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10 Tiny Tweaks That Will Perfect Your Instant Pot Recipe

Are you tweaking your favorite Instant Pot recipe (like Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs)? We are, and it's making a huge difference!

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Instant PotShutterstock / Ken McKay/ITV/REX

I’ve had my Instant Pot for almost a year now, and I use it at least once a week. I’ve found some great recipes along the way, but I’ve also discovered some general tweaks that have helped me perfect any Instant Pot recipe. I have to say: my recipes turn out so much better now!

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Minestrone Soup made in Instant Pot Pressure CookerShutterstock / Siim79

Skip a Few Ingredients

If you’re turning your slow cooker favorites into Instant Pot hits, make sure you leave out any dairy (unless you’re making yogurt), alcohol or thickening ingredients like cornstarch or flour. These ingredients can taste scorched, acidic or too tart when cooked under pressure. Even worse, they may prevent the Instant Pot from building pressure correctly.

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Boiled rice in a white china bowl on a rustic blue wooden tableMaren Winter/Shutterstock

Forget the Rice Cooker Function

It’s handy that the Instant Pot has a rice cooker function, but you don’t need it! You’ll get the fluffiest rice if you use Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes (or 15 minutes for brown rice). For best results, add equal parts rice and water and manually release the pressure after 5 minutes.

Check out our beginner’s guide to preparing all kinds of rice.

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raw meat prepared for cooking on a kitchen boardShutterstock / Aksenya

Cut Large Roasts into Smaller Chunks

The Instant Pot definitely makes quick work of braising tough roasts, but it may take over an hour until they’re tender. Cut out some of the time and ensure your roasts are perfectly tender by cutting them into smaller pieces. This is especially useful when you’re making pulled pork or shredded chicken.

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Minestrone Soup made in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker; Shutterstock ID 774916423; Job: Taste of HomePhoto: Siim79 / Shutterstock

Use The Saute Button Often

Soups and braises made in a Dutch oven always taste great because you get to build layers of flavor. You can do the same thing in the Instant Pot by using the sauté button. Brown meat (even the frozen stuff!) and sweat vegetables before entering the pressure-cooking mode. Then, when your food is cooked, use sauté again to simmer in finishing ingredients like pasta.

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instant pot accessories sealant ringsAmazon / Instant Pot

Pick Up a Few Extra Sealing Rings

If you use your Instant Pot for sweet and savory cooking, you should consider picking up a few extra sealing rings. The rings have a tendency to hold onto food scents, and no one wants their morning oatmeal to smell like garlic!

Grab a pair for $12.

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Ultimate pot roastTaste of Home

Boil Frozen Meat Instead of Braising It

The Instant Pot is great at braising thawed roasts, but it doesn’t excel at braising a frozen hunk of meat. (Though, you definitely can!) Instead, completely cover the meat with liquid—water, broth, orange juice, whatever you choose. It will take longer to come up to pressure, but the meat will be much more tender.

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Very vanilla slow cooker cheesecakeTaste of Home

Use the Trivet

The Instant Pot comes with a trivet, so use it! In addition to steaming foods, this trivet is great for cooking pot-in-pot dishes (like cooking cheesecake in a springform pan) or for cooking multiple foods at once. Place the longer cooking item, like short ribs, in the liquid and steam your side-dish sweet potatoes above.

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Hard cooked eggsTaste of Home

Opt for High Pressure Cooking (Most of the Time)

Almost everything in the Instant Pot cooks better when you use High Pressure mode, so forget all those buttons that automatically set the pressure to low. There’s one exception to this rule: hard-boiled eggs come out perfect every time when using Low Pressure.

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Close up of a slow cooker working on kitchen shelfDevrim PINAR/Shutterstock

Adjust Your Expectations With the Slow Cooker Settings

You might think that the Instant Pot’s slow cooker setting for Less (or, Low on some models) actually means “Low,” but this setting is closer to a slow cooker’s “Warm” setting. Use this setting for hot-holding potluck food and soups, but use Normal (or Medium) for Low cooking and More (or High) for High cooking as you would in a traditional slow cooker.

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Open recipe book with fresh herbs and spices on wooden backgroundShutterstock / Pakhnyushchy

Write Down Your Successes (and Track Your Failures)

At least once a week, my husband and I turn to each other and say, “How long did we cook unsoaked beans the last time we made them?” There are a ton of Instant Pot recipes out there, but you’ll probably make changes along the way. Write them down (and how the meal turned out) so you remember for next time.

Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.