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This Instant Pot Cheat Sheet Simplifies Everything About Using Your Instant Pot

instant pot cooking times cheat sheet

Looking for the cheat sheet? Look for the yellow download box underneath the heading “Download My Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet” below!

Whether you’re brand new to the Instant Pot (learn everything you need to know about cooking with the Instant Pot here!) or have been using one for years, there are always going to be times when you have look up how to cook something. For instance, even though I’ve cooked hundreds of chicken breasts in my Instant Pot, I still have trouble remembering whether I should cook them for six minutes or eight! (Note to self: it’s six!)

As an antidote to my forgetfulness, as well as to make a useful resource I could share with others, I created my very own Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet! I keep this helpful reference guide at the ready in my kitchen so it’s always there when I need it.

I’ll be sharing my Instant Pot Cheat Sheet, both in printable PDF format and as a mobile-friendly download, a little later in this post. But before we get to those, I thought it would be helpful to review some of the basics of using the Instant Pot first. (Even seasoned users like myself can benefit from going back to basics!) :-)

instant pot cheat sheet

How To Use An Instant Pot: The Basics

While most Instant Pot models offer a dizzying variety of preset cooking programs, all those buttons can be a little intimidating! I always suggest sticking to using the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” option to begin with, because it’s the best way to master the fundamentals (in my humble opinion, at least!)

Older Instant Pots have the “Manual” button, but Instant Pot changed this button to “Pressure Cook” on newer models (even though they do the same thing.) Using this setting, you have control over a number of settings that you wouldn’t be able to adjust using the other program buttons, such as setting the cooking time and adjusting the pressure level. (I almost always use High pressure, but it never hurts to have options!) ;-)

You can use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” to cook almost any type of food in your Instant Pot, as long as you know a few basic pieces of information…

Note: The right accessories can also be a huge help when cooking in the Instant Pot. Check out this helpful list of Instant Pot accessories you’ll love!

instant pot cheat sheet

How Long Does It Take To Cook _______?

How long will the food take to cook? This can vary widely based on a number of different factors, including volume, size, and type of food. Even preference can play a role here!

instant pot cheat sheet

How Much Water Do I Add?

How much liquid do you need to add? Generally, you need to add at least 1 cup of liquid to the pot in order to generate the steam necessary for pressure cooking. If you don’t add enough liquid to the pot, it may never come to pressure. (It can also result in a “burn” error message, which means that the Instant Pot shut itself off it because it sensed the bottom of the pot was getting too hot.)

Any type of liquid will count toward that minimum of 1 cup, including water, broth, salsa, a sauce, and even the natural liquid trapped inside fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also choose to cook your food in the liquid or above it by resting it on a trivet.

instant pot cheat sheet

Quick Release? Or Natural Release?

Which pressure release method is best for the food you want to cook? How you depressurize the pot can make a big difference in the texture and moisture level of your food! The Quick Release is good for foods that can easily overcook, while Natural Release can be better for tenderizing tough meats (and for avoiding messy splatters from foods that tend to foam up while cooking, like beans and grains.)

Instant Pot Cooking Times

Between cooking time, liquid, and pressure release, knowing the cooking time is probably the most important piece of the puzzle. Here are Instant Pot cooking times for a number of common foods:

instant pot cheat sheet

Meat & Seafood

  • Always use Quick Release for seafood to avoid overcooking it!
  • Steaming is a great way to cook seafood. Place your seafood directly onto the trivet, or use a steaming rack.
  • Allow at least 10 minutes of Natural Release for meat, or a bit longer for large cuts and roasts, then Quick Release the remaining pressure.
  • Use the “Sauté” setting to sear large cuts of meat before pressure cooking. It helps seal in moisture and adds extra flavor!
Type of Meat/SeafoodCook Time
Beef (pot roast, rump, round, chuck; small chunks)13 minutes per pound
Beef (pot roast, rump, round, chuck; large cut)15 minutes per pound
Beef (ribs)25 minutes
Chicken (breasts, boneless, fresh)6 minutes
Chicken (breasts, boneless, frozen)8 minutes
Chicken (thighs, bone-in)10 minutes
Chicken (whole)8 minutes per pound
Fish (fillets, fresh)2 minutes
Fish (fillets, frozen)4 minutes
Fish (whole)5 minutes
Meatballs (any ground meat)8 minutes per pound
Pork (loin roast)20 minutes per pound
Pork (butt roast)15 minutes per pound
Pork (ribs)20 minutes
Shrimp2 minutes
Turkey (breast, boneless)8 minutes
Turkey (breast, whole)22 minutes
Turkey (drumsticks)20 minutes
instant pot cheat sheet

Rice & Grains

  • When cooking rice and other grains, use Natural Release for 10 minutes, then Quick Release the remaining pressure.
Type of Rice/GrainGrain : Water RatioCooking Time
Couscous1 : 23 minutes
Millet1 : 210 minutes
Oats (quick)1 : 21 minute
Oats (old fashioned)1 : 210 minutes
Oats (steel-cut)1 : 215 minutes
PastaEnough water to cover4 minutes
Quinoa1 : 1.251 minute
Rice (basmati, jasmine, white)1 : 14 minutes
Rice (brown)1 : 125 minutes
Rice (wild)1 : 120 minutes
instant pot cheat sheet

Beans & Legumes

  • When cooking beans, allow at least 10 minutes of Natural Release, followed by a Quick Release of the remaining pressure.
  • When cooking dried beans, never fill the pot more than halfway, as they expand quite a bit during cooking.
  • Always use enough liquid to cover the beans.
  • Pre-soaking your beans isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does make them cook a bit faster.
Type of Bean/LegumeCooking Time
Black beans25 minutes (8 if soaked)
Chickpeas40 minutes (15 if soaked)
Great Northern beans25 minutes (8 if soaked)
Kidney beans (red)25 minutes (8 if soaked)
Kidney beans (white)35 minutes (12 if soaked)
Lentils (green or brown)10 minutes
Lentils (red, split)6 minutes
Lentils (yellow, split)20 minutes
Navy25 minutes (8 if soaked)
Pinto25 minutes (8 if soaked
Peas8 minutes
instant pot cheat sheet

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Steaming is a great method for cooking fruits and veggies. Place the trivet or a steamer basket in the inner pot, along with at least 1 cup of water.
  • Always perform a Quick Release after cooking fruits or veggies.
Type of Fruit/VeggieCooking Time
Apple (pieces)2 minutes
Apples (whole)4 minutes
Artichoke (whole, trimmed)10 minutes
Beans (green, yellow, or wax)1 minute (3 if frozen)
Broccoli (florets)1 minute (3 if frozen)
Broccoli (stalks)3 minutes (4 if frozen)
Brussels sprouts (whole)3 minutes (4 if frozen)
Carrots (whole or chunked)6 minutes (8 if frozen)
Corn (on the cob)4 minutes (6 if frozen)
Mixed veggies3 minutes (5 if frozen)
Pears (whole)3 minutes
Pears (slices)2 minutes
Potatoes (cubed)4 minutes (5 if frozen)
Potatoes (baby, whole)8 minutes
Potatoes (large, whole)13 minutes
Sweet potato (cubed)4 minutes (5 if frozen)
Sweet potato (whole)12 minutes
instant pot cheat sheet

Download My Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

As you can see, keeping track of that many Instant Pot cooking times could be a tall order indeed! That’s why I decided to put together my very own Instant Pot Cooking Times “Cheat Sheet” as a way to quickly look up the cooking times for a select number of foods I cook frequently.

But my Instant Pot Cheat Sheet features more than just cooking times. It has a lot of other useful information too, like pressure release designations, tips about cooking frozen foods, and more! (I’ll go over those features in detail a little later.)

I’ve made my Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet available in two different formats, both of which you can download for free! Use the first link to download the Cheat Sheet as a printable PDF file. Use the second link to download a mobile-friendly image file that’s perfect for smartphones and tablets.

Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

Use the button below to download a printable PDF file of my Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet!

Instant pot cooking times infographic.

Download The Cheat Sheet

Instant Pot Cooking Times (Mobile Version)

Use the button below to download a mobile-friendly image file of my Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet for smartphones or tablets.

Instant pot cooking times poster.

Download The Mobile Version

instant pot cheat sheet

3 Tips For Using The Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

1. Pressure Release Designations

The symbol in the upper-right corner of each box tells you which pressure release method to use after cooking that item:

  • Stopwatch: Use the Quick Release method by (carefully) turning the pressure release handle to rapidly release steam and pressure from the pot.
  • Steam: Use the Natural Release method by simply allowing the pressure to escape naturally, until the valve drops and the lid unlocks.
  • No. 10: Use a combination of both pressure release methods by allowing the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then turning the pressure release handle to release any remaining pressure in the pot.

2. Sauté Designation

Wondering which foods you ought to sauté before pressure cooking them? Look for foods that have a fire symbol in the lower-left corner of their box!

The “Sauté” function provides an easy, no-fuss way to add a deeper and more savory flavor to your food (especially meats!) Just add some oil to the pot, sear your meat on all sides until it’s nice and brown, then hit Cancel and proceed with your desired cooking method.

3. Cooking From Frozen

In the upper right corner of the cheat sheet, you’ll find a note about how to adjust your cooking time for frozen foods. A good rule of thumb is to add 1-3 minutes to your cook time if you’re cooking from frozen rather than thawing it first.

Add 1 minute to your cook time if you’re cooking a relatively small amount of frozen food, like a couple of chicken breasts. Add 2 minutes if you’re cooking a moderate amount of food, like a roast, and add 3 minutes for large quantities of food.

Keep in mind that when cooking frozen foods, your Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure. (That’s why you only need to add a minute or two of cooking time, because the food will be thawing as heat and pressure build inside the pot.)

More Useful Instant Pot Resources

What’s your favorite thing to cook in your Instant Pot, or what would you like to try first?

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Bright Ideas

  • What air fryer do you have?
    Cause it does make a difference if it’s different.
    I have a non toxic air fry . Ceramic Non-Stick Air Fryer 1400-Watt 5.3-QT Digital Touchscreen Stainless Steel Oven (5.3QT).See mine is 1400 watt 5.3 quart.

  • Ladies (AND Gents, too)! Just a passing thought about the eccentricities of the IP times. Could the altitude have anything to do with the problems that sometimes crop up when trying out someone else’s recipe??? I can and it is done under pressure, too. Altitude is key with that. Maybe this is similar? Just a thought. BTW not my thought. A random suggestion by my partner who was half listening to my chattering this morning! I thought it might have merit and am passing it along to those who are more in tune with this stuff. I freely admit I am fairly new to the I P and canning. Both techniques are so fun!!! LOVE cooking and creating in the kitchen. Carol

  • I’ll start by saying where i’m from crock pots are not a very popular thing. So, I found, on sale, a pot with same functions as your pictured instant pot, only it’s a crockpot. but what’s in a name :) (I’d post a picture but I don’t know if I’m allowed due to advertising). So I was wondering do you use your instant pot as a crock pot/slow cooker? as it has the slow cook function. Thank you!

    • Vanja, you can absolutely use the crock pot feature. I use mine. It’s nice when you have limited counter space. Although you can convert most recipes from a crock pot to a pressure cooker and save quite a bit of cooking time, some recipes are still better with a crock pot. On holidays, I will sometimes use both my instant pot and pull out my crock pot so I can multitask and work on a few recipes at a time.

  • Is there any way to easily print your articles? I know that the ads give you revenue but the way they are placed is a real pain when one tries to print.

  • Great cheat sheet – but I can’t print it in color, even though that’s the way it comes up initially on the screen. And, no, it’s not my printer – I’ve never had this issue before. Any ideas? Useful, whether in color or black and white, but would like color better —

  • Thanks for this Jillee, but I have to disagree with you about brown rice, I have cooked it three times now and it’s been perfect (for me) twice, the first time I made it, I didn’t wash the rice, it was delicious, nutty and slightly chewy. The second time, I washed the rice and it just wasn’t anywhere near as nice, in fact I threw the rest away. The third time was the same as the first. I used two cups of rice to two and a half cups of water, cooked it on high for 15 mins, 5 mins SR and then QR.

  • Hi! Thanks for sharing the chart! I’m still a little confused, though. Do you cook the chicken breast without adding any additional water or liquid?? And how many chicken breast are you recommending for the 6 minute cook time?

    And for hard boiling the eggs, how many eggs does that include? Is it the same time for 3 eggs or 10 eggs?

    • Hi Ashli!

      No, you always need 1 cup of liquid or more in the Instant Pot, or it won’t come to pressure! For the chicken breasts, I suggest chicken broth, bbq sauce, salsa, or any other flavorful liquid that will go with the rest of your meal.

      The time listed for chicken breast is for anywhere from 3-6 chicken breasts. If you’re only cooking one or two chicken breasts, decrease the time by one minute. :-)

      Yes, the time for hard boiled eggs will work for 3 or 10 eggs! I hope that answers all of your questions.

      • The cheat sheet confused me as well. Some of them had liquid amounts (oats, rice, noodles) but the others didn’t. I had read you needed 1 cup of liquid no matter what, but I’m glad someone else asked this. I didn’t know it could be bbq sauce, salsa, or any flavorful liquid though – that’s awesome! Thanks Jillee! I just got my Instant Pot and need all the help I can get!

  • I just got an instant pot. Haven’t used it yet but reading about it allI can. I’m wondering whay kinds of containers can be used in it. Can you use anything that can go in the oven and fits in the Instant Pot? For instance, the ramekins you use look like the ones I have and they are for the oven. I don’t see anything like this on the Instant Pot website.
    Thanks for all the good information!

  • Do you think each instant pot can cook a little different? Some of the times are way off for what works in my instant pot, ex I cooked potatoes for 10 minutes and they were way over cooked. On facebook the conciseness seems to be for beans 40 minutes is the correct time. Although I love my instant pot I find I have to change the cook time for most recipes. I end up with over or under cooked food all time.

    • The Instant Pot is a peculiar device, and there are definitely large ranges of time that will work everyone. Find what works for you, and stick with it! :-)

  • Thanks for the wonderful info sheet. I love my instant pot. Actually, bought one for each of my daughter and daughter in laws as Christmas gifts.

  • We love our instant pot. I’ll have to see if my mom wants this chart.On the blowing up.the kitchen . One of my Aunts had that happen many years ago. Some crazy freak accident where she was making root beer when they had the old models. I can’t remember the details, but it exploded somehow.,It blew up Their kitchen and she also ended up with a broken arm as a result. That really scared my folks about using a regular pressure cooker for a long time. The instant pots now I think are much safer to use.

  • Thank you this is very helpful. I printed a copy and placed it inside a protective plastic sheet held up with a magnet on the fridge (moved a pic of my mother in law lower on the fridge ….lol). Let’s see if the hubby will notice.

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