10 Tips You Should Know After Buying Instant Pot

Don't know how to use Instant Pot Pressure Cooker? How to clean Instant Pot? Which Instant Pot Buttons to press? Here are 10 Instant Pot Tips for you!

Just bought an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker home, excited but overwhelmed? How to use Instant Pot? Which Instant Pot Buttons to press? How to cook with it? We know how you feel!

Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 is our recommendation! Also check out Our Handpicked Best Instant Pot Accessories

Here are 10 Instant Pot Tips for you!

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First and foremost, welcome to the Exclusive Potter Tribe!! 😉 We’re thrilled to invite you to join our Instant Pot pressure cooking journey. It’s gonna be a delicious one.


10 Instant Pot Tips:

*You can click on a link below to jump to a specific section.

  1. Instant Pot Setup
  2. Water Test
  3. Instant Pot Buttons
  4. High Pressure & Low Pressure
  5. Quick Release & Natural Release
  6. Pressure Cook for “Zero Minute”
  7. Pot-in-Pot
  8. Containers to use in Instant Pot
  9. Cleaning Instant Pot
  10. High Altitude Adjustments
    Bonus: Must-Have Accessories
    Bonus: Starter Recipes



1. How to Setup Instant Pot?

Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 Accessories

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.

7 Instant Pot Parts & Accessories to Setup:

  1. Stainless Steel Inner Pot – unwrap the plastic bag and give the inner pot, lid, silicone ring, and accessories a thorough wash with warm soapy water & dry thoroughly.
  2. Silicone Sealing Ring – check to make sure there’s no cracks or damages, then ensure it’s properly seated in the lid and clear of any obstructions.
  3. Venting Knob, Floating Valve, Anti-Block Shield – check to make sure they’re properly in place & working properly.
  4. Condensation Collector – slide the collector into the slot at the back of Instant Pot.
  5. Power Cord – ensure it’s fully & securely plugged in for a good connection.

Time to sweep aside your other kitchen tools and plug in your Instant Pot! 😉

Step-by-Step Photo Guide: Instant Pot Setup



2. What is the Water Test?

Water Test is the very first thing you should do with your brand new Instant Pot!

It’s simply running a test run before you start experimenting with food. It also allows you to get a feel of how the pressure cooker works (i.e. which buttons to use, how to do quick release).

Here’s a Visual Step-by-Step Water Test Demo Video:

For Step-by-Step Instructions: Instant Pot Water Test



3. Which Instant Pot Buttons to Use?

Yes! There are so many buttons staring right at you and it can get overwhelming. But don’t worry!

6 Buttons will take care of 90% of your cooking:

6 Most Important Instant Pot Buttons

1. Manual Button (or Pressure Cook Button): Sets your desired Pressure Cooking Time (Max: 240 mins)

2. “+” & “-” Buttons: Increases or decreases the cooking time / timer

3. Adjust Button: Changes from Normal Setting (default) to More Setting to Less Setting

4. Saute Button: Sautes, browns, or simmers directly in the pot with the lid open.

5. Keep Warm/Cancel Button: Cancels the operations or turn off the Instant Pot, or starts the Keep Warm Function (up to 10 hours).

For More Detailed Instructions: Instant Pot Buttons



4. High Pressure vs. Low Pressure

Instant Pot DUO Series, DUO Plus Series, Smart, Ultra Series have the option to switch between High Pressure & Low Pressure.

  • High Pressure: 10.2 – 11.6 psi
  • Low Pressure: 5.8 – 7.2 psi

Most of our Instant Pot Recipes are developed using the High Pressure Setting. Low Pressure Setting is used for more delicate food such as Hard Boiled Eggs or Vegetables.



5. How to do Quick Release & Natural Release?

2 most common ways to release pressure in Instant Pot: Quick Release (QR, QPR) & Natural Release (NR, NPR).

10 Common Mistakes for New Instant Pot Users: instant pot quick release

a) Quick Release: 

Quickly releases the inner pressure in the Instant Pot.

  • When to Use QR? Quickly stops the cooking process to prevent overcooking the food. Ideal for quick-cooking vegetables & delicate seafood.
  • How to QR? Turn the Venting Knob from “Sealing Position” to “Venting Position”. It’s done releasing when the Floating Valve (metal pin) completely drops.

b) Natural Release:

Allows Instant Pot releases the pressure gradually.

  • When to Use NR? Great for foamy food, food with large liquid volume or high starch content (e.g Soup, Porridge, Congee).
  • How to NR? You don’t have to do anything! Just let Instant Pot releases the pressure by itself.

Natural Release vs Quick Release Demo Video:

Read More: Quick Release & Natural Release



6. You can Set Instant Pot to Pressure Cook for “Zero Minute”.

Setting the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook for 0 Minute (Pressing “Manual/Pressure Cook” Button, then adjust to “0” minute) means the Instant Pot will get up to pressure, then immediately switches off.

Is the food cooked? How does it work?

Yes! The food is cooked during the “coming up to pressure” and “releasing pressure” time.

Instant Pot HK Egg Custard Recipe (Pressure Cooker HK Egg Custard): 4-ingredient and 4 Steps to make silky smooth Egg Custard that melts satisfyingly in your mouth. Light Pressure Cooker Dessert in 20 mins.

Sample Recipes that Pressure Cooks at 0 Minute:



7. What is Pot-in-Pot?

Huge Time-saving Technique!

The Pot-in-Pot method allows you to cook 2+ dishes separately in Instant Pot at the same time.

Easy Pressure Cooker Ginger Pork Shogayaki Recipe (pressure cooker one pot meal, instant pot pot in pot recipe): sliced pork butt, steamer rack, calrose rice

Example (shown in above photo): You can have pork at the bottom of the inner pot, a steamer rack, then a bowl of rice on top.

This takes One Pot Meal to a whole new level 🙂

See Pot-in-Pot in Action with This Recipe Video:

Full Recipe: Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice



8.What Containers Can I Use in Instant Pot?

You can use any oven safe containers in the Instant Pot.

Best Types of Containers – Stainless Steel: Stainless steel bowls are the best choice for Pot-in-Pot cooking, as it transfers heat fast, and they’re safe from cracking. Corelle bowls are our second choice.

*Note: If you decide to use containers that can break, remember to check if there are any cracks before using them in the Instant Pot.

Adjust Cooking Times Accordingly: when you use different containers that varies in materials, thickness, and sizes, you may need to adjust the cooking times accordingly (even if you’re making the same recipe!).



9. How to Clean the Instant Pot?

Dishwasher Safe Parts: Instant Pot Liner (Stainless Steel Inner Pot), Instant Pot Sealing Ring, Trivet (Steamer Rack)

  • Exterior: Never immerse the exterior housing in water or any other liquid
  • Rim: Clean the rim with a foam brush
  • Instant Pot Liner: Remove the cloudy or rainbow stains with White Vinegar or Bar Keepers Friend
  • Instant Pot Lid: Best to wash lid with warm soapy water
  • Instant Pot Parts: Periodically rinse the Anti-Block Shield, Steam Release Valve, Condensation Collector when necessary
  • Silicone Sealing Ring: Remove Instant Pot Sealing Ring odors with White Vinegar or get an extra pair of Silicone Sealing Ring

4 Steps to Cleaning Instant Pot (Photo Guide with Tips): Instant Pot Cleaning



BONUS: Easy Starter Recipes for You

There are more things you can make with your new kitchen toy – Instant Pot – than you’ve imagined!

Here are some popular easy beginner recipes among Instant Pot users.

We handpicked 33+ Easy Recipes for you: Instant Pot Recipes

33+ Easy Recipes for New Instant Pot Users



10. Adjust Cooking Time at High Altitude

Our Instant Pot Recipes are developed & tested at close to sea level.

So, if you live in a high altitude city (over 3000 ft above sea level), remember to adjust your cooking times according to this Pressure Cooker High Altitude Cooking Time Adjustment Chart:

Pressure Cooker Altitude Cooking Time Adjustments

Read More: High Altitude Cooking Time Adjustments



BONUS: Must-Have Instant Pot Accessories

3 “Must-Have” Instant Pot Accessories We Use Daily:

1. Extra Silicone Sealing Rings

  • Silicone Sealing Ring – Instant Pot Sealing Rings’ life expectancy varies. If steam starts to leak around the lid, replace the Instant Pot Sealing Ring immediately.
  • Genuine Sweet & Savory Edition Silicone Sealing Ring– Since the sealing ring will absorb the smell of the food in the pot, many users also like to use separate sealing rings for cooking savory dishes and desserts.

Buy on Amazon:

Instant Pot Sealing Ring Clear, 5 or 6 Quart
Double Insight Inc. DBA - Kitchen

2. Steamer Racks

Buy on Amazon:

3. Containers – any oven-safe containers will be safe to use in the Instant Pot (i.e. Stainless Steel, Silicone, Corelle bowls)

Want More? Check out the most raved accessories among other Instant Pot users: Instant Pot Accessories

Still Have Questions? Give us a shout in the comments below 🙂

Have fun cooking with your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker!

Don't know how to use Instant Pot Pressure Cooker? How to clean Instant Pot? Which Instant Pot Buttons to press? Here are 10 Instant Pot Tips for you! #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes
Food Lovers in our 30s who worked directly with Instant Pot CEO, Manufacturers, and 35+ Restaurants. Culinary Families & Food Magazine Publishers.
  1. Hi guys!
    I just joined and I can say it is the best info resource for IP I’ve ever seen!
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    1. Hi Donna,

      thank you for your question.

      You will want to wait for the Instant Pot to be completely dry before turning it back on again.

      I recommend waiting a full 48 hours just to be safe.

      Happy new year & please take care

  2. Hi
    I have prepared several recipes following instructions closely. There are times when a part of the meat is moist and part is dry. I do compensate for higher elevation. In my case 25o/o. 1×25. Do I need more water or release time?

    1. Hi Angie,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. It can be because of the cut of meat. More water will not help.

      Happy New Year & please take care

  3. I received a insta pot for Christmas and am not sure how to get started using it. Not sure what to make or ingredients to buy.

  4. I received an 8 quart IP as a gift. It seems large for regular use since it is just my husband and I and I am wondering if a smaller 6 quart would be better. We do like to have some leftovers but I don’t want to have to double everything to properly fill the 8 quart. Can smaller amounts be made in a large pot regardless of size, or how will this work? Appreciate any advice. Thanks.

    1. Hi Deanna,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. Most recipes don’t need any adjustment in the 8 quarts.
      You will be able to make smaller amounts in a larger pot, but you will not be able to make larger amounts in smaller pot.

      Happy New Year & please take care

  5. Received a Lux 8qt IP for Christmas and am anxious to use it. Problem is, the power cord is so short there is no place on my counter to set the IP that is not under the cabinets. I really don’t want all that steam going on my cabinets. I have a spot on the end of the breakfast bar that would be perfect, but the cord will not reach. Can I attach the IP power cord to a 15 amp surge protector strip which is then plugged into the wall outlet?

    1. Hi Norma,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. We are using our Instant Pots with surge protector strips. For the official answer, please contact the instant pot customer service.

      Happy New Year & please take care

  6. Hi Amy and Jackie. I just got my new Insta-pot for Xmas. (I asked for one. Being an old gal “72 years and counting lol) I am not as afraid of using it as some cooks seem to be. I just bumble on and eventually I figure it out. Or I read my manual. Or I visit your site. I am actually commenting on a previous question. “Better Homes and Gardens” has an Insta-pot recipe magazine out that has some decent recipes. I actually bought the magazine not knowing what I was buying. When I looked at it I thought “well, this is no good to me”. So I asked fopr one for Xmas . I absolutely love it. Thanks for listening. I do go on sometimes.lol

    1. Hi Hilary,

      So nice to hear from you. Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you so much for your support and kind words.

      Happy New Year & please take care

    1. Hi Judy,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      A 6 quart one will be great without leftover and a 8 quart one will allow you to have some leftover.

      Please take care & have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

    1. Hi Chris,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Sorry, I have no idea. You will want to ask the Instant Pot support for this question.

      Take care & have fun cooking

    1. Hi Martha,
      I’ve resent our latest newsletter to your email. 🙂
      Let me know if you have any other questions.
      Have fun cooking & have a great weekend!
      Take care,

  7. I just bought the 8 qt. Ultra Instant Pot and I am pretty confused most of the time. First of all the recipe I just tried for Chicken Marsala stated use Poultry setting. This pot doesn’t have a Poultry setting. I went back and forth from one setting to another, not really knowing which one would be comparable to Poultry setting. The directions that come with the pot are not the greatest and keep me in a constant state of trying to guess what to do next. Made a pot roast and actually worked up a sweat. Got any suggestions I can use for poultry. Plus having trouble getting timer to change

    1. Hi Rose,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      For our recipes, you can use the Pressure Cook button on the Instant Pot Ultra unless specifically stated.

      Take care & have fun cooking

  8. hi,
    just tried my IP LUX60 last night for first time – removed the release handle on top of lid accidently and when put back on it seems much looser and not on right as when I first opened it. It doesn’t fall off when I turn the lid when turned upside down though. Is this normal?

    1. Hi Betty,

      Congrats on your new Instant Pot 🙂

      The release handle is supposed to be quite loose. I would recommend trying the water test and see if the Instant Pot seals properly.

      Take care & have fun cooking

  9. This was incredibly helpful. I’m a little afraid of pressure cookers, so this post was comforting. I’m confident I won’t blow myself up now. Thank you!

  10. question please :

    When I try to press the button to cook on high it just stays on normal?
    Everything has been good so far, I was just wondering why it won’t goup.
    Is my Instant Pot defective?

    1. Hi Linda,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      To adjust the pressure setting from Low to High or High to Low, you will want to press the Pressure button.

      Take care & have fun cooking

  11. I just ordered my instant pot and it will be here Wednesday. Thank you for all the great information recipes. I cannot wait to get started

  12. Want to try porkchops in my NEW Instantpot. What is the best method to do this. Want to use can crushed tomatoes as well. Thanks

  13. Thank you for the information, Jacky. I guess that my problem probably was pushing the Saute button and then trying to adjust the heat level by pressing the “+” button without pressing the Adjust button before I pressed the “+” button. I wasn’t encountering the 30 minute auto time out. I was getting the Saute function heat starting and then going to Off within about two to three minutes of pushing the Saute button. Thus the reason I was having to restart the Saute function 5 or 6 times to get my ground beef browned an my spices activated on the chili recipe. Anyway the chili tested really good despite my misunderstanding how to adjust the heat level when sautéing. It was a learning experience. Thanks again, Claudia

  14. I am very new to Instant Pot. In fact I am trying my first recipe right now. I am making your Instant Pot Chili. I have already had a problem. In trying to saute the ground beef, I have pressed the saute and pressed more and however I didn’t realize that I had to press the adjust button first. It would turn on and heat up but never say “HOT” it would just go to off after it heated up. I kept having to turn it on to saute about 5 or 6 times before I got the beef browned and the onions, garlic, and spices done. I have finally gotten the sautéing done and the other ingredients added and have pressure cooked on HI for 10 minutes. I am now waiting for the pressure to naturally release. If I would have used the adjust button to adjust the Saute temp would my pot have eventually told me it was hot and then not have kept turning off? Hopefully it will come out okay.

    1. Hi Claudia,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      As safety measure, the saute function will turn off itself after 30 minutes.

      It takes roughly 9 – 10 minutes (without putting anything in) for the Instant Pot to get to “HOT” after pressing the saute button.

      Happy New Year & Have fun cooking


    1. Hi Vincent,

      the steam button can be used for pressure cooking.

      The “Steam” function heats at full power continuously, so the Instant Pot Company recommends to use steamer rack to lift the food away from the bottom of the pot to prevent burning.

      Pressure cooking a whole chicken is tricky. You can keep the venting knob at the venting position to steam cook a whole chicken without pressure cooking.

      Take care & have fun cooking

  16. Hi!

    This website was so informative and helpful! It gave me so many great ideas and now I am so excited to do more cooking at home. My kids can’t wait for the next dish. Great videos and wonderfully laid out recipes. Simple and easy to do!

  17. i am a new owner of an IP DUO80. I am a weekly stove top jook cooker using left over cooked rice with chicken thighs , dried bean curd and frozen spinach. Can I still do this with the IP DUO80 under high pressure??
    thanks for your help. enjoy reading you recipes

    1. Hi Howard,

      Congrats on your new Instant Pot and thank you for your question 🙂

      It is easier to make jook in the Instant Pot than stovetop!

      For reference, here are our Jook recipes

      You can just stir in the frozen spinach at the end of pressure cooking to prevent them from overcooking too much.

      Take care & have a great weekend

  18. Just joined in on the IP fun ! Came across your page and I think it is awesome. Thank you so much for all the great recipes. I used my IP for the first time tonight and tried your butterchicken recipe. It was wonderful and easy ! I just wanted to ask a quick question as Im still trying to learn how to use the pot. The instruction says to put chicken in and cook for 15 mins. But as i did that it showed ON for 10…15 mins then it beeped, then it started the 15 min countdown. I assume that it was adding pressure prior to the countdown… but is it cooking? Do I need to reduce the actual cooking time? Or is that part of the calculation in the recipe? Thanks for your help, still trying to figure my way around !

  19. Thank for a great post. I learned so much, the videos really helped. My IP should arrive in a few days, can’t wait to make your chili! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment Kari 🙂

      Do let us know if you come across any questions when your IP arrives!

      Take care & have fun cooking

  20. Thanks! This is a great post. I forwarded it to my brother who just bought the 8 quart IP. I have already sent him your chicken soup recipe and have been telling him about the chili recipe which I’ll send to him after he does the water test.

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