Instant Pot Terminology

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Confused with all the Instant Pot lingo? With all the new Instant Pot terminology and acronyms you’ve seen in Instant Pot Groups on Facebook, or when you search for a recipe, I’m sure it’s super overwhelming. So, let’s break it down for you!

Instant Pot Terminology

Instant Pot Terminology

Terms used to describe your Instant Pot and its components vary depending on your model as well as who is talking about the Instant Pot. Here’s some common Instant Pot terminology you need to know:

Instant Pot Exterior/ Exterior Pot/ Cooker Base/ Housing

The part of your Instant Pot that has all the buttons is called the exterior, exterior pot, cooker base, or housing. This is the part of your Instant Pot that does the cooking and heating. 

Inner Pot/ Steel Insert/ Stainless Steel Liner

We call it the inner pot, but others may refer to the stainless steel removable pot as a steel insert or stainless steel liner. The inner pot is where you put your food. It is dishwasher safe and kind of looks like a stock pot or mixing bowl. 

Seal/ Ring/ Silicone Ring/ Gasket/ Sealing Ring

On the inside of your Instant Pot’s lid, there is a rubber or silicone ring around the edge. We call it a sealing ring, but others may call it a seal, ring, silicone ring or gasket. This is an important component because without it, your Instant Pot will not seal or build pressure to cook your food. 

Pressure Release Knob/ Handle/ Vent/ Knob/ Steam Release Knob/ Pressure Valve

The knob that you turn to either the sealing or venting position can be called a plethora of different terms. We call it the pressure release knob, but others may refer to it by its other names. In the sealing position, the pressure stays in your Instant Pot, but in the venting position, the pressure is released. 

Pin/ Float Valve/ Valve

The small silver pin that’s usually located by your pressure release valve on your lid can be called a pin, float valve, or valve. Calling it a valve can get confusing, so we call it a pin. This pin will pop up when the Instant Pot builds pressure. The pin will drop when all the pressure is released from the Instant Pot. Do not open your Instant Pot until the pin has dropped. 

Shield/ Anti-block Shield

On the underside of your pressure release knob, there is a safety mechanism which is called a shield or anti-block shield. This shield prevents food from getting into your pressure release knob. It can be removed and cleaned and should be to prevent blockages. 

Trivet/ Rack/ Steamer Rack 

This is the metal rack you get with your Instant Pot. It is put inside the inner pot and used to keep food out of the liquid such as for steaming or when using the pot-in-pot cooking method. We call it a trivet, but others may call it a rack or steamer rack, not to be confused with a steamer basket. 


If a recipe says to deglaze the pot, its simply a method of removing browned food bits off the bottom of your inner pot. You add broth or water to the inner pot and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape and stir the bottom of the pot until all the food bits are mixed in. 

Instant Pot Acronyms

Now that you’ve learned some common Instant Pot terminology, it’s time to learn those acronyms. Instead of writing out or saying the long part of the words, many people use acronyms to quickly explain how to do something. Here are the most common Instant Pot acronyms:

  1. IP/ Instapot- These acronyms simply mean Instant Pot. Anyone using them is talking about the Instant Pot. 
  2. Pothead– No, we aren’t talking about pot, here. This just means a person who uses the Instant Pot. 
  3. PC/EPC– These acronyms mean pressure cooker or electric pressure cooker. They are also talking about your Instant Pot. 
  4. HP– If someone says to cook at HP, they mean to cook using high pressure. 
  5. LP– Likewise, if someone says to cook using LP, you will use your low pressure setting. 
  6. NPR/NR– No pressure release or natural release. Both of these mean to release your pressure naturally. You do not change the position of your pressure release valve, but simply wait for the pin to drop. 
  7. QPR/QR– Quick pressure release or quick release. This means you will need to turn your pressure release valve to the venting position to quickly release the pressure in your Instant Pot. 
  8. X Minute NPR– If a recipe says to do a 10-minute NPR, this means you will do a 10-minute natural pressure release and then turn the pressure release valve to the venting position to release the rest of the pressure. 
  9. PIP– This acronym stands for pot-in-pot. If you aren’t sure how it works, read my Pot-in-Pot Cooking Method Guide
  10. Manual– Older models had a manual button that stood for pressure cook. The terms are used interchangeably. 

Instant Pot Terminology and Acronym Messages

Sometimes you will see a message on your Instant Pot, and have no clue what it means. You may see people talking about these messages in Instant Pot groups and wonder what they are talking about. If you don’t know, you probably haven’t gotten the message, but just in case you do, it’s good to know what the messages mean and how to fix them. Here are some common messages and what they mean:

PR SE (With Beeping)

You may see this message displayed on the Instant Pot Ultra. It means that pressure is detected even though you are not pressure cooking. Simply, the temperature inside your pot is higher than the boiling point. 

This can happen when you saute food and put the lid on. This warning is telling you that you should keep the lid off your Instant Pot, or have the pressure release knob in the venting position. 


A burn message shows up on your Instant Pot when something has burned or scorched the bottom of the pot. If this happens, you can open the pot, scrape the bottom of the inner pot, and add more water. It doesn’t necessarily mean your food is burnt, but that it is about to burn. 


This message means that the Instant Pot is overheating. Some models use this message instead of the BURN message. 
Did we cover all the Instant Pot terminology and acronyms you’ve seen? If not, head on over to our Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners Group on Facebook where we would love to help you out!

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