Instant Pot Basics

Start Here (Pressure Cooker Basics)

It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by your new Instant Pot. But don’t panic! Let’s walk through the basics of pressure cookers so you can increase your kitchen confidence and feel ready and willing to conquer pressure cooking! It won’t take long before your pressure cooker will become your new favorite tool in the kitchen!

What exactly is an electric pressure cooker?

Basically it’s a cooking appliance that allows you to cook things either slow or fast, using pressure. With all the pre-programmed functions, you can just press a button and have all the guess work taken out of cooking.

What size pressure cooker should I get?

For the Instant Pot brand, there are four main sizes: 3, 6, 8, and 10 quart options. The 6 quart is hte most popular size, and what all recipes here on Pressure Cooking Made Easy are developed for. The 6 quart size should feed 3-6 people.

The 8-quart and 10-quart sizes, on the other hand, are great when you’re feeding a large family, or having a party.

And let’s not forget the 3 quart, which is perfect for feeding 1-2 people.

There are SO many brands and models of electric pressure cookers! I can’t claim to be an expert in all of them, so I won’t pretend. I own 2 Instant Pot models, so Instant Pot will be the brand name that I discuss. If you own a different brand of pressure cooker, my advice would be to thoroughly scour the manual… there’s probably some amazing info in there!

I won’t presume to try and go through allllll the Instant Pot models here, so here is a great chart from Instant Pot themselves.

The two models I have are the Lux and the Duo Evo Plus. I had the Lux first, and it’s a fabulous option if you’re just getting into pressure cooking, as it’s generally the least expensive. It has 12 pre-programmed functions, but doesn’t include a yogurt button if that’s important to you.

The Duo Evo Plus was my upgrade last year and I LOVE it. I know there are models that are newer and have more features, but for me, it’s just right. It has the ability for up to 48 customizable preset options, a blue LED display panel, a cooking progress bar, non-slip handles, the inner pot locks in place so it doesn’t spin around when you’re sautéing, and the lid automatically seals when you lock it in place!

Photo 101920742 © Siim79

If you’ve read any pressure cooker recipes, you’ve probably seen some lingo and acronyms that weren’t familiar. No worries, I’ve got you covered HERE!

Once you’ve got the vernacular down, head on over to the Pressure Cooking 101 page for some common questions about your Instant Pot, like what NOT to cook in your pressure cooker, what all those function buttons are, how to time pressure cooker recipes and more!