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7 Instant Pot Mistakes You Should Avoid

Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

I’ve used my Instant Pots hundreds of times but I still make mistakes. Here are some of my most recent mistakes. Sometimes failure is the best way to learn! Maybe you could learn from my mistakes.

7 Instant Pot Mistakes You Should Avoid In The Kitchen

MISTAKE #1: FORGETTING TO PUT IN YOGURT STARTER

Since I make this recipe so often I don’t even need to look at instructions anymore. I just have the process memorized: Warm up the milk to 180 degrees, cool the milk to 90 degrees, add in the yogurt starter and then cook on the yogurt setting for 8-10 hours, cook the yogurt and strain the yogurt.

The last time I made yogurt I took it straight from the cooling process to the Instant Pot and forgot to stir in my starter (which is just 2 Tbsp of yogurt). LUCKILY I remembered about an hour later and stirred it in and it worked. Otherwise I would have woken up to warm milk and not to yogurt. That would have been a sad day!

My yogurt recipe: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-greek-yogurt/

MISTAKE #2: COOKING BY TIME INSTEAD OF BY THICKNESS

Most of the time you can go by simple rules like “cook a frozen chicken breast for 1 minute for every ounce.” But the thickness of a particular food like a sweet potato or big hunk of meat is more important in determining pressure cooking time than just weight alone. And sometimes when I’m being lazy I’ll throw a super large potato in the pot and expect it to cook at the same rate as my medium-size potato. The Instant Pot is magical but it’s not that magical. Common sense does need to come into play!

So when you read that doubling the recipe doesn’t mean you double the cooking time that is true but remember…doubling the THICKNESS of meats, veggies, and other foods does require increasing cook time.

MISTAKE #3: NOT GIVING MYSELF ENOUGH TIME

Sometimes I underestimate the time that a recipe is going to take from start to finish. The Instant Pot usually takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure (less if the pot is less full with hot liquid and more if the pot is fuller and with lots of cold liquid).

MISTAKE #4: NOT NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASING MEATS

As I mentioned in mistake #3 sometimes I don’t give myself enough time. This can lead to me quick releasing foods in the Instant Pot that I really should let natural pressure release. One time I made a pork roast and I was so behind schedule and so ready to eat that I did a quick release after the roast had cooked for 70 minutes. This was a big mistake because what could have been awesome pull apart shredded pork was more like a large paperweight. Wah!!!

MISTAKE #5: SEALING RING NOT IN PLACE

Each time you put the lid on your Instant Pot make sure the sealing ring is in place. Otherwise, the pot won’t be able to reach pressure.

MISTAKE #6: HALVING RECIPES I SHOULDN’T

I am the only person in my family that will eat oatmeal happily. So sometimes I try to halve a steel-cut oats recipe that I read online. The problem with this is that steel-cut oats absorb so much of the liquid that half of them stick to the bottom of the pot. Really I must remember that if want to halve steel-cut oats (or other moisture-absorbing foods like rice or grains) I should use the pot-in-pot method with a trivet.

MISTAKE #7: OVERCOOKING DOUBLED RECIPES

Sometimes when I use my 8-quart pot I get into trouble. The other day Greg and I were cooking dinner for some of his family. We decided to make homestyle chicken and veggies in the 8-quart pot. We also decided to double the recipe because we wanted to have lots of food for everyone.

This recipe is a little finicky because it has cut-up pieces of chicken breast (cook quickly), cut-up potatoes (cook quickly), and green beans (cook quickly). The recipe calls for a 5 minute pressure cooking time. But because I doubled the recipe and used an 8-quart pot it took what seemed like FOREVER for the pot to come to pressure. This meant that by the time the pot reached pressure the food was probably already overcooked. When we removed the lid the potatoes were complete mush and the chicken was tough. Sad sad sad day.

Remember when your pot takes longer to come to pressure (because of fullness or because it’s a larger pot) the food is still in there cooking away! This doesn’t matter much for roasts and dried beans and foods that require long pressure cooking times. But for soft little red potatoes, it matters a lot!

So there you have it! Those are some of the most common mistakes I make with my Instant Pot. I’d love to know…What are some of yours?

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