All the Things We’ve Learned About the Instant Pot Since Writing About It in 2015

published Feb 18, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

We’ve been using and writing about the Instant Pot for years now (since 2015!) and man have we learned a lot. Aside from just general usage (what’s this button do?), we’ve picked up a few tricks, pointers, and valuable lessons. Take a look and add your own takeaways in the comments section!

1. Too many people call it by the wrong name.

We don’t want to be sticklers or anything, but it’s called the Instant Pot. Not the Instapot. It had to be said!

2. It will beep way more than you think it will.

This little guy somehow beeps more often than our washing machine. It’s got a lot to say. It will let you know when it comes to pressure, when it’s finished, that it’s happy (okay, not really, but sometimes its message isn’t always clear!).

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

3. There’s no start button.

You put all your food in and you’d think there’d be a satisfying “start” button to push before you walk away. There is not. Instead, you’ll put all your food in, adjust it to however many minutes you want it to cook once it’s pressurized, and then … nothing. You just sit there and hope you did it right. Luckily it’s only a matter of seconds before the command is set. The display changes to “On” once it’s coming up to pressure to finally pressure cook your meal.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

4. It will change the way you make eggs.

If you are a fan of hard-boiled eggs, this is what you should use to make them. It will take the same amount of time to cook them as on the stove, but the shells will come off much more easily and the egg whites are noticeably creamy.

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

5. You should never pay full price for one.

Instant Pots go on sale frequently. If you don’t have one and you want one, do not (we repeat, do not) pay full price for one! We are 100 percent sure you’ll be able to find an Instant Pot sale (or three) between now and July, but it’s worth knowing that, judging by past years, the Instant Pot will almost certainly be on sale during Amazon Prime Day.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6. Layering is crucial.

You can’t always dump stuff into your Instant Pot and hope for the best. We learned this the hard way when we published a recipe for our now-amazing Instant Pot Weeknight Chicken and Rice Burrito Bowls. When we first posted it, some readers had a problem with the rice burning. While we didn’t have a problem when we made it, we went back into the kitchen and found that putting the dry rice on top of the chicken (versus under it!) was a universal way to make this recipe better. The point: Stuff that might burn should not go on the bottom.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

7. You can cook meat that’s frozen.

Forget to thaw chicken for tonight’s dinner? No big deal. As with other pressure cookers, you can put frozen chicken in there and have a finished dinner in about 30 minutes. Pressure cooking reaches food-safe temperatures very quickly, which means the risk of exposure to certain bacteria is avoided.

8. It might take longer than you think.

As the name implies, the Instant Pot is touted for its ability to cook food faster than other methods or gadgets. And it can. But the time it takes to pressure cook is often deceptive because the pot needs to pressurize before the countdown begins. You also have to wait for the machine to properly release the pressure — slowly. Some recipes can be released manually, but not all. Just something to consider when planning your night.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

9. The preset buttons are not necessary.

The machine has preset buttons for things like soup and chicken, but we don’t know a single person who has ever used them. Everyone just uses the manual setting.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

10. Cleaning the sealing ring is something you’re going to want to know how to do.

If not cleaned properly, the silicone sealing ring nestled around the inside of the lid will start to smell like chicken, pork, and whatever else you’ve made in there. And if you don’t put it back on correctly after a cleaning, you will not create the proper seal the device needs. Luckily it’s pretty easy to clean the ring and the rest of the device.

More on Cleaning Your Instant Pot

(Image credit: Christine Han)

11. You might want to buy some more accessories.

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. This way, one can be in the dishwasher while the other one is in use, and you can use both at the same time to make two different dishes. We’ve also started using a more traditional steamer basket in addition to the one that came with the Instant Pot.

12. It’s not for everyone.

Maybe you got an Instant Pot, you’ve used it dozens of times, and you still just don’t see what the hype is about. It’s okay — the Instant Pot is not for everyone.

Don’t Love Your Instant Pot? You’re Not Alone

What else have you learned? Add your lessons in the comments below!