6 Things You Should Know About Your New Instant Pot

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

It’s no surprise the Instant Pot is as popular as it is. In our review, the seven-gadget wonder impressed the biggest of skeptics. If you got one for Christmas this morning, well, you basically hit the present jackpot.

There are some things you should know before you use it, though. Sure, this appliance is going to save you time and space and you’ve heard the rumors that it makes delicious food, but if you’re going to master this kitchen tool, you need to start with some other basic facts.

1. Before you jump in, do a “Hot Water Test”.

This recommendation comes straight from the Instant Pot manufacturers themselves and is as simple and filling the pot with water and running a cycle under pressure. Not only will this suss out any defects before you need dinner done in 30 and the pot won’t seal, but it also gives the pot a gentle clean too.

2. The Instant Pot is not an always intuitive appliance.

If you’re new to the slow cooker or pressure cooker, the Instant Pot is going to take some getting use to. There are so many buttons and settings to consider that it might feel overwhelming at first, but don’t let that deter you. As Kelli said in her review of the Instant Pot, it’s best to really sit down and read the manual before digging in.

When you’re trying out recipes for the first time in your Instant Pot, keep things simple. The best recipes to start with — specifically if you’re new to pressure cooking — are eggs, dried beans, and simple vegetables.

Recipes to Start With

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

3. It’s so easy to clean.

One of the best things about the Instant Pot — and something our readers have noted over and over again — is that this appliance is so easy to take care of. Not only is this appliance going to save you a bunch of space in your kitchen (you don’t need a slow cooker, rice cooker, or pressure cooker when you have this thing), but it’s also ridiculously easy to clean.

4. Regular pressure cooker recipes need to be converted for the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot operates at 11.6 psi (about 242°F), whereas other pressure cookers tend to operate at a higher 15 psi (about 250°F). So when you’re adjusting for a recipe that says 15 psi, just try cooking for a few extra minutes.

5. You can only pressure-can in your Instant Pot if you have the Instant Pot Max.

A frequently asked question around the internet is whether or not you can pressure-can in the Instant Pot — and the answer is simply no. Unless you have the Instant Pot Max. If you have a different model of the Instant Pot, you can, however, do boiling-water canning, which is great for pickles and jams. If you’re interested in reading more, there’s a great post on the Instant Pot Community Facebook page.

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. You should consider getting a second stainless steel insert.

Your Instant Pot comes with one stainless steel insert, but a few of our readers have suggested getting a second one for a couple reasons. First, if you use your Instant Pot a bunch, it’s nice to have one available to use while the other one is in the dishwasher. The second reason is that you can quickly change settings on the Instant Pot and make a couple different dishes.

Buy: Genuine Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Cooking Pot, $30 for a six- or eight-quart pot

Are there any other words of wisdom you’d give to someone who just purchased the Instant Pot? Please share in the comments!