Happy weekend everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and that you snagged some great deals yesterday (if that’s your thing!) I’ve had a hunch that a lot of retailers would offer a great deal on the Instant Pot this year, and it appears my hunch was correct! So in case any of you took advantage of those low prices and bought your first Instant Pot, I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice about how to get started using it! You’ll learn the step by step method for testing it out, and I’ll share some of the best very basic recipes that are perfect for beginners.
But before we get started, I want to let you know about my eBook Everything Instant Pot! It’s a great resource that’s jam-packed with useful information, including everything you’ll learn in today’s post (plus much more!) You can buy it in my shop, or download it for free if you’re an OGT Plus member!
Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about your new Instant Pot! Once it arrives in the mail and you pull it out of the box… what happens next?
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Start With The Water Test
Before you start cooking, the Instant Pot manual suggests performing what they call an Initial Water Test. Doing this “test” is an easy, low-stress way to learn how the Instant Pot works, make sure it’s working correctly, and clean it up before you start cooking. To do the Initial Water Test, just follow the five steps below.
How To Do The “Initial Water Test” In Your Instant Pot
Step 1 – Plug in your Instant Pot, and pour about 3 cups of water into the inner pot.
Step 2 – Lock the lid in place and turn the steam release handle to “Sealing.”
Step 3 – Select the “Steam” button and set the timer for 2 minutes.
Step 4 – Once the timer goes off, press “Cancel” to turn off the Instant Pot. Perform a Quick Release by turning the steam release handle to “Venting.” (This will cause steam to shoot out of the steam release valve, so be careful!)
Step 5 – Remove the lid from the pot, then wash the lid and inner pot with warm, soapy water.
After getting a little more familiar with your Instant Pot by doing the water test, you’ll be ready to start cooking! Below you’ll find a list of super simple Instant Pot “recipes” that are perfect for beginners. Start by making one or two of these foods, and you’ll be ready to tackle more complex recipes in no time!
9 Super Easy Instant Pot Recipes For Beginners
Pour your uncooked pasta into the inner pot, then add enough water so the water line sits 1″ above the pasta. Cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 4 minutes on High pressure. Once the timer goes off, do a Quick Release by turning the steam release handle.
Cooking pasta this way was one of the very first things I tried with my own Instant Pot. Now it’s the only method I use to cook pasta, because it’s so quick and easy! And the pasta turns out perfectly al dente every time.
Measure out the amount of rice you want to make and put it in the inner pot. Measure out the same amount of vegetable or chicken broth (a 1:1 ratio of rice to liquid) and pour it over the rice. Cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 4 minutes on High pressure. Once the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then use Quick Release to release any remaining pressure.
Set the trivet into the bottom of the inner pot, and pour in 1 cup of water. Place your eggs on the trivet, then cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 3-6 minutes (see below for cook times). When the timer goes off, use Quick Release and transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool.
- Cook 3 minutes for soft-cooked eggs with a runny yolk
- Cook 4-5 minutes for medium-cooked eggs with a soft yolk
- Cook 6 minutes for hard-cooked eggs with a fully set yolk
It might seem crazy to list cheesecake alongside basics like pasta and rice, but it’s really one of the easiest things I’ve made in my Instant Pot! It turns out perfect every single time, and all you need is a small springform pan that will fit inside the inner pot.
Get the recipe: Classic Cheesecake
5. White Bean Chicken Chili
This chicken chili is a great first meal to try, because everything gets cooked together! It’s straightforward to make, and deliciously comforting to eat. Get the simple recipe by following the link below. (It’s the first recipe in the list.)
Get the recipe: 25+ Delicious Instant Pot Recipes
6. Freezer Meals
Having freezer meals on hand can be a lifesaver when you’re rushing to get dinner on the table! Check out the link below for instructions on how to make 5 easy freezer meals. You’ll also find the simple instructions for cooking those frozen meals in your Instant Pot!
Get the recipes: 5 Easy Freezer Meals
7. Pot Roast
This is another great meal for beginners because it’s very simple. You’ll have a delicious pot roast on the dinner table in no time, and some veggies and potatoes to go with it! All you have to do is whip up some gravy (which you can easily do in your Instant Pot with the “Sauté” setting) and it’s dinner time!
Get the recipe: The Easiest And Most Delicious Pot Roast Dinner Ever
8. Steel-Cut Oats
Use a 3:1 ratio of water to oats. (Using 1 cup of dry oats and 3 cups of water, you’ll end up with around 4 servings of cooked oats.) Cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 5 minutes on High pressure. Do 10 minutes of Natural Release, then Quick Release the rest of the pressure.
Cooking steel-cut oats in your Instant Pot is SO much faster than cooking them on your stovetop. It’s perfect for those cold winter mornings when the only thing worth getting out of bed for is a warm and hearty breakfast. Top your cooked oats with fruit, nuts, peanut butter, maple syrup, or all of the above! :-)
Have you ever tried making your own vegetable or chicken stock? I definitely recommend it! It’s fast and easy to do in your Instant Pot, and you can use up a lot of food scraps you would normally throw away. (Onion and garlic skins, chicken bones, and vegetable peels are all fair game for stocks!)
Get the easy instructions for making chicken stock and vegetable stock in your Instant Pot at the link below!
Get the recipe: How To Make Homemade Chicken Or Veggie Stock
10. Dry Beans (with no pre-soaking!)
I’ve long known that dry beans were much, much cheaper to purchase and cook than canned beans, but they always seemed like so much work to prepare as compared to canned beans. The pre-soaking, the prep, and the cooking all made them seem not quite worth the trouble…
But then I discovered how simple they can be in the Instant Pot! Needless to say, now I take full advantage of the savings that come with making my own dry beans in my favorite pressure cooker. :-)
Get the Recipe: These Instant Pot Dry Beans are Cheap and Easy to Make!
Still Have Questions?
If you’re still getting to know your Instant Pot, I hope you’ll give one or two of these simple recipes a try. Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing! And if you still feel apprehensive, or have questions that weren’t answered in this post, check follow the link to the post below. In that post I addressed 11 of the most common questions people ask about Instant Pots, so there’s a good chance you’ll find your answer there!
What are you looking forward to cooking in your Instant Pot?