Your Biggest Instant Pot Questions, Answered

Get answers to your biggest Instant Pot questions and see what other pressure cookers newbies are asking! This list of FAQs for Instant Pot beginners will help you get started with your appliance.

Get answers to your biggest Instant Pot questions and see what other pressure cookers newbies are asking! This list of FAQs for Instant Pot beginners will help you get started with your appliance.

Since publishing and starting to sell my collection of Instant Pot boot camps this year, I'll often get questions about how to use an Instant Pot. I don't think it's any secret that I am obsessed with mine – but yes, there is a learning curve and it can sometimes be difficult to get up and going with your IP because of that. But I'm here to tell you – the Instant Pot is absolutely nothing to be scared of and will quickly turn into your best friend in the kitchen!

A few months ago, I asked my Facebook followers and friends in the Instant Pot community what their biggest questions about the Instant Pot were. I've been compiling these questions ever since so I could have one big reference collection of FAQ's for Instant Pot newbies! While I am no Instant Pot expert by any stretch of the imagination, I do have a year of pretty heavy Instant Pot cooking under my belt and have learned a few things (mostly through my own mistakes) over time.

Affiliate links used in this post. Read more about my link usage here.

Without further ado, these were the biggest questions I got on Facebook:

What the heck does _________________ mean? The question I see the most is about the lingo used for Instant Pot cooking. I'll admit – it is a little different. I've defined a few of the commonly-used terms below!

NPR or NR means natural pressure release. That means, instead of immediately releasing the pressure from your Instant Pot after the cooking time is up, give it about 10-15 minutes to release on its own. Then, flip the nozzle and release the pressure (careful though…that’s pressurized steam coming out!)  This is often used for cuts of meat or items that might get tough if the pressure is quickly released.

QR stands for quick release.  That means you release the pressure and open the pot as soon as the cooking time is over. I use this one for pasta/rice that might overcook or for soups.

So, you'll often see instructions that look something like this: manual, high pressure, 15 minutes, NPR. That means you’ll use the manual setting on your pot to put in 15 minutes yourself, then let the pot have a natural pressure release (for about 10 minutes) after the pot beeps when that 15 minute cycle is over.

PIP stands for Pot in Pot cooking. That means you’re cooking two dishes at the same time by stacking a separate pot on top of a trivet in the inner pot.

It’s a great way to cook rice, veggies, or several other different types of side dishes!

Here’s how I do it: insert the trivet that comes with your instant pot, putting the legs on either side of whatever you’re cooking in the bottom of the pot. Then, put your pot in pot dish (I use a cake pan similar to this one and it works great for the recipes I’ve listed) on top of the trivet and add whatever you’re cooking. Seal the lid and cook away! The cook times for the PIP cooking are all included in my meal labels above.

Is it going to blow up? LOL – I thought this question was funny! I'm sure many of you have seen that viral picture going around the internet of an entire kitchen caved in from using a pressure cooker – this isn't that type of pressure cooker. There are many safeguards in place to ensure you don't blow up your kitchen using an Instant Pot. Now, I'm not going to say you can't do it – I'm sure someone out there will eventually find a way. But put it this way – I see what hundreds of thousands of users are doing with their pressure cooker in the Instant Pot Community on Facebook – not one time have I seen someone blow up their Instant Pot because of user error.

Why do I have to do a water test? The water test is the first thing you do with your Instant Pot ensures that it can come to pressure properly. Yes, you need to do it before cooking your first meal to make sure the pot is functioning correctly (because you don't want to put a bunch of food in it that could go to waste if it malfunctions). It also helps you learn the parts of your Instant Pot.

Here's how to do it:

  • Make sure your silicone sealing ring is tucked inside the metal ring inside your lid. If not, your pot won't come to pressure.
  • Look at the top of your lid. All Instant Pots are a little different; check that the valve is turned towards the back (in the sealing position) and the metal floating valve is down (it will pop up when the pot comes to pressure). Make sure these two valves are not obstructed by anything before proceeding (sometimes they are covered for shipping).
  • Make sure your metal inner pot is inside of your Instant Pot. Once you confirm that it is, place two cups of water in the inner pot. I know it sounds silly to even make this a step, but I can't tell you how many people I've seen ruin their pots because they put food in without an inner pot!
  • Place the lid on your pot and lock in place. If your pot is plugged in, it should beep when you lock the lid on.
  • Press the manual button on your Instant Pot. It will come up with a 30 minute indicator the first time…adjust this down to around 5 minutes.
  • Now, let the pot do its thing! It will come to pressure in 10-15 minutes and complete the 5-minute “cook” cycle on your water. Once the cook cycle is over and the pot beeps, release the pressure (carefully!) by turning the venting knob forward.

Congratulations, you officially know how to use an Instant Pot!

How do I use all of the accessories that come with it? When you buy an Instant Pot, it normally comes with some sort of combination of the following: a steamer rack/trivet, a condensation collector, two types of spoons (one for soup, one for rice), and measuring cup. I'm going to be honest – I've never once used the spoons or the measuring cup. Chances are pretty good that you already have those in your house. The condensation collector isn't really totally necessary (I forgot to even put it on for months after purchasing and never noticed that it wasn't there).

But, the trivet it something you will probably use a good bit. I put mine in the bottom of the pot when I'm cooking something that doesn't need to touch the bottom (or it will scorch), like hard-boiled eggs or potatoes. I also use it for pot-in-pot cooking – that's what holds my inner pot up (see picture above). It's also handy when you need to lift food out of the inner pot (just be careful – it'll be hot!).

What extra accessories (that don't come with the Instant Pot) do I need? There's not much that you have to have (that doesn't come with an Instant Pot)…but there is a lot that makes cooking with it a whole lot easier.

I strongly recommend having some kind of aluminum pan that you can use for pot-in-pot cooking. I have one very similar to this one.

Having an extra inner pot is great for when your original inner pot is dirty or storing leftovers in the fridge. I have just a stainless steel extra inner pot, but there are ceramic non-stick ones available too.

Having some sort of lid for your inner pot is great for yogurt/slow cooking (since you don't need the pressure locking lid for either of those) or when storing food in the inner pot. Before ordering one – check your pots & pans set to see if one fits your inner pot. If not, this one is great (I have it) and this silicone one works for storing food in the inner pot.

I strongly recommend having an extra sealing ring to use for sweet foods. Food flavors tend to really get into the sealing rings, making future meals you cook with that sealing ring taste funny. So I use one ring for sweet foods (like pies and lava cakes) and one for savory foods. One note – it is recommended that you only use sealing rings made by Instant Pot, as the knock-off ones can void your Instant Pot's warranty. The one I have linked above is from Instant Pot.

Lots of people like making cheesecakes/pies in the Instant Pot…a pan like this is perfect for that! You can also use a Springform pan that is no larger than 7″ in diameter.

If you're like me, you'll quickly develop a whole drawer full of Instant Pot accessories! 🙂

Does the cook time differ for fresh vs. frozen foods? Technically…yes. But, you will set your pot for the same amount of cook time for fresh and frozen foods.

The big difference in the cook time for thawed vs. frozen will be the time that it takes the pot to come to pressure. Because the frozen item in the pot prevents steam from forming and bringing the pot to pressure, your meal will have to thaw out before the pot pressurizes (and the cook time officially begins). Therefore, the pressurizing process adds cook time to your meal when you start from frozen. So, yes…it will take your meal longer to cook (usually by 15-20 minutes) if it is frozen. But you'll still set your pot for the same amount of cook time whether it's frozen or not.

Do recipes include time to come to pressure?  No. Recipes give you the amount of time you need to set on your Instant Pot (which doesn't include pressurizing time). It's hard to pinpoint an across-the-board time it will take meals to come to pressure because different situations will mean different pressurizing times (altitude, climate, size of meal, temperature of meal, etc.)

What should I make for my first meal?  There are so many great, easy Instant Pot meals…I could never fit them all in one post! But here are a few of my favorites for newbies:

Pressure Cooker Easy Hard Boiled Eggs from This Old Gal

Kalua Pig from Nom Nom Paleo

Butter Chicken from Two Sleevers

Mac and Cheese from Dad Cooks Dinner

Cilantro Lime Rice from Food Faith Fitness

How long is normal for the Instant Pot to come to pressure? That all depends on the temperature of your food and the size of your meal. I'd say that an average amount of time is 15 minutes; from frozen often takes 20-30 minutes and larger quantities of food can take that long as well. If it's a tiny amount of liquid (1-2 cups), you can expect the food to come to pressure in less than 10 minutes. Think about how long it takes something to come to a boil on the stove; it's typically about the same amount of time in the Instant Pot!

How do I know when the pot comes to pressure?  Look at the top of your pot – you'll have two valves that are key to understanding how to use your Instant Pot. The one on the left is your pressure release valve – it looks a little different on every pot, but it should be turned to sealing when you're trying to get the post to pressure. The one on the right is the floating valve that will indicate when you're pot has come to pressure. The pressure from the steam in the pot will push this up and lock the pressure into the pot. Shortly thereafter, the countdown timer on your pot should start counting down.

If you ever have steam leaking out of the side of your lid or out of the sealing valve after the countdown has started or the floating valve has popped up, check the seals and locks on your pot and try again! This means there is a leak somewhere.

What setting should I use? Ninety-nine percent of the time, I use a “manual” setting on high pressure (on Ultra models, this is called the “pressure cook” setting). This allows me to set the amount of time I need according to the meal. You will almost always use this setting when cooking something from a recipe in your Instant Pot. I will occasionally use the soup setting or the steam setting (if I'm cooking veggies), and of course I use the yogurt setting when incubating yogurt for a long period of time. The slow cooker setting is great for meals that have a cook time already set for a slow cooking meal. But, when in doubt, use manual.

Is it really worth the money if I already have a slow cooker? Yes, yes, and yes! I have honestly thought about giving my old slow cooker away…this does everything a slow cooker can do and more. There is a slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot, as well as 6 other ones on my cooker (more on upgraded models). It can typically cook a meal meant for a slow cooker in a fraction of the time and can do things (like yogurt) that are difficult to cook in a slow cooker that doesn't have those temperature functions.

Which Instant Pot should I get?  That's a pretty loaded question. 😉 There are many different models for many different situations…it just kind of depends on the functionality you need and how much food you'll be cooking at once.

If you're looking to truly beginner model that has few bells and whistles (and a great price), I'd go with the LUX60 6 quart.

If you think you'll be making yogurt, go with the DUO60 6 quart. (This is my model and I love it!)

If you're planning on sanitizing items and/or making baked goods, go with the Plus 60 6 quart.

If you're wanting on with all of the bells and whistles (including a Bluetooth control), go with the Pro Plus.

If you'll be cooking more food at once, go with the bigger DUO80 8-quart.

If you're just cooking for 1-2 people (or maybe in a dorm/apartment), go with the Duo Mini.

If you need a pot that allows for very custom programming, including altitude adjustment and the ability to see cooking progress, you'll need the Ultra.

Can I convert slow cooker recipes to Instant Pot recipes (and vice versa)? Typically, yes! The two most important things when converting from slow cooker to pressure cooker are that a) when putting in the Instant Pot, you must have some kind of liquid to bring the pot to pressure in your recipe (or cook it pot-in-pot) and b) it must fit in the Instant Pot, which means your liner can be no more than 2/3 full.

I wish there was some magic formula I could give you for converting from slow cooker to Instant Pot – there's not. It's important to remember that veggies cook incredibly fast (usually in under 8-10 minutes) in the Instant Pot, so if you're cooking a cut of meat that would normally stew with veggies for a long time in the slow cooker, you might want to add those to your Instant Pot for the last portion of cooking. I also typically don't like to use dairy when actually cooking in the Instant Pot – just add that after the cycle is over. Here's a site with a lot more information about converting those recipes.

What can it not do?  Not much. 😉 The one area where I've really seen that the Instant Pot is limited is in crisping/broiling foods. If you need a crispy crust on something or need a crunch to your food, this isn't the place to do it. Every once in awhile I'll find a food that requires a little extra broiling in the oven after the cook time in the Instant Pot is finished. It's not a big deal (I just pop it in my Toaster Oven normally), but it is something to think about.

It's also a little bit of a negative that you can't check your food as you go. Once you set your time and lock on the lid, you won't see how the recipe is looking until the cycle is completely over. For those of us who often cook by instinct, that can be tough to get used to. Sometimes you just have to trust a recipe!

Can your liquid that you have to cook with be frozen?  If you're just starting out with pressure cooking, you'll eventually learn that one of the central, most important rules in pressure cooking is that there has to be liquid. Liquid creates steam which pressurizes your cooker. But I had a question about whether or not you can put a block of ice in the IP and expect it to come to pressure…and the answer is yes! The pressurizing process will thaw it out and create steam. Just make sure that, once thawed, your meal will have at least a cup of liquid so the pot will come to pressure! I do that all the time with my boot camp meals.

And fun news for all of those fans of Instant Pot Freezer Cooking – I started a group this week so my boot campers could connect to others and troubleshoot/share ideas! The name of the group is Instant Pot Freezer Meal Community on Facebook – I'd love if you would join!

Who else has a question about their Instant Pot?  Comment below with your question and I'll see if I can come up with an answer!

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125 Comments

  1. I know this is such a newbie question, but when your timer ends and it goes to Lo with a new timer, is it natural releasing or do you have to turn it off for NPR to start?

    1. Good question! That means the pressure has started to naturally release. It will keep your food on a warm setting and the pressure will eventually all release (that typically takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the dish, but you can always release the pressure on your own before then).

  2. I’m confused about how to add something to food already cooking. If I want to add veggies at the end of the cook time, wont my IP have to re-pressurize? How does that affect the cooking of the original item?

    1. That’s a tricky one – yes, if you need to add something at the end, you’ll need to release the pressure, add your item, and bring it back to pressure. So try to account for that second pressurizing time in your total cool time.

  3. Thank you so much for mentioning my butter chicken! Much appreciated 🙂
    -Urvashi

    1. You are so welcome…thanks for the great recipe!

  4. Just wondering how many people one of your IP meals feeds? I didn’t see that mentioned anywhere. I prep meals for my 84-year-old mother so she has a variety of things to eat every day. I would try to pack them as single serving meals. Thanks!

    1. I think that varies just as much as normal recipes typically do. My freezer meal boot camps usually feed 4-6 per meal, but other bloggers’ recipes can go as high as 8-10 servings.

  5. I’m considering an instant pot mini as we will soon be empty nesters. Is it easy to convert recipes from those created for the bigger models to the mini?

    1. You should be able to convert most with no issue! The big consideration, of course, will be recipe size – you typically don’t want to get the inner pot more than 2/3 full when cooking (for safety reasons), so you’ll need recipes that have no more than 2 quarts of content. So you’d need to scan the recipe and roughly estimate that before making, and adjust as needed. You’ll also find that your pot comes to pressure quicker the smaller it gets, so that should reduce your overall cook time a little! But I would probably recommend still setting the pot for about the same amount of time, whether you’re using a bigger pot or a smaller one.

  6. How do I change the cooking time for the amount of meat. For example when I make a recipe for 3 chicken breasts, if I change the recipe to 6 breasts, do I need to adjust the cooking time?

    1. You shouldn’t have to! Maybe add 1-2 minutes, but it shouldn’t be different at all.

      1. Judith Stanley Gooding says:

        Thanks for your answer! Exactly what I needed to on the Easter Sunday, making duck confit!!

  7. Thanks for answering all of these instant pot questions. Great post. Thank you for sharing at Wonderful Wednesday link party. Shared and pinned.

  8. Grammy Dee from Grammy's Grid says:

    Very informative post! I saw it linked at WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY 239. Saved it on Pinterest.

  9. Okay, Leslie, confession time: I bought an Instant Pot some time ago, but I haven’t even taken it out of the box! You’ve convinced me to give it a try. THANK YOU for answering all these questions; I’m sure I’ll have more once I get going with this.

    Thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

  10. My husband and I are dairy-free, but we want to make our own yogurt in our new Instant Pot. Can we use almond milk?

    1. I have never tried, but there has been a good bit of discussion about this in the Facebook Instant Pot Community – you might want to check that out!

  11. Question on the saute function: After the pot heats up and says “Hot” I put the food in to sear. The pot immediately shuts off and the food winds up steaming, not searing. I’ve tried cancelling and starting again, and it does heat up again, but then shuts down again. What should I be doing?

    1. Hmm…are you adding water during the saute function? I wouldn’t recommend that if you’re wanting seared food. If it’s shutting off before you’d like, that might be a machine malfunction.

  12. Leslie Riley says:

    These hints were very helpful, thank you! I am getting an IP for Christmas (can’t wait!) so I am not cooking yet, but have seen 5-5-5 on some recipes and don’t know how to decode that. Thank you.

    1. The 5-5-5 method is simply cooking for 5 minutes, letting pressure release (before you turn the valve yourself) for 5 minutes, and bathing in an ice bath for 5 minutes. It’s typically used for making hard-boiled eggs (and is a great method – that’s what I use!).

  13. I used my IP for the very first time tonight (noodles) and I did the quick release, and there was water spraying everywhere! Did I do something wrong or is something not sealed?
    Thank you for the great article, it’s gelpinf ease my nerves about learning this new device

    1. That can happen sometimes with starchy dishes like pasta or potatoes. That’s also usually an indication that your pot might be a little bit too full. With pastas, I usually only fill it to a maximum of half full (if even that)…try cooking a little less next time and it might help!

  14. When I turn tbe pressure release valve to release, nothing seems to happen. I end up lifting it up with a fork to produce a visible steam release. Is this normal or is my pot defective?

    1. I would recommend putting in a support ticket with Instant Pot; if all of the parts are in place, that shouldn’t be happening. They have an amazing support staff that should be able to help.

  15. I received an Instant Pot Mini for Christmas. Today I tried making hard cooked eggs using the 5-5-5 method. When the eggs were peeled, I discovered that they had turned brown. Am wondering what would have caused this.

    1. Could one part of the eggs have been touching the bottom of the pot by any chance? That’s typically what causes this. Try putting them on a trivet next time and you shouldn’t have that issue!

  16. Kathleen Short says:

    I made a chicken taco bowl recipe tonight. Recipe said manual high pressure for 10 minutes. Pressed manual, set timer to 10. When the timer went off and I flipped the vent for QR, there was no pressure. Also, rice was not cooked completely. I put it back on for 5 minutes. Again, no pressure although, the rice was cooked. Is this normal for pressure not to be built up? Wondering if everything is working properly.

    1. The biggest reason that your pot might not come to pressure is the lack of liquid. It has to have liquid to build steam, which builds the pressure. There’s lots of different factors that can cause a pot to not come to pressure, but that’s a big one. Was there liquid in your recipe?

  17. Can I load everything into the liner in the morning, store it in the fridge all day and then just put it into my Instant Pot when I get home from work? Thanks!

    1. Absolutely! Definitely leave it in the fridge during the day so it doesn’t thaw/heat too quickly, but yes, you can definitely do that.

      1. PurpleRose says:

        That’s the question That I came here to ask.
        All the hints have helped me trendously. I don’t have the Instant Pot brand, but it all demons to work the same.

  18. Cynthia Caton says:

    My husband is a big smoker guy. When doing ribs could we finish them in the smoker instead of the oven?

    1. You absolutely could…that’s a great idea!

  19. What if you check your meat and it’s not done? Can you restart? I did a pork roast instant recipe that said 25 minutes for 3 lb roast. The roast was still pink in the middle and it set at all.

    1. You absolutely can…I have to do that sometimes!

      1. Leslie when I try to put cover on after checking and it is not done my cover won’t seal again TIL I run cold water over it to cool it down .Is this normal.

        1. Yes, that can happen sometimes. That’s just the metal expanding slightly. Leaving the lid to cool naturally also works, but the cool water just speeds that up!

  20. Karla Spesert says:

    Hello–made a pot roast meal–my first in my instapot. Cooked chuck roast (no bone, 2.5 #) Used stew/meat for 55 min high pressure (broth was wonderful) meat was not tender. I like “fall apart” meat! What did I do wrong?

    1. I usually go closer to 90-100 minutes for any kind of tougher meat (like a roast). That gets it fall-apart tender almost every time.

      1. I tried a chuck roast with potatoes and carrots. Normally a 4-6 hour process in my crock pot, depending if meat was thawed or frozen still. This took 24 + hours, and, still not fall of the bone, melt in your mouth tender. Veggies were not even al-dente’, just warm. Obviously not a handy kitchen appliance. Any suggestions?

        1. Definitely something wrong with either your settings or your machine. I can usually do a chuck roast in 90 minutes or so on pressure cooker and about the same time on slow cooker setting as you would find in a crock pot. One common mistake: the “low” slow cooking setting on an Instant Pot is actually a “keep warm” function; to match the low setting on a crock pot, make sure your instant pot’s slow cooker setting is set on “normal.”

  21. Cynthia Caton says:

    I used my Instamt pot as a slow cooker for pinto beans, on high, and it didn’t boil. It just hung out all day. Is this normal or is my pot dedective?
    The beans weren’t as soft as in my slow cooker.

  22. I’m a little slow I suppose, but I have a question about the actual timer on the Instant Pot. If I compare it to the microwave, the numerals before the colon represent hours. Is that the same on the Instant Pot?

    1. Yes; on my model (the DUO-60), the numbers to the left of the colon are hours! I don’t believe you can time the IP by seconds (and there’s really no need…it cooks fast, but not that fast! :))

  23. Can I open the instapot immediately after using the opening the quick steam release valve ? The floating valve not drop and I had to wait another 20 min before it did. Is this normal? I cooked ribs that called for 15 min natural steam release and then to turn the quick steam release. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to open immediately after as already mentioned, the float valve did not drop. Your guidance is appreciatedKatie

    1. You’ll need to wait for the valve to pop down before opening the IP…I believe there are safety measures in place that make it difficult/impossible to open before that pressure valve pops down. No, that’s not really normal to take 20 minutes to release pressure. I’d recommend putting in a support ticket on the Instant Pot website – they’re great about responding!

  24. can I take a meal I’m cooking from a slow cooker stage to pressure cooker stage to tenderize the meat better

    1. As long as the recipe has enough liquid to bring your instant pot to pressure, that should work!

  25. My pot shows66 after the cooking is over, what? Not in the book.

    1. Not sure about that one, I’d recommend putting in a support ticket with Instant Pot!

  26. Do you know fin the “duo” lid fits on the “ultra” base assuming they are both 6qts?

    1. I’m honestly not sure on that one! (If anybody else knows you’re more than welcome to chime in.)

  27. A friend and I each just got the lux 80 and we are both a bit baffled about the display as far as what represents minutes. I finally figured out that Meat/Stew sets 35 minutes as a default with the 3 on the left of the colon and the 5 on the right and as it counts down, there are no seconds displayed. However, when setting 10 minutes in manual mode and having the 1 on the left of the colon and 0 on the right (again no seconds displayed and nothing ever in the far right digit), when compared to an actual timer – it takes way more than ten minutes overall to actually count down. Is this part of the NPR process or something? At first I thought my pot had a defective display, but the fact that my friend’s also shows this same way makes me think it is normal. We’re both super confused and worried we’re going to overcook and burn things.

    1. Correct, there are no seconds increments on Instant Pots (with good reason, there really isn’t a need to cook for that specific amount of time). The minutes are always going to be to the right of the colon on the timer screen. It will actually start counting that time when the pot is fully pressurized, which can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes, depending on how full your pot is and what temperature your ingredients are. It can vary a lot! Once the cook cycle is done, the natural pressure release (NPR) process starts…and that’s totally your control. You can release the pressure by turning the nozzle anytime you’d like.

  28. I just got an instant pot for my birthday. I notice that if my recipe/dish isn’t quite done, and I need to reset it for a little longer (after releasing pressure and opening), I cant lock the lid again right away. Is this normal? Is there a specific time that I have to wait until it will relock again? Thank you

    (I have the Lux80 8 quart)

    1. Hmm…haven’t had that happen. I’d probably recommend putting in a support ticket with Instant Pot, they’re great about answering these kinds of questions!

  29. I just got the 8qt instant pot duo. My question is do I really need to put 18 fl oz in the pot. I used 2 pounds of frozen hamburger with the 18 fl oz and there was so much water. I cooked it for 25 minutes for taco meat. The recipe only called for 1 cup of water, but the instructions in the book says to use 18 fl oz minimum liquid. I know the pot is bigger than the 3 qt, and 6 qt. , but that was a lot of liquid.

    1. I can’t speak to the 8 quart (I have a 6 quart), but with mine, I can usually get away with 6-8oz of water…so I would think you don’t absolutely have to have that much. Experiment a little and see if you can get away with less!

  30. candi murray says:

    I accidently dropped my instapot. Today I started to make brownies and when I added water to the bottom it leaks out. Any thoughts?

    1. Are you adding the water directly into the pot (without the liner)? There shouldn’t be any leaking if your inner pot is in there.

  31. Anne Lloyd says:

    I know that my instant pot has to become pressurized before the countdown of minutes starts. But almost every time I use my mini Instant Pot, it takes a lot longer than the recipe states for the cooking cycle to complete. For example, the other day, I manually entered 9 minutes as my cooking time. After the pot reached pressure and the indicator popped up, it still took almost 25 minutes for the cook cycle to finish. It has been this way every time I have used my Instant Pot. Am I putting the time in wrong? When I put in 09:00, isn’t that 9 minutes? So why does it take more than 9 minutes? I am not counting the time it takes for the pot to reach pressure. Help!!

    1. That sounds about right – when you enter the time, that’s the amount of time it will cook once the pot is pressurized. It takes anywhere from 5-25 minutes (depending on a lot of things…size of meal, temperature of meal, etc.) for the pot to come to pressure. Most recipes don’t count that time in the total cook time because it can vary so much from user to user. Think of that as the time it takes for water to come to a boil when cooking something on the stovetop; nobody counts that amount of time in the boiling time, they just count the time once you actually cook the food. It’s a similar scenario!

    2. I just bought an Mini. I am having my doubts about it. I have the same problems. I understand it takes time to pressurize. However, for instance, I steamed 2 larger baked potatos with 1 cup of water on the steamer basket. Set the timer for 15 mins. The outside was softer, but the inside was still raw. The instructions had stated it would take 8-10 mins! I was skeptical, so added the extra 5 mins. And I found, once you opened the lid after a quick release, you couldn’t put the lid back on to finish cooking! I had to finish in the oven. Quite the nightmare. I’m wondering if the 700W of power versus the 1000W for the 6 quart is making that much of a difference or if I have a dud? This is the 3rd time things didn’t cook at the recommended time (once pressurized).

      Lastly, I made a stew. I sautéed the meat beforehand in the instant pot. But when done, it didn’t have a nice texture. The “brown” on the meat had dissolved into the stew and was an awful texture.

      Thanks for the help! I don’t want to give up yet, but it’s certainly not saving me any time. And haven’t been awed by the results!

      1. Don’t give up yet! I don’t have experience with a mini (maybe somebody else can chime in), but I know that 15 minutes is usually plenty of time for baked potatoes in my 6 quart. Maybe email the company? There might be an issue with yours. And I will say – you’re not going to keep much of a crunch from browning in soups and stews. That’s one of the drawbacks of pressure cooking.

  32. If I’m not home when the food is done will it ruin the food. I have corn beef in the instant pot but have to leave the house for 2 hours

    1. Not necessarily – it kind of depends on the food. I wouldn’t recommend leaving any kind of starches (rice, pasta, potatoes) on the warm natural release for too long…they tend to get too mushy. But cuts of meat or soup should be fine!

  33. Hi Leslie,

    When the IP is in the “warm” mode. Does the food inside stay in the “safe zone” temperature wise? For instance, if I made chicken soup and it finishes and is in the warm stage, will it hold above 140 degrees until I can get to serving it?

    1. I believe it’s supposed to. Not totally sure, but I did some quick research and it looks like it stays around 135-160, depending on a few factors (whether your lid is on being a big one). So it should hold at a safe temperature as long as it’s served in a reasonable time frame! Of course, it’s always best to test with a meat thermometer if unsure.

  34. How “ruined” is an instant pot if you pour the water in the outer container? It poured right out and I turned it to drain any additional water. Can I dry it with a hair dryer or set it in fromt of on a room fan to keep from losing the product??

    1. Kind of depends – I’ve heard you can dry it out, but honestly, it’s probably fried. I’m not sure I’d try with a hair dryer, but a fan might help dry it out!

  35. Hello! All of your posts are so helpful! My question is: I am making brisket. I was hoping to use the delay start (I have the same model as you do). Do I press the delay start button first, or do I enter the high pressure and the cooking time first? Thank you so much!

    1. I’ll be honest – I don’t have a ton of experience with using delay start. Doing a little research, I found that you’ll set it like normal, then immediately press “timer” and set your delay time. Not 100% sure if that works…I’ll try it next time I cook and report back if it’s different!

  36. I was going to make Italian Wedding Soup in my instant pot. My recipe is for the stove top and One of the ingredients is white wine. Can this be made in the Instant Pot?

    1. There’s some debate over whether or not alcohol can be used in the Instant Pot. While I’ve heard it can’t, I’ve seen many, many recipes for making vanilla extract with vodka and for chicken marsala – I’ve even made chicken marsala and it was no problem. So I think you’re good, but of course do your research! If in doubt, you can always use chicken stock instead for a very similar flavor.

  37. john mcnelly says:

    what is the best way to remove cooked from from the inner pot? can the pot be safely removed from the cooker while full, or should the pot be emptied before removing it from the cooker?

    1. While it can be removed while full, it is probably going to be difficult. Mine is usually pretty heavy right after cooking something! I typically serve the food right from the Instant pot and allow it to cool down while we eat our meal; that way, not only is it a little bit lighter when removing after the meal, but it’s cooled down some as well. Most foods I cook in the IP are very hot right after the cook cycle is done, so if you do need to remove it immediately, I would be very careful.

  38. Tough meats. Can cooking longer help soften the meats or adding more liquid, etc. Even when falling off the bone, still chewy.

    1. I’ve found that the longer it cooks, the more tender it becomes. I usually do tougher cuts (like roasts) for at least 90-100 minutes.

  39. Jeanne Warner says:

    When my IP is under pressure it leaks steam the whole time it’s cooking. With my pressure cooker I can adjust the heat to reduce the liquid loss. I have tried two recipes and they have both turned out dry. Am I doing something wrong? Granted, I was using adjusted recipes and likely miscalculated how much liquid I needed. Is it normal for steam to escape all time?

    1. That sounds like there may be a problem with your sealing ring. I’d make sure it’s in place and tucked securely into the ring around the top of the lid. Also, make sure your pressure release valve is turned to sealing to keep pressure in while cooking.

  40. Hi! I tried to cook some hard boiled eggs the other day and the water just came out the bottom of the pot. Any idea, why that might be? Thank you so much!

    1. Sounds like your inner stainless steel pot wasn’t in place – water shouldn’t be coming out of the bottom if that is there.

  41. David Roy says:

    I’m just starting out w/ IP. I bought the Lux80. One standard item for me is chicken broth. I often buy packs of thighs on sale (with bone & skin) & slow cook them in my original slow cooker. (I use the meat for people and for cat meals.) For this IP, the “more” setting time comes up as what looks like 2 hours & 40 minutes, whereas “normal” and the lower settings are much less (20-30 minutes, I think). I’m assuming the more setting means a higher temp. I want to be sure I am understanding this correctly because I cannot believe anything would take 2 hours + 40 minutes to make soup. I turned it off after about and hour and it was the best broth by far I’ve made, flavor and color (clear). The 2nd question: When manual is selected, the only choices possible are length of time; I assume that it is cooking at the highest temp, but don’t know for certain. 3rd: is the steam setting any different temperature than, say, manual, if steam is on high/more? I tried an artichoke on high steam and it still wasn’t done after a total of 20 minutes over three tries.

    1. When doing any kind of stock/broth, I always do 90 minutes on high pressure using the manual setting. You have two basic adjustments to the pressure cooker – time and pressure. Pressure allows a low/high setting…but most things are cooked on high for me. I’ll occasionally use the presets on the Instant Pot, but honestly, I use manual the majority of the time…it’s easier to adjust your settings!

      Yes, it’s going to default to high pressure if you’re using manual, but you can adjust that using the “adjust” button right under the high/low pressure buttons (it’s a little different on each machine).

      I’m honestly not sure on that third question – hopefully someone else can see this and comment. I rarely use that steam function.

  42. Terri Bell says:

    A friend just got an instant pot and said her chicken came out rubbery.
    Are meat textures different from crockpots?

    1. I think it all depends on how you prepare it. I’ve had fall-apart meat (chicken included) come out of an Instant Pot, but I’ve also had it come out rubbery. The trick is to make sure there’s enough liquid and that you cook time is appropriate. I usually stick to around 15 minutes for chicken. Too long or too short can make the texture weird!

      1. Thank you! I may have to get one!

  43. Hi! I have a small dent on the inner pot of my instant pot. Can I still use it, or do I need to get a replacement?

    1. I’d recommend contacting Instant Pot about that one. I’ve head not to use them with big dents, but not sure if a small dent would make a different in the pressure seal.

  44. Tonight was the second time that i’ve cooked corned beef in my IP. After cooking the beef for 90 min. I ha ve taken out the beef, left all the hot liquid, then added the vegetables. Even after unplugging the unit and replugging it in, it will not come up to pressure again. Can you shed some light on this problem? Th a nks.

    1. That is strange – as long as there is liquid in the pot, it should come to pressure. It could be any number of issues – the seal could have come loose in the lid, the settings might not have been right, even the pressure release nozzle could be facing the wrong directions.

  45. Olivia King says:

    I am a newbie, also. I bought the 8qt on sale for black friday because it was cheaper than the 6qt. It is fairly large. Can I use the 6qt inner pot in the 8qt instant pot? Just thinking for smaller meals I could just use the smaller pot without having to buy another machine.

    1. From everything I’ve heard, you can’t. You need to make sure there’s a proper seal on the pot for safety reasons, and the 6 quart inner pot will not achieve that in the 8 quart IP. You could always use the pot in pot method though for smaller meals!

  46. CONRAD M HUARD says:

    I want to cook a pot roast in my instapot one day to have it ready to eat the next day since I will be working late that next say. I am a 91 year old single father . Can I leave the roast in the instapot or take it out after it has been cooked ??

    1. I usually don’t recommend using the “keep warm” feature for more than a few hours. You can definitely cook it the day before and just microwave the next day though!

  47. misty olguin says:

    I finally used my instant pot and I made posole. when I set the timer to 20 mins it never started a countdown. did I do something wrong? all it said was on. please help

    1. That usually means it wasn’t able to build pressure. Do you know if you had enough liquid in there? Typically it requires a minimum of a cup of liquid total for the recipe to come to pressure.

  48. ON the LUX80, is the “adjust” pressure option functional in “manual” mode? It doesn’t seem to work for me and the owners manual isn’t clear on this.

    1. I don’t personally have a LUX, perhaps somebody else could answer this?

  49. I have used my salute twice and it didn’t brown the meat. Did I do something wrong or might it be defective? Thanks.

    1. Could you clarify what a salute is? Do you mean saute mode?

  50. Crystal Hoey says:

    Made butter chicken tonight. Pressure built as appropriate, but then I immediately got a “burn” notice. Manual said starch could have built up on inner pot. It is only my second meal and the pot was clean when I started the cooking. I did wipe down the pot and put it back and re-pressurized, but got “burn” again. Any ideas?

    1. Do you know if your meat had accumulated toward the bottom? Sometimes if the liquid isn’t touching the bottom it’s difficult to get it how enough to build pressure, giving you a burn notice (since your meat would be burning on the bottom of the pan).

  51. Lisa Grenier says:

    Can I restart the instant pot if my meat hasn’t reached the right temperature?

    1. Yes! Just release the pressure, check your temp, and repeat the process of pressurizing if you need more cook time. Make sure to keep other ingredients (vegetables, rice, pasta, etc.) in mind so they don’t overcook.

  52. I feel really dumb but I’m new to this and can’t find an answer anywhere. What are the numbers that show on the LED display after its thru cooking?? Is this amount of pressure, minutes to cool down or what. I can;t find answer anywhere and I don’t mean the Lo:02 its just numbers and I have the Lux80.

    1. That’s how long it’s been naturally releasing pressure (i.e. how long the cook cycle has been over).

  53. Laurie Larsen says:

    The slow cooker on my instant pot DUO 60 does not cook on high or medium but only on low now. This just started. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

    1. I’d contact Instant Pot, that sounds like a malfunctioning unit. Their customer service is great!

  54. I made beans, pinto beans. Every recipe says 1 lb of beans. I cooked for 30 mins on bean setting. Seemed cooked. Maybe needed a little more time.
    My question though is- 1) can I double the receipe (4 cups of beans) in my Nova Plus 6qt? And 2) how long do I have to wait in between uses.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Karen! I believe you should be able to double that recipe with no problem. Do you happen to remember how full your pot was with 1lb? If it was at 1/3 full or less, that shouldn’t be an issue. And there’s no problem with using it again immediately!

  55. Donna Engel says:

    My Instant Pot Duo does not count down any longer after pressure cooking. It just goes “off.” We haven’t done anything to make this happen. I do turn off the “keep warm” button. Do we need to keep that on? Do you have any idea why it would stop doing the countdown as it releases?

    1. That’s one I would contact the company about – it should give you kind of a “count up” after the cook cycle is over to show how long it’s been naturally releasing pressure.

  56. Catherine says:

    I made ham bone and pinto beans in the IP. I put the IP insert in the frig overnight and now I want to reheat them up in the IP for another meal.
    Q1. Does my insert have to be to room temperature before I do this?
    Q2. Should I use low pressure for 0 minutes, or what would you suggest?

    1. Definitely doesn’t have to be at room temp! I use one from the fridge all the time. Just know it might take a few minutes longer to warm up.
      And, if it were me, I’d probably put it on the low saute setting, just keeping a close eye on it and stirring frequently.

  57. Can the display screen of the Instant Pot Ultra, 6 quart, be shut off? I am experimenting with very long warming times using the “Ultra” mode, up to 99 hours with zero pressure, and it would be nice to shut the screen off for a few days while keeping the program running. I’m afraid it can’t be done. Thank you. I hope this appears as a new question and not a response to an existing one.

    1. I don’t believe that’s possible with the current models.

  58. I just got my 8qrt Instant pot Duo.. im just trying it out an making hard boiled eggs,…It says 5 minutes for hard boiled ,when I hit timer it would only go up to 4 instead of letting me but 5 or longer .it went on probably 20minutes or longer I hit cancel , What am i doing wrong?.. I wanted to cook a sm whole chicken but at this rate it would take forever ..

    1. I can’t be sure without looking at your appliance, but it sounds like you might be setting it for hours instead of minutes.

  59. Betty Lavender says:

    I accidentally turned my installer off before it was fully pressurized, what do I do?

    1. You should be able to turn it back on, set it for the same amount of time, and it should still come to pressure as normal.