Monday, January 1, 2018

6 Tips for newbie instant pot users

I've written before about how much I love my Instant Pot with suggestions for what size to get and where I think the IP excels but I can understand why the IP would be overwhelming. Well, I'm here to help you get that bad boy out of the box!

1. Read the manual
I will say that I never, never, never read the manual for any appliance but one of the best suggestions I received when I got my instant pot was to look at the manual. It is a very different style of cooking and it will take some getting used to but trust me you will get a feel for how long things take to cook just like over time you learned how long you should put things in the microwave.

So, take a browse of the manual, do your water test and get cooking! You got this.

2. Your pot has a built in lid holder!
This is kind of neat huh? And it just might keep you from knocking your lid off the counter and breaking the plastic :-)

Nifty, huh?

3. Your sealing ring might get funky
Personally, I have not had this problem but I see this asked about online constantly. Your sealing ring can absorb odors and get a little funky. I store my lid upside down on my pot and I think this helps to keep it aired out. If your sealing ring gets smelly you can clean it by putting 1-2 cups of white vinegar in your pot and putting it on the steam setting for 2 minutes, then allow it to air dry. If that doesn't work, you can order new sealing rings.

They're pretty inexpensive, so it's not a bad idea to replace them occasionally regardless of smell issues.

4. What accessories do you need?
You can get a lot out of your IP without buying a bunch of accessories but depending on what you want to cook in your pot, some accessories might be useful. The first one I bought was a silicone lid for storing leftovers right in my pot (I bought this one, it's not IP brand but works well). I wrote a whole post on what different accessories can be used for and how useful I find them to be if you are wondering what you should get.

A cover for your pot to go in the fridge can be handy!

5. What is NPR, QPR and PIP?
The IP has an almost cult following and you'll soon see why but what in the heck are these people talking about? These are the most common acronyms you'll see online and in recipes. They mean:
NPR = Natural Pressure Release: this means after the cooking time ends, that you let the pressure release naturally for a certain amount of time, in other words you wait and do nothing. The pressure will slowly come down and your food will continue to cook somewhat.
QPR = Quick Pressure Release: this means that you open the valve and the let the pressure come out as quickly as possible. It usually takes 2-3 minutes for my pot to release all of its pressure in a quick release. Some recipes will call for a certain amount of NPR followed by a QPR and some you can QPR as soon as they're done cooking.
PIP = Pot in Pot: this is a cooking method to cook two things in your IP at the same time without them getting mixed together. I talk a little more about this in my post on accessories, including what kinds of pans/pots can be used.

6. The steam could damage your cabinets

Many people have a problem with where to put their new IP in a kitchen with limited counter space because if you use it a lot the constant steam releasing can damage your cabinets over time. You might think you could put it on the stove and turn your vent on but the internet is full of tales of woe where people have accidentally melted the bottom of their new IP when they put it on the stove because they accidentally turned it on.

I honestly don't think I have ever accidentally turned on my stove but if you do this proceed with caution. I warned you! Another solution is to get a 3 inch plastic elbow joint and place it over your vent to direct the steam away from your cabinets. If you're lucky there is an obvious home for your new appliance that isn't on your stove or under your cabinets.
This could save your cabinets!

Now, do you feel ready to get cooking? Check out my post on easy newbie recipes and get cooking!


  1. I find your comments interesting. I saw a lot of negative comments on the POT so I went looking for more info like what you have posted. So what is the most consistent story on this item. Post on Amazon seem to have leak problems and things like just won't turn on. Also I was surprised to read a number of comments on failures after a few months and an apparent lack of recourse?
    I am still interested based on your comments, but hesitant to make the purchase.

  2. Hello Robert, I’m glad you found the post helpful! There is definitely a learning curve to using the Instant Pot and it’s not magical. I think because it’s so hyped there are a lot of people who expected it to be a magic fix for not liking to, or being able to cook :) it can cook some things very fast and very well and you don’t have to watch it, or stir while it does it (though I like to check it came to pressure).
    I have not had any problems, though no appliance will last forever. From what I have seen online, IP has good customer service if you encounter a defect but I personally haven’t had any reason to contact them.
    I wrote another post on why I like my IP you might check out – especially the bottom where I talk about what the IP does well. You can find it here: