5 Big Mistakes You’re Making With Your Instant Pot

Instant Pot Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

You’ve whipped up a few Instapot recipes already, and you’re feeling like a dinner queen. But, suddenly you run into problems. A little mistake can ruin a meal, and that’s where we swoop in to help. Sometimes a simple tweak can make a recipe taste that much better, like a quick sear on your meat. Other times, taking care to avoid user error can literally save a meal.

Yes, food failure happens to the best of us! Before embarking on another Instapot dinner, check out the 5 big mistakes you’re making with your Instant Pot below, and hopefully we’ve already rescued your next meal!

Take our quick start Instant Pot 101 guide and never make one of these mistakes in the kitchen! 

Instant Pot Mistakes

1. Dumping food in the outer housing of the Instant Pot instead of the stainless steel insert.

Instapot newbies keep making this mistake. It’s critical for proper functioning of your Instant Pot to put your food into the stainless steel insert! Trust us, this is not an appliance you want to break! We’ve got a brilliant hack to keep this from happening – place a wooden spoon across the top of your outer housing unit when you’re cleaning the stainless steel insert. It serves as a reminder if your insert is on the drying rack or in the dishwasher.

2. Break free from Slow Cooker Recipes.

I know, it’s hard to get out of the habit. I’ve used the slow cooker for so many years, both my mind and my recipes are on autopilot. Yes, the Instant Pot can slow cook, but it can do so much more! Let’s take frozen chicken as an example. I’ve been known to freeze a ton of chicken when it goes on sale, and lo and behold, I always forget to take it out of the freezer the day before I need it. Always. Enter the Instant Pot. Even with frozen chicken, you can sit down to a fully cooked meal in 30 to 40 minutes. That is seriously impressive, and no defrosting or slow cooking required! If your chicken’s fridge temp, it’s even faster to get dinner on the table!

Teriyaki Chicken


Source: Kitchme
Let’s get you started with a delicious Teriyaki Chicken recipe. In just minutes you can whip up a tasty Chinese takeout meal, which sounds great if you’ve had a hectic, busy day!

3. Not taking advantage of the sauté function on your Instant Pot to sear.

Not only can the sauté function sauté get veggies like onions nice and translucent, but it also sears meat before you cook it. I’m a huge fan of searing meat to get that nice browned outside and juicy inside – what true foodies call the maillard reaction, giving you those complex, concentrated flavors. But I wince at the thought of cleaning an extra pan. That’s why I love the sauté function on the Instant Pot. You’ll need to leave the lid off for this function, but it easily browns your meat before cooking, and it makes all the difference in texture for certain cuts of meat.

Pot Roast


Source: Kitchme

Practice makes perfect, and this Pot roast recipe has quick and easy instructions for searing your meat. With your Instapot, Sunday dinner comes together in under half the time it usually takes. With tender, juicy meat that’s perfectly browned on the outside, this will be your go-to recipe for impressing guests!

4. Not cleaning the silicone ring on your Instant Pot.

Trust me on this, it’s worth the extra minute it takes to rinse it off, or the extra 15 minutes it takes to deep clean it. The seal traps spices and other odors that can then flavor the food you’re currently cooking. If you’ve made curry and have cheesecake on the menu for dessert, a dirty seal can leave your after-dinner treat infused with a little too much Asian flair. I like my salted caramel cheesecake to be curry-free, thank you! For most foods, a quick rinse of the silicone ring is fine. If you’ve made heavily scented food, soak your silicone ring in 4 cups hot water and 1 cup white vinegar for 15 minutes and rinse. Dry the ring put it back in the lid before using.

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake


Source: Kitchme
Speaking of cheesecake, have you tried making cheesecake in your Instant Pot? We’ve got a rich, indulgent cheesecake recipe that you have to try. Whip up this Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake in your Instant Pot for an incredibly satisfying sweet treat!

5. Using the quick release knob for foamy food or when your Instant Pot is overfilled.

I’ve already made this mistake, and managed to spray brown rice foam all over my cabinets. You may want to lay off the quick release knob when cooking foamy food such as grains or beans. For these specific foods, save yourself the trouble of extra clean-up and use the natural release method, which may take a little longer for your Instant Pot to release pressure, but it saves you in the long run!

Mushroom Risotto


Source: Kitchme

Ready to cook a grain in your Instant Pot? This Mushroom Risotto is the perfect starter recipe to get a better feel of the natural release method. Plus, you’ll have a tasty dinner for your troubles!

Instant Pot Mistakes and How to Avoid Them