Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

The Instant Pot has completely taken over my Pinterest, and it’s me pinning all the recipes—mwuahahaha! But seriously, I love my Instant Pot. I received this pressure cooker meets crock pot as a gift, and I’ve used it for about 4 out of 7 meals each week since. When I first got it, I read all the Instant Pot tips for beginners.

Read this helpful Buzzfeed article here—I highly recommend it!

Even though I read all of the Instant Pot tips for beginners I could find, there were still a few I’ve learned along the way. These range from meal planning tips to safety tips and foods you’re better off avoiding.

Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

Adjust the Cook Time

Add 5-15 minutes to your total cooking time to allow for your Instant Pot to pressurize and, once cooked, vent the steam. I help reduce this time by always starting my Instant Pot with water or broth in the bottom and set to Sauté. This gets the flavors working and preheats the Instant Pot.

Be a multi-tasking master and prep all your ingredients while your Instant Pot heats up!

Vent the Steam from Afar

The jiggly-ness of the vent nozzle is deceiving. When pressurized, turning that vent nozzle lets out a violent spurt of hot steam that almost reaches my ceiling.

Alas, I’m impatient and rarely let it vent naturally, so I get into a stance similar to yoga’s Warrior pose wearing an oven mitt and use a long wooden spoon to turn the nozzle to vent. It’s probably hilarious to watch, though not uncommon in my kitchen. You should see me open cans of biscuits. 

Nix the Rice… But Use the Broth!

I made Jumbalaya in my Instant Pot recently, and I was just not impressed with its ability to cook rice. I’ve read about others who love this feature, but I just think a rice cooker does a much better job. By the way, here’s the rice cooker I use and love.

Just because the Instant Pot isn’t great for making rice doesn’t mean it can’t help you make your rice better.

One of my top Instant Pot tips for beginners is to save the broth! Seriously. In order to use your Instant Pot, you’ll always need to have at least 1 cup of liquid in it. I generally up that to 2 cups, season everything nicely, and then save the broth for later.

It makes a great flavor boost for future soups and takes my rice cooker rice to the next level!

The Pasta Rule of Thumb

Pasta is super cinchy to make, and I highly recommend it. Follow the instructions on the package of pasta to figure out how much liquid is needed, and cut the cook time in half. Then viola! You’ve got perfectly al dente Instant Pot pasta.

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Cooking Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot

I rarely defrost chicken anymore because the Instant Pot is so amazing, but I’ve found that chicken can get very dry very quickly. Frozen chicken breasts can go from perfect to overcooked in just a minute or two. Make sure to experiment with your cooking time, as this can vary between models and the weight of the chicken.

Start with:

  • 10-12 minutes for 1-2 lb frozen chicken breasts
  • 8-10 minutes for 1/2-1 lb of chicken thighs (boneless, skinless)

*Always use a meat thermometer when experimenting to make sure you’re chicken is thoroughly cooked. The safe temperature is 165° Fahrenheit.

Looking for Instant Pot recipes?

Check out my other Instant Pot articles here:

17 thoughts on “Instant Pot Tips for Beginners

  1. Melissa Kimball Engel says:

    Great post! I’ve had my Instant Pot since Dec and it’s still in the box!! This has motivated me to open up that puppy and get cooking!

    • Tiffany Barry says:

      Do it! I use mine nearly every night most weeks. It’s especially great for cooking meat that I forgot to defrost. Perfectly cooked chicken in 20 minutes!

  2. Nicole Caudle says:

    When I started cooking and using my instant pot I had a lot to learn. Once I got the hang of it, it was the best thing ever!

  3. Marie, Mamma's Cooking says:

    Great tips! I love being able to cook frozen chicken, since I never remember to take things out to defrost. I have only made rice once and it came out perfectly! I wish I had written down what I did ???? I have yet to try pasta.

  4. Gwendolyn says:

    It amazes me how popular the Instant Pot has become and how many recipes there are for it. I do not own one myself, but one of my good friends just received one for Christmas. I will be sure to share this post with her because I am sure it will be very helpful to her. Enjoy cooking with your new toy!

  5. Jamie says:

    So does the instapot replace the crockpot? I’ve been wondering. I know they have two different uses but I’ve heard mixed reviews. This was a great intro to how to use it so I’m really hoping to jump on the bandwagon soon!

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