The Best Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

Inside: Take the first step as an Instant Pot Beginner to learn how to use your Instant Pot with these beginner Instant Pot tips and tricks!

I. Love. My. Instant Pot.

But those first couple days with my IP were rough. I was scared of a device that I did not understand. This Instant Pot Beginners Guide covers the 13 tips that helped me get over that ridiculous fear and cooking!

Here are 13 useful Instant Pot Newbie Tips:

13 Beginner Instant Pot Tips and Tricks

1. Do The Water Test.


When I read my Instant Pot manual and saw that the first thing it wanted me to do was a ‘Water Test’ my eyes did some rolling and all I could think was great I bought a pot and it wants me to break it in by boiling water…

But y’all I am super glad I did it. I was so overwhelmed when I first unboxed my Instant Pot and the Water Test was a huge help in familiarizing me with it’s various features. The IP does not need to be intimidating, it actually is incredibly easy to use.

So do that Water Test. It will help teach you how to seal your Instant Pot Lid, what bringing it up to pressure looks like, how the countdown works, and how to use Quick Release or Natural Release when releasing the pressure from your pot.

Here is how to do the Instant Pot water test:

2: Always use 250ml water or stock when pressure cooking. Without enough liquid your Instant Pot will not be able to come to pressure. Pressure is built via the steam off the liquid – give it enough to do it’s job 😉

3: Don’t use your Instant Pot on the stove. Just. Don’t.

4: Save your time and sanity with these Instant Pot accessories. My two absolute favorite items have been the extra seal (to prevent flavor cross-contamination) and the stackable steamers for cooking an entire meal at once.

5: Use the ‘pot-in-pot’ method. It’s worth repeating. Stackable steamers and other ‘pot-in-pot’ methods are huge for saving time.

6: Use the Instant Pot ‘Delay Start’ and ‘Keep Warm’ Features. These are my two favorite features for throwing dinner together while my kids aren’t destroying the house so that it starts cooking around dinner time and is still warm after cramming in our million after school to-do’s.

7: Preheat your liquids. To reduce the time it takes for your food to get to pressure, warm up your liquids or sauces in the Instant Pot by using the sauté setting on high. Leave the lid open and stir frequently while doing this. You can add meats in while sautéing if desired.

8: Don’t forget to deglaze. After cooking meat with the ‘Sauté’ function deglaze the inner pot using a small amount of liquid (stock or water will work) and a wooden spoon before you flip your Instant Pot over to ‘Pressure Cook’. To deglaze your inner pot you will simply scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any caramelized or burnt bits.

RELATED: How to Not Mess Up Your Meal When Using the Sauté Function

9: Use the ‘Sauté’ function if you meal has too much liquid. This will help the excess liquid to reduce. Stir frequently while cooking on sauté.

10: Use flour or cornstarch after pressure cooking, not before. If the recipe calls for using flour/cornstarch for thickening, do this after you pressure cook.

11: When doing a Quick Pressure Release, open from the side. You can also use a wooden spoon but from the side works well. Make sure the steam will be releasing FAR away from you. Also, make sure your Instant Pot isn’t underneath your cupboard or any other object that you don’t want covered in steam and potential food splatter.

12: Thick sauces, tomato based sauces, and ready-made sauces can get picky. They can cause the pressure to not build up or an OUHT (overheat) error. To fix this add in ingredients that release water such as frozen meats or mushrooms. You could even add in 1/4-1/3 cup of stock or water to make sure your Instant Pot had enough liquid to build pressure.

13: Get cooking, have fun, and don’t give up!. One of the most common things I hear is, “I have had my Instant Pot in it’s box for months! I am scared to open it and give it a try.”

Seriously – don’t be! The Instant Pot is not your grandma’s pressure cooker. The worst thing that could happen is you burn your dinner and have to try again 😉

p.s. Read this just in case your Instant Pot ever reads BURN…cuz here’s a hint – it doesn’t always mean you are burning your meal 😉

And don’t forget to save this Instant Pot beginners guide to easily find it again and help other Instant Pot Newbies get acquainted with their Instant Pot!

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