I get so many reader questions about how to use an Instant Pot and I understand…it can be overwhelming at first! I’ve compiled some essential tips and tricks that will turn you into an expert in no time! 

Don’t miss all of my instant pot recipes, like Instant Pot Beef Gyros, Instant Pot Tomato and Basil Soup, or Instant Pot Spaghetti!

A picture showing an Instant Pot on a counter with canola oil, chicken broth, salt and pepper, and some raw chicken thighs.

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Unlock the TRUE POTENTIAL of your Instant Pot!

Rest assured, Instant Pots today are nothing like those scary steaming hot pressure cookers of old. Trust me, if you can run a microwave, you can use an Instant Pot!

I make yogurt, Chicken & Rice, and Taco Bowls the most with my Instant Pot, but I have a ton of family favorite Instant Pot Recipes we all love! 

Looking to purchase one? I love my Instant Pot Rio. It’s a slimmer design than the original and they updated the release button to make it even easier to use! In my opinion, it’s the best instant pot!

My Best Tips & Tricks 

#1 Be willing to experiment. The Instant Pot can be used in so many different ways!

  • Slow Cooker
  • Rice Cooker
  • Sauté Pan
  • Steamer
  • Yogurt Maker 
  • The BEST hard boiled eggs 

#2 Safety First! While they have multiple built-in safety features, it’s still crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions. It’s almost impossible to injure yourself, but you must ALWAYS release the pressure carefully and away from your face. Never force the lid open if it’s stuck either!

#3 Water Ratios: You need liquid to have it steam up properly. When in doubt, start with 1 cup of liquid, but if you are cooking something that absorbs water, you’ll need more. 

#4 The Sauté Function is your buddy! It’s excellent for browning meat and sautéing onions and garlic before pressure cooking. It really helps to kick up the flavor of your recipes!

#5 Natural Release vs Quick Release: I use natural release for dishes with rice as a rule. Veggies and meats can handle the quick release! (You don’t want to overcook them) 

#6 Accessories! There are SO many accessories these days! I love my steamer basket, egg molds, and the glass lid for slow cooking. 

Instant Pot Recipes

Easy Stroganoff 

A bowl with hamburger stroganoff and a spoon.
4.95 from 319 votes

Easy Instant Pot Stroganoff

 This Easy Instant Pot Stroganoff is made with ground beef, mushrooms, and onions, cooked together with egg noodles all in the instant pot. 
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Fettuccine Alfredo 

A white pasta bowl full of fettuccine alfredo with a piece of parsley on top for garnish, and a fork on the side.
4.88 from 32 votes

Instant Pot Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

Skinny Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo is rich and creamy, with a fraction of the calories of traditional alfredo. It’s an easy instant pot pasta recipe that everyone is sure to love! 
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Tuscan Chicken

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta on a white plate with a blue dish towel in the background.
4.76 from 261 votes

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta

Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta with a creamy garlic sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and chicken. My family quickly fell in love with this yummy, easy pressure cooker meal.
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Short Ribs

Instant pot short ribs served over mashed potatoes, on a plate.
5 from 194 votes

Instant Pot Short Ribs

Perfectly tender Instant Pot Short Ribs with carrots and fresh herbs, and served with a rich gravy made from the sauce and drippings.
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Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

A loaf of meatloaf on a white plate with sauce on top and two slices cut from it, with fresh parsley in the background.
4.79 from 348 votes

Instant Pot Meatloaf

Instant Pot Meatloaf with mashed potatoes is made with a mixture of ground beef and ground turkey as well as delicious Yukon Gold potatoes.  It’s an easy dinner recipe that the whole family will enjoy!
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Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes served in a bowl, with a serving spoon.
5 from 65 votes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

The BEST Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes are the easiest method for making perfect mashed potatoes, every time! They are flavorful, fluffy, and delicious!
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Apple Crisp

Individual size casserole dish with apple crisp in it topped with vanilla ice cream and a spoon.
4.40 from 68 votes

Instant Pot Apple Crisp

Instant Pot Apple Crisp is a very easy Instant Pot dessert recipe made with Granny Smith apples and simple pantry ingredients. 
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Tender BBQ pork ribs cooked in the instant pot in just 30 minutes!
4.97 from 1190 votes

Instant Pot Ribs

Tender, flavorful, and delicious Instant Pot Ribs, cooked in just about 30 minutes! A great, easy meal made with your pressure cooker.
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A bowl of homemade applesuace with cinnamon, made from the instant pot.
4.94 from 340 votes

Instant Pot Applesauce

Delicious homemade applesauce just got easier, made in the instant pot or slow cooker.  This Instant Pot applesauce recipe has no added sugar and can be made in just 15 minutes. 
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Want more hands on help? 

Sign up for my popular 5 email series “Instant Pot: Magic One-Pot Meals!” where I walk you through every step of the process (including the dreaded burn notice and confusing natural release settings)

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I also fight with our allegedly easy insta pot, and steam is everywhere, but I read and watched a few articles and I believe I understand why now.
    So thank you. I have tons of gadgets, but my hands can’t always use them. I can still press buttons tho.
    Thank you again!

    Julie K.

  2. Thank you so much for all of this, site, recipes, and grocery list! Omy goodness I have literally sat here thinking what to make for a super busy family of 5, and I have R/A really bad, that I can’t cook like I used to. You have some lovely short cuts in here, my family is going to be so happy. They were talking about home cooking vs eating out. Big difference in health and wallet.

    What awesome person you are for doing this and helping so many, perhaps, more than you can even know.
    Blessings and gratitude
    Julie K.