10 Amazing Things We Learned from the Instant Pot Community
From newbies to experienced Instant Pot lovers, these tips are a must-know for every kind of Instant Pot owner.
Instant Pot fans are devout.
The electric pressure cooker that took Prime Day by storm has amassed more than 1.9 million members on the Instant Pot Community’s Facebook page. The company-sanctioned page is the go-to resource for those looking for reliable recipes, troubleshooting tips or an "am I doing this right?" gut check.
It’s a place where virtual neighbors help and support each other: What’s the perfect hard-boiled egg recipe? 520 comments; Which Instant Pot model should I buy? 205 comments; How do I use the sauté feature? 138 comments. No question is too small to garner at least a comment from a dutiful member, and internet trolls are kept at bay by community monitors. Basically, it’s a happy place.
Which left us wondering, what could we learn from this enthusiastic group of "potheads" (the name Instant Pot fans call themselves) to up our own Instant Pot game? As it turns out, plenty.
1. You Can Easily Stop Rice from Sticking to the Bottom
When a member posted a plea to help her prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the metal insert bowl, others came to the rescue. Three hundred plus comments later, it seems there are two main things to remember when cooking rice in your Instant Pot: Add the liquid before the rice and always check that the "keep warm" setting is off before doing a natural pressure release. The "keep warm" setting will continue to heat, and eventually scorch the rice on the bottom of the pan.
2. Vinegar Keeps Your Instant Pot Looking Like New
The Instant Pot is completely dishwasher safe, except for the cooker base. But if you’ve run your pot insert through the dishwasher as often as we have, you’ve probably noticed the stainless steel starts to discolor and look spotty. Luckily, we aren’t alone in this. When members posted about the problem, tips from the community flooded in. The great consensus landed on a light abrasive cleaner, like Bar Keepers Friend to scrub away the spots. Alternatively, a 5-minute soak in white vinegar does the trick.
3. The Instant Pot Inspires People to Try New Things
The Instant Pot gives people the confidence and time to step outside their comfort zones. "Yesterday I bought 1 pound of 'country style' boneless beef ribs," a member reported. "I have never made ribs in my life." Others post requests for Indian butter chicken and pulled pork, plus there are countless users asking for recommendations for new recipes and foods to try.
4. Always Start with a Water Test
Always, always, always start with a water test. Although we were tempted to skip past this exercise, users mentioned it enough that we gave it a try. If you aren’t used to cooking in an electric pressure cooker (AKA all of us), then it’s a risk-free way to familiarize yourself with the machine. And if you are buying your second or third Instant Pot, it’s the best way to make sure your gadget is working properly, before you ruin dinner because of a faulty sealing ring.
5. The Instant Pot Is NOT for Cooking Steak
The Instant Pot is a magical multicooker, but while it seems to execute pot roasts, grits and cheesecakes perfectly, it isn't suited for everything. Even though it has a sauté setting, don’t waste time and money cooking expensive cuts of steak in your Instant Pot. The pot doesn't get hot enough for a good sear, so your meat will mostly steam — turning it gray and flabby. That steakhouse sear you are looking for is best done the old-fashioned way – in a heavy-bottomed skillet.
6. The Lid-Locking System Trips People Up
If figuring out how to lock the lid on your pot has left you frustrated, there is a simple solution – nail polish. Yep, just place a dot of nail polish on the lid and another on the pot where the baselines fit together and you’ll never fumble around again.
7. A Lot of People Have More Than One Instant Pot
This one really blew our minds – people aren’t just settling for one Instant Pot, they’re buying multiple models in varying sizes to cook with on a regular basis. What does this mean? Instant Pot Thanksgiving? Recipes calling for multiple cookers? The possibilities are endless.
8. Using an Instant Pot for Canning Can be Unsafe
Canning requires such precise heating times and temperatures, it can be quite dangerous to stray even a couple degrees from the USDA guidelines. According to an Instant Pot representative writing on the community post, the Instant Pot Max has been independently tested and proven safe for canning and is currently undergoing USDA testing. However, the National Center for Home Food Preservation takes a more conservative stance, stating they do not support canning in electric or multi-cooker appliances.
9. If You Get a Burn Notice You Can Still Rescue Dinner
The dreaded burn notice is an Instant Pot safety feature that lets you know when food is scorching on the bottom of the insert. This is usually caused by browned bits of food leftover after sautéing or too little liquid. So, what do you do when BURN pops up on the display? According to one poster, you are best to release the pressure, turn off your Instant Pot and carefully remove the insert. Transfer the salvageable food to a bowl. Then clean out the Instant Pot insert or deglaze it to scrape up any scorched-on bits. Return your food to the insert, add more liquid if necessary and start up the Instant Pot again.
10. Venting and Sealing Properly Can Be Tricky
There are so many comments on how to properly vent and seal your Instant Pot on this community page that we even began to second guess our own technique. But we stuck with the instructions. The proper way to seal is to turn the nob so that it’s pointing over the squiggly line symbol for sealing (not all the way to the right of the word "sealing.") Same goes for "venting" -- it should point to the cloud puff symbol.