10 Common Instant Pot Mistakes to Avoid

Learn the most common Instant Pot mistakes to avoid as a new user so you can be successful with your favorite pressure cooker recipes from the start!

Instant Pot set for 15 minutes with a label about making mistakes

At first glance, your Instant Pot can be pretty overwhelming. Maybe you haven’t even unboxed your new Instant Pot, or you’re just plain intimidated by it.

There are a number of mistakes new Instant Pot users make, all of which you can avoid by reading my tips. The more familiar you are with your electric pressure cooker, the more you can do to ensure a successful first use!

As you keep learning how to use your instapot, you’ll find that there are so many Instant Pot uses you hadn’t thought of before. It’s truly a wonderful kitchen gadget that my family uses almost daily.

Before you get started, check out these common Instant Pot mistakes

1. You Forget to Put the Inner Pot Back

Your kitchen can get a little chaotic during meal time. Am I right?

You’re rushing around to get dinner on the table, but you’ve made one critical error! You’ve poured your recipe ingredients into your Instant Pot, but forgot to put the inner pot back after rinsing it!

This is one of the most common mistakes across both novice and experienced Instant Pot users, but it’s one that can seriously damage your Instant Pot.

To avoid this error, put the lid, or even your cooking spoon, on top of the Instant Pot as a reminder when you remove the inner pot.

2. You Overfilled Your Instant Pot

Every Instant Pot has a max fill line on the inside of the pot. When you fill liquid past this line, you risk clogging the vent, which could mean big problems down the road.

If you accidentally fill past the max fill line, don’t panic. The simple fix is just using the natural pressure release to relieve the pressure, remove the extra liquid, re-seal the pot and start over.

3. You Used Quick Release for Foamy Food or When Your Instant Pot was Overfilled

Have you ever seen those pictures of failed Instant Pot recipes with food all over the outside and the counter? This is the reason why!

If you’re not sure when to use the quick pressure release or natural pressure release, it could result in a big mess, and one of the biggest Instant Pot mistakes.

When making foamy foods, if you use Quick Release, you risk splattering so be sure to keep a close eye on your Instant Pot while cooking. When making foamy food, you should always use the natural release to avoid splattering.

4. You Hit the Timer Button When Setting Your Cooking Time

When you press the timer button on your Instant Pot, you’re not setting your cooking time! The timer button is for delayed cooking, and will be lit green when ready.

If you see that your timer button is lit green, press your keep warm or cancel button and your Instant Pot will begin cooking again.

5. You Forgot to Put the Venting Knob in the Sealing Position

One of the most common mistakes new Instant Pot users make is forgetting to turn the venting knob to the sealing position. You’ll know it’s in the sealing position when the floating valve has popped up.

If you hear your pressure cooker hissing, you’ve probably left that valve open. Just use a spoon or something similar to move it back into a sealed position and it should be able to keep cooking. However, if most of the liquid has escaped, you may want to stop cooking, release pressure and check the water inside before proceeding so you don’t end up with a burned pot.

6. You Put Your Instant Pot on the Stove

When you have very little counter space, you may try to move your Instant Pot to the stove top to save some space. You should never put your InstantPot on the stove – this could lead to accidentally burning the bottom of your Instant Pot!

Remember this about the lid too. Someone set the lid of my first Instant Pot on the stove, and a burner melted the lid! Better to be safe than sorry.

7. You Used Too Much Liquid

Adding too much liquid to your Instant Pot will increase your cooking time. This can mean accidentally overcooking your food, diluting your seasoning or creating a bland dish.

To avoid this issue, make sure you are not filling past the full line, but not using less than the minimum. And be sure that you don’t add more liquid than any recipe calls for unless you know exactly why you’re doing it.

8. You Forgot to Put the Sealing Ring Back

The lid of your InstantPot has something called a sealing ring. This ring is made of silicone and will tend to absorb the smells of all the food you cook. This leads to many users removing this piece and washing or airing out the ring.

The mistake comes when people forget to put it back before their next use. Just as we put that wooden spoon there to remind us not to forget the inner pot, make sure you leave a reminder to keep you from forgetting to put back the sealing ring.

There’s nothing worse than a wasted meal because of a simple misjudgment.

9. You Used the Rice Button to Cook All Types of Rice

Cooking rice in the Instant Pot is one of our favorite ways to use it. The rice button is not an all-in-one solution for making rice though. Different types of rice will require different amounts of water to rice ratios, and that will change the cooking time.

There are also certain types of rices and grains that will require use of the Multi-Grain button. So, when making rice, quinoa or another grain, be sure that you’re following the right instructions for preparing those grains.

10. You Used Hot Liquid Instead of Cold

The last of the Instant Pot mistakes is to using the wrong temperature of water. Pay close attention to whether your recipe calls for hot or cold liquid. Using hot instead of cold can lead to undercooking your meal and shortening your cook time.

As you can see, there are many common errors people make with their Instant Pot when they’re getting started and even when they’re experienced. I hope reading these tips for new users was helpful for you.

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