3 Rules for Doubling Any Instant Pot Recipe

updated Jan 13, 2021
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One of the most frequent questions I get is “Can I double the Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe?” The short answer is yes, but that’s not the end of the story. Learning how to double this recipe can help you scale up many other Instant Pot recipes.

Doubling electric pressure cooker recipes isn’t as easy as adjusting the pan size or the cook time as you would for a stovetop or oven recipe. The science and speed that’s involved in pressure cooking means that you have to follow a few rules to set yourself up for success.

How to Double Our Instant Pot Spaghetti

Okay, let’s start with this recipe specifically. This is my typical response to this reader question: “Yes, you can double it, but a triple batch won’t fit. Don’t adjust the cook time, but expect it to take about twice as long to come up to pressure. Lastly, don’t double the water! You should double the pasta sauce, meat, seasonings, and dry pasta, but not the water!” That’s the how, now here’s the why, which will help you easily adjust other Instant Pot recipes.

1. Keep an eye on the fill line.

To work properly, pressure cookers need a certain amount of room (often called head space) between the food and the lid. Too little space and the pot might not seal or the seal might break partway through cooking. For most Instant Pot models, the fill line is clearly marked with the word MAX on the inside of the metal insert. Anytime you want to double an Instant Pot recipe you need to be sure that the doubled ingredients (liquid and all) won’t pass the pot’s fill line. For ingredients that will expand as they cook, such as grains and legumes, Instant Pot recipes typically call for filling the pot 2/3 of the way or less. You can check your Instant Pot’s manual for capacity charts or do a dry fit of ingredients (i.e., fill the pot without the heat on and without liquid) to make sure you don’t overfill. This is why you can double the Instant Pot Spaghetti but not triple it!

2. Don’t double the cook time.

Your Instant Pot is super smart — when you add more ingredients it will automatically adjust and take more time to come up to pressure. This will add to the total time, but the pressure-cooking time will remain the same, which all but guarantees your food will be cooked perfectly. For the spaghetti recipe, if you add any more than eight minutes under pressure you’ll end up with mushy pasta.

Credit: Olive & Mango

3. Not every recipe requires double the liquid.

As a rule of thumb, you should double liquid ingredients that add flavor, such as pasta sauce and broth. But when it comes to the amount of water, it really depends on the recipe. For example, when you’re making shredded chicken in the Instant Pot, the water steams the chicken but you don’t use the water in the finished dish, so you don’t need to double the water. When braising, the liquid should come about 2/3 of the way up around the meat or beans, so use your best judgement when adding liquids to these types of recipes. You want to have enough liquid to cook the meat, but you don’t want to add so much liquid that you dilute the flavor of the broth or drown your pot roast. Beans and grains should always be completely covered to make sure they have enough moisture to absorb and expand. In many Instant Pot pasta recipes, including the famed spaghetti, there’s enough moisture in the sauce or milk to cook the pasta without any water. Small additions of water help prevent the pasta from sticking to itself or the bottom of the pot and don’t need to be doubled.

With these three rules you can successfully double nearly any Instant Pot recipe with ease, so that you can feed a hungry crowd or just guarantee leftovers.

Do you have any other questions about doubling or halving electric pressure cooker recipes? Let us know in the comments.