It's a bird, it's a plane… no wait… it's the Instant Pot!?! This clever little kitchen appliance has taken over kitchens around the world! Check out these 10 savvy hacks and learn how to use an instant pot to save you time and effort!
Making a delicious home-cooked meal has never been easier than it is with the Instant Pot. We just cannot get over how efficient this bad boy is!! Not only is it FAST, it's also incredibly versatile! Make anything from yogurt to cheesecake to a full-blown melt in your mouth pot roast. YUMMM.
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
So maybe you're new to the Instant Pot game and need a little help figuring out this magical little appliance, or maybe you're a veteran looking for some extra tips to up your Instant Pot game! Either way, keep reading for 10 clever hacks and learn how to use an Instant Pot in ways you've probably never imagined!!
HOW TO USE AN INSTANT POT
First, let's start with the basics. Because the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, make sure you read over the entire manual before you attempt to use it. Don't worry—IT WON'T EXPLODE!! But safety is a top priority to avoid burns and other accidents!
You will find this information in your manual, but just to give you a quick overview, here is a list of basic parts that should come with your Instant Pot:
- Outer Body – This is the big contraption that heats up to cook the food. Don't ever put food directly into the outer body.
- Inner Pot – This is the pot that goes inside the outer body.
- Lid – This is the locking lid that seals your Instant Pot. On this lid you will find the pressure valve and the steam release valve.
- Silicone Sealing Ring – A silicone gasket that sits inside the lid to ensure proper sealing. This should be washed after every use!
- Condensation Collector – This is used to catch condensation when you're using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker.
- Trivet – A metal rack that sits inside the inner pot when steaming.
The Instant Pot is so much more than just a pressure cooker—it can also slow cook, sauté and steam! Make just about anything with just the push of a button!? Um, YES please! So now that you have a general idea of how it functions, let's start cooking!
MAKE ONE-POT MEALS
One of our absolute favorite things about the Instant Pot is that it is SO useful when it comes to making one-pot meals! It's not only good for soups and sauces, you can even make an entire lasagna right inside the inner pot!
With the handy sauté feature, brown your meat right inside the Instant Pot before adding in the other ingredients. Meals that used to take three or four pots, now condensed all into one and cook in less than half the time. Talk about a time saver—spend less time on cooking AND on cleaning up the dishes! Seriously… isn't it INCREDIBLE!?
USE IT AS A SLOW COOKER
While the Instant Pot is best known for its pressure cooking wizardry, it's equally as impressive as a slow cooker! Before you decide to whip up a batch of slow-cooked soup, follow these tips to ensure the best results.
If your recipe calls for slow cooking on the traditional low setting, set your Instant Pot to “slow cook” first, and then adjust the setting to “normal.” If your slow cooker recipe calls for a high temperature, adjust to the “High” setting and add 15 minutes of cook time for every hour. (High on a slow cooker is about 225-275 degrees and high on the instant pot is only 210 degrees.)
USE IT AS A STERILIZER
Not just great for cooking, the Instant Pot can also sterilize things quick and easy! No more sterilizing baby bottles and pumping equipment in a pot of slooooow-to-boil water. Just add one cup of water to the inner pot and place the items to be sterilized on top of the included trivet. Click the “steam” function and set the timer for 2 minutes! Let the pressure release naturally for at least 4 minutes before manually releasing. And, viola! Sterilized bottles without all the hassle!
TAKE IT WITH YOU ON TRIPS
Because this handy dandy appliance is so incredibly versatile, you can cook virtually anything in it! That's exactly what makes it the perfect thing to take on a trip! Camping?? No problem! As long as you've got an outlet and an Instant Pot, you've got a sauté pan, slow cooker, pressure cooker and a great re-heating tool all-in-one! Who needs to lug around all the pots and pans when you've got this life-saver!?
Not only is it convenient, it can also save you TONS! Eating out can be sooo expensive and is honestly a total waste of money sometimes. Unfortunately, most people think cooking while traveling is not an option because they don't have access to a stove or oven. Well, Instant Pot to the rescue yet again! You literally only need an outlet for a delicious made from scratch home cooked meal!
HOW TO CLEAN AN INSTANT POT
Everyday cleaning is simple; just wash out the inner pot and clean the lid! Don't forget the inside of the steam valve; it should just pop right off with a little pressure. Sometimes food particles can become trapped there so be sure to clean it out! Make sure to pull out the silicone sealing ring and wash it after every use, too.
If you find that after a few uses your Instant Pot is smelling a little funky—not to worry! Just throw in one cup of water, one cup of white vinegar and a few lemon halves. Set to “steam” and set the timer for 2 minutes. When pressure has naturally released, remove the sealing ring and let it air dry. The smell should be gone!
AVOID THE BURN
Have you ever used your Instant Pot so you could sit down and relax while dinner cooks only to get the dreaded *BEEP BEEP* burn notice as soon as your bum hits the couch!? SO frustrating!! Here are a few tips to help you avoid the burn and cook your meals hassle-free!
- Layer Your Ingredients – The best way to avoid the burn with an Instant Pot is to layer your ingredients properly. Add in all the liquid ingredients first and the more dense ingredients to the top. This allows steam to build without scorching things on the bottom. We know it sounds crazy, but never ever stir!
- Add Enough Liquid – Make sure there is enough thin liquid in the pot so pressure can build without overheating.
- Use the Pot-In-Pot Method – Place your burn-prone food into an oven safe dish and place that inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. (Never inside the outer body!!)
- Deglaze the Pot – If you seared or sautéed first, make sure you deglaze the pot to get all the stuck-on bits of food off the bottom before bringing up to pressure. Simply add a little broth into the hot inner pot and scrape clean with a whisk.
With these tips, we're sure you'll avoid the burn and have a tasty meal ready in no time!
This appliance is a meal planner's DREAM! Not only does it cut down cooking time, it cuts down on prepping time, too! Use your Instant Pot to make large batches of shredded chicken, beans, perfectly cooked rice and sooo much more. Put these staples into the fridge for meals during the week or throw it into freezer bags where they'll be ready to pull out in a pinch! Thank you, Instant Pot!!
YOGURT IN THE INSTANT POT
If you've ever just looked at your Instant Pot and all of its buttons then you've probably seen one labeled yogurt. If your like us, you may have thought to yourself, “hmmm, what does that do!?” Well, we're about to tell you just how magical that little button can be!
If you've ever had homemade yogurt, you know there really is no comparison to the stuff at the store. It's creamier, sweeter and it has way less sugar! Use the built-in yogurt setting to make the BEST yogurt you've ever eaten—regular or greek!
MAKE HOMEMADE GIFTS
Need a gift in a pinch? Instant Pot has a solution for that too! I know… it's seriously SO COOL! Here are a few quick and easy homemade gift ideas, courtesy of the enchanting little pressure cooker.
Make Homemade Apple Butter
Make it in the Instant Pot and you'll never go back to store bought! Stick it in a jar with a ribbon and you've got a wonderful gift! Just remember—unless you properly can it, it must stay refrigerated!
Fun Shaped Crayon Molds
We hear you, non-crafty people!! Trust us, this is SO. STINKING. EASY. Find some old broken up crayons, remove the paper and put them into oven safe cups. Throw 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot, add the trivet then add the cups with the crayons. Melt the crayons—no need to pressurize, just turn it on warm.
Once melted, carefully pour into fun shaped molds and let cool. Bag them up, add a cute label and you've got an adorable gift made for free!
Instant Pot-Ready Jars
Okay, so for this one you don't actually need an Instant Pot, but it's a great gift for fellow Instant Pot lovers! Grab a clean mason jar and fill it with all of the dry ingredients of your favorite pressure cooker soup recipe. Layer the ingredients to make it a little extra fancy and add a cute instruction label. Soup in a jar!!
And there you have it, 10 incredible Instant Pot Tips to save you time, effort and even money in the kitchen. Stop overworking and let that pressure cooker do its thang! Let us know your favorite Instant Pot hacks and recipes in the comments below!
Check out these helpful posts, too!