I Bought an Instant Pot, Now What?? Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Guide
This post was most recently updated on May 13th, 2019
I remember opening my first Instant Pot and thinking, “…and now what?” Here’s everything I wish I knew, including how to do a “water test.”
Instant Pots were the #1 selling item on Amazon Prime Day this year (for the second year in a row) in the US! Today, Facebook is flooded with excited newbies who want to learn all things Instant Pot – including the best recipes to try! Amazingly, many people bought their 2nd or 3rd Instant Pot. I assembled a list of what you need to know if you’re new you need to quickly get up to speed on all things Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot pressure cooker is the “it” appliance of the year last year but is still gaining new fans. It’s an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one and it has a cult like following!
Why Instant Pot Pressure Cooker?
- Tastes better than food made in a Crockpot. A lot of husbands complain about how a Crockpot makes everything mushy or taste the same. However, the Instant Pot is different. You may hate the texture of chicken in the crockpot- especially chicken breasts, but it is fabulous in the pressure cooker. The flavors and texture are so much better.
- It cooks fast! Dinner takes less than an hour to cook instead of all day in the crockpot and it won’t heat up your kitchen in the hot summer. The higher cooking temperature is not only faster, it makes everything more flavorful. So you get a taste like your roast has been simmering in the oven for hours – in just an hour. A roast can be done in 50 minutes!
- Eat more healthy. Since Instant Pot makes it easier to cook at home you’re more likely to make meals from scratch with real food instead of buying macaroni and cheese or other highly processed, high salt type food from the store. You control what goes into your meals!
- Save money. Don’t order takeout when you’re tired and don’t know what to make. Get a delicious dinner made in under 30 minutes – which is what it’s going to take by the time you get your takeout anyway. You won’t need to eat out as much and so will save the money. Not that I want to give up eating out but I don’t want it as a default for not knowing what to cook for dinner.
- Lose weight. When you eat cleaner and have more control over the food you eat, many Instant Pot owners report that they’ve lost weight.
- Save time on cleanup. You save time because after everything is in the pot and you can walk away. You don’t have to watch it or stir it. When you’re finished with dinner, you have 1 pot to wash and no stove to clean.
Some people make baby food in their Instant Pot because the IP retains vitamins making food more nutritious. Some make dog food with tender meats and veggies. We love food of all types in the Instant Pot!
However, there is a learning curve to using the Instant Pot…so hopefully this will help:
4 Steps to Instant Pot Proficiency
Step 1: Do the Water Test
When you first get your Instant Pot you need to do a water test. Why? It’s to make sure your pot is working, get familiar with Quick Release (QR), and to clean out any potential manufacturing gunk which may be left behind. Here’s my friend Fredia explaining how…
Step 2: Get Familiar with the Terms
Time to learn the lingo. Hopefully this list will help!
Instant Pot Glossary of Terms
IP: Instant Pot. The magic machine of yumminess.
QR: Quick Release. Turning knob to release pressure/steam.
NPR: Natural Pressure Release. Leaving the knob alone (not turning it) and allow pot to depressurize on its own.
PIP: Pot in pot. For cooking cheesecake or other foods, you need to use an oven safe pot inside the Instant Pot, which is called a pot in pot.
Trivet: Metal wire rack thing that came with pot to keep food off the bottom and out of the liquid.
HP: High Pressure. This is always the default setting unless otherwise stated in a recipe.
LP: Low Pressure. This is typically only used for doing hard boiled eggs or delicate foods that might fall apart.
Step 3: Join Instant Pot Facebook Groups
Instant Pot Facebook groups are full of other Instant Pot owners and cult members! They can answer questions and help you perfect your skills.
Here are some of the best ones:
- Instant Pot Community – this is the OFFICIAL IP Facebook group run by the brand with over 500,000 members. It’s active and fun.
- Whole30 Instant Pot Community if you want to lose weight with your Instant Pot or are on the Whole30 community, this group has over 50,000 members and is a great resource. Many people find they eat out less and eat less fast food because of their Instant Pot (and naturally lose weight).
- Instant Pot Vegan Recipes – self explanatory.
Step 4: Try Some of the 10 Best Instant Pot Recipes
Note: most recipes will not include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure. You may need to figure in another 5-10 minutes to your cooking times.
Here are some basic recipes everyone should try with their new Instant Pot.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
• tastes better because the noodles absorb the sauce
• no babysitting of boiling water and noodles
• no draining
• ONE pot to wash at the end
Sausage and Penne Pasta
Use any larger pasta, ziti, penne, bow tie, etc, just cut the cook time to one half of the cook time on the pasta box. Delicious and a crowd pleaser!
Beef and Broccoli in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot French Dip Sandwhiches
Beef Vegetable Barley Soup
The pork shreds easily and is super flavorful with wonderful texture in this recipe.
Made with the following adjustments:
– no cabbage
– Mix some granulated garlic with the kosher salt or Pink Himalayan salt before you rub the pork, instead of whole cloves
Throw some ribs in the Instant Pot and season with salt and pepper, then pressure for about 40 minutes. Put them on a baking pan, top with favorite BBQ sauce,and put under broiler for a few minutes. So yummy!
Just put it in with the veggies, seasoning and water as normal and press the meat button. Cook on high for 50 minutes (depends on the size.) Can easily add more time if not tender. Let the pressure release naturally. Or use this recipe for Instant Pot roast.
When you’re more advanced you can try Instant Pot Greek yogurt.
Top 5 Instant Pot Models
If you don’t already have one, you might be wondering what model of Instant Pot to get. Here are the main models of Instant Pots and a quick rundown of differences…
- The Instant Pot DUO is the top selling Instant Pot. It does everything but doesn’t have the features for the SMART version (no bluetooth or app control).
- The Instant Pot Lux is a great basic starter Instant Pot – lacks a low pressure setting and won’t do yogurt. This is the economy model.
- The Ultra lets you choose the cooking time, pressure level, and temperature by one degree increments for more control. It can memorize settings that you use for different food. It’s like the SMART version without as much tech.
- The SMART Instant Pot has an app and is very customizable. So if you love the idea of using an app to set the exact temperature and how long to hold it there, and it can either turn off your Instant Pot at the end, warm it or whatever you choose. You can create your own “recipes” so it fits your lifestyle and everything is ready when you get home. It means you can cook remotely.
- Duo Plus Instant Pot – this is a new and improved version of the DUO. It has a sterilize function, an egg and a cake one. The display is more informative and updated from the Duo.
Click the models below to read the reviews:
Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, 6 Quart | 1000WInstant Pot LUX60 6-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6 Quart | Stainless SteelInstant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6 QtInstant Pot Smart Bluetooth Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6 QuartInstant Pot Ultra – Smart Electric Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel, 6 quart
Top 5 Instant Pot Cookbooks
You’re going to want to add some Instant Pot Cookbooks to your collection. Here are the best sellers:
The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy MealsInstant Pot® Obsession: The Ultimate Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for Cooking Everything FastThe Best Pressure Cooker Recipes on the Planet: 200 Triple-Tested, Family-Approved, Fast & EasyPaleo Cooking With Your Instant Pot: 80 Incredible Gluten- and Grain-Free Recipes Made TwiceInstant Pot Cookbook: 500 Instant Pot Recipes Cookbook for Smart People (Instant Pot, Instant
Do you have an Instant Pot? What do you love to make in it?