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Cooking Tips

7 Instant Pot Tips the Manual Doesn’t Tell You

There’s more you probably don’t know about your Instant Pot. Here are 7 hot tips for the hidden features of your favorite kitchen workhorse.

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You love it, but do you know all there is to know about your Instant Pot? We asked the author of the best-selling cookbook Instant Pot: 6 Ingredients or Less to share her insider tips for getting the most out of your Instant Pot.

1. It has a built-in lid holder!

The handles of newer models of IP are designed so that you can fit the flanges of the lid into the body of the appliance to hold the lid upright. Always open the lid away from you when opening the pot to allow steam to dissipate and drip back into the pot. Steam burns hurt!

2. Diffuse steam with a towel.

As mentioned, steam burns hurt. A lot. Always use a long-handled spoon to move the steam valve to “releasing” and throw a clean dish towel loosely over the valve in the lid to spread the steam so it’s not shooting directly into your kitchen walls at high speed.

3. The lid is top rack machine washable.

It’s fine to put the lid of your IP in the top rack of the dishwasher (pull the sealing ring out first and put that in the dishwasher, too.) Check the silicone sealing bits.

4. Clean the rim of the appliance, every time.

Just like a stovetop or a sauté pan, the recessed rim of the Instant Pot gets greasy fast. Be sure to clean it out thoroughly by dipping a piece of rolled up paper towel in hot soapy water and using it to scrub out the gunk in the rim. For detailed cleaning in the smaller crevices, I use a clean ear swab dipped in kitchen counter cleaner.

5. Don’t worry about the Keep Warm button.

Leaving the Keep Warm button on won’t affect the natural release time by more than a minute or so. If you forget to switch it off before you start cooking, don’t worry about it.

6. Soak those beans!

You can cook dried beans in the Instant Pot, but it’s tough to get uniformly cooked beans without some still crunchy and others burst to mush. If texture matters to you, I recommend soaking one pound of dried beans overnight in 3 quarts of water with 2 teaspoons of salt water before cooking then in the IP. The salt won’t slow the bean’s cooking, but it does help them to hold their shape under the intense conditions under pressure.

7. Stinky sealing rings aren’t a big deal.

The silicone sealing ring that comes with your Instant Pot will absorb all your cooking (hello, chicken curry). It’s nearly impossible to clean that smell out them (though running it the top rack of the dishwasher helps). Since the ring doesn’t actually touch the food, it won’t impart an off flavor to your food. That said, it’s not a bad idea to stash an extra sealing ring for desserts so you don’t have to smell curry while making cheesecake.

Make more use of your Instant Pot with these genius recipes and ideas: