a large Instant Pot in your opinion? What will it do for me that my pressure cooker will not?

    1. Is your pressure cooker electric? If not, then all my recipes use electric one and you will need it. Stovetop pressure cookers cook quite differently for times etc. You won’t be able to follow Instant Pot recipes I think.

  4. I’m glad that you pointed out the “warm up” time. And pressure release time (sometimes.)

    Biggest lesson for me, instant pot is not really instant.

    Thank you. Bookmarked.

    Craig

    1. Hi Craig. Glad you find my post helpful. And yes, there are a few things that aren’t very “instant” about the instant pot. But I still love it!

  5. I was given the mini duo for Christmas and find that it would have been better and easier if I had the 6qt. I am completely alone as my family live far away and I am in my 80’s.
    I had a pressure cooker when the children were growing up and am not afraid of this one but the names and pressure settings on the front are different than those I see on recipes. I just find I use my old way of cooking as I have plenty of time! It would be helpful to use it in order to always have something good to eat and not end up eating another peanut butter and banana sandwich!! I printed off some of your regular recipes as they look perfect for me. Thank you for your help

    1. Hi Mary. Yes, I do agree with you. Most recipes are for 6 quart and it would be easier just to follow the recipe w/o adjustments. I do indicate on most recipes adjustments for 3 quart and most of them should be fine. ENjoy and please let me know if you have any more questions.

  6. 5 stars
    Where have you been ? I’m so glad that I finally found a blog dedicated to this amazing kitchen tool !! Well , let me tell you …. I am obsess with the Instant Pot 🙂 . Thanks for the recipes . I really like your page!!

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for the advice, I am a little nervous about the pressure, but reading your columns I feel better. Thank You

  8. If I use the Instant Pot for slow cooking, can I pile chicken breast on top of each other like i ca my crockpot?

  9. Thanks for tips only just got my pot only seem to make soup at moment can’t wait to try some of your recipes

  10. i want to keep the mini instant pot
    inside its 3 quart carrying bag, while it’s cooking, (with the cloth top of bag securely away from the hot lid. Can i do this?

    1. You mean when you are transporting it or plugged in? Main concern would be if the release valve moves even a bit it starts shooting steam. It’s very flimsy. It is best not to move IP while it’s under pressure.

      1. I thought you recommended carrying it outside to do a quick release. Did I read that wrong? Thank you for writing all of these instructions. Very helpful!

  11. I’ve used pressure cooker’s for many years and have found an easier way to release the steam. On the fast release I simply throw a kitchen towel over the vent and let it capture the steam. it’s worked for me for years. It has also worked with my instant pot. You might try this

  12. I never seem to know what to do when recipes for the IP are way more than I want to make for the two of us, like the chicken and potato stew that I see this morning. I want to use a boneless skinless breast, perhaps about 12 oz. I assume I cup of water is required?????? What about the time? Will that change? I have both a 3 and 6 qt What changes does that require in a recipe like the chicken stew? Thank you so much for your good, healthy recipes!

    Donna

    1. Hi Donna. You can cut recipe in half including water. 1/2 cup water should be fine in many cases. Or 1/3 recipe which is too much work for me, so I would rather eat leftovers haha. Same cooking time. That’s the rule of thumb for all IP recipes pretty much. You are every welcome.:)

  13. Hi Olena! I love your blog♥️? and found it this morning at 5.30 am, after looking for an Instant Pot recipe to cook a whole frozen chicken. (I also love my freezer!)
    It’s almost done cooking and cooling off now, so I’m excited to see how it turns out – my daughter loves chicken, and I only had this frozen one left. A nice, big, pasture-reared, old-fashioned cheese chicken. Like you, I grew up on simple, real, whole foods, albeit in rural South Africa. Our orchards, vegetable & herb gardens, local farms and co-ops were our only sources of food. Good old days ?. My mom loved her pressure cooker back in the 70’s and 80’s, even though it regularly ‘blew its top’ ?? so I am thrilled to bits with my own recently acquired Instant Pot. Still experimenting with it, though, therefore your blog and recipes are a treasure trove. Thank you and your husband Alex for the great work and your easy-to-follow recipes and videos! You now have one more devoted fan, in Cape Town, South Africa.
    PS: cooking oxtail in Instant Pot is the bomb: only 40 minutes for meltingly tender, fall-off-the-bone oxtail, instead of 6-8 hours in a slow oven. I’d be happy to share the recipe. Happy cooking! Sonia Cabano

    1. Hi Sonia. I thought cheese chicken might have been S. African specialty.:) Awe, you are so welcome! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe.
      I have never tried to cook an oxtail… Might be an adventure lol.
      Have a great week!

  14. Hello Olena,
    My husband just got me Instant Pot DUO Plus 60, 6 Qt 9-in-1 & I came across your guide while looking for recipes. I have to say it scared me. You say to take it outside to release pressure or it will damage the cabinets & will dirty countertops and cupboards. What exactly comes out that will damage/dirty the kitchen? Taking it outside is not an option as we live in an apartment building. The kitchen is small & there’s nowhere else to put it other than a table in a small dining area with light fixture above, kitchen curtains/windows on one side, wall with a painting on it on another side. Does the steam/food/liquid shoot up or to the sides? I don’t want anything damaged.

    Then you say that it doesn’t explode 99% of the time, which means that it does explode 1% of the time. That’s the reason I resisted getting pressure cooker all these years after hearing horror stories of them exploding. What has to be done or not done in order for it not to explode?

    Then you mentioned the lingering smell on the ring. I’m extremely sensitive to smells & this part doesn’t sound good to me, either. But I’m more terrified of it exploding or damaging my kitchen. Looks like we got a really good deal on it – half the price of what it is now & I was excited to try it, but I’m just ready to return it & be done with it.
    Am I making too big a deal of it?

    1. The only reason I say 99% is because nothing in life is 100% guaranteed. Pressure cookers have come a long way. The ones that used to explode were stovetop. Electric ones nowadays have pressure controlled electronically. It shouldn’t go above set pressure level.
      Steam from pressure release valve shoots up like from a boiling kettle. The only way it will damage cabinets is if IP is placed under the cabinet and steam has no way to escape. Ring does smell. You can change it as often as you like (it’s cheap) or soak in vinegar. I love my IP and can’t live without it now. No damages have been done yet.

      1. Thank you for a prompt reply. You also said that it will dirty countertops and cupboards. Does anything else come out in addition to the steam that will dirty surfaces?
        Also, does it get hot on the bottom

        1. No and no. Only steam valve releases steam. Sometimes if it’s soup and pot is full of liquid and you release pressure right away it splatters. Or with Mac and cheese. On those cases it’s good to wait or release outside. You will know after using a few times.

          1. Thank you.
            Unrelated question regarding comments. It’s asking me for e-mail before posting. I thought that meant I would get e-mail notification when you respond, but I did not get it. Did it not work for some reason or are we not supposed to get notified? If not, why is it asking for e-mail address?

  15. Sceptical is spelt with a c in UK so not quite as wrong the inner Brit in me sorry . I have enjoyed your recipes and only brought my instant pot or Electric Pressure cooker in Uk because of your recipes

    1. I appreciate it. Always willing to learn and yes of course it is with C. Typing too fast and a lot sometimes. And as an ESL myself I HATE spelling mistakes when I see them too. They don’t sell IPs in the UK? So happy you are enjoying my recipes. Please let me know what you try.

  16. How do you clean the lid? It smells of the previously cooked dish so I wonder it should be cleaned, too, not only the pot.

    1. Lid should be cleaned each time like the pot BUT because that ring is made from silicone unfortunately it absorbs smells like crazy. Smell doesn’t go away in regular wash. Just if you soak in water with vinegar but you would have to do it every time. I just keep pot closed and then who cares since next time I open it is to cook next smelly dish.

      1. How do you clean the lid like a pot? Could it be cleaned under running water, the whole lid, with plastic and everything?
        Yes, I believe it’s the ring that smells. I even read somewhere on the Internet that to air it better the lid should be stored upside down on the pot. You can imagine the smell is pretty hard this way when I’m around 🙂
        And some people buy a second ring, to cook a yogurt with, for example.

        1. Yes, you can submerge lid in soapy water and even put in a dishwasher. It has no electronic components. You can remove silicone ring too and clean better. If you use regular dishwasher detergent, silicone absorbs its perfumes pretty bad though. I use 7th generation powder and it’s much better.
          Yes, you can have 2 rings. I did. I found smell really didn’t transfer to oats and yogurt. And actually for yogurt making you do not need silicone ring because it’s not pressure cooking method. You can just take it out. So 1 ring is enough imho. Eventually it wore out on me and stopped sealing properly, so I got a new ring.
          I tried to air it out. Kind of helps maybe a bit.:)

  17. Hi dear! Lovely post. Very useful information. One point to make is that “skeptical” is spelled with a “k” and not a “c”. Sorry the inner teacher in me cringed everytime I saw that word misspelled. I have a slow cooker and can’t bite the bullet to purchase one of these puppies! It does look lovely though and very convinent I bet.

    1. Hi Oksana. Oh, yeah?! Thank you! I appreciate that!
      I am going to try and review Cosori pressure cookerI just got. It is cheaper than Instant Pot and always in stock. I will also be giving one away for our monthly series next month – Meal Prep February. So, make sure to follow along and you could enter to win one for yourself by making one of the recipes and tagging it #ifoodrealmonthly. Hope this helps and good luck! 🙂

    2. Hi Oksana. It might just be a typo- but you had a misspelled word. Convenient. Not convinent. Just sayin’. And sceptical IS the variant way you spell the word in Canada. We use either. (Be it the Brit or the Yankee taking over) And seeing as how Olena resides in B. C. – in Canada – it fits! So definitely not a misspelled word. People in glass houses and all that. I for one trumpet her journey and applaud her for being brave enough to start this venture. And I love the way she writes – you can almost hear her Russian accent. You go girl. Keep posting Olena. English as a Second Language – indeed! I continue to receive and enjoy your emails ♥️

    3. Why does every post on the internet end up in a bickering war over spelling/grammar/punctuation!?!?! It is petty, often taken poorly and is completely unnecessary!

      Thank you for all of your help and useful information/tips Olena!!!!

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