The Instant Pot Starter Guide for Me and You

This is for everyone who ordered an Instant Pot recently. It's an Instant Pot Starter Guide - all the Instant Pot links, references, and resources I've collected.

The Instant Pot Starter Guide for Me and You

This is for everyone who ordered an Instant Pot recently, and also, somewhat selfishly, for myself. It's an Instant Pot Starter Guide - all the links, references, and resources I've collected as I get to know my 9-in-1 Instant Pot. I've also compiled 40 Essential Instant Pot Links, and have a (growing!) collection of Instant Pot recipes. Also, If you're still thinking about purchasing an Instant Pot or Multi-cooker, this buying tool might help. It can help you decide which Instant Pot / multi-cooker / pressure cooker to purchase based on the features important to you: Instant Pot Buying Guide.

Let me start by saying, my road to the Instant Pot hasn't exactly been straight. I like to think I shy away from of-the-moment appliances, and instead, have collected a good number of donabe, flameware, and other clay cooking vessels that I cherish and cook with regularly. That said, I've been increasingly intrigued by sweeping Instant Pot mania (couldn't be later to the party, I know). Additionally, some of my favorite cooks are making magic, or at least dinner, with them.

What tipped the balance? One of my favorite cookbook authors released Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot. I buy every Melissa Clark book. Every one. So, it seemed like the time to join the Instant Pot tribe, and have a little fun. Also, the newest Instant Pot has a yogurt function! And, furthermore, it has eight other functions - pressure, slow cooker, rice cooker, egg cooker, sauté mode, steamer, and on and on. Oh, and people are baking cakes in them?! Woah.

Instant Pot Starter Guide

First impression stepping into this world? It's a lot. My guess is that many of you are either looking for instruction and inspiration (like me), or you are way ahead, and have your own favorite resources. So that's what this post is about. I actually needed an Instant Pot Starter Guide, and suspect many of you might as well.

I'm going to include my "best-of" list here, including anything that catches my attention, anything I don't want to lose track of - and I'll try to keep this list updated over time. But, please, if you're seasoned in the Instant Pot arts, with ideas, favorite tricks, inspiration, and whatnot - please (please!) leave a comment. And lastly, as I work on recipes, I'll link to favorites here:


- Instant Pot Mushroom Stroganoff with Vodka (make this!)
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Congee (game-changer)
- Instant Pot Chickpea Cauliflower Korma
- Instant Pot Fiasco Beans
- Instant Pot Brown Rice Bowl with Chickpeas (PIP)
- 10 Minute Instant Pot Mushroom Broth
- Instant Pot Indian-spiced Simmer Sauce
- Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili with Kahlua (Instant Pot slow cook or pressure cook)
- Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac
- Instant Pot Dynamite Cold Tonic
- Instant Pot Herbed Chickpea Plov


- This is the Instant Pot I purchased: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 Also! Note, there are over 1000 questions answered on this page. A lot of good questions, a lot of good answers.


The official Instant Pot site, it has videos, updated information related to the different models available, FAQs, and a recipe database. There is also a lively Facebook community, and Pinterest page. There is also an official Instant Pot Cookbook: The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante.


- How To Use an Instant Pot: A Guide by Melissa Clark (NY Times)

- This is How to Become an Instant Pot Whisperer (101 Cookbooks)

- The Instant Pot manual has tables with timing recommendations, this site has more.

- Inside the Home of Instant Pot, the Kitchen Gadget That Spawned a Religion (NY Times)

- Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans & Pressure Cooking Guide (PDF)


- Why Do Cooks Love the Instant Pot? I Bought One to Find Out (NY Times)

- The Instant Pot Cult is Real (TASTE)

- Send Help: I'm (Kind Of) Falling in Love With the Instant Pot (Food52)

- I Tried The $99 Kitchen Gadget That Everyone's Obsessed With (Buzzfeed)

- After Cooking All My Meals in an Instant Pot for a Week, I Get What All the Hype Is About (Self)


I want to make amazing thali plates with this thing. That's my personal holy grail of Instant Potting.

- Ministry of Curry Instant Pot Recipes

- Ten Instant Pot Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less (The Kitchn)

- Detoxinista / Instant Pot Recipes

- Cook With Manali / Instant Pot Recipes

- Five One Pot Indian Stews (Tasting Table)

- I'm excited about the concept of layering (or, pot-in-pot cooking)! For example, you use racks and containers to cook multiple recipes, like this one. - An explanation of PIP (pot-in-pot) cooking. And here's another one. And a great comprehensive video.

- Instant Pot Hot Sauce (Simply Happy Foodie)

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Gah! So happy to find particular yr link to Melissa Clark’s guide because we both know she can be trusted. Just got an instapot…my smarterthanme wife just wanted a crock pot…and dang it’s complicated! Fingers and toes crossed all yr links will set me on the right path. I’ll start tomorrow with your Fiasco Bean soup. Thanks!

Rick Saunders

thank you for this useful and detailed guide. Very helpful!


Thank You! I know I’m not the only one intimidated by this new appliance. I appreciate you sharing this information.

Brenda Crain

Unfortunately your Instant Pot Buying Guide led me a bit astray . I just purchased the Duo Mini because I wanted a 3-quart size, and then discovered that I can’t use it to cook black rice in. The “rice” setting is only for white rice, as the guide explains. For black rice you’d need the Multigrain setting, which the Duo Mini doesn’t have.

So I’d recommend adding to your “required features” the ability to cook black rice and other multigrain varieties (or whatever that category of rice is called).


    Hi Kelly, my sense is that you can just figure out the appropriate cooking time for black rice, and input it manually. You don’t actually need a multigrain button. Give it a try. I’d give it a try at 23 minutes high pressure, and then let it natural release for 10-15, and quick release the rest. Give it a try!

    Heidi Swanson

Your books are central to my cooking. Glad to see your take on the IP. I usually just cook for myself and bought the IP Mini. I love it for beans, grains and soups. However, it is small (that is why I bought it), so I’m trying to becoming adept in converting recipes. Would be great to see the Mini acknowledged as a fine appliance for folks living alone.


Claudia, I posted above saying that I didn’t really think the Instant Pot was for me, partly because it was so big. But I bought the 3Q when I saw it on sale last week. So far I have boiled eggs and cooked beans (22 min from dry), and then today made Heidi’s Indian-flavored tomato sauce. I definitely like the small size, for my small kitchen and generally two-person household. I’m grateful Heidi has gotten into it, her recipes are always spot on. I want to try the mushroom stroganoff next.

HS: Thanks Summer! Let me know how it goes in the 3QT!


I just looked on amazon and there is a 3qt version. As a single gal with no kids this may be perfect. However its not the plus style. Is there much of a difference between the two versions I wonder. The price point is double for the 6qt plus.. Anyone have the mini version?


Heidi, would you, please, share how you decided about the size? I haven’t seen the instant pot in person and can not decide between the 6 and 8 qt. Thank you, klara

HS: I think I would have been happy with either? The 6qt. just seems more reasonable for my kitchen. It’s not huge, not small either. If I was regularly cooking for 4+ I think I’d get the 8 qt. – for the leftover factor. With the 6 qt. you wont end up with as many leftovers. 🙂


Hi Heidi! So glad you are doing Insta-Pot recipes because I’m getting one for Christmas. Cannot wait to try it and see what the craze is all about which I am sure it’s a good kind of craze.. bye!


I have had my IP for about 2 years now, we love it
2 words hardboiled eggs


I love my Instant Pot and use it weekly to cook grains and dried beans – I tell fellow vegetarians that if you find no other use for an IP try this. Am starting to move into soups and stews with the onset of winter, mainly just by playing around with my usual favorites and trying them in the IP instead of stovetop. As a vegetarian, I feel I have to work harder to find “main dish” recipes for it (same with my crockpot), so I’m really excited to see what you cook! I have made a few recipes from the cookbook “Vegan Under Pressure” by Jill Nussinow and recommend it.


While I’m drawn to these multi-cookers, I’m having a hard time justifying the purchase and having another appliance around. I have a slow cooker that I use maybe twice a month; I’m retired and time is not usually an issue for me; I love to cook and try new recipes. Can anyone give me a good argument for why I should buy one? Thanks!


Thanks so much- I missed the cyber Monday deal but hope to get an IP soon. I have to say, I received a Breville Fast Slow Cooker as a gift and it’s been a huge disappointment. Very uneven. I thought that maybe because it had too many functions, and toyed with the idea of getting just a plain ol’ slow cooker. But after reading so many great reviews- and now yours- I think I am sold.

HS: Hi Susan! I plan on playing around with the Breville a bit as well at some point. I’ll let you know what I think! So far, I’m into the IP, and am going to play with the slow cooker function this week – more soon!

Susan Iseman

I have mine for about a year, and haven’t used it much. I find that many recipes I find are not all that healthy (i.e. heavy on sauce (and spice), neither of which I like) but some of the ones on your links look good. Yogurt was one of the reasons i bought it, but once I looked at the instructions, I decided to stick to my “heat, cool, put into glass jars in the oven with the oven light on” method. it actually takes less time than the IP yogurt recipe.

HS: Hi Peri – I’m hoping I can come up with some recipes that tick all the good boxes! 🙂


You missed some of the best sources of Ip recipes -especially for newbies: this old gal, pressure luck, two sleevers, dad cooks dinner, nom nom paleo. Tried and true recipes!

HS: Thanks Nancy – I’ll try to do some recipe highlights in the future that highlight their veg-centric recipes!

Nancy travers

Hi Heidi, I’d be curious to learn of your experience making yogurt in the IP. I use two aging Salton 1-qt. yogurt makers no longer available except when one stumbles upon them on eBay or in a thrift store. They’re great, making delicious, creamy yogurt, but I doubt they’ll last another 25 years! Getting a workable alternative yogurt maker with the IP may just tip me over to the “actual” last convert! p.s. I love your attachment to cooking tools – I share that particular obsession.

Susan Stone

I love my Instant Pot so much and am always looking for new recipes–thanks for those links! Things I use it for the most: boiled eggs–so easy to peel. Melissa Clark has great instructions in her book. Dried beans–since I presoak, I just put them in the cooker with water, salt, and any aromatics the night before, and set the timer so they are ready when I get home from work. Steel cut oats: setting the cooker the night before and having oatmeal ready for the kids in the morning when they get up has been a game changer (I try to time it so it isn’t left on “warm” too long as they start to stick on the bottom after a while). And if all else fails, you can whip up a pot of red lentil soup in about 20 minutes flat. Have fun tinkering!


I have owned an Instant Pot for about a year and a half now, and I’m still learning the ins and outs of it! Surprisingly, I really like the slow cooker function. My slow cooker bit the dust a few months ago, and I love that I have one less appliance taking up room in my cupboards. Haha!

Erica Kastner | Buttered Side Up

Thank you for the resources! i bought one, not sure if I should give it to my granddaughter who does not cook, or keep it for me. I am at the same point, I have a lot of appliances and question if I need one more, but I do feel like I need a pressure cooker and the IP seemed like a logical choice since there are many recipes. I have trusted your blog and cookbooks for several years so thank you for verifying my choice!


Thanks thanks …. I really needed this introduction in one place altogether. Even if I’m part of the Fb group where is easy to follow and can ask in the moment any question.
The more you know of IP is essential to use it for the everyday simple cooking.
Thanks again!! (From Santiago, Chile)

Luz Santa Maria

I bought an Instant Pot last year on Black Friday, and ended up returning it after reading the instructions and also seeing how big it was. I have a small kitchen and decided I didn’t want to devote the space to this appliance. I am a vegetarian and beyond cooking beans and grains, didn’t see much use for it. Maybe I could steam eggs, but I have no problem doing that with a stovetop pot and steam rack. And I love having a pot of beans slowly cooking on the stove on a winter day! I hope you are happy with your purchase, and I’m sure you will come up with lots of original uses for it. Maybe I’ll even be convinced at some point that it’s worth getting!


I jokingly call mine the risotto maker as it is the only thing I have found it useful for in the last year of owning it. I will admit we have risotto about once a week now however, so I have gotten use out of it. I actually enjoy having a pot of soup simmering on the stove or something in the dutch oven roasting.


The InstantPot is an absolutely GAME CHANGER.
We now own two! Haha.


I’m so curious what you’re going to make in this thing! I’ve been trying to get a feel for how the IP would be better suited to cook vegetarian meals than the good old Dutch oven and haven’t really been convinced yet.


Those of us with Instant Pots can never get enough. Thank you! I have one little tip that may or may not be covered in your resources… To use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker, you have to ditch the pressure cooker lid altogether and either order the IP glass lid or find one in your kitchen that fits. For some strange reason, it will not generate enough heat to cook anything, even over 10 hours, if you have the IP lid on. Happy cooking, Heidi! I’ll be watching for some tasty H. Swanson IP recipes!

Patrice Berry

thank you for this…. i found your site when I was a stay at home mom with a limited budget for food, and i wanted to be gourmet… your journal has helped me be gourmet and healthy. i am super grateful for your site. and now i want that instant pot! thank you!

HS: Thanks for the nice note Emily! Much appreciated. xo!


I ordered the same one as you and it is out for delivery today so this couldn’t be more timely! I will bookmark this page and come back to it when I need to, and I’ll also check back to see what you’re doing with it. Thanks for this list of resources.


I LOVE my instant pot. I use it once a week a marathon cooking/cleaning session – a week of steel cut oats, a week’s worth of brown rice, and whatever soup flavor I’m in the mood for (curried cauliflower, chili, and a potato leek have been on constant rotation the past few months). Within 3 hours, I have plenty of food for the week, and my condo is sparkling since I clean during the pressure process! Looking forward to seeing what you use yours for (maybe an experiment with vegan yogurt??).


Thanks for this comprehensive resource Heidi. I bought the Breville Multi Chef a few months ago (mainly for different kinds of rice) and it is amazing, cooks any kind of rice in about 12 minutes. But have been looking and looking at Instant Pot wondering whether it will be worth all the hype especially because of the no-meat vegetarian aspect of cooking on most days. Would it really eliminate the need for say a rice cooker, a pressure cooker and a slow cooker? Because that alone should free up a lot of bench/cabinet space. Only problem is, we don’t get the Instant Pot here in Australia (just like every other thing out there, we are the last ones to get anything of interest). Will probably have to get one from Amazon UK and replace the cable. It all comes down to whether it is worth all the extra effort. I am very keen to hear how you go with your cooking and will keep an eye out for updates on this post. Love from down under! x

Sneh | Cook Republic

This is fantastic – thank you for posting this! I’ve had my IP for almost a year but have remained a little intimated. I have made some wonderful things (Bare root girl’s Maple Smoked Brisket, for instance) but the thing I make again and again is bone broth. So easy and comes out perfectly every time. I buy “soup bones” (and even chicken feet!) from a local rancher and co-op I’m a part of or I’ll just use carcasses left over from roasting. I fill with filtered water to just shy of the max line (to make room for the veggies I add in later) and pour in 2T apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30min to 1 hour to extract the minerals and gelatin. Then i add a couple of chopped carrots and celery, a few smashed garlic cloves and an onion quartered (skin on for color!), close the lid, set to “soup” mode (high pressure for 2 hrs) and let it automatically switch to warm mode overnight (up to 10 hrs). I strain, cool and jar the next morning! I usually get close to 4 quarts of broth ready to sip, cook with or freeze for later!


I own a similar multi-cooker and I use it at least twice a week. I love it. Your Rasam recipe (which is incredible) works beautifully this way.


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