7 Easy Steps for Instant Pot Setup

After all the wait to take the plunge and purchase the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker, it’s time to get this new kitchen toy out of the box! Here’s our Step-by-Step Instant Pot Setup Guide with photos to help you get started before first use. 🙂

Did the Adults Ice-cream truck (aka UPS truck) just drop off the brown Instant Pot cardboard box at your door steps? 😀

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Yes! This awesome kitchen toy your family & friends have been raving about is in your hands. You’re not dreaming!!

Excited? A little intimidated? Maybe a bit overwhelmed?

Where to start? What to do? How do I use it?

Let’s first take a deeeeep breath.

And you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got your back. 🙂

Below, we’ll walk you through Step-by-Step on how to setup your new magic pot. Then, we can proceed to the next step – The Water Test.


Step 1: Unwrap Your New Toy – Instant Pot!

First, rip open the cardboard box & packaging box with full excitement! Yes!!! This is what you’ve been waiting for!! But be gentle. hehe~

After removing the Styrofoam, plastic bag, and everything else from the pot. First set aside the lid.

There, you’ll find all these hidden little goodies waiting for you inside your new magic pot!

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot Accessories

In-box Instant Pot Accessories

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Accessories You’ll Find in the Box: Steamer Rack, Rice Paddle, Soup Scoop, Rice Measuring Cup, Condensation Collector, Quick Reference Guide, Recipe Book, and Manual.

*Note: each Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker comes with similar accessories, but they may look slightly different from the above photo depending on the Instant Pot model and versions you got.


Step 2: Setup the Inner Pot

After unwrapping the stainless steel insert (inner pot) from the plastic bag, give the inner pot, lid, silicone sealing ring, and accessories a thorough wash with warm soapy water, then dry thoroughly.

*Caution: never ever immerse the exterior Instant Pot housing in any type of liquid.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - setting up inner pot insert

*Pro Tip: Since each Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker comes with 1 Stainless Steel Inner Pot, some Instant Pot users (like us!) opt for a second Stainless Steel Inner Pot:

Why? We love to have an extra inner pot handy for more flexibility.

Sometimes, we directly store the leftovers in the inner pot and place it in the fridge. Other times, we enjoy the flexibility to be able to use our Instant Pot while our homemade Instant Pot Yogurt is chilling in the fridge inside the inner pot.

Or if you prefer a Non-Stick Inner Pot (for super easy cleaning): this 6 Qt Ceramic Non-Stick Inner Pot is a good option too.


Step 3: Know & Check Your Instant Pot Lid

3.1 How to Open & Close the Lid

First Instant Pot skill you need to master is opening & closing the Instant Pot Lid with ease.

As shown in photo below, the black markings on the lid & pot may not be easy to spot at first.

  • Markings on lid: “Close – Inverted Triangle – Open”
  • Markings on exterior housing: “Locked Triangle – Unlocked Triangle”
Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - how to open and close the Instant Pot Lid

Open Lid Position (left photo); Close Lid Position (right photo)

  • Open Lid (left photo): twist counter clockwise until Inverted Triangle is aligned with the Unlocked Triangle sign, then lift the lid.
  • Close Lid (right photo): align the Inverted Triangle with the Unlocked Triangle, then twist clockwise to lock the lid.

3.2 Check Silicone Sealing Ring

It’s critical to ensure the silicone sealing ring is seated properly in the rack of the lid and clear of any obstructions.

*Caution: Never ever pull the ring by force as it may deform the ring and affect the sealing function. Don’t use it if it has cracks, cuts, or any other damages.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - check the Instant Pot Silicone Sealing Ring

*Pro Tip: It’s always good to have a spare Silicone Sealing Ring as a backup as they do wear and tear.

Plus, the ring may get stinky as it absorbs food odors over time. So, we like to dedicate 1 Sealing Ring for Savory food, and the other for Sweets.

3.3 Check Other Parts on Lid

The following 3 Instant Pot parts are critical for the Instant Pot to function properly. So, make sure they’re all properly in place, clean, and clear of any obstructions during the Instant Pot Setup & every time before using.

a. Instant Pot Steam Release Valve (Venting Knob) – ensure it’s fully attached to the lid and pushed down all the way. It’s perfectly normal and necessary for it to be loose. You should be able to remove it for washing by pulling it straight out.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - check the Instant Pot Steam Release Valve

Venting Position (left photo); Sealing Position (right photo)

b. Instant Pot Float Valve – test & make sure it can easily pop up and down (you can push it from the bottom of the lid). We’ll get into details on its’ functions in our next Instant Pot Water Test Guide.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - check the Instant Pot Float Valve

c. Instant Pot Anti-Block Shield – you can push it on the side to lift it up (as shown in photo below), and press it down in position to install it back in.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - check the Instant Pot Anti Block Shield

*Pro Tip: there may be times when food or liquid gets stuck on or inside the anti-block shield. Be sure to remove it and wash it thoroughly from time to time.


Step 4: Setup Trivet/Steamer Rack

Oh we love this Stainless Steel Trivet (steamer rack) that comes with the Instant Pot!

You’ll find we use it quite often in our recipes. 🙂

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - using the Instant Pot Trivet Steamer Rack

It has long handles on both sides for easy handling and removing from the pot. It’s also compact, easy to store, and easy to clean.


Step 5: Install Condensation Collector

One question we often get asked is “What are 2 little plastic cups that comes with the Instant Pot?”

The round one is a Rice Measuring Cup. And the other one (shown in below photo) is a Condensation Collector.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - Instant Pot install condensation collector

How to Install the Condensation Collector? First find the slot at the back of Instant Pot, then slide it right in (as shown in photo above).

*Pro Tip: it’s also a good idea to check & rinse this under water from time to time.


Step 6: Plug in Power Cord

You’re all set! Time to plug in and get cooking!

A common problem some new users face is when the Instant Pot wouldn’t turn on, they thought it’s broken, but in fact it was simply a loose plug with bad power connection.

So, be sure to plug in the power cord securely and push it firmly all the way into the cooker base. You should hear a rejoicing *beep* when it’s powered up. 🙂

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - Instant Pot power cord

*Note: the Instant Pot Power Cord design varies depending on the Instant Pot model and versions.


Step 7: Bonus Features

Some fun little features that are available on some of the Instant Pot models & versions.

7.1 Lid Fin

Did you know your Instant Pot could do this?

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - Instant Pot Lid Fin and Holder

7.2 Spoon Shelf

*Note: Most new models have removed this snuggle little shelf.

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - Instant Pot Spoon Shelf

7.3 Power Cord Holder

Instant Pot Setup: Unboxing Instant Pot before first use - Instant Pot Power Cord Holder


Ta da! Your Instant Pot Setup is all done!

Sweep aside your other kitchen tools on the counter and make space for your new magic pot!

So, what’s next? Time for a Test Run aka The Instant Pot Water Test!

Next Step: Instant Pot Water Test 


Looking for Easy Starter Recipes?

Check out these Easy Instant Pot Recipes to get you started.33+ Easy Recipes for New Instant Pot Users

Excited and intimidated by your new Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker? Here's a Step-by-Step Instant Pot Setup Guide with photos before first use.

Last update on 2017-11-19 based on Amazon US | Images from Amazon Product API

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