Today I’m going to share with you 10 Things Not to Do with Your Instant Pot. These tips are great for new (and maybe some old) Instant Pot users. These tips of things NOT to do will help you avoid some common Instant Pot mistakes.
#1 IF YOU DOUBLE THE RECIPE, Don’t Double The Cooking Time
I often get the question, “I want to double this recipe. Do I double the cooking time?”
Most often the cooking time will be the same when you double a recipe. Pressure cooking cooks each piece of food equally. That means that each piece of chicken (2, 4 or 8) will require the same cooking time, and so will each grain of rice. That’s because the pressure cooking time is determined by the size and not the quantity of food. In other words, the pressure cooking time is the amount of time the food requires to be cooked all the way to the center.
Doubling the THICKNESS of meats, veggies, and other foods DOES require increasing cook time. This is why someone else’s recommended 8 minutes for a whole potato won’t cook your super duper sized baking potato. However remember that a 2 pound roast is not necessarily twice as thick as a 1 pound roast. If you double the time just due to weight you might get unsatisfactory results.
#2 ONLY WAITING A FEW MINUTES TO PRESSURIZE THEN CANCELING IT
When you first turn on the Instant Pot, the display reads ‘On’ right away and also after you set the timer to cook, it will go back to reading “on” while it comes to pressure.
Just be patient – it is going to take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to come to pressure, according to the quantity and temperature of the food. Don’t press cancel after just a couple of minutes as you will lose all the progress your meal has made cooking in the Instant Pot!
#3 TAKING THE LID OFF BEFORE ALL OF THE PRESSURE IS OUT
It can be very dangerous to remove the lid become for all the pressure is out. It’s actually difficult to open the lid while it’s cooking for that reason.
The Instant Pot wants to make sure all the pressure is released before it willingly unlocks. Don’t make an effort to forcefully open it.
Once you close the lid, let it cook for the full time you’ve set and let the pressure fully release before opening it.
#4 NEVER STICK YOUR GIVE THE STEAM WHEN IT IS DEPRESSURIZING
If you do, you will instantly be burned! It is VERY hot steam coming out. If you want, you can get a “steam diverter” which will direct all the steam in the direction of your choosing.
Just be sure to set the steam diverter BEFORE you turn everything on and start the Instant Pot.
#5 NEVER PUT YOUR INSTANT POT’S STEEL BOWL (OR INSTANT POT, FOR THAT MATTER) ON THE STOVETOP
The Instant Pot is designed for countertop use only, so where you choose to position your cooker is essential.
To prevent damage to your cooker, keep it away from external heat sources such as heated ovens, stovetops and gas ranges. In addition to, keep it a few inches away from anything else because the pot can generate some heat.
#6 Don’t Pour Anything Into Your Instant Pot Without The Liner Inside
I’ve seen soooo many people that have ruined their Instant Pots by accidentally pouring ingredients into the pot without the stainless steel liner inside of it! You might think, “I’ll never do that!” Well, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to just start cooking and forget that your liner isn’t inside the base of the Instant Pot.
For example Clark a member of the 365 Days of Instant Pot Recipes FB group said, “Okay, I am new to cooking with an instant pot! I have completed about 8 dinners and desserts. Making yogurt this morning and poured about 3/4 of a carton fairlife milk into the INNER pot! Milk came pouring out from the bottom. Is my instant pot ruined? By the way! I was sitting at eye level to pot and watching a YouTube tutorial when I blundered.” And there are countless others who have done similar blunders!
Here’s what you should do: turn it upside-down and take off the bottom, clean and dry everything as much as possible, and then leave it open like that and let dry for 72 hours. Then put it back together, plug it in, and if it turns on, do the water test again to check if it’s working. If it is, you’re all set.
#7 NEVER PUT FOOD IN YOUR POT BEFORE YOUR STAINLESS STEEL POT IS IN!
One of the ways that people damage their instant pot is by putting food or liquid into the pot WITHOUT the steel bowl being set up. It’s the fastest solution to damage the heating part of your Instant Pot.
Just always be sure to double-check that your stainless steel pot is set up before adding food and/or liquid!
Didn’t read this far before making this mistake? Check out THIS article to correct it.
#8 USING THE 6, 8, AND 3 QT COOK EXACTLY THE SAME. NEVER CHANGE THE COOKING TIME BECAUSE OF A DIFFERENT SIZE!
This goes along the same lines as the first one – just because the size is different doesn’t mean that the cooking time should be.
Just follow the recipes as is and it will turn out great!
#9 NEVER ADD ONLY THICK LIQUID. YOU WILL NEED THIN LIQUID IN YOUR INSTANT POT FOR IT TO COME QUICKLY TO PRESSURE.
If the liquid that you are using in the recipe is too thick, the Instant Pot may not be able to reach the desired pressure level to start the pressure cooking cycle. Consider thinning out the liquid with the addition of chicken stock or water. A good rule of thumb is to always have at least 1/2 cup of thin liquid in the pot.
#10 NEVER FILL YOUR POT AT NIGHT FILL LINE OR 3/4 OF JUST HOW FULL
It’s very important that you do not overfill your Instant Pot. If you do, it could result in clogging of the venting knob that will cause MAJOR issues once your meal gets cooking.
Other issues that can arise include lessened cooking pressure and a complete mess (AKA it will all come spewing out from the vent)! If you do overfill, make sure that you select the natural prescertain release options, so the foam has time and energy to settle down post-cooking.
#11 Don’t Think That The Slow Cooker Setting On The Instant Pot Is Going To Cook Like Your Normal Crockpot.
The Instant Pot does have a slow cooker function on it. However, in my opinion, this is the one Achilles heel of the Instant Pot. The slow cooker function isn’t great.
- The slow cooker function works best if you get the pot hot before turning it down. Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function while you’re preparing the food. Then turn off the saute function and use the slow cooker function.
- The Instant Pot only heats from the bottom. Regular slow cookers heat from the sides. You may need to stir every now and then to prevent the food on the bottom from getting too done and the food on the top from not cooking. Soup would be a good choice to cook on the slow cooker setting.
- America’s Test Kitchen tested tons of brands of electric pressure cookers and instant faired poorly on the slow cooker. But what they did discover is you need to use it on the “more” setting. NEVER use “less” setting. If recipe calls for 8 hours on low in a normal crockpot, do 8 hours on the “more” setting in your Instant Pot.
#12 NEVER CALL IT AN INSTA POT. IT REALLY IS CALLED AN INSTANT POT
A lot of people give it the nickname (or think its actually called) “InstaPot”, however the correct term is “Instant Pot”. 🙂 Haha! I wonder if they think it’s like Instagram in that way. 😉