So, you got a great deal on an Instant pot.
As much as you want to be a pro at using it, it scares you a bit.
You’ve heard about pressure cooker explosions.
That’s the last thing you want.
Here are some simple Instant pot tips to get over the fear and feel like an Instant pot ninja.
- Open the box. Seriously. The longer you wait, the more difficult it gets. You won’t break the pot, and it won’t break you taking it out of the box, unless you drop it on your foot, so don’t do that. Make sure you you register your Instant pot on Instant pot’s website.
- Examine the steam valve. There is an open and a closed position. You always want to make sure the vent is closed when you start the Instant pot.
- Always make sure that the rubber gasket/inner ring is in place before you start the Instant pot. Many a cook has burned a meal because they forgot to put the ring in the lid.
- Ring hygiene is important. Why would you remove the ring, you ask? Because cleaning the inner ring keeps it from getting smelly. Some people run it through the dishwasher. Others soak it in vinegar to get rid of strong smells. Some use multiple rings, one for sweet and one for savory. You can order colored rings so you know which is sweet and which is savory too.
- Do the Instant pot water test. It’s not hard, and it’s the best way to make sure your Instant pot is working.
- You will always need some kind of liquid to cook with even if what you’re cooking doesn’t go in the liquid. That’s why you have a trivet and loads of accessories to help with that. Foods like cakes cook above the water, but liquid is vital to the cooking process with pressure cooking.
- Speaking of liquid. When you use your Instant pot as a slow cooker, you only need a cup of water to get started. It’s fine if you want more, but if you have food that will release a lot of juice, you can cut back on the starter liquid as long as there is a cup to get started.
- There is a fill line, and it’s important. If you overfill your Instant pot, spray will come out of the vent if you quick release the pressure. If that happens, cover the vent with a dish cloth or towel to keep your kitchen from becoming a mess.
- NPR means Natural Pressure Release which is letting the pressure release slowly after the cooking time is complete. This method is the best when cooking meat because releasing the pressure quickly makes meat tough and dry.
- Quick release is loud but fast. Quick release is what most people dread because it releases hot steam very fast so that you can open your Instant pot sooner. Many people are afraid of getting a steam burn, but there are several ways to deal with that. Again, there are accessories that help, but you can also use a wooden spoon so your fingers are far from the steam vent.
- Make perfect rice every time. Use the ratios in your Instant Pot guide, press the rice button, and you will have perfect rice in about 20 minutes. Doesn’t get any easier than that to make rice.
- You can cook chicken and other meats from frozen without having it turn out absolutely gross, so even if you forget to thaw something for dinner, as long as it fits nicely in the Instant pot, you can have a delicious dinner in no time. One of the best recipes for this is Quick Cooker Salsa Chicken Lettuce Wraps. The chicken is tender and juicy and ready in about 20 minutes, even from frozen. How cool is that?
- Soups that take 30 minutes to cook, taste like they’ve been cooking all day. Pork shoulder that normally braises for hours, takes a mere 90 minutes of cooking time. Some meals you can assemble in 10 minutes and have on the plate 30 minutes later like any of these Cottage Ham recipes. Don’t know what cottage ham is? Click the link and find out.
- Join a few Instant pot communities if you’re on social media. Yes, Pinterest is great for recipes, but Instant pot groups are great when you have a quick question about something. There are groups for nearly everything you can think of – Keto cooking, gluten free, just recipes, Whole 30, plant based, and even beginner. Beware, though, some groups have thousands of posts per day, so if that’s not your thing, make sure you check out how many posts there are per day and whether you want that in your feed.
- Never, NEVER put your Instant pot on the stove. It’s ugly. It will make you cry, and there is no fixing it if someone accidentally turns on a burner. Just don’t.
- Always make sure the inner pot is in your Instant pot before pouring anything into it. You would be surprised how much it happens, probably because people purchase the nonstick inner liner. It’s dark rather than bright silver and matches the rest of the inside of the Instant Pot. While this doesn’t always destroy the Instant Pot, it will keep you from cooking in it for several days while you wait for it to dry out the electronics.
- The inner pot is dishwasher safe, but… The inner pot sometimes get a film on the bottom and it looks terrible. Bar Keeper’s Friend cleans it beautifully and makes it shine like new.
- The Instant pot lid is dishwasher safe too as long as it’s not the air fryer lid. While that may sound odd to put the lid in the dishwasher, it does become dingy, and the valves can clog with debris. Taking those pieces apart and running them through the dishwasher on occasion keeps them clean and working well.
- Q-tips are a great cleaning tool. The top rim of your Instant pot has some spots that are difficult to clean, especially since you cannot immerse the outer pot in water. Q-tips get into those spots and clean them out beautifully.
- Have fun. While it may sound like a lot of work to use your Instant Pot, it will actually save you hours of cooking time and help you put delicious food on your table.