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Instant Pot Cheat Sheet

The best thing about the instant pot is how fast a meal is finished, but do you ever have to google just to know the cook time? Our instant pot cheat sheet to the rescue!!

Learning How to Use an Instant Pot

The Instant Pot — you either love it, or you are scared of it. Am I right? I was scared of it at first! I had heard all the horror stories like the lid being blown off into someone’s kitchen ceiling or the severe burns from releasing the steam. Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet and made several amazing dishes (links below) in our Instant Pot, I am an Instant Pot lover! I created this Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for myself and decided that all of you need to have it too!

You know the old idiom, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well, I feel like I am an old dog sometimes. I have my ways of doing things and new tools or technology come out, and I just want to stay in my comfort zone. That is how I felt when the Instant Pot started to come on the scene. It also seemed too good to be true. I mean, cooked chicken in 8 minutes? A pot roast dinner in less than an hour? It seemed crazy!

I quickly realized I needed to get on board the Instant Pot train or I was going to be left behind forever. So we purchased a 6 qt Instant Pot. The user manual looked as big as an encyclopedia (does anyone use encyclopedias anymore?), and we all know that user manuals aren’t page turners by any stretch of the imagination. I was overwhelmed and confused and didn’t know where to begin.

After some trial and error, I began to figure out some tricks to making successful Instant Pot recipes. Yes, this old dog can be taught new tricks! Yahoo! So we have created an Instant Pot cheat sheet for you with everything from how to cook all your proteins to making perfect pasta and vegetables.

This Free Printable Instant Pot Cook Times Chart is for you! Print it off and stick it in your Instant Pot or tape it on the inside of one of your cupboards. Keep it handy because it will save you loads of time researching and get you to your finished dish sooner. We are making your Instant Pot more instant for you!

What’s in This Instant Pot Cheat Sheet? 

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s included in this printable Instant Pot cook times chart. We designed it to be as easy to reference as possible (I did NOT want to give you a recreation of the giant user manual!). 

Our Instant Pot cheat sheet details the following: 

  • When to use natural or quick release on an Instant Pot
  • How to cook specific proteins in the Instant Pot, including: 
    • Red meat
    • Fish
    • Chicken
    • Pork
  • How to make Instant Pot hard boiled eggs
  • How to cook grains in an Instant Pot, including: 
    • White rice
    • Brown RicePasta
  • How to cook potatoes in an Instant Pot
  • How to cook vegetables in an Instant Pot

We hope this will be as useful to you as it is for us! And P.S. all the times listed are for the “Manual” setting.

How Do You Know How Long to Cook in an Instant Pot?

Honestly, it’s largely up to your personal preferences! When cooking proteins, for example, you may like your meats to be less tender than how I make mine. Or you may prefer your Instant Pot hard boiled eggs with less firm yolks. Instant Pot cook times may also vary depending on what cut of meat you buy, how thick it is in the center, if your grains are long or short grain, and so on. 

If you’re trying to figure out how long to cook things in an Instant Pot, I suggest prepping your foods exactly as we’ve instructed in the printable Instant Pot Cheat Sheet. After you’ve made a dish once or twice, play around a bit with the settings on your Instant Pot as desired. If you have any questions, leave us a comment at the bottom of this post. We’ll do our best to help you out! 

Can You Cook Two Things at Once in the Instant Pot?

You most certainly can! To cook two things at once in your Instant Pot, you’ll need to use what’s called the “Pot in Pot Method.” Essentially, you place an oven-safe bowl on a steam rack inside the Instant Pot, which allows you to cook something above and below the rack. 

To cook two things using the Pot in Pot method, you’ll likely need to purchase a taller steamer rack than the one that comes with your Instant Pot (the one that comes with the machine is too short). As for the oven-proof bowl, you likely have one in your kitchen that will work. Stainless steel, glass, metal, or ceramic bowls would all work (just make sure it fits in your Instant Pot before starting to make the recipe). 

To cook two things at once, you’ll need to place the food with the longer cooking time on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add liquid to the bottom so the Instant Pot can pressurize, and then place the tall steam rack in. Place the oven-safe bowl atop the steam rack and place your second food item into the bowl (read the recipe instructions to see whether the second food item also needs liquid added to it). Follow the recipe and cook both foods at once as instructed. 

Can You Cook Frozen Meat in an Instant Pot? 

Yes, that’s one of our favorite features of the Instant Pot. You can easily make frozen chicken in an Instant Pot, frozen salmon in an Instant Pot, and more! Most Instant Pot recipes will tell you how long to cook fresh vs frozen meat in the Instant Pot, but if the recipe doesn’t specify we recommend adding 1 to 3 minutes to the overall cook time if you’re using frozen meat. The larger the quantity of meat, the longer it needs to cook in the Instant Pot. Note that there’s no need to defrost or thaw frozen meat before adding it to the Instant Pot. 

Easy Instant Pot Recipes:

Want to try some of our Instant Pot recipes? Try these:


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About the authors

carrian feik cheney oh sweet basil

Cade and Carrian have three children and love to spend time together whether it’s vacationing or snuggled up on the couch for a good movie.

And this family especially loves to eat.

They love everything from the keep you fit and healthy to the get out your sweat pants indulgent and everything in between.

But most of all, they love the memories made, shared and treasured and it’s all thanks to a meal shared together with loved ones.

Leave a comment


  • I have read many articles, reviews and personal posts praising the Instani Pot.  About the only complaint I have seen repeatedly is the fact that during SAUTÉ there seems to be a problem with food sticking.  Therefore, because I want to avoid that issue and the cleanup afterward, I am going to adopt the practice of sautéing in a frypan on the stove top.  This is not to say that I am critical of the Instant Pot, I just want to be sure I give myself the opportunity to enjoy it to its fullest.  I just purchased mine and am really looking forward to using it very often.

    • Reply
    • I’m definitely not opposed to that idea! It takes the same amount of time but just dirties one extra dish. Worth it if it saves you some headache with the Instant Pot! Hope you enjoy your Instant Pot!

      • Reply
  • This is a great tool. I haven’t decided if I love it or hate it but this might make it easier for me, but I am having trouble printing just the cheat sheet.

    • Reply
    • Thanks Sylvia! We have fixed the post so that there is a link to a pdf you can download and print!

      • Reply
  • Please show me some sweet basil receipes. I have one for. Salmon, sweet potato s onion virgin oil a.butter mix /fry up in iron skillet. Til tender. On med.high heat. Mix all periodically til all tender.

    • Reply

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