I was sitting with a group of my friends one night and they were laughing that I needed a car decal for how much I loved and recommended my Instant Pot. The same week a different friend sent a plea for help with her new electric pressure cooker because it terrified her.
Between friends, family, and the 10,000+ people in my facebook group, I have answered so many Instant Pot starter questions and troubleshooting nightmares. So I put together a list and a comprehensive Instant Pot Guide.
Therefore, I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked instant pot questions. But if yours isn’t on the list, please feel free to comment below and I will try to answer it and might even add it to the list!
Important FAQ about the Instant Pot
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Is the Instant Pot safe? I’m scared of pressure cooking.
It is a very well-engineered appliance with multiple safety features. Because of this, it’s not like the old-fashioned pressure cookers that could explode.
My mom always said that when she would pressure cook, she would make sure none of us (the kids) were anywhere near the kitchen. Not the case with the Instant Pot. I feel completely safe with my kids around, though of course I won’t want them messing with it and keep the at a distance when I release the pressure. and it starts steaming.
Just about everyone I know has been so scared to use their IP because of fear of pressure cookers. But everyone from my mom, my neighbor who left it in the box for several months, and my closest friends have joined in loving their instant pots!
Why doesn’t my Instant Pot have a “manual” button like the recipes talk about?
Because, like all products and companies, things change! So to make it easier, that button has now been replaced with “pressure cook”.
They’re the same, the function hasn’t changed.
Does the cooking time change on my instant pot if I double the recipe or cut it in half?
No. “Recipe if halved or doubled, the time goes untroubled”
A simple rhyme and rule of thumb to help you remember is “A recipe if halved or doubled, the time goes untroubled”
In most instances of cooking, especially meat, the time doesn’t change if you have a differing quantity of something, it’s usually just the thickness of what you’re cooking that dictates the time. The same goes for the Instant Pot. If I am cooking a 3-pound whole chicken, it will be different from 6 pounds. But if I am just adding in some extra chicken breasts, that’s different.
My sealing ring stinks, what can I do?
First and foremost, the easiest way to deal with a stinky ring is to have two. One for stinky foods and one for everything else.
However, if you need more ideas, check out these tips for cleaning your sealing ring.
Why is my pot leaking steam?
In most cases, this is normal. There is a valve in the back that helps let off steam (again, a safety feature). So you may hear it sputter a bit when coming to pressure or at other times. But as long as it’s not spewing all the time, it’s normal.
If it is, you should be checking to see if your sealing ring is in place correctly, if the valve is set to sealing, and other troubleshooting measures.
Why is my instant pot taking so long to come to pressure?
Because of what and/or how much you have inside of it.
I got a call from my mom and her best friend about how long their IP was taking to even get to a point of cooking. It was because they had twelve cups of tomatoes in it!
Think about it this way… the heating mechanism has to heat up the whole pot from the bottom up to start cooking. The more you have or the colder the insides are, the longer that will take.
Related: What every new Instant Pot owner should know.
Can I use the glass lid to pressure cook?
The glass lid is just for slow cooking, sauteing, and anything that doesn’t require pressure.
If your pot doesn’t make the R2-D2-like jingle, then it won’t come to pressure for safety reasons. (Again, it’s perfectly safe to use.)
What do all these crazy buttons mean?! And why does it seem like everyone is talking in code?
I have compiled all this information for you… everything about the abbreviation jargon and what each button on your Instant Pot does.
Am I able to cook from frozen in my Instant Pot? If so, how should I adjust the time?
YES. It’s the reason I bought my first Instant Pot.
This *somewhat* goes back to the discussion on time and amount. Remember that it’s typically only thickness that changes the time? Something that’s a single layer and not too thick, you’ll want to increase cooking time by approximately 50%. The thicker something is or the more layers, the more likely you’ll have to double the time. Just monitor it.
If you’re working with cubed chicken or something small, many times you do not need to change the cook time from frozen. It will simply just take longer to come to pressure; therefore automatically increasing cook time.
How much water do I need to use?
The minimum amount of liquid (not necessarily water) is a half cup or enough that your pot can come to pressure.
Whether it’s water, salsa, broth, or other, it just requires liquid.
Can I use liners in my Instant Pot like I do with a slow cooker?
No. Unless you’re using the slower cooker function with the glass lid.
Your electric pressure cooker is much hotter than your slow cooker. So it will melt those bags. Furthermore, with the regular lid, it’s probably going to get bunched up and stuck in your pot.
Can I use my Instant Pot for Canning?
Canning require specific monitoring of temperature
Why is my electric pressure cooker making a clicking noise?
This is typically one of two things. First is that you want to make sure to always ensure the outside of the inner pot is drying when placing it in the electrical part. The second is that while cooking, the safety features might make clicking noises to help regulate the pressure.
Need more instant pot help?
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Check out the preview for this awesome FREE downloadable cheat sheet. Simply print, possibly laminate, and post in your home to remind yourself and/or help teach others in your family to use your Instant Pot
It has 14 Instant Pot tips and tricks (only about 8 shown below). It is the perfect list to help you or a loved one feel a little more comfortable using their pressure cooker. Plus, downloading will get you some great recipes to try right in your inbox!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!
I have a pressure cooker, is this also considered a pressure cooker except it’s electric? That for me has been the most puzzling question. I’m 75 and not too intimidated by the pressure cooker and can’t see getting a different one. The hints you gave were good and I think I can apply them to my pressure cooker. Thank you.
Yes, the Instant Pot is just an electric pressure cooker 🙂
Hello! I have 2 suggestions you might consider; (1) when I hear stuff boiling inside and lots of steam is coming out, I find if I push down on the lid and hold it for a couple of seconds, then the button stays up and the timer starts (obviously a sealing issue); and (2) getting a second inner pot is a MUST! My husband accidentally smashed the screen on my first IP so he bought me a replacement unit, I kept the inner pot of the first and now I can efficiently make more than one dish over the weekend when I’m meal planning. Thank you so much for your awesome blog!!! Cheers! Amanda