Pressure cooker, Ramblings
comments 184

Instant Pot Frequently Asked Questions

Instant Pot FAQ

Instant Pot FAQ

Because of my Instant Pot Duo pressure cooker recommendation, I get email with questions about how to use Instant Pot cookers. This post is to put them in one place, so I can refer everyone to it. So, here we go: Instant Pot Questions and Answers.
If you have a question I didn’t cover, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Q: All your recipes say “cook at high pressure for X minutes.” The Instant Pot does not have a high pressure button. How do I get high pressure on the Instant Pot?

A: Use the Manual or Pressure Cook button. On older Instant Pots, the “Manual” button means pressure cooking. On newer pots, there is an actual “Pressure Cook” button. (Hooray!)

The default for both of those buttons is High Pressure. Press the manual or pressure cook button, use the plus and minus buttons to adjust the cooking time, then leave the cooker alone for ten seconds and it will beep and start cooking. (Hit cancel if you need to change something.)

Q: Okay, so, How do I get Low pressure on the Instant Pot?

A: It depends. Which Instant Pot do you own? New model Instant Pots – the IP-DUO or later – have a “pressure” or “pressure level” button to adjust the pressure level. Push the Manual/Pressure Cook button, then the Pressure/Pressure Level button until the display says “Low”, then adjust the cooking time with the plus/minus buttons. Don’t forget to change it back when you’re done!

The older IP-LUX model does not do low pressure – it’s high pressure or nothing. That said – I never use low pressure. I owned an IP-LUX for years and didn’t realize it was missing Low Pressure mode until someone asked about it for this FAQ.

Q: What about natural pressure release? When the Instant Pot finishes cooking, it switches to Keep Warm mode – is that OK with a natural pressure release? Or should I cancel it?

A: Keep Warm mode does not affect Natural Pressure Release [Updated 2016-01-18] I used to tell everyone to turn off warming mode to speed up natural pressure release, but…I was wrong. (See here for details of my testing.) Keep Warm mode does not slow down natural pressure release. It does not turn the heat back on until it reaches the warming range of 145°F to 172°F, which is well below the temperature where the pressure will release.

Q: When using the Saute button, can you adjust the heat setting? (Related: How do I bring recipes to a boil before locking the lid on the pot, as some recipes reccomend?)

A: Use the Saute button, then the Adjust button. The heat level of Saute mode is controlled by the “Adjust” button. From the Instant Pot website: “3 levels of temperature can be chosen with the “Adjust” key for best results:”

  • “Normal”: ~160°C (320°F) for regular browning,
  • “More”: ~170°C (338°F) for darker browning, and
  • “Less”: ~105°C (221°F) for light browning.

I tend to use “Saute – Normal” for most things, including browning. (Shame on me – I forget about the Adjust button.) For things like boiling, use the Adjust button to switch to “Saute – More”.

Q: When I put my electric pressure cooker in slow cooker mode, what is the equivalent slow cooker temperature? Is it the same as a slow cooker on High, or on Low?

A: For an Instant Pot? It depends. Similar to Saute mode, in Slow Cook mode, the Instant Pot is controlled by the “Adjust” button. Press Slow Cook, and then Adjust between High (about 210°F), Medium (about 200°F), and Low (about 190°F). Finally, use the plus/minus buttons to set the slow cooking time. (If you have another type of electric pressure cooker, I can’t say for sure. You’ll have to look it up in the manual.)

Q: What about the other buttons? Soup? Rice? Steam? Multigrain?

A: I don’t know – I never use them. I just use Manual mode for my pressure cooking. I don’t know what they’re doing in those other modes, so I’d rather use manual mode and control it myself.

Q: How do you adjust the cooking time in recipes designed for a traditional 15 psi stove top cooker?

A: I add 20% to the cooking time. The Instant Pot operates at 11.5 psi, so to make up for the difference, I add an extra 20% of time for electric pressure cooking. That means 10 minutes stove top is 12 minutes electric; 20 minutes stove top is 24 minutes electric; 30 minutes stove top is 36 minutes electric. (And so on).

The good thing about most pressure cooking recipes is they are not very precise – a little overcooking won’t hurt, and probably helps. If you’re cooking something that needs precise temperatures, you shouldn’t be cooking in a sealed pressure vessel.

Q: Why does my pressure cooker come with a max fill line? I can only use 2/3rds of the 6 quarts?

A: Pressure cookers need headspace to build pressure – don’t fill them past 2/3rds full. Pressure cookers are measured by total volume of the pot – how much it can hold if you fill it to the brim. But you can only use 2/3rds of that.

Why can you only use 2/3rds? Because pressure cookers need headspace to come up to pressure. The cooker needs space for the steam to build up, which is what pressurizes the pot. Also, this is a safety feature – if the bubbling ingredients in the pot get into the pressure valve, it can clog, and that’s when your pressure cooker can get into trouble with over-pressurizing.

Why don’t they measure the pressure cooker as 2/3rds of the pot volume? I don’t know, but every pressure cooker I’ve seen measures their size this way. I know it can be frustrating to find out your brand new 6 quart cooker can only cook 4 quarts of food. I’ve got the angry comments to prove it. If anything, I think the Instant Pot, and other modern, electric multi-cookers have a better argument for using the total volume – if they can also work as a slow cooker or a normal, electric powered pot, then you actually can use the entire pot.

Q: What is the minimum liquid amount for the Instant Pot?

A: 2-3 cups, according to Instant Pot support About 1 cup, according to Instant Pot’s Facebook page.

[Updated 2015-08-06 with answer from Instant Pot’s Facebook Page]

1 cup is the minimum liquid amount, unless you’re cooking something that will absorb water. From a back and forth on Instant Pot’s Facebook page:

The short answer is “about a cup”.

The general point is to have enough liquid to reach and maintain pressure. When cooking absorbent foods, think rice, this will require enough for the food to absorb, plus some to bring the pot to pressure. When cooking moisture containing foods, say mushrooms which release moisture when cooked, this can be achieved with less added liquid. So, as is often the case in life, “it depends”. The Instant Pot is so well sealed that even a small amount of moisture can be sufficient, depending on the foods being cooked. [2015-08-06: Instant Pot Community Facebook Page]

I would NEVER suggest that you can go as low as 1/2 a cup of water, like I do all the time…um…I mean…nope, not me, not going to suggest it.

Q: Can I use the Instant Pot for pressure canning?

A: No. The Instant Pot, and all other electric pressure cookers, are not suitable for home canning, according to the USDA and the NCHFP (National Center for Home Food Preservation.) The NCHFP says that they don’t believe the processes recommended by the USDA are transferable to electric pressure cookers – you can’t trust them to hold high enough temperatures for the length of time needed to ensure safe canning. For more information, see this post on the NCHFP website: Can I Can in a Multi-Cooker?

Q: How do you know all of this?

A: I read manuals. And contact support when I have questions. (Yes, I read manuals, all the way through. I can’t help myself.) Instant Pot makes this easy; their manuals are online. Go to InstantPot.com/benefits/specifications-and-manuals/, click on the link to your Instant Pot cooker type, then scroll to the bottom and pick the User Manual you want (in English, French, Chinese, or Spanish).

Also, Instant Pot support is good at responding if you have questions. Drop them a line if you have a burning pressure cooker question you need answered.

Q: Which Instant Pot should I buy?

A: The IP-DUO Plus 6 quart electric pressure cooker.

Why? See my post: Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?.

Q: What recipes should a beginner use in the instant pot?

A: Soup, Stew, Beans, Chili, and…Mac and Cheese?
https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2009/10/pressure-cooker-chicken-stock.html/
https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2014/01/pressure-cooker-basic-beef-stew.html/
https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2010/10/pressure-cooker-black-bean-soup.html/
https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2013/04/pressure-cooker-macaroni-and-cheese.html/

…from there, go to the Pressure Cooker recipe index on the bar at the top of the page, and look for recipes that catch your fancy.

Q: I think my Instant Pot is broken. It’s not coming up to pressure/steam is escaping from the lid/nothing happens when I push a button…

A: I’m sorry to hear that! You should probably contact Instant Pot Support for help. Instant pot has a great support department. If you think your cooker is broken or malfunctioning, contact them at InstantPot.com/support

What do you think?

Other questions? Leave them in the comments section below.

Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner via eMail or RSS reader, recommend DadCooksDinner to your friends, and buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you.

184 Comments

  1. judy grimes says

    when using the Saute button, can you adjust the heat setting. I found a recipe that said to turn saute to low.
    Thank you.

    • Yes you can! Use the “Adjust” button. From the Instant Pot website:
      http://instantpot.com/use-the-sauteingbrowning-function-of-ip-lux60/

      > The new Instant Pot IP-LUX60 is equipped with an advanced sautéing/browning function key. 3 levels of temperature can be chosen with the “Adjust” key for best results.

      “Normal”: ~160°C (320°F) for regular browning,

      “More”: ~170°C (338°F) for darker browning, and

      “Less”: ~105°C (221°F) for light browning.

      • Jing Hao says

        Hello Mike V,

        I have a new question here. I have my pressure pot for about 3 year. Recently, the beans are not always cooked as well as before with everything the same. We changed the sealing ring. But it didn’t help. It seems the less cooked issue come and goes over the time. But it is not reliable anymore. Do you have an idea?

        Thanks,
        Jing

        • Jamie Jarvis says

          Are your beans older? Beans that have been in storage a long time take longer to cook. Also don’t add any sugar or foods containing natural sugar (like tomatoes until your beans are done. Sugar will stop the cooking process.

  2. betty says

    thanks for the recipes and the information. I recently bought the Instant Pot and look forward to trying more of these recipes. The questions and answers are an excellent source of info to help me use the cooker more efficiently. The instructions that came with the cooker are not the most clarifying.

  3. Deb Brainard says

    Question: I’ve just received my Instant Pot – have never owned a pressure cooker before. I’d like to cook a roast – do I add 2 – 3 cups liquid to the cooker? Seems like a lot of liquid – like boiling the roast or soaking it. Is this correct? Thanks for your cooking help! Deb

    • Deb, if you want a pot roast, yes, add 2-3 cups of liquid (and use a tough cut like shoulder).

      • Update…should have mentioned: you can probably get by with as little as 1/2 a cup of liquid, but 2 to 3 cups is what Instant Pot support told me was the minimum (I asked them via email.)

          • No. If anything, it would have the exact opposite problem: not enough steam to come up to pressure.

  4. Janette says

    I am new to Instant Pot/pressure cooker too. Your Q&A is helpful-thank you.

    Do you have a recipe you would recommend to help us newbies get introduced to the Instant Pot?

    Thank you

  5. FYI.. I make yogurt all the time, and one thing I have learned is NOT TO USE THE QUICK RELEASE after steaming the milk, It spurts out of the top. This makes a huge mess horrible clean up.
    Bad move. Let it cool on its own.

    • Jebber says

      I make yogurt all the time, I don’t ever get the pressure up when I scald the milk, I don’t even use the gasket.

    • I make a large pot (at least 10 cups of milk) every week. My routine is: scald pot with steam/2 min. and gasket lid; rinse out pot with cold water (this keeps the milk/yogurt from sticking in the bottom for me); add milk/cream, put glass lid on; touch yogurt button and then adjust to get “boil”; when it beeps, I put the stainless pot into the sink and run cold water up half way (cools it down to 110 much faster); after cooled, add starter, gently incorporate; Using same glass lid in place hit yogurt button; after eight hours, the most perfect yogurt ever. About 9 1/2 to 10 hours total.

  6. Debbie says

    I would like to have a recipe for pork chops…..nothing fancy. The recipe I have uses sour cream, mushrooms, cream of chicken soup etc. and cooks for 8 minutes. Does that sound like a long enough cooking time?

    • For pork shoulder chops, it doesn’t sound long enough. I’d go at least 15 minutes for thin cut pork shoulder chops, with a natural pressure release. For pork loin chops, you don’t really want to cook them in the pressure cooker. Loin chops are too lean, and they’ll dry out in the PC.

      • I’m a new owner of the IPDUO60. As per Debbie’s question about pork chops I like to use cream of mushroom and added herbs. Should I worry about the creamy soup burning when I pressure cook? I usually do this type of dish in a slow cooker so there’s no chance of a burnt sauce. Thanks!

        • I don’t know for sure – I’ve never used cream of mushroom soup in the PC. My guess is it would be OK, that it’s thin enough not to burn, but I’m just guessing. Try it and find out!

  7. Arthur Davies says

    Hi
    I just received my Instant Pot IP-Lux 60 pressure cooker and would like some advice please.

    My question is if as you suggest because the Instant Pot operates at 11.5 psi instead of 15psi that you add 20% cooking time for traditional stove top recipes. If I decide to use the natural release that takes between 8-20 minutes when the food continues to cook don’t you have to reduce that 20% extra timing accordingly?

    Many thanks.
    Regards
    Arthur (South Wales UK)

    • Most recipes I see specify Natural Pressure Release or Quick Release, so the natural pressure 20% is accounted for in the recipe. Now, if you are switching a recipe from quick release to natural release, then you do need to adjust.

      • Melanie says

        I’m sorry if you’ve already answered this and I missed it. I just got an Instant Pot and I am so excited to find your site! I understand the time conversion for a stovetop cooker recipe but what about an electric one? Are they all about the same amount of cook time or do I need to convnert the time for those as well? Thank you SO much for all of your great information!

        • If you have a recipe for an electric pressure cooker, it should be good for your Instant Pot. Almost all electric pressure cookers cook between 11 and 12PSI on their high setting, so you don’t need to change anything in a recipe written for an electric pressure cooker.

  8. Harriet says

    Can you cook meat/poultry from the frozen state? How much extra time does it need?

    • Great question! Yes, you can, if the meat is thin enough. If the meat is no more than an inch or two thick, and cut into strips, cutlets, or cubes, then add 5 to 10 minutes of cooking time.

  9. Christina says

    For recipes that require sugar and honey, can I add them with everything else in the pot, or should I wait till cooking is done and add them afterward? Thanks!

  10. Jeannette says

    I feel like a dummy asking this question, but what is the Anti Block Shield for? Should I use it every time I used hte Instant Pot?

  11. Galina says

    Can you bake in an Instant Pot? I know a lot of European models have Bake mode for cakes, baking meat in foil, etc?

    Thanks!

  12. Phyllis Meeks says

    I usually heat my milk to 190 degrees when making yogurt. How do I override the 180 degree temperature that the instant pot does?

  13. Crystal says

    Hi! I just got my Instapot Duo and was looking through recipes to start with. I’ve noticed some recipes (none from your site) that suggest bringing food to a boil or high temp before starting the pressure. How do I do that with the Instapot? I don’t see any adjustments under the manual mode for controlling temp directly.

    Thanks so much

    Crystal

    • Use the “sauté” button, then adjust or plus “+” button to get to “more” sauté. (I forget which button it is to adjust the sauté temp, but it is one of those two).

  14. Just purchased our first Instant Pot IP Duo 60. However, it seems to take forever (like 14-19 minutes) to get up to pressure and releases lots of steam in the process, before actually switching over to the timed cooking. Any experience with this?

    • Where is the steam coming from? Is it escaping all around the lid, from both valves, or jus from the small valve with the pop-up? Does steam stop escaping when the pop-up pops?

      How much liquid is in the pot? When it is full to the max fill line, it takes longer to heat up and boil.

      But, if it is steaming the whole time, it seems like you have a leak somewhere…or there is something wrong with your unit.

  15. Thank you for the many great tips! I just received my Instant Pot Duo last night and I am ready to get going. I looked at your beef stew recipe and I am thinking of starting with that. I noticed in the recipe you say to use a steamer basket. Is that correct? Is there one that I should order? thanks

      • I always tend to overlook my vegetables even though I use a steamer basket. Maybe I should elevate the basket? I’ve tried manual pressure and the steam option. Thanks for any tips.

        • Pressure cookers tend to overcook things – that’s just what they do. If it’s a vegetable that overcooking is bad for, I’d steam it on the stovetop instead of pressure cooking.

  16. sherry says

    just got a instantpot duo 60 ENW model from walmart, dint check there were two models on the site while buying. is this anything different from the one you have suggested, is this a good one or should i try to change it. cant find much online about this model, please help.

  17. So if I am cooking a whole chicken I just add to pot with 1 cup of water right? I used 10psi on my old manual stove top pressure cooker for 30 min so I would assume high?

  18. hi ,I wonder can I use different pot other than the pot provided with cooker?
    I want to make small amount of rice and th spot is very big.

    • No, you can’t use a different pot. The pot, cooker and lid are all designed to fit together. Withouth the pot and lid sealing, the cooker can’t build up pressure.

  19. THANK YOU!! I just purchased an Instant Pot this week and most instant pot recipes just say cook at HP for so and so.. which was driving me nuts. What does that mean?? Which actual button do I press!? Thank you again, this list was really helpful and I’m bookmarking it.

    One thing I see people talking about is speeding up the pressure of the pot by pushing the lid after its been cooking for a minute. Does this.. do, anything? Should I be doing this?

    Also, when doing a Natural Pressure Release (turning the IP off after cooking) instructions say it takes “about” 20 minutes to release pressure.. how do I know when pressure is released? I set a timer on the last thing I cooked and the pot opened easily and was cool to the touch. Is there some other way (than waiting 20mins) for me to know when I can safely open the pot?

    Really appreciate this resource, thank you!

    • >One thing I see people talking about is speeding up the pressure of the pot by pushing the lid after its been cooking for a minute.
      Can you show me an example of this? I don’t understand what it means. (My guess is no, it doesn’t do anything…but I’m not really sure what they’re talking about.)

      >…how do I know when pressure is released?
      The silver float valve, next to the steam release valve, is the pressure indicator, and also the lid lock. When it drops, the pressure in the pot is completely released, and the lid will open. If you’re in the room, you’ll hear it drop – it drops with a pretty loud “click”. (If you’re tired of waiting for a natural pressure release after 15 to 20 minutes, go ahead and turn the steam release valve. It will let loose any remaining pressure – usually not much at that point – and the float valve will drop once all the pressure is released.)

      • Margie says

        I think some people’s IPs don’t seem to come to pressure and seal as quickly as they expect, and so when it is not yet quite sealed and under pressure, they have had luck with pushing down on the lid and sort of kick-starting it into being sealed. I haven’t had that issue myself and I don’t think anyone intends it to be a way to increase the pressure or really make a difference.

        • Sandy says

          I have this issue with my IP. I have quite a bit of steam coming from the float valve as it’s trying to come to pressure. In order for it to start the countdown and stop the vent of steam (which has been trying to build for 10 minutes), I push down on the lid to help it seal. I’ve replaced my sealing ring even, but it still vents steam. After I press down on the lid, however, the countdown starts within a couple of minutes.

  20. Caryn Hart says

    Hi Mike,
    I just got my Instant Pot DUO-60 and have a question. I noticed that the manual states that you should not cook pasta in the pot, but obviously you have successfully done so. For years I cooked a wonderful pasta recipe from the Lorna Sass book, “Pressure Perfect.”- a variation of her Pasta with Meat Sauce (http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/pasta-with-meat-sauce). Its method was to make the sauce in the pot, add water, layer the short-cut pasta, and then add the crushed tomatoes without stirring. Then, instead of a quick release, the instructions are to run cold water in the sink over the pot, something you cannot do with the Instant Pot. I emailed the author who really had little experience with the electric pots, but she said that there could be a risk that the pasta could clog the release valve which is why the “quick-release” method was not recommended for that recipe.

    Do you think I could make this recipe in the Instant Pot as directed, or should I make some change in the procedure that would minimize the risk of causing a problem? Your recipes with pasta have you stir the pasta first, I think.

    Thanks so much. I will appreciate your input.

    Caryn

    • Caryn, I think it will work fine in the Instant Pot. The valve is protected by a cage, and I cook pasta in it all the time. (I’m a big fan of Lorna’s cookbooks, but she does have a strong preference for stovetop cookers.)

      If you make it, let me know how it goes.

  21. Julie Cordahl says

    I was thinking about pressure cooking pinto beans to make refried beans, how long would I cook them and how much water would I use? I would soak them overnight first. Thank you!

  22. I am wanting to cook a chuck roast with potatoes & carrots. Should I cook the meat first & once it’s finished remove the meat & then cook the potatoes & carrots? I am concerned doing it all together will make the carrots come out mushy.

  23. Need recipe for chicken and dumplings in Instantpot. Can you help me please. Got one for Christmas.

  24. Hi — When you are using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker, can you open it up to see if things are done — or, if you can’t, can you change the time on it?

    • Yes, you can open it up – slow cooker mode works without locking the lid. (It helps if you buy the non-pressure lid to slow cook in the instant pot.)

      • HappyK says

        Hi, I don’t have the glass lid. If I want to slow cook should I have the vent open or closed on the regular lid?

        • Put the regular lid on with the vent open and don’t lock it – just set it on the pot. (Or, use the lid from one of your regular pots; I have a couple that mostly fit.)

  25. Holly says

    Thanks for this, its really useful. I tried my new Instant Pot today as a slow cooker but found when I wanted to use the adjust button to lower the temperature I couldn’t just change it – I had to cancel the timer before I could adjust the temperature. Is that right?

    • Yes, that’s how the Instant Pot works. Once you set it up and it starts, the only way to change settings is to hit Cancel.

  26. Don Spiers says

    I have not found a recipe that uses meat, stew, beans, chili, or poultry. Most use sauté or manual. Why have all these extra buttons?

  27. Karen says

    I have had my instant pot for about a year. I have been having trouble getting it to pressurize in manual. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Check the gasket. When I’ve had problems in the past, it is usually gasket related. Make sure the gasket is smooth and even, with no bumps or cracks. (If that doesn’t help, get in touch with Instant Pot support to see if they have any ideas.)

  28. Berny says

    Did you move? Elevation is a big thing. Did you change types of beans? Could also effect. Soaking time change?

  29. T knutson says

    How do I add cream to one of my soups. After my soup setting changes to keep warm?

  30. Thanks for this helpful site! I’m making pulled pork and set the instapot for 75 mins per the recipe. I noticed the instapot timer started counting down before the instapot was fulled sealed? Is that normal or is something wrong with the instapot? I don’t recall ever having the countdown timer start before the instapot was completely sealed and pressurized?

    thx
    Steve

      • Alex says

        I’ve had this happen a couple of times when the pot was really full, and I had to either shift things around or remove a little bit to get it working properly. My guess is that there’s a weight sensor in the unit which determines whether it’s been pressurized and ready to begin the countdown, and it’s possible to trip it too early.

    • Yes – if it is thin. I put frozen chicken thighs and pork shoulder steaks in, and add an extra five minutes to the time under pressure.

  31. I sear a roast on saute add a half cup of water and let my frozen roast.got for 45 minutes. Let natural cool and check. May need another 15 minutes. Very good.

  32. Sandrine says

    Hi ! I have just discovered the instant pot and really love the idea. I am wondering if I could use it for cooking sushi rice .

    • Hey Sandrine, did you find anything about cooking sushi rice in it? I’ve been wondering the same thing.

  33. Yes you can just rinse the rice and put same amounts as you would in a pot or rice cooker and hit the rice button.

  34. HI! This is only my second time using my new instant pot IPLUX50. I’m making a lamb neck stew. I set the cooking time using the program meat/stew setting. I added 8oz of tomato sauce and about 6oz of chicken broth. Was this too much liquid? I’m seeing at the beginning of the comments here, that only 1 cup of liquid is necessary.

    I noticed after the cooker finished its programmed time, I hear a sizzling sound while the cooker is in “keep warm” mode (L002…L003…). Is this to be expected or is it a result of the added liquid? I’m not sure if I should turn the cooker off (unplug it) or just let it alone in the keep warm mode setting. Thanks!

    • 1 cup of liquid is the minimum amount – the only maximum is the max fill line on the pot. If your recipe said to use that much liquid, then you’ll be fine.

  35. Sue Palmer says

    Do you know where I can obtain the cooking temperature of all of the buttons on the Instant Pot? For instance, I have been working with soft and hard boiling eggs and comparing two functions; that is, Manual and Steam. Thanks.

  36. Chris Evan says

    I need help. I’ve owned my duo60 for a week and a half, and have encountered this problem twice now. I pressed the rice button, and the timer started counting down BEFORE it got up to pressure. NOW, I’m using the poultry button, and the timer is almost counted to zero, and it STILL hasn’t come up to pressure. It works perfectly normal when I manually use the pressure button. Can you give me any advice?

  37. John Clark says

    I have a new IP-Duo60 for Christmas. I may be nuts, but is there any reason I can’t saute a good steak with high temperature for a few minutes, leaving the lid off? Just olive oil and Kosher salt, should be done in a few minutes, for rare. Or would this ruin the machine?

    • It’s not the ideal cookware for this – the tall, narrow pot makes it tough to get in there and flip the steak – but it will work. (I’d use Sauté mode adjusted to high power to heat up the oil until shimmering.)

      You won’t hurt the Instant Pot – browning meat on Sauté mode before pressure cooking is effectively the same thing, and I do that all the time.

  38. Thanks for the FAQs, I was looking for information on what Low pressure would do in Manual mode (I also bought the one with no No or High) and was wondering if I had missed out on something, good to know I didnt 🙂
    I’ve only begun to use the Insta pot but most of the Pakistani dishes i’ve made so far have turned out perfect, I would suggest you try making Nihari in your insta pot some time, the best way I can describe Nihari to you is slow roasted beef stew with Pakistani / Indian spices.
    Shan is a company that makes ready made Pakistani spice mixes for the purpose with a fairly good recipe on the back.

  39. Scott Kirk says

    Hello Mike, Two questions. 1, Where can I find an insta pot recipe page for dummies? 2, If I want to cook wings with just water so I can finish with the grill. how much water, cooking time and temp? I like your page, real helpful

  40. Gilmoure says

    Hi! Thanks for the InstaPot info and great recipes. -Another dad who cooks dinner every night

  41. Julia Anderson says

    Hi, MikeV:
    Hubby bought me an Instapot for Christmas. The recipes that came with it were sparse, so I am glad to find this site. Here’s to corned beef and cabbage tomorrow : )!

  42. Jeanne Dolensek says

    You answered many of my questions, thank you. You recommend the 8″ OXO steamer, can I use the 10″ steamer?

    • As long as it fits, sure! The Instant Pot’s inner pot is roughly 8.5″ across – I think you’ll be OK.

  43. Thank you! I love my Instant Pot and I couldn’t figure out how to change the pressure in manual mode. I kept trying to press the “low pressure” “button” except it’s not a button! Pressing manual then pressing pressure to toggle between high and low pressure did the trick for me.

  44. Clint Ford says

    I do not usually cook the full recipe and normally cook smaller quantities; cooking for two. In a microware quantity determines cooking time. Does this apply to a pressure cooker? I would think that 1 lb. of meat would require less cooking time than 3 lbs. of meat. Is there a formula or rule of the thumb that can be used for cooking smaller quantities of food than the recipe calls for?

    • In the pressure cooker, the cooking time is determined by thickness of the cut more than the overall weight. So, 1 pound of 1-inch beef stew cubes won’t take longer than 3 pounds, but a 1 pound roast will – because it is thicker.

      That said…I only cook meast in the pressure cooker that can handle a little overcooking. I stick with my cooking times, even when I cook less food.

      • Thank you! That’s what I was looking for. I want to cut a recipe back – from 4 chicken breasts to 1. Now I know to cook it for the time the recipe calls for.

  45. Melody says

    Great website. Thanks for all the info! Could you direct me to a resource listing cook times for cooking beef rare, medium rare, medium and so on?

  46. Rich Moberly says

    Mike
    I have looked in the FAQ and searched some online, but can’t find an answer to this question. Is it safe to put meat in the pressure cooker in the morning for a delayed cook time just before arriving home from work? It will sit in the pressure cooker all day before starting and that bothers me. It is sealed of course, but still.
    Thanks in advance.

    • No, that won’t be safe. According to the USDA, for safety, meat should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours to be safe.

  47. PeterM says

    Hi Mike, are you sure all roasts can only be well done? hippressurecooking’s charts has roast beef settings for rare, medium & well done. To be honest her chart confused me. At the top of the meat section she has beef, roast – 75min… yet further down, she has roast beef – rare 6-8min, med – 8-10min, well done 10-12min. I asked there but never did get a satisfactory answer.

    • You can try, but I think you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Rare, Medium-rare, Medium…those are all very narrow windows of temperature. There is too much variability – thickness of the meat, heat of the cooker, temperature of the meat when you start. I can only get those variables right in traditional cooking (roasting, grilling) using an instant read thermometer and pulling the meat at the exact temperature I want. In a sealed environment, like a pressure cooker? It’s not going to work. Besides, that’s not what the pressure cooker is good for – you want to use it to replace long cooking in a sealed, wet environment – essentially braising – not cooking a roast to perfect pink medium-rare.

  48. Megan gallup says

    I am buying an Instant pot. Amazon, (because Amazon is so good at this), wants me to also buy a glass lid for it. Why would I need that?

    • The glass lid is convenient if you want to use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker, or use the saute mode to simmer after you’re done pressure cooking. I have one, and am glad I do – I find myself using it a couple of times a month.

  49. Peter says

    How often should I clean the sealing ring?
    Right now I”ve been cleaning it after each use of the Instant pot.
    When I contacted the company they told me to clean it after
    every 20 uses.

  50. Amanda says

    I read your replies about cooking frozen meat – any thoughts about cooking frozen vegetables? Ideally, I’d love to do broccoli? Veggies aren’t as dense as meat. I used to do this in my rice cooker with mixed results. Sometimes perfect, sometimes still cold in center.

    Thanks much!

  51. Becky Saylors says

    I have a question. Are you suppose to remove the sticker on the lid before using? If the lid
    gets hot as stated won’t that sticker just melt onto the lid. Would appreciate your advice.
    Thanks

  52. grace says

    i have yet to use my new instapot. would love to try a beef stew. everyone says to cook the meat for a period of time before adding veggies. i read from a review that quick releasing ruins meat. what do you do in the case where you’re supposed to cook the meat for a bit before adding the veggies? do you let the pressure release naturally and then add the veggies and go through the pressure building again? or do you quick release and the meat turns out fine? would love your insight. thanks so much!

  53. Can you reheat leftovers, or something like refrigerated rotisserie chicken, in the Instant Pot?

    • No, I don’t think that’s a good idea. If it was a leftover stew or soup, you could dump it in the pot and use sauté mode, using it like a pot on the stove.

  54. Jarrod says

    Hi Mike, absolutely love your site!

    I used to love it when my father would cook full hams in a stove top PC. I’ve always wanted one but have been terrified of the things. I suffer from Macular Degeneration and the thoughts of using a stop top unit put me off for many years.

    It’s only recently that I’ve discovered they make electric units via an popular Infomercial.

    This led to Google where I found lots of info. Searching for “Best Rated” PC’s, I found the IP-DUO. Nearly 11,000 reviews on Amazon alone. Eventually it brought me to your site.

    Read most, if not all, that you have posted pertaining to Instant Pot.

    I’ve been torn between purchasing the DUO60 vs. 80 as manyhave. Though I’m single, I’d like to be able to cook soups, stews and chili in bulk as well as full chicken and ham. From what I’ve read in various threads, “You can cook smaller amounts in a larger pot but not larger in a smaller one”. So this is leading me toward the DUO80.

    I’ve read your review(s) on both units along with questions and comments. Though you have an 80, I’ve read you still use your 60 more.

    At the moment there are loads of accessories for the DUO60 on Amazon and other places. Hopefully the same will be available for the 80 in time.

    Q: If it were you making a decision today, would you purchase a 60 over the 80 due to available accessories or just get an 80 anyway?

    As for pricing, here in Canada the 60 is currently on sale at
    $141 and the 80 is $200. I believe there is Free shipping available for both. Quite the difference from south of the border pricing!

    JAS

    • Get the 6 quart IP-DUO60, unless you’re cooking for a family larger than mine (I’m cooking for 5). I have them both, and still use the 6 quart model almost every time. The exceptions are large batches – huge pots of chili, say, or turkey stock. Then I pull out the 8 quart for the extra space.

  55. Jarrod says

    Thank you kindly. Been leaning toward the DUO60 but didn’t want to regret it later if a larger pot was required. I’ll probably invest the price difference a couple of accessories. Thanks again!

    JAS

  56. From the manual:

    “4. Select cooking time.

    You may use the “Adjust” key (except the “Manual” and Rice” functions) to adjust cooking duration. Press the “Adjust” key repeatedly to change between “Normal”, “Less” and “More” modes which will light up on the display.

    If necessary, change the cooking time with “+” and “-“. Press and hold the “+” or “-“ key for faster changes.”

    What is the difference between cooking duration and cooking time? It doesn’t make sense to me because I understand them both as same but yet they are separated settings.

    • I don’t know – I always use “Manual” and change the cooking time with the +/- buttons. Anyone else have an answer?

  57. steve says

    bought one of these units at Target last nite….but it did not include the Anti-block Shield IN THE BOX…. Picked up another one at a different location and the box did not include the shield as well…… Should the shield be included or have they changed the specifications, where as the shield is no longer needed ?

    • I’m sorry to hear that! You should probably contact Instant Pot Support for help. Instant pot has a great support department. If you think your cooker is missing pieces, contact them at InstantPot.com/support

    • They did change the lid (after using their own for over a year, my parents bought me a DUO60 last week, and when Dad saw the lid for mine, he said it looked like they had moved parts that are external – sticking out below the lid – on theirs to be internal in mine). But there’s still an anti-block shield. I wonder if maybe you’re not recognizing it.

      The anti-block shield on mine is about the size and shape of a 3-liter plastic soda bottle cap but is made of metal with slits all around it. It can be removed by pulling up. It’s rather tight and I have been using a butter knife to get under it to lift it off.

      Hope this helps.

      • Stephanie says

        Thank you, Joy, that helped tremendously, along with a Facebook thread that said pretty much the same thing! The manufacturers really should update the diagram in that manual, that was what confused me, and, from the looks of it, a lot of other people as well. Thanks again!

  58. Thanks for the helpful information on the Instant Pot! I am all set to buy one but I am wavering between the 6 qt and 8 qt– I really want to be able to cook a whole chicken (especially since I often forget to defrost and want to cook from frozen) and am worried that only a tiny one will fit in the 6 qt. But I don’t want to always have to cook a large amount of food either- help! We are a family of 4 but our kids eat adult-sized portions and I like to have leftovers for at least one night’s dinner. Thanks!

    • I can cook a 4 pound chicken in the 6 quart instant pot without any trouble – and it feels like I could fit a 6 pounder in there – but for a 6 pound chicken I’d want the 8 quart.

      That said, I’m cooking for a family of 5, and the 6 quart has been more than enough space for 90% to 95% of my usage. It’s only when I’m cooking for more that I pull out the 8 quart. I’d say go for the 6…but if you’re really worried about size, the 8 is a great choice as well.

      (More thoughts on 6 vs 8: https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2016/09/longer-term-testing-notes-instant-pot-duo60-vs-duo80.html/

  59. Great compendium of info here, Mike!

    I recently bought an instant pot and I’m having issues with the slow cooker function. If I set the time & heat then let it get started, then subsequently fiddle around with the settings the instant pot shuts down. But it never indicates “off” and the timer continues.

    What is the proper process for adjusting settings in mid-stream?

    Thanks!

  60. Stephen Hearon, Sr. says

    I cook all my rice and oatmeal using the pot-in-pot method (I’m a bachelor). My biggest problem was not to burn myself removing the inner-inner pot. I have bought two Billy-pots that fit perfectly in the Instant Pot and they have handles. I got them both on Amazon and they are:
    Olicamp Stainless Steel Kettle (1-Quart)
    Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
    Return eligible through Jan 31, 2017
    $19.75
    Condition: New
    Buy it Again

    Open Country 2 Quart Non-Stick Covered Kettle
    Sold by: Amazon.com LLC
    Return eligible through Jan 31, 2017
    $19.83

    After cooking I eat my oatmeal straight out of the 1 quart and my rice stays in the 2 qt. and then into the fridge.

  61. Christine says

    I have an 8 qt IP. It does not brown food at all. No matter how long I let it heat up on Sauté High, and the screen reads “Hot” it never sears meat, just kind of braises/steams it. When I place my hand above the pot, I don’t feel much heat radiating. The IP works well in all their respects. Am I doing something wrong or do I have a defective unit?

    • That does sound like a defective unit. “Hot” means the heat cut out because it thinks the pot is overheating.

  62. Clarice Victor says

    What’s the DIFFERENCE between the regular slow cooker and “slow cooker” option in IP? What’s the point of high pressure (LUX model) in slow cooking? I think Duo model does it at low pressure. I want true slow cooking. Could the Instant Pot do that? It is nearly impossible to cook things mushy or lose the flavor with a regular slow cooker. Any advice is appreciated. Also, what is the low pressure (in DUO model) used for?

    • The slow cooker mode in the Instant Pot is a true “slow cooker”, just like in a crock pot. No pressure is involved. The low pressure mode is there because, occasionally, you will find a recipe that asks for it. Low pressure recipes are very few and far between; like I said up above, I’ve never actually used the low pressure mode in the years I’ve owned my IP.

      • Clarice Victor says

        Is low pressure cooking similar or close to slow-cooking? For example, could I cook tomato sauce with low pressure (with the typical 8 hour time) instead of slow cook mode?

  63. I just got my Ip and glass lid
    I read that you can use the glass lid when slow cooking, browning, and also for making yogurt.
    What about cheesecakes and other sweet recipes, can I also use the glass lid or have to be the lid that comes with the pot?

    I would like to avoid smell transfer as much possible so I know which lid to use. I don’t want my dessert to smell like chili.

    Thanks

    • If it is a pressure cooker recipe – and all the cheesecake recipes for the IP are pressure cooker recipes – then you have to use the pressure lid. Just throw the silicone sealing ring in the dishwasher and it will take care of the smells.

  64. Diane johnston says

    For some reason I cannot get the manual method to work. It doesn’t seem to time out properly to the time that I set it. Seems to convert minutes to hrs????

  65. Brenda says

    I just got the Instant Pot DUO-60, and have never cooked with this kind of pot. It came with a condensation cup, and it shows how to install it, but it doesn’t state what it’s for or if it should ALWAYS be in the pot. Can you tell me, please? Thanks! Just found your site, and am looking forward to the recipes and information!!

    • Yes, always on the pot. It catches any liquid that escapes from the pot, especially if you use the lid holder built into the pot handles.

  66. Ludmilla says

    I am trying to make Farmers Cheese. I used the Yogurt function to make Yogurt and now I need to simmer the Yogurt to get the whey to separate from the cheese. I can’t quite figure out what setting to use. The temperature can’t be too high because the cheese will become rubbery. I am aiming for about 145F. Do you have any suggestions?

  67. Does this pressure cooker make noise while cooking like the newer stove top models.

    This is my first try and it steamed, the button came up, then silence.

    • That is how it is supposed to work – steaming until it builds enough pressure to lift the float valve, and then silence during cooking.

  68. HI! I am having trouble using the crock pot function on the instant pot. I tried a recipe that indicated I should use a slow cooker on high for 2 hours and then 3 hours on low but it was not even remotely cooked. I want to try another recipe for a slow cooker that indicates 2 hours on low – is there an adjustment that I need to make for the instant pot to mimic these recipes? I feel like I must be missing something. Thank you.

    • Yes. The rule of thumb is: For every 1000 ft above 2000 ft elevation, increase cooking time by 5%. In other words, at 3000 feet increase by 5%, at 4000 feet increase by 10%, at 5000 feet increase by 15%, and so on.

  69. Annette says

    I own a older model Instant Pot. It doesn’t have a “saute” function button. Is there another function button I can use to sauté the meat?

  70. Herbert Bullard says

    What am I doing wrong?
    I made a pot of gumbo. Nothing in the recipe required a cook time over 5 minutes. Pot was about 3/4 full. I set the program to manual for 8 minutes. My understanding was that the pot would reach pressure and the timer would start. When the timer reached “0” there was no pressure and the gumbo was simply “cold.” I fiddled with it for a while and finally I set it to “saute” to get it hot. I finally did. I switched back to manual and it wouldn’t hold the pressure. By switching back and forth between “saute” and “manual” I finally gave up. By that time my gumbo was cooked anyway. Delicious. However, I guess I don’t know about this Instant Pot. I have the LUX-60. Someone enlighten me!

    • Herbert, it sounds like you may have a problem with your Instant Pot Lux. Manual mode should come up to pressure before it starts the countdown timer. Try running manual mode with nothing in the pot other than 2 cups of water, to see if it comes up to pressure. If it is still having issues, contact instant pot support at InstantPot.com/support

  71. I am going to purchase my first pressure cooker, and I am trying to decide if I should purchase the 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot. I normally cook for 4 adults, and will also use it for “batch” cooking of soups, etc. I purchased a 4 quart in the past and sent it right back without using it because it was so small. Thanks for your assistance!

  72. Thanks for your helpful post about all things Instant Pot! I have a rather silly question- when you are using manual mode and set the timer for say, 30 min, can I assume that the timer should start AFTER the pot comes up to pressure? What seems to be happening for me is that the timer starts right away, even before the pot is up to pressure. From the posts I’ve read, even with hot liquid and non frozen ingredients, it should still take your instant pot a few minutes to come up to pressure?

    • You’re right – when you use manual mode, it should not start counting down until it comes up to pressure. If it’s starting right away, I think there is something wrong. Contact Instant Pot Support to get it checked – InstantPot.com/Support. Good luck!

  73. Mary R Colache says

    I would like to saute or steam fresh green peppers. I am so new at this. Received the Instant Pot pressure cooker for my birthday but am timid about using it.

  74. Barb says

    If you use the instant pot as a slow cooker, can you take the lid of when you want to, to check your food?

  75. Cary Hill says

    Mike, you have done it again; what a great job of answering a broad range of basic issues/questions. I just finished your beef curry recipe and although I initially thought there was too much liquid, it turned out great. I did however choose a poor choice of beef cut but the flavor was great. Thanks again for having one of the best blogs out there. Would definitely love to cook with you some time.
    Cary

  76. mandakini nayak says

    I do not have a manual mode in my Instant pot IP DUO.
    Most recepies use that mode. What can i substitute that with. What is slow cooking? The time doesnot seem to be in secs and mins there.

  77. Hi Mike
    New instant pot owner. Newbie question: is the time indicator in minutes or seconds? What does the reading 3:00 mean?
    Thanks for all the great info you provide!

    • The time indicator is in minutes; 3 minutes would read “3”, and 3:00 would be three hours…but I think that means you’re in slow cooker mode. In pressure cooker mode, I only see two digits on the front of the Instant Pot, and they’re showing minutes. (And they stay in minutes if I go over an hour; for example, an hour and five minutes shows as 65 in pressure cooker mode.)

  78. Aha so now half a cup of liquid is sufficient which I didn’t get from you, had no idea either about the saute temp adjust. Good man! I don’t like watery sauces and without knowing all the water content of any food on the planet this is a good guide. Cheers mate!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *