5 Tips for Getting Great Results from Your Instant Pot

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Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these are five important but often overlooked tips for getting great results when using your Instant Pot.

Cooking in an Instant Pot is fast, fun and flavorful. And, like most things in the kitchen, there is more than one “right way” to do it! 

If you’re a new Instant Pot / pressure cooker owner or you’re just starting to brush up on new ways to use your favorite appliance, start here: 

These are the most important things to know about getting started with an Instant Pot at home. 

Interested in having us teach you how to start cooking in your Instant Pot?

Our live Instant Pot 30-Day Jumpstart beginners course OPENS for enrollment on December 27, 2021! Classes start January 10, 2022.

Click here for details and learn how to register.

overhead shot of Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs inside an instant pot, with a green salad on the side
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Five tips for getting great results from your Instant Pot

1. There’s More than One Way to Pressure Cook

From beans to frozen meats to stews, there are several different ways to get delicious, reliable results with your Instant Pot.

The more you use it, the more you’ll get to know how you prefer to cook with it. 

Our recipes often mention a few different cooking and ingredient options for you to try to see what works for you. 

For example, with spaghetti and meatballs, some people like to layer their spaghetti in flatter criss-cross layers. Others prefer to toss their noodles in the pick-up-sticks fashion, with the noodles sticking up everywhere.

Both ways work and have different pluses and minuses. Use which one works best for you!

Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook along with several of my favorite pressure cooking accessories (cake pan, trivet, springform, and steamer)

2. Read the Recipe First 

This is Barbara’s #1 cooking rule. So growing up, I heard this a million times! And as an adult, I fully appreciate how good this advice is. 

It only takes a minute to read the recipe, and it always makes the meal easier and more straightforward. 

Pay special attention to recipe timing, which may be different from the recipes you’re used to.

Diced tomatoes, penne pasta, chopped basil, shrimp, and onions in bowls placed in front of an Instant Pot preparing to make Shrimp Diavolo.

3. Mise en Place

This is French for “everything in its place.” To chefs, it means that everything (tools, ingredients, pot holders, etc.) should be out, measured and available to you before you start cooking. 

Mise en Place is a good strategy for cooking with any appliance, but it’s especially useful with an Instant Pot. 

Things come together quickly in a pressure cooker, and you don’t want to risk burning your dish while you measure out the salt or a spice in the middle of cooking. 

4. Use Your Senses

As with anything new, learning to use a pressure cooker has a learning curve. But relying on your senses of smell and sight can make the process easier. 

For example, if you ever smell burning, immediately turn off the pressure cooker and remove the inner pot. 

If bubbles or steam start coming out of the lid during pressure cooking, do a quick pressure release and see what’s going on inside. 

Act fast, and you’ll always learn from your mistakes. 

5. Timing Is Key

It may be called an Instant Pot, but not every recipe comes together in the blink of an eye. The pressure cooker needs time to reach high pressure. And the more it’s filled, the longer this takes. 

I like to think of this like the time I’d normally spend preheating my oven. 

Our recipes have specific cook times at High Pressure. These cook times don’t start until the pressure cooker reaches pressure. You’ll know this happened when the valve pops up. 

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