New to Instant Pot®? Here are a Few Tips to Get You Started

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  1. Become familiar with the parts that make up your Instant Pot®. Understand how each part is an integral part of the Instant Pot® electric pressure cooker.  For instance, the anti-block shield prevents food particles from interfering with the steam release handle.
  2. Keep the Manual handy. Before getting started, read the manual carefully. Once you’ve started, keep the manual close by as handy reference guide. Note: Please read carefully the “Safety Guidelines” as this is an electric pressure cooker.
  3. Install your “Condensation Collector”. Install the condensation collector at the rear of the cooker.  It collects any extra condensation developed during cooking.
  4. “Initial Test Run” or “Water Test”. A great way to familiarize yourself with the Instant Pot® electric pressure cooker. The complete process takes approximately 15 minutes.  First, make sure the steam release handle and float valve are unobstructed and the sealing ring is properly positioned.  Insert the inner pot in the cooker base and add 3 cups of water (Note: The manual may indicate the 3-line mark, it should read 3 cups).  Close the lid.  Ensure that the steam release handle is positioned to the “Sealing” position on the lid.  Press the “Steam” button, and press “-“ button to change the time to 2 minutes.  In 10 seconds, your Instant Pot® will enter the preheating cycle.  Within 2-3 minutes, the float valve pops up and the cooker is sealed.  Within an additional 1-2 minutes, the working pressure is achieved and the countdown timer begins.  Once the countdown is completed, you’re Instant Pot® will beep and automatically switch to “Keep Warm/Cancel.”  The test is complete.  Press the “Keep-Warm/Cancel” button and/or unplug the unit, and allow your pot to cool down.
  5. Do not overfill the inner pot when being used for electric pressure-cooking. The total amount of pre-cooked food and liquid in the inner pot should never pass the 2/3-line.  When cooking food that expands during cooking such as rice, beans, or pasta, do not fill the inner pot pass the ½-line.  Over filling may risk clogging the steam release handle and developing excess pressure.
  6. Liquid in inner pot. Liquid is required to build pressure.  Before getting started ensure you have at least 2 cups for the 6 Quart and 3 cups for the 8 Quart.  Note: Do not pressure cook with less than 2 cups of liquid or no liquid.
  7. Ingredients only go in the inner pot. Before adding ingredients, ensure the inner pot is properly positioned on the cooker base (heating unit). Only add ingredients once the inner pot is in position to avoid adding ingredients to the cooker base (heating unit).  Note: Before adding the inner pot to the cooker ensure the bottom of the inner pot and the inner cooking base of the outer shell are clean and dry.
  8. Steam Release handle. This is the handle that seals in or releases steam. When pressure-cooking make sure the handle is as close to “sealing” as possible.  This is how the pressure cooker can come up to pressure; as well, this is what is used for a “Quick Release”. When doing a “Quick Release”, the steam release handle must be in the “Venting” position.
  9. Quick Release and Natural Release. Be familiar with these two terms.  For Quick Release (QR), the steam is released manually.  Turn the steam release handle to the “Venting” position to let steam out until the float valve drops. For Natural Release (NR), the cooker will cool down naturally until the float valve drops.  Note: For food with a large liquid volume or starch content, use “Natural Release” instead as thick liquid may splatter out.
  10. Quick Release. When using Quick Release, use extreme caution when flipping the steam release valve to “Venting”.  Use a quick movement or, use a wooden spoon for flipping the steam release to “Venting”; use caution as the steam escapes very quickly and is extremely hot. 
  11. Natural Release. The process may take 10 – 40 minutes; the amount of time is determined by the amount of liquid and ingredients.  One must take this into consideration, as your dish will continue to cook during the “Natural Release” process.
  12. Float valve, steam release handle/button, anti-block shield and sealing ring. Always verify the float valve, steam release handle, and anti-block shield are clean and free of food particles.  Also, make sure the sealing ring is securely in position.
  13. Anti-Block Shield. The anti-block shield is designed to prevent food particles from interfering with the steam release handle.  Prior to and following each dish preparation, remove and clean to ensure there are no food particles blocking the shield.  This is especially important for meals that may splatter during preparation.
  14. Removing the Anti-Block Shield. The anti-block shield fits securely in position.  To remove grip the anti-block shield from both sides and pull out.  You may wish to use a jar opener if it is too tight. 
  15. Always have an extra sealing ring available. As sealing rings absorb the smell of the food it is strongly recommended to have 1 sealing ring for savory smells and the other, for sweet smells. Note: Only use Instant Pot® authorized and approved sealing rings. The use of non-Instant Pot sealing rings may have an adverse effect on your unit and will void your warranty.
  16. Adding additional flavor to your foods. In order to enhance the flavor of foods, use theSauté’ function before pressure-cooking.  When sautéing the lid must be off.
  17. Cooking with dairy, flour or starch. Best added during the ‘Sauté’ or ‘Warm/Cancel’ time at the end of the dish preparation.
  18. Cook frozen food, no thawing needed. When cooking frozen food always allow your Instant Pot® some extra time, verify the time-tables at 
  19. Remember to “Turn Off” the Instant Pot®. As the ‘Keep Warm/Cancel’ button are the same, ensure to select the button before serving your meal. At this time, the display should switch to ‘Off’.
  20. Keep the Instant Pot® clean. For your cooker to continue to build pressure ensure to keep it clean. Wash the inner pot, lid, sealing ring, anti-block shield and valves following each use. Especially for foods that splatter to ensure food particles are not stuck in these areas
  21. Dishwasher Safe. The inner pot, lid, and steam rack are dishwasher safe.


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