What Is the Instant Pot Pot in Pot Method?

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Have you been told to use the Instant pot pot-in-pot method, but have no idea what that means? It’s a cooking method that many people aren’t familiar with, but can be super useful when cooking with your Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Pot in Pot method is one technique you maybe use a lot more of, once you become accustomed to it.

You can use Instant pot pot-in-pot cooking for a variety of different reasons, so let’s break it down and help you start cooking more effectively with your Instant Pot!


What Is the Pot-In-Pot Method?

When talking about the pot-in-pot method, most people use the acronym PIP.

PIP is a type of cooking method for your Instant Pot. With this cooking method, you cook with another pot inside the Instant Pot’s inner pot (liner). It quite literally means a pot inside a pot.

So, you would cook food in a smaller pot that is inside the inner pot of your electric pressure cooker.

Why Use the Instant Pot Pot-In-Pot Method?

The pot-in-pot Instant Pot cooking method is useful for a variety of practical purposes.

Pot-in-pot cooking saves cooking time, makes cooking more convenient, allows less clean-up, and offers more possibilities on what you can cook in your Instant Pot.

Here are a few reasons you would use the PIP cooking method:

Cook Multiple Dishes

The Pot in pot method can be used to cook more than one dish at the same time. Instead of cooking all the ingredients together, you can stack separate layers of food, and cook them together.

For example, meat can go in the inner pot with water, and rice can go in the pot on top of the meat. 

With the pot-in-pot method, you can save both time and energy. Just pop on your Instant Pot lid and let the magic happen.

Pressure Steaming

When cooking in a pressure cooker certain foods do not require extra liquid and therefore they would come out pretty yucky if you added liquid to them.

Recipes for breadlasagnaegg bites, or stuffing can’t be placed in liquid in the inner pot. However, you can use the Instant Pot pot in pot method to steam cook pot-in-pot recipes instead of cooking them in liquid.

I love to pressure-cook recipes using the pot-in-pot method especially steamed veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.

The pot-in-pot method of cooking in the Instant Pot allows my veggies to cook perfectly without going mushy in water at the bottom of the pot. I simply add a trivet and second pot into the instant pot insert and then

Bain-Marie Recipes

Brain-Marie is a method that uses a heated water bath to cook. Recipes like cheesecake, flan, creme bruleedulce de leche, and lava cake all need to be cooked gently and slowly.

Using the Instant Pot pot-in-pot method allows you to cook these dishes with a uniform heat that adds moisture but allows the inside to cook without turning into a bubbly mess.

Cooking delicate foods has never been easier with the pot in pot method!

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Avoid Mushy Food in Your Pressure Cooker

Things like potatoes and vegetables can get mushy when placed in water directly over a heat source.

Pot-in-pot cooking reduces the amount of heat transfer to your food by lifting the food away from the heat source.

Thus, it won’t come out mushy. By using a stainless steel pot or steam rack your vegetables will come out tender, but not overly done. You can cook convenient one pot meals in one go without having to use a separate bowl or pot.

Pot-In-Pot Stops the Burn Notice

Instant Pot pot-in-pot cooking can help prevent the dreaded Burn Notice.

Many of the newer Instant Pots are more prone to trigger the burn notice. This happens because the Instant Pot detects a high temperature at the bottom of the inner pot. Pressure cooking foods with milk, thick sauces, tomato-based ingredients, and sometimes rice and pasta can trigger the burn message.

If you are getting a burn notice every time you cook a certain dish, try using the pot-in-pot method. It will keep the food away from the heat source and help you avoid getting a burn message.

Easy Cleaning

The Pot in pot cooking method of pressure cooking is great if you need to use your Instant Pot for back to back cooking. You can use the pot-in-pot method then simply start the next dish without having to take the time to clean your inner pot. 

How to Use the Pot-In-Pot Method in Your Instant Pot?

Now that we know what pot in pot cooking is and why you would use it, how do you actually go about it? Here is a step by step guide to make the pop cooking method easy to follow.

How to Use the Instant Pot Pot-In-Pot Method

This method is honestly quite simple to use. Here’s how you can cooking something using the pot-in-pot cooking method:

  1. First, add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the inner pot (lining).
  2. Next, place your trivet or steam rack in the water. 
  3. Place the food you want to cook in an oven-safe pot or separate stainless steel bowl. Do NOT put liquid in this container unless it is part of the recipe. 
  4. Next, put the container on top of the trivet or steam rack, and close the lid on your cooking pot. 
  5. Hit the manual or pressure cook button and set the time for what the recipe calls for. 
  6. When your Instant Pot beeps, either do a quick release or natural release depending on the recipe. 
  7. That’s it! Super easy!

The pot in pot method of cooking is simple, easy and saves time and energy.

Do I Need an Inner Pot Lid?

The answer is no. You don’t have to use an inner pot lid when cooking pot-in-pot recipes. However, if you want to use an inner pot lid make sure it’s oven safe. Alternatively, you can use foil to cover your inner pot.

Some Instant Pot models come with a stainless steel inner pot. This is great for this method of pressure cooking.


Accessories Needed for Pot-In-Pot Method

In order to use the pot in pot cooking method, you will need two main accessories:

  1. Pot, container, or steamer basket– Basically you will need an oven-safe pot or container of some kind that fits inside the inner pot. 
  2. Trivet, rack, or sling-You will want to use your trivet, rack, or sling made from aluminium foil to lift the pot out of your inner pot when the dish is done. 

Best Pot-In-Pot Containers

When using a pot, container, cake pan, or basket, the key is to make sure it easily slides in and out of the inner pot, and that it is oven safe. Here are our top recommendations: 

Springform Cake Pan Set (TOP PICK)

This set is affordable, versatile, and will work perfectly for the pot-in-pot method. You can cook some delicious cheesecakes in this pan with ease! No more dealing with water being sloshed everywhere or having to mess around with foil.

This makes it easy to remove your cake without ruining it and works well in all instant pot models. Stackable Steamer Insert Pans for Instant Pot (TOP PICK)These stainless steel steamer insert pans are great for cooking everything from rice and grains, to meat and vegetables.

The set comes with an 8 cup pan, a 4 cup pan and a 2 cup pan so you can cook different things at the same time.

This will be perfect for cooking high pressure curries in one pot while having rice cooking on the side. There’s no need for aluminum foil with a stackable steamer! You can cook any pot in pot recipe using these inserts.

7-Inch Pyrex Glass Container

This glass container is great for cooking rice, grains, yogurt and more. Pyrex is one of my favorite oven safe dishes and it’s also safe for the pressure cooker.

7-inch Pyrex Glass Container

7″ Stainless Steel Round Baking Dish (Thinner)

This pot-in-pot container is great for making cakes, sweet rice, and many other instant pot pot in pot recipes.This stainless steel baking dish is thinner and perfect for making bread pudding.

7″ Stainless Steel Round Baking Dish (Thinner)

6.5″ Stainless Steel Baking Dish (Thicker) 

If you need a thicker stainless steel pot to cook rice or reheat food then this baking dish is an ideal one to use.

6.5″ Stainless Steel Baking Dish (Thicker) 

3 Qt Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Pot

The 3 Qrt stainless steel inner pot is great for popping in a larger sized Instant pot. This allows you to keep the water separate and you can cook high pressure recipes with ease.

3 QT Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Pot

3 Qt Instant Pot Ceramic Inner Pot

A ceramic inner pot is a great option for pot in pot recipes and I personally enjoy cooking with a ceramic pot. The 3 quart ceramic inner pot is perfect for cooking rice, grains, cakes and vegetables.

3 QT Instant Pot Ceramic Inner Pot

6-Inch Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Cake Pan

I love my Fat Daddio’s cake pan. It’s made from aluminum and its extremely durable, easy to clean and use. If you don’t have a cake pan for pot in pot recipes then this one will be perfect for cakes! The 6 inch cake pan is ideal for a 6 qrt instant pot model and fits with plenty of space around the edges.

6-inch Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Cake Pan

What Size of Container to Use

The key to making pot in pot cooking effective is making sure your containers are not too small or too large. You want them to fit nicely inside the inner pot with 1-2 inches of space around them.

This will allow you to whip up some delicious desserts and foods using the pot-in-pot method. Just follow the instructions and cooking times and you’ll have some amazing recipes on the table super fast.

Adapting for Pot in Pot Cooking

Even if you don’t have the exact steamer rack, oven safe container or pan that is recommended in a recipe, you can still likely use the pot-in-pot method with your Instant Pot. Just make sure it fits inside of your inner pot, is heat safe and can hold the food you are cooking.

How Can You Stack Pots in an Instant Pot?

If you want to stack something in your instant pot, make sure it is oven safe.

Avoid Plastic

Don’t use a plastic container unless the recipe specifically calls for it. Also keep in mind that some accessories might require some adaptation before being able to be stacked together. 

For example, if you want to stack a trivet, plate setter and something on top of them in your Instant Pot, make sure the trivet will sit low enough that it does not prevent the lid from closing.

How Do You Use a Steamer Rack?

A steamer rack or steamer basket is great for allowing you to cook more than one dish at the same time. If you don’t have a steamer rack or basket, you can use a trivet instead.

If you want to steam something in your Instant Pot, make sure it is oven safe before putting it inside of your instant pot with water underneath. 

Instant Pot Recipes That Use the Pot-In-Pot Method

Here are some of the foods I love to cook using the pot in pot cooking:

Why Use Pot in Pot Cooking?

Pot-in-pot (PIP) cooking is a great way to cook multiple dishes in one pot without having to dirty up any extra pans and appliances. Not only is this method efficient, but it also helps you save time and energy while still getting creative with your cooking.

Pot-in-pot not only allows you to cook two things at once and separate their flavors, but it also uses the steam from the inner pot to help cook the outer pot’s contents.

Steam cooking is an incredibly healthy way to prepare meals and PIP makes it even easier! This moisture-sealed technique allows for food to be cooked quickly, evenly and flavorful.

Plus, since it uses steam pressure instead of direct heat, your deliciously cooked dishes will retain all of their essential vitamins and minerals.

So why not give pot-in-pot cooking a try? With just one pot you can easily create delicious meals that are both nutritious and timely!

Best Recipes for Pot-In-Pot Pressure Cooking Method

Since pot in pot cooking applies to all different kinds of foods, there are countless recipes that will work with this method! Here are some of our favourite pot-in-pot recipes:

Was this post helpful? Let us know in the comments, below! Don’t forget to join our Instant Pot Recipes For Beginners Facebook Group for more tips, tricks, and tried and true recipes.

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