The Top 100 Instant Pot Questions Answered: Recipes, What to Buy, and More

So you’re ready to embrace the Instant Pot, the most life-changing and much-loved of cooking tools. (See our best buy for new users!) What happens now? Start here!

1What is the Instant Pot?

2So it’s Instant Pot. Not Instapot?

3Who invented the Instant Pot, and when?

4I get the sense the Instant Pot has become really popular! I feel a little bit left behind.

5So what’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a pressure cooker?

6All right. But what’s so great about pressure cooking?

7Cool. So is this, like, a Silicon Valley tech invention?

8If pressure cooking is so great, why hasn’t it been more popular? 

9Can the Instant Pot do anything a stovetop pressure cooker can’t?

10Is the Instant Pot dangerous? 

11What’s the difference between an Instant Pot and a slow cooker (or Crock-Pot)?

12Is the Instant Pot a healthier way to cook? 

13Is the Instant Pot a faster way to cook?

14Is the Instant Pot just for meat or is it good for vegetarians too?

Buying an Instant Pot

15Should I buy an Instant Pot? 

16How much does an Instant Pot cost? 

17What’s the difference between all the Instant Pot models? There are so many!

18What size Instant Pot should I get?

19Okay, just make this ultra-simple: Which Instant Pot should I buy?

20Where is the best place to buy an Instant Pot?

23What is Instant Pot’s warranty?

24Where are Instant Pots manufactured?

25Are there other brands of Instant Pot? How do they compare?

A Quick Start Guide to the Instant Pot

26I have an Instant Pot but haven’t taken it out of the box yet. Can you help me?

27How do I set up my new Instant Pot?

28What is the water test you keep referring to?

29What’s the best thing to cook first in the Instant Pot?

30Start to finish: Show me how the cooking process works.

31How do I get over feeling insecure I don’t know how to use an Instant Pot yet? 

The Parts of an Instant Pot

32What are all the parts that come in the Instant Pot box?

33How do I close the lid?

34Anything else special about this fancy lid?

35What’s that little doohickey on the bottom of the Instant Pot?

36What is this plastic cup in the back of some models?

37Where’s the on/off button? How do I turn it on?

38There are a lot of buttons. What are they all for?

39How do I just start cooking in it?

Pressure & the Instant Pot

40What do the HIGH and LOW pressure settings mean?

41Wait, my pressure cooker only has only one setting (or has an extra pressure setting!). What does this mean?

42How do I know the pressure is working?

43The Instant Pot has steam coming out! Is that normal?

44How do I check the food inside while it’s cooking?

45How do I know the food is ready and done?

46Does “cook time” include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure?

47Oh wait, now my recipe says to release pressure? How do I do that? Why, how?

49Should I use natural release or quick release?

50Will all the steam from the Instant Pot releasing pressure hurt my walls or cabinets?

Slow Cooking and the Instant Pot

51Can I use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker?

Troubleshooting in the Instant Pot

52The display says BURN. What does that mean?

53Is it safe to leave the house while the Instant Pot is plugged in and cooking?

54It still really bothers me I can’t check my food during cooking. That disrupts all my instincts as a cook and makes me feel highly insecure. Can you soothe me?

How to Cook in an Instant Pot

55What kinds of cooking works best in an Instant Pot?

56What kinds of cooking works fine but not great in an Instant Pot?

57What types of cooking aren’t great at all for an Instant Pot?

58My Instant Pot came with a steamer basket. How do I use it?

59What do I need to know about cooking vegetables in the Instant Pot?

60What do I need to know about cooking grains in the Instant Pot?

61What do I need to know about cooking meat in the Instant Pot? 

62What do I need to know about cooking seafood in the Instant Pot? 

63Does it matter how I layer my ingredients in the pot for cooking? 

64What is pot-in-pot cooking? (And why is everyone so excited about it?) 

65I have a favorite recipe. Can I make it in an Instant Pot? How?

66My sauce or stew is too thin. Can I thicken it in the Instant Pot? 

67How much liquid do I need in an Instant Pot recipe? 

The Best Instant Pot Recipes

68How do I cook chicken in the Instant Pot? 

69How do I cook chicken breast in the Instant Pot?

70How do I cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot? 

71How do I cook boiled eggs in the Instant Pot? 

72How do I make beef stew in the Instant Pot? 

73How do I make pot roast in the Instant Pot? 

74How do I make pulled pork or carnitas for tacos in the Instant Pot? 

75How do I make pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot?

76How do I cook ribs in the Instant Pot?

77How do I cook rice in the Instant Pot?

78How do I cook brown rice in the Instant Pot?

79How do I cook dried beans in the Instant Pot?

80How can I make yogurt in the Instant Pot?

81How do I make the best oatmeal in the Instant Pot?

82How do I make chicken stock or bone broth in the Instant Pot? 

83How do I make meatloaf in the Instant Pot?

84How do I make chili in the Instant Pot?

85How do I make curry in the Instant Pot?

86How do I cook sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot? 

87How do I cook pork chops in the Instant Pot?

88Can you actually make pasta in the Instant Pot?

89Okay, you’ve convinced me. How do I make spaghetti in the Instant Pot?

90If I double a recipe do I need to double the cook time?

Instant Pot Surprises

91Can you cook frozen food in the Instant Pot? 

92Can I bake in my Instant Pot? 

93Can I make cheesecake in the Instant Pot? 

94What are some other surprising things to make in the Instant Pot? 

95Can I make wine in the Instant Pot? 

Instant Pot & Health

96What’s the healthiest thing to cook in the Instant Pot? 

Cleaning the Instant Pot

100What’s the best way to clean an Instant Pot? 

101Is the Instant Pot dishwasher-safe?

102What’s the best way to clean the sealing ring?

103Help! I made something stinky and now my IP smells like that stinky thing.

Living with the Instant Pot

104I have a tiny kitchen. Is there a smart way to store the Instant Pot? 

105Are there other Instant Pot accessories that are worth buying? 

106Should I buy a second Instant Pot? Maybe even a third? 

107Okay, I think I’m getting into this. 

108What are some of the best Instant Pot cookbooks? 

109Are there Facebook or other groups to join?

110Are there, like, fan meetups or conventions? 

111All of this is so exciting. I’ve plugged in my Instant Pot, I’m cooking something delicious. What do I do next?

You Might Not Be Asking, but We Have to Tell You …

112How many Instant Pots is too many? 

113Who is the best candidate for an Instant Pot superfan? 

114Why does every product shot of the Instant Pot have the timer set at 5:20?

115Your turn! What Instant Pot questions do you still have?

Credits: This FAQ was written by the Kitchn editorial team, past and present, plus many special contributors. Voices include Laura Arnold, Hali Ramdene, Grace Elkus, Chris Michel, Meghan Splawn, Kelli Foster, Sheela Prakash, Patty Catalano, Lauren Kodiak, Tracey Gertler, and Elizabeth Barbone. Art and video by Joe Lingeman, Jenny Chang-Rodriguez, Margaret Lee, Samantha Bolton, Annie Carroll, and the amazing video staff of Apartment Therapy Media. Edited by Chris Michel and Faith Durand.

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