Don’t make these mistakes when using your Instant Pot. Avoid the common issues and questions new Instant Pot owners have by following these tips and tricks.
You just got a brand new Instant Pot because you’ve heard how great and versatile they are. The hype isn’t lying either – the Instant Pot is truly a magical piece of equipment. But just throwing food in and expecting it to come out perfect just isn’t realistic.
There’s going to be trial and error with using your Instant Pot and there are some important things you shouldn’t do. Hopefully these nine Instant Pot don’ts will help you if you’re just starting out and learning how to properly navigate the Instant Pot world.
1. Read the manual
Don’t get mad at us by starting off this way, because you REALLY need to read the instructions! You’re going to have so many questions when you first start out and you’ll be able to get a lot of the answers in the manual that shipped with the Instant Pot. If you happened to lose the manual, you can get it again here.
2. Don’t pressurize without liquid
An Instant Pot without some sort of liquid inside it when pressurizing will not end up pressurizing. You need to have at least a 1/2 cup to a cup of water, broth, etc inside the Instant Pot in order to have it properly pressurize.
3. Don’t forget “sealing”
Most people forget to put the pressure sealing knob into the “sealing” position when they are using the Instant Pot. Then they wonder why it’s taking so long to cook! So make sure it’s marked in the “seal” position so that it can properly build up pressure.
4. Don’t stick your hand over the vent
This may seem like a dumb thing to say, but some people don’t realize how hot the steam actually is when it’s released! When a recipe calls for a quick release of steam, you need to knock the pressure valve into the release setting and make sure your hand or face isn’t over it. You will get burned – so be careful!
5. Don’t overfill your Instant Pot
If you do this, your Instant Pot will take a very long time to pressurize, or it may not even pressurize at all! We like the rule of staying about two lines under the the MAX line when filling up the pot (so at around the 4L mark when using the 6-quart model)
6. Don’t put your steel bowl on the stove top
This sounds silly…we get it. But the bowl is made specifically for the Instant Pot and it will get ruined if you put it on the burner of your stove or in the oven.
7. Don’t quick release foamy foods
Don’t do a quick release (or turn the knob to venting) when you’re making foods that produce foam when they cook. For example: if you’re making lots of rice, potatoes, thick soups, etc. If you do, you will have whatever is in your Instant Pot all over your kitchen!
Tip: You can place a paper towel over your vent if you must do a quick release and have it spray right into the paper towel. Just know that you may have to use a few paper towels before it’s actually done pressurizing.
8. Don’t forget to set the timer
So now you’ve got all your food inside the Instant Pot and it looks great! You put the lid on and then….you forget to set the timer. So by the time you go to check on the food because you feel it should be done by then…you find out it’s not even cooked yet!
9. Don’t forget to plan with the pressurize time
The hardest part about reading a recipe for an Instant Pot is when they say it “will be done in only 10 minutes!”…but that’s not factoring in the pressurizing time. The claim of 10 minute cook time is accurate, it’s just not totally accurate. So make sure you add in the extra time needed so your food is ready for dinner when you actually want to serve it!