10 Questions I Had When I First Used My Instant Pot. Instant Pot Questions, Answered!

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When I first got my Instant Pot, I had a lot of Instant Pot questions. The manual seemed to read a foreign language and I really wasn’t even sure where to start. In my group, Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners, I am asked a lot of the same questions I had when I first started out. So, through my experience, I am gonna give you the Instant Pot Questions I had and the answers! 

instant pot questions and answers

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Instant Pot Questions

Below is a list of the top Instant Pot Questions I get asked almost on a daily basis. Instead of typing and retyping all the answers out, I am giving them to you in one simple post. I hope this helps!

How Much Liquid Do I Put In My Instant Pot?

You have to ALWAYS put liquid into your Instant Pot. That is how it pressurizes. Not enough can cause the dreaded burn notice. The manual suggests 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups depending on the size of the cooker. Well, that doesn’t help does it?! So, here is a breakdown by size for the minimum amount of liquid you can use:

  • 3 Quart: ¾ a cup of liquid
  • 6 Quart: 1 cup of liquid
  • 8 Quart: 1 ½ cups 

How Long Does it Take to Come to Pressure?

Hopefully everyone knows that your cooking time does NOT include the time it takes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure. How long it takes to come to pressure can vary based on what you are cooking. The whole pot must reach the same temperature. Most of the time, it takes about 15-minutes

Do I Need to Double the Cook Time if I Double the Recipe?

What is great about the Instant Pot is that you do not have to double the cook time! However, it will take longer for your pot to come to pressure. Remember, everything in the pot must reach the same temperature before it begins the cooking time. For more tips check out the instant pot manual.

What Buttons do I Use on My Instant Pot?

Different models have different buttons. This can be confusing especially when recipes will say to hit the manual button and you have a pressure cook button. I actually have a whole post on What Buttons Do I Use! Check it out! 

I Got a Burn Message…Did I Ruin My Instant Pot?

This message is an indicator that your dish is starting to burn. So, NO you did not ruin your Instant Pot. This happens when you don’t have enough liquid. Simply turn your pressure release valve to “venting,” scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, remove burnt food from the bottom, and then stir in ½ a cup more liquid. 

Natural Release VS. Quick Release: What Do I Use?

At the end of cooking, you will want to either quickly release the pressure or let it release naturally. Here are some rules to follow:

  • Natural Release: Do natural release when you cook meat, dried beans, legumes, rice, soup, or other foods that are mostly liquid
  • Quick Release: Do a quick release for food like eggs, vegetables, delicate foods, or ingredients that do not benefit from additional cook time. 

What is Pot-In-Pot or PIP Cooking?

This is basically cooking in layers in your Instant Pot. Instead of cooking directly in your Inner Pot, you place another oven safe dish in your inner pot. Most people use a Pyrex dish or a springform pan. You would use this method when cooking:

  • Things you don’t want to burn
  • Foods you don’t cook in liquid
  • Meatloaf
  • Cakes
  • Cheesecakes
  • Cooking multiple items

If you have other questions, share them in the comments below! We can add to the list and keep helping each other! 

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instant pot questions and answers

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2 Comments

  1. If I cook a roast and want to add potatoes at the end of cooking I have read to do a quick release then add potatoes and cook longer then do a natural release.. question is.. by doing that quick release to add potatoes.. is my toast going to turn out tough from that initial quick release? Thanks

    1. You could add the potatoes after your meat has cooked and softened, then pressure would rebuild up quickly as there would still be plenty of heat and steam to restart the cooking after a QR. However, it may be prudent to add the potatoes at the beginning, then you do a full Natural Release and your meat may be at the texture you like.

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