28 Things To Never Do With Your Instant Pot – Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

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28 Things To Never Do With Your Instant Pot - Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

It seems like everyone has an Instant Pot these days. Whether you love it or hate it, they are quickly becoming a kitchen staple.

The Instant Pot is simple to use, but there are some things that you should not do with your instant pot!

In this blog post, I will go over 28 Instant Pot tips for beginners on what not to do with your Instant Pot and why!

This article is meant as an Instant Pot tips tutorial for beginners, but it’s also perfect if you’re already an instant pot owner and want to learn some things to avoid to keep your Instant Pot in tip-top shape.

#1 Don't Put Your Instant Pot On The Stovetop

If you have a glass stovetop, avoid putting your instant pot on top of it as you may not be able to tell if it has been on recently.

I cannot tell you how many pictures I’ve seen of people who have destroyed the bottoms of their pots because someone mistakenly put it on a hot stove or accidentally turned the stove on while the Instant Pot was sitting on top.

Broccoli

#2 Don't Make A Full Main Dish As The First Thing You Make In Your Instant Pot

Try something straightforward like potatoes or other vegetables when you first use your Instant Pot.

It typically works best for new users to refrain from making a dessert or main course because, as I’ve seen in my own experience, this can be a struggle when new users start.

#3 Don't Quick Release When Making Soup

When You make soup or anything with a lot of liquid, don’t do a quick release. One of the worst things you can do in an Instant Pot is to quickly release pressure when cooking soup or anything with liquids.

With soups, the liquid is close to where the seal for your device sits; you might be shocked by how much will shoot out once it releases.

So instead of enjoying your soup, you’ll either have a big mess to clean up or you will have burnt yourself.

#4 Don't Pick Up Your Instant Pot By The Lid Handle

One mistake to avoid is using the lid handle when carrying your instant pot while it’s on. Remember, use the side handles instead because it allows for a better grip.

Using the side handles instead of the lid handle while the pressure cooker is in use makes sense because there is a chance that the lid comes off when being carried or because if you accidentally flick the quick release switch steam could be released while you were holding it, you would get badly burnt.

#5 Don't Cover The Sealing Knob Of Your Instant Pot

Avoid covering the Instant Pot when cooking because it can void the warranty and lead to safety issues. You may read on the Internet that it’s ok to cover the sealing knob with a dishcloth for longer cooking times, but I would not recommend doing this. It’s best to use the appliance the way it was intended.

Ninja Foodi Cheesy Spaghetti

#6 Don't Cook Without The Inner Pot

Food and liquids should always be placed inside the Instant Pot’s inner pot and never directly onto the base.

Doing this may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it has been known to be done and is a simple mistake with significant repercussions.

Without the inner pot (liner), you will be putting food directly onto the heating element.

It’s basically like just dumping food on top of your stovetop without a pan.

#7 Don't Leave Your Instant Pot's Lid On When Storing It

If you keep the lid on while you’re storing your instant pot, there is no place for the smells of the food you just cooked to go, and therefore they will be trapped inside until the next time you use it.

The result of this is that when you come to use it again, the inner pot will smell foul.

My advice is to place the lid upside down on the pot so there is room for smells to escape. You will thank me later.

#8 Don't Add More Liquid Than Needed

Putting too much liquid in your instant pot can result in it taking longer to come to pressure, which may overcook whatever you’re making.

It will also take longer for your appliance to depressurize. It is not uncommon for people to add too much liquid to their pot, and you may find that your food is also overcooked.

#9 Don't Rush To Buy Accessories

Take your time learning how to use your Instant Pot and experiment with different cooker recipes before you rush out and buy the latest and most fabulous accessories. The amount of time you need will differ from someone else but generally, people get to grips with their appliance pretty quickly.

You may find that you have everything you need and don’t need to buy anything new.

Take your time and learn how to use your appliance as it was intended, find out what you need and if it is going to benefit your cooking experience.

Just check out the types of Instant Pot accessories that are available.

Fried Chicken

#10 Don't Expect Crunchy Fried Dishes Out Of The Instant Pot

Even baked goods will be dense because all ingredients cook with steam and moisture in an Instant Pot, so they’re not going to have the same texture as traditional baked goods.

#11 Don't Store Your Sealing Ring In The Lid

When you store your Instant Pot inside after use, leave the sealing ring out and place it in a different location. If this is pressed up against the lid, it will lead to smells being trapped in the sealing ring.

The sealing ring is notorious for starting to smell like the strong-smelling food you cook. If the sealing ring is not washed and stored correctly, the smell can be tough to remove. You can buy sealing rings for pretty cheap at places like Amazon if you needed to do so.

#12 Don't Forget to Deglaze After Searing

The saute feature on the Instant Pot is a fantastic feature and one of the best features you can use, in my opinion. The process of searing meat is to cook it on high heat on each side quickly to lock in the flavor.

It’s essential to make sure you deglaze the pot with some liquid and scrape up any browned bits before starting the pressure cook.

Doing so will make the sauce more flavorful and ensure that you do not receive a burn error on the appliance while cooking.

Taking a few extra minutes to deglaze will save you time and stress.

#13 Don't Put Any Part Of Your Body Over The Sealing Pin

Make sure you don’t put any part of your body over the sealing pin when you’re releasing the pressure and doing a quick release, going from venting to sealing or from sealing to venting.

The danger is you’ll get seriously burned if any part of your body is over this when steam is released.

#14 Don't Move Your Instant Pot While It's Cooking On High Pressure

If you have your instant pot on the counter, it must stay where it is once you have started pressure cooking.

The reason being, if you move it once the process has started, this can depressurize the appliance, and it may lead to the pressure and, therefore, steam coming out, which is not safe. Make sure before you start cooking that you have it where you want it.

#15 Don't Remove The Lid Before Pin Has Fully Dropped

It can be tempting sometimes to try and open the pressure cooker once most of the pressure is released, and you can start to push the pin down. Please don’t do this; wait for the cooker to depressurize itself.

If you take the lid off before it has depressurized, the content will still be boiling, and there is a chance that it could come out over the edge and cause someone some severe harm. If you are not doing a quick release, have patience.

Don't be scared of a pressure cookers buttons

#16 Don't Be Scared Of All The Buttons

Even though the Instant Pot has many functions and capabilities, many of the buttons on the appliance are mostly just preset buttons.

You will probably find that you will mainly use the saute, pressure cook, or manual control when you start, depending on which model and make you have.

Depending on which model you have will determine what buttons you have precisely but don’t let them dazzle you. Take a deep breath, relax and start cooking.

#17 Don't Forget Instant Pot Needs Time To Pressurize And Depressurize

If you’re following an Instant Pot recipe, don’t expect your food to be ready based on just the cook time alone. The cook time on an Instant Pot recipe is just the time that it is actively pressure cooking.

In real life, you also need to account for the time it takes your appliance to come up to pressure and to release the pressure at the end.

So if a recipe calls for a ten-minute cook time, it might take about five to ten minutes to come up to pressure; depending on if it has a natural pressure release or a quick pressure release, it can take anywhere from two to ten minutes to release the pressure.

Just be sure that you factor this in when cooking.

#18 Don't Discard Your Food If It's Undercooked

I see this all the time on the pressure cooking community on the Internet. Many people say when the Instant Pot (or whatever pressure cooker they own) was finished cooking, the food was undercooked, so they had to throw it away.

Why would you throw it away? Just make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to continue cooking (if there isn’t, add a bit more), place the lid back on, and add five minutes or so cooking time and see if that solves the problem, most of the time it will.

#19 Don't Leave Food In It All Day

Some people think that it is ok to put any food into their Instant Pot, set the timer to start cooking in 10 hours, and then go about their day. This may be ok in some circumstances, depending on the food you are going to cook. Both meat and fish should remain refrigerated until you are ready to start cooking.

Would you wake up in the morning, take some fish or chicken out of the fridge, place it on the kitchen counter, go to work, come back 10 hours later, and start cooking it? I hope your answer to that question is no; you wouldn’t.

Your thought process should be the same when it comes to pressure cooking. Even though the food may be in the pressure cooker and away from insects, it is still exposed to room temperature for a long time.

People often say, ‘but I do this with my slow cooker all the time.’ The difference is that your slow cooker is cooking the food for this entire time. Granted, it is cooking slowly, but it is cooking it all the same.

I cannot overstate the importance of this. If you intend to cook meat or fish and leave it out for an extended period, bacteria will grow on the food. The bacteria will then get into your system and cause all sorts of health problems.

If you are cooking rice or vegetables to make a soup, it is ok to have this in the Instant Pot for a few hours. The reason being that vegetables or uncooked rice are not going to be harboring any bacteria.

Just be mindful of what food you are leaving in your Instant Pot when using the timer.

#20 Don't Forget To Set To Sealing

It’s important to remember that your instant pot needs to be on the sealing setting for it to pressure cook. If you forget to change the setting from venting to sealing, you are in for a long wait as your pot will not build up enough pressure to cook.

Try and make sure switching these over is part of your routine when you are cooking. It’s not difficult, but it will be a time saver if you start to do this by reflex using your Instant Pot.

I have a 3 step count that I do before I pressure cook. I check the lid, check it’s set to sealing, and then start cooking, 1,2,3. If there is something you could do to help you remember to put it to sealing, it might be a good idea.

Cows

#21 Don't Use Dairy As Your Cooking Liquid

You can use various liquids as your cooking liquid, but I would advise against using dairy. Diary is far more likely to burn, and it is possible to curdle when it comes to a boil.

It’s better to choose something with high heat tolerance, and that is less likely to make your meal taste foul; water and broth are the liquid of choice for most people, but there are others.

#22 Don't Forget About The Condensation Collector

At the back of your Instant Pot, you will find a small plastic container. This container is your condensation collector.

It’s easy to forget about this, especially if your Instant Pot has a permanent location on your kitchen counter, as it is hidden at the back of the appliance.

Be sure to clean this out every so often as water starts to build up in it and could be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Just give it a quick wash every so often and problem solved!

#23 Don't Touch The Top Of Your Instant Pot

Please don’t touch the top of your Instant Pot while it’s pressure cooking as the top gets extremely hot.

The side of your pressure cooker will get warm, but the top gets very hot, so be very mindful when handling it. Keep it out of the reach of children at all times.

#24 Don't Expect The Slow Cook Feature To Work Like A Traditional Slow Cooker

The slow cooker feature on an Instant Pot cooks at a much lower temperature than that of the traditional slow cooker.

Therefore, a recipe might take up to double that amount of time to cook properly in the Instant Pot. Keep this in mind when cooking dishes in the slow cooker setting.

#25 Don't Always Preheat Your Instant Pot For Foods That Cook Quickly

In general, preheating your instant pot, so it comes to pressure faster is a good idea. However, for foods that cook in approximately eight minutes or less, I don’t recommend it.

The reason being, the preheating time will take away from the cooking time, and your food could be undercooked.

For example, broccoli needs zero minutes to cook, and if I preheat the pot, it will come to pressure too quickly, and the broccoli will miss out on the cooking time it receives while the Instant Pot is preheating while coming to pressure.

Extension Cord

#26 Don't Use An Extension Cord If Possible

My last tip is don’t use an extension cord if you can help it as it will always take longer for your Instant Pot to come to pressure and for the saute to get hot.

The reason for this is that the Instant Pot needs to power through many more watts of energy when you’re plugging it into a wall outlet vs. if it’s plugged directly into an extension cord.

If you have to plug into an extension cord, please do so, but remember that cooking times will take longer than usual.

#27 Don't Overfill Your Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers are not designed to be overfilled. Doing so can cause a blockage of the safety valves, resulting in the appliance’s pressure reaching dangerous levels.

No matter the size of your pressure cooker or the type you are using (stovetop or electric), you should not be filling it up above the recommended capacity.

Not only is it a safety concern, but you will also experience loss of flavor and texture to the food you are cooking.

If you do overfill, make sure that you choose the natural pressure release options so that the foam has time to settle down post-cooking.

My article ‘What happens if you overfill a pressure cooker? has more detail on this subject.

#28 Don't Double The Time If You Double The Recipe

Using the Instant Pot to double a recipe can sometimes be tricky. The cooking time will remain approximately the same. More on this can be found here.

Conclusion

I hope you found these 28 Instant Pot Dont’s helpful and that you will share this blog post with a friend or on social media.

If there are any other things you would like me to add, please get in touch, and I will look at adding them when I can.

Enjoy cooking with your Instant Pot; it is a wonderful appliance and something I am so happy to have in my kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions

An Instant Pot is a multi-cooking pot designed by a Canadian couple to meet the needs of cooking in many different ways all at once.
It has been listed on Oprah's Favorite Things and Good Housekeeping's award winners because it can make food taste like "restaurant quality," something everyone appreciates in their own homes.

For a beginner Instant Pot, the one I would recommend is the Duo Nova, thanks to its easy-seal lid and LED display panel. The Instant Pot Duo Nova is the perfect introduction to pressure cookers! It's very similar to the Duo but comes with multiple features that make it more user-friendly, such as an LED display panel and a cooking progress indicator.

 

It comes in at just $100, so you get more than what you paid for when compared side by side with other pots in this range.

Press the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" button. (Some Instant Pot models have a button labeled "Manual," and others have it marked "Pressure Cook" button. These two buttons do the same thing.) Use the +/- buttons to set the time to 5 minutes.

Cooking rice in the Instant Pot is very simple. Check out this easy-to-follow article on the easiest way to cook rice in the Instant Pot. 

The saute function of the Instant Pot is a great way to add flavor to vegetables or meat before you pressure cook them. To switch the Instant Pot to the Saute function, press the "Saute" button and use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking temperature. Wait for the Instant Pot to notify you that it is hot and then add your food.

Electric pressure cookers are electronically controlled and have various presets for different foods, such as soup or stew. Electric pressure cookers also have a delay timer to start cooking in the future automatically. They also have a range of safety features that are not present on a stovetop pressure cooker, such as burn notifications and automatically shutting off if any issues occur.
Stovetop pressure cookers need more attention and are placed on a stovetop. You need to keep an eye on stovetops pressure cookers and control the temperature manually.

6 Great Pressure Cookers

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Instant Pot Duo

4.8/5
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Yedi 9-in-1 Cooker

5/5
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Ninja Foodi 8-Quart

5/5
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All American 921

5/5
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Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

5/5
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Breville Fast Slow Pro

5/5