Whether you are new to using Instant Pot or are thinking of buying one, this Instant Pot 101 Guide for Beginners is what you need to help you overcome initial challenges.
What is Instant Pot?
It is a type of electric multicooker designed to replace several kitchen appliances in one! It has various programmed functions allow you to pressure cook, steam, sauté, slow cook, and boil food quickly and conveniently.
This product was released in the market back in 2010 and has instantly captured the interest of professionals and home cooks worldwide. To date, Instant Pot offers several versions and models with up to 11 functionalities.
Reasons to LOVE Instant Pot
It might take time to get used to Instant Pot, but once you get the gist, having an Instant Pot is an absolute delight in the kitchen!
So if you still have doubts, here are some reasons why you need it!
It saves you time. One of its key advantages is cutting down the usual cooking time for many classic dishes without sacrificing quality! You can do everything in one pot, and cleaning is a breeze too! In addition, the inner cooking pot is dishwasher-friendly.
It saves you space. This is precisely why you need one if you want to clear up your kitchen space from too many appliances. It is also ideal for sharing spaces with others in apartments or dorms.
It saves you money. Instead of buying several appliances, you can invest in one Instant Pot and whip up dishes that taste like a million bucks in lesser time!
It saves you effort. We love how you can place all the ingredients in, set it up, and walk away.No constant stirring nor standing watch in front of the stovetop is needed with Instant Pot’s various programmed functions right at your fingertips.
Instant Pot Terminology
To help you get started, here are some Instant Pot 101 terminologies you need to know first.
- Inner Pot – this refers to the removable stainless steel pot found inside. It is where you cook the food.
- Steam Release Knob – you will find this on the Instant Pot lid. It is used to seal or release the steam when pressure cooking. It has two options, SEALING or VENTING.
- Sealing Position – traps the steam in the pot while pressure cooking.
- Venting Position – releases the steam after you are done with pressure cooking.
- Floating Valve – this is a small round indicator found near the Steam Release Knob. If the valve is floating, it means the pot is pressurized.
- Quick Release – when you see this on the recipe instruction, it means you manually place the steam release knob in the venting position to let the steam out quickly.
- Natural Pressure Release – this, on the other hand, means you let the steam come out naturally by keeping it in a sealing position for around 10-15 minutes before removing the lid.
You can also read my detailed post about all the instant pot terminology you should know as a beginner.
How To Set Up An Instant Pot?
Unboxing – If you are using it for the first time, always read the instruction manual first.
Here’s a checklist of all the items included in the box:
- cooker base
- power cord
- pressure cooking lid
- stainless steel inner pot
- trivet/steamer rack
- measuring cup
- condensation cup
- paddle spoon/ ladle
- User Manual, Quick Reference Guide, Recipe Booklet, and Cooking Time Tables.
First, the Water Test – Once you unbox your IP, the next step is to do a water test to check its functionality.
You will find the easy-to-follow instructions in the manual. Here’s a quick run-through for you:
- Plug the power cord firmly on the base connection socket found on the back of the cooker base. Once you plug it into a power source, it should automatically turn on.
- Add 3 cups of water to the inner pot, place the lid, and then turn the knob in the sealing position. Select the pressure cooker button and press the + button to set the timer to 5 minutes.
- The cooker will preheat and pressurize before showing the timer countdown. So, do not be alarmed if it takes 10 minutes before your IP starts pressure cooking.
- Once your see L0:00 on the timer, you will hear a beep to indicate that time is up. You can either do a quick release or a natural release.
If everything works out well, you are ready to start your Instant pot journey!
Depending on the model you bought, a 7-in-1 Instant Pot would usually have the following functions:
- Soup/ Broth
- Slow Cook
- Pressure Cook
Best Instant Pot Recipes
If you are new to Instant Pot cooking, my advice is to start with simple recipes. Check out a few of my favourite instant pot recipe collections.
For Indian food lovers, or I should say curry lovers, my debut cookbook, The 100 Best Curry Recipes for your Instant Pot, is a collection of tried and tested delicious, instant pot-friendly Indian recipes.
If I have missed anything in this Instant Pot 101 guide, feel free to mention the same in the comments below, and I will try my best to include it in this post.