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If you are brand new to the Instant Pot game (or if you have been living under some sort of culinary rock and haven’t even heard of one), then this is the article for you. Heck, even if you have had your Instant Pot for a while, all of those settings and buttons can seem a little intimidating. But not to fret. I’ll take you through exactly how to use your Instant Pot and show you what each and every button does. It really is easy to use and pretty self-explanatory!

Instant Pot-1

What Is An Instant Pot?

First things first, what even is this thing? In short, it’s an electric, programmable pressure cooker. So, if it’s just a pressure cooker, why does it have all these buttons? Well, my friends, that is because it’s not just a pressure cooker. It also functions as a slow cooker and a yogurt maker and has pre-programmed settings for different types of ingredients to take the guess-work out of pressure cooking. And to make your life easy. Which it does. Time and time again. That’s why everyone loves them so much!

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Some Things You Need To Know

1) Cooking Time Does Not Mean Finished Time.
When you see a cooking time listed on an Instant Pot recipe, keep in mind that it will actually take a bit more time than listed. The pot takes a few minutes to come up to pressure, and it also has to release pressure when it’s done cooking, so that 10-minute soup is really more like a 20-minute soup. (You can always manually release pressure to save time. More on that later.)

2) Always Cook with Liquid.
For pressure cooking settings, you should ALWAYS have at least 1 cup of liquid in the pot. That’s how the whole pressure cooking thing works! Keep in mind that if you have a recipe that calls for more liquid, it will take longer to come up to pressure. A soup with 6 cups of water can take 15 minutes or so to come up to pressure, for instance.

3) It’s Not Going to Explode.
Really it’s not. You don’t need to be scared of the Instant Pot. Just follow the instructions, don’t get TOO creative (as in please do not try to use it as a facial steamer or a fryer…) and you’ll be all good. It’s designed to safely release pressure, after all.

How to Use Each Instant Pot Button

The Instant Pot buttons are simply pre-sets for cooking times and pressure. All of the settings default to high pressure except for the rice setting, which defaults to low pressure. You can adjust the time on any of these settings by pressing the “Adjust” button and then using the “+/-” buttons.

When you press a button, it will give you 10 seconds and then automatically beep and turn on. But don’t panic, you can always press “Cancel” and choose a new setting.

Oh, and I have the DUO 6-quart 7-in-1 model. The LUX model is slightly different, but the buttons work the same, so most information here should still apply.

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