The Instant Pot is THE hottest appliance right now. I am sure you have all heard of it and if not, I totally recommend jumping on the bandwagon. It’s an awesome bandwagon to be on.
I’ve had my Instant Pot for almost a year now and have made some delicious recipes (you can check those out here. This appliance is a life changer. I love it almost as much (if not more!) as my Vitamix. I’ve had the chance to use many models throughout the past year and I’ve reviewed them all in my list of the best Instant Pots.
After using the Instant Pot for while, I thought it would be useful to you all if I shared my favourite tips and tricks.
Lesser Known Instant Pot Tips and Tricks That You Should Know
1. No, It Will Not Explode!
Do not be afraid or intimidated by it. You just spent $120+ on this fancy appliance or maybe you were lucky enough to get it as a gift, but either way you will not regret taking the plunge and trying it out. Do not let it collect dust in your pantry. I guarantee after you try it, you will love it.
This pressure cooker is not the one our grandma’s used. It’s not that scary pot shaking and whistling on the stove like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The IP has 10 proven safety mechanisms and patented technologies, so you can rest assured, it will not explode on you. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified when I did the first water test, I hid around the corner in the other room. But once I realized it was 100% safe, I immediately fell in love.
2. Hard Boil A Dozen Eggs In Under 10 Minutes
Yes, you can easily make hard-boiled eggs in a pot on the stove, but can you do it in under 10 minutes? Simply add a dozen eggs to the IP on the trivet (that’s the metal rack that came with the pot), add 1 cup of water and set the manual setting to 3 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pot naturally release for 4 minutes, then switch the valve to quick release and transfer eggs to an ice bath. You will get the best, easy-to-peel, perfectly cooked medium-hard boiled eggs.
3. Buy Extra Silicone Rings
t is a good idea to purchase a few extra silicone rings. The first reason, they do eventually stretch out and may cause your lid to not seal properly. Second, the silicone ring will pick up the odours of the food you are cooking so you may want a separate one for savoury food and one for sweet foods. You don’t want your yogurt tasting like chilli!
4. Aim For Less Time
I have noticed when looking for Instant Pot recipes online, that they VARY, like a lot! One pot roast recipe may say 80 minutes while the other says 45 minutes. How is one to know which is right? I always go for less time because you can always put it in for longer but you can’t come back from overcooked food.
5. Cook Frozen Food
Yes, you can cook frozen foods in your IP. If you batch cook soups or stew place leftovers in a freezer bag then into a round container that fits the inside of the IP liner. This ensures that your food is frozen in a shape that will fit your IP. You can pop the frozen food into the IP and reheat it. Easy peasy!
It also cooks frozen hamburger in about 25 minutes. So, if you forgot to take meat out of the freezer for dinner, no worries!
6. Learn the Difference Between Quick Release (QR) and Natural Release (NR)
The valve on the lid has two settings, sealing and venting. You always want to have it in sealing mode when pressure cooking. Once the timer is up you have two options, switch the value to vent to release the steam right away, this is called Quick Release or QR. This method is most commonly used for foods that you don’t want over cooked or soggy, such as steamed vegetables.
The other method is Natural Release or NR. This would be used mostly for recipes with meat that you want to keep tender or when the pot is 2/3 full with liquid like soup or broth. Once the timer is up on your recipe you would simply leave the pot alone, don’t touch any buttons or switch it off. The timer will switch to the “Keep Warm” setting and automatically count up so you know how long the food has been in the IP after the timer goes off. You can choose to let it go for as long as you prefer. The pot will naturally depressurize on its own and release the pin and allow you to unlock the lid, or you can switch the valve to QR at any time to depressurize right away. Check this natural release vs quick release guide for a more detailed overview.
7. Make Sure There Is Liquid In the Pot
Make sure you have at least 1 cup of liquid in the pot. This is important as the Instant Pot will not come to pressure without enough liquid. I figured this out the hard way when trying to steam corn on the cob, the pot would not come to pressure and just kept pumping out steam. I had no idea what I was doing wrong until I realized I did not have enough water in the pot.
8. Speed It Up
When you take your pot out, plug it in and set it to sauté to pre-heat it while you get your ingredients ready. This will help the pot come to pressure faster.
9. Zero Minutes
You can set the manual setting to zero minutes which allows the pot to come to pressure then goes right into keep warm mode. This is good for steaming vegetables or cooking soft foods you don’t want overcooked and mushy.
10. Weight Doesn’t Matter As Much As Thickness
You will want to cut your roasts so they are about 2 inches thick. This will allow it to cook in about half the time.
Newsflash, you may not actually love your Instant Pot. Shocker, right!? It definitely takes some trial and error with certain recipes and can be discouraging for some. You might just find it too complicated. There are definitely some recipes I don’t recommend. Besides, chicken, lean meats like pork tenderloin do not turn out as well. It also took me a few tries to get the perfect hard-boiled egg. Don’t give up though because once you’ve mastered a few great recipes, you will wonder where this appliance has been all your life.