7 Easy Steps for Instant Pot Setup

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? 😀

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.
Food Lovers in our 30s who worked directly with Instant Pot CEO, Manufacturers, and 35+ Restaurants. Culinary Families & Food Magazine Publishers.
  1. Hi,
    When following recipes that request that you use “one cup”… do I use the Insta Pot plastic cup for both dry and wet measurements? The little plastic cup isn’t a true 8 ounce cup.

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Robert,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. You will want to use a standard measuring glass.

      Happy New Year & please take care

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. The floating valve is supposed to be wobbly.

      Happy New Year & please take care

  2. Looking for recipes for my LUX 3-quart MINI Instant Pot. I am a senior citizen cooking for one person. It was a gift.

    1. Hi Phyllis,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂

      Our recipes are developed in the 6 quarts and for most of them you will not need to divide the recipe in half (as long as the meat fits)

      For recipes with a lot of liquid such as chili, soups, pasta, congees, stocks…etc, you will want to cut them by half in the 3qt.

      The cooking time will stay the same!

      Happy New Year & please take care

  3. Thank you both so much for this! I still feel overwhelmed, but a little less so after reading your setup guide! I’m already subscribed and will be buying any add-ons and extras from your links- I appreciate you!

    Happy Holidays

    1. Hi Tiffany,

      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words and support!

      Do let us know if you come across any questions.

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for your question 🙂

      This is the model we don’t have, but I believe the power cord can be unplugged from the Instant Pot.

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend

  4. Hi, just got my Pot last night and had such a hard time with the instructions I gave up. So happy to have found your site. One question: there is clearish plastic bit that’s on the inside of the cover right on the floating valve. Should I leave it on there?

    1. Hi Ana,

      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Yes, leave it on there 🙂 Please let us know if you come across any question.

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend

  5. Just received the Instant Pot for Christmas. Haven’t opened it yet but glad I found your instructions. Please add me to your list.

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words!

      Let us know if you come across any questions.

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend

    1. Hi Judy,

      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday 🙂

      I have subscribed for you. You will receive a confirmation email and link soon!

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend

  6. Using our new Instant Pot for the first time today.
    I have to say the owner manual is rather poorly written.
    Glad I found your site. Everything is presented in a clear, easy to understand way and seems comprehensive. Thank you.

    1. Agree the manual was not as helpful as I had hoped. This site took ” the pressure off” ha of knowing what to do.

    1. Hi Elida,
      I’ve added you to our list. Check your mailbox to see if you’ve received the confirmation email.
      Let me know if you have any questions. Have fun with your new IP!! 🙂
      Take care,

  7. So pleased with your beginners intro to IP. Just got mine a week ago thanks to Amazon Prime sale.
    Instant Pot should include a link to your beginners post on their instruction manual!

  8. Dear Amy and Jacky,
    I have had my Instant Pot about two months. I had a slow start due to time constants. And the unknown. My friend kept telling me about how great it is and how easy it is to use. ( you should make her your ambassador ).
    I have tried and my family and I have enjoy many of your recipes. I especially like that the rice comes out each and every time. (I didn’t know there where so many different kinds of rice).
    It’s fun to cook something different, new tastes and flavors. I does take me more time than is usually mentioned on the recipes, so I have to laugh at myself for being so slow.
    I have asked my family which recipe is their favorite, they say they are all good.
    Last thing, in this 100 + degree weather it’s nice to be able to cook a delicious meal and not slave over the stove or oven, and not heat up the house.
    Thank you for all you do,

    1. Dear Flora,
      Thank you for your kind & encouraging words!
      This makes us so happy knowing you & your family have been enjoying some delicious meals from your Instant Pot! 🙂
      This is the reason we started and the reason to keep going!! Thank you for being a part of our pressure cooking journey.
      Looking forward to hearing more about your cooking adventures!
      Have fun cooking! Many blessings to you & your family!
      Take care,

  9. Just ordered an IP from Amazon’s Prime day. Supposed to be in today’s mail! woohoo.

    So glad I found your site. I spent my lunch hour reading through it and have definitely pinned and signing up for your mailing list.

    Thanks! Will probably be back with questions later, but now on to more reading….. o

    1. Woohoo!! Congrats on your new IP & Welcome to the IP World!!! You’ve definitely got an awesome deal! 🙂
      Thank you! So glad you found us too. Feel free to reach out to us if you come across any questions.
      Have lots of fun & enjoy all the delicious IP meals!! Looking forward to hearing about your IP adventures! 🙂
      Take care,

  10. Thank you very much for the “button” info as this was a great help. I did notice that you did not give any information on the Rice button as you did for the others; for example: Normal Setting:xxx, etc. I know you have recipes which use the Pressure/Manual button but not the Rice button. I have the IP Lux Mini 3 Qt which is perfect for my family of 3.

    Also, is there more examples of using the Pressure Cook button, for example is there a default time that shows and if using this button do the numbers show in minutes or hours? For some reason I’m just not getting the gist of how this button actually works…sigh!

    1. I did find the info regarding the Rice button — read right over it..duh! So my only question is still information using the Pressure Cook (Manual) button as noted.

  11. I have been trying to figure how to use the buttons and all its settings, such as when you use the pressure button how do you set the timer for say 10 minutes? There is nothing in the IP booklet that comes with it that gives details/examples (just the basic info) on using the various buttons or does one use the Less, Normal, and More or ??? . Do you have such information? Thank you!

  12. I tried adding my email address but it never went through. I just got my Instant Pot (early birthday present) and I’m so excited about using it. I’m sure I could use all your great tips, ideas and recipes. Please subscribe me…

  13. Hello, thank you for this article. I got my Pot for Christmas and every time I have planned on using it I have chickened out. I then pull out and use my my trusty ceramic dutch oven. I am not sure why I am so intimidated by it? Maybe if I subscribe I can feel more comfortable and dare to use it.
    thank you!

  14. My question is: when the timer shows it’s done. Do you have to push the off button to get the pressure to naturally release or will it still do it keeping the food warm?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      The pot can be in keep warm mode or turned off for the natural release. The keep warm mode will not kick in until the temperature is roughly 158F (70C).

      Happy New year to you and your family!

  15. I stumbled upon your great site by chance, I am so happy, I have had my pot 2 years in May and never knew what the condensation cup was LOL, here’s to learning , Thank you .

  16. I have seen comments about cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. I have a frozen Jennie-O turkey breast that is oven ready (cleaned, seasoned, and in a cooking bag) that is meant to be baked without defrosting first. They are usually right about 3 pounds. If I can figure out how to peel off the cooking bag without damaging the Turkey can I cook it the Instant Pot and for how long. Can I use your turkey breast recipe and eliminate the brining part? Do I need to add extra cooking time because it is frozen? Is there a way to cook my potatoes at the same time? I don’t have any small metal mixing bowls, but maybe I can make something out of broiling foil and a trivit to hold them above the turkey.

    1. Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for your question 🙂

      For Frozen meat, you will want the meat to be at least 90% submerged in the cooking liquid.

      The cooking time usually doesn’t need adjustment or just need a few minutes extra.

      You can use any oven-safe bowl to hold the potatoes.

      Happy New Year & Have fun cooking!

  17. Hello. I just received an Instant Pot for Christmas and it says to install the condensation cup but I don’t have one in the package. Do all models have this? Can I operate the appliance without it?

  18. Thanks for this detailed article. I want to be less intimidated by my new pot and your article certainly helps. Please add me to your list. ?

    1. Thank you for your kind words Ada 🙂

      Added you to our subscribe list. Do let us know if you come across any questions!

      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

    1. Congrats on your new Instant Pot and thank you for your kind words Fernanda 🙂

      We will be looking forward to seeing what you make!

      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  19. Amy & Jackie

    Please subscribe me. I’m a newbie to this pot and am a bit intimidated with it. So I need all the help and support I can find.

  20. Very helpful information. Mine is unpacked but I haven’t touched it yet. Please add me to your subscription for info and free recipes. Looking forward to this new cooking method but as you said….It’s scary for a beginner. I’m 73 years old but willing to learn.

    1. Hi Donna,

      thank you so much for your kind words.

      I have added you to our subscription 🙂

      Do let us know if you come across any questions.

      Take care & have a great week!

  21. My IP Model – IP-LUX60 V3 does not have the trivet/steamer rack that has handles. How will
    I use it to remove cooked food?
    Also the pot does not have a condensation cup or place to put one on. Why is this not
    on this model?

    1. Hi Beverly,

      thank you for your questions 🙂

      I believe the condensation cup is for DUO models and up only. No idea why it is not on the LUX model.

      If the V3 steamer rack doesn’t come with a handle, I would recommend getting a steamer basket so you can remove cooked food more easily.

      Take care & have fun cooking

  22. Oh thanks, great post ! Now I have to figure out how to use the timer on manual and I be all set. Thanks again!
    Looking foreword to your recipes.

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