Did you know that pressure cooking is one of the healthiest methods for preparing meals? It’s true! Steaming, sautéeing, and baking are all relatively healthy ways to cook meats and vegetables. Below is a helpful Instant Pot Cheat Sheet that will provide you with a guide regarding cooking times, best practices, and other useful tips.
Meanwhile, check out some of our top Instant Pot resources:
- How You Can Use an Instant Pot to Lose Weight this Year
- 18 Easy Instant Pot Recipes You Can’t Live Without
- The 7-Day Instant Pot Meal Plan
Instant Pot General Tips
- All of the cooking times included here use the Instant Pot’s High Pressure Manual setting.
- Place your Instant Pot pressure cooker away from overhanging cabinets, as the steam released during the “pressure release” time may cause damage.
- During pressure release, if the liquid inside the pot is foaming and spraying out of the release valve, switch back to “natural release” position for one minute. Then, switch back to “quick release” position, alternating between the two until there is no more foam or liquid.
- Steam is hot, so always use a kitchen towel, oven mitt, or dish cloth to switch the pressure release valve from “sealed” to the manual release setting.
Preserving Nutrients in Vegetables
Use the recommended cooking times on the Instant Pot Cheat Sheet below to preserve 90 to 95 percent of the nutrients in your vegetables. Not only will you retain nutritional benefits of each vegetable, but you will also preserve its best color, flavor, and texture. Always use the quick/manual pressure release, or your vegetables will continue to cook during the natural release process. Overcooking vegetables can cause them to lose valuable nutrients.
Unless otherwise noted, use the trivet that is included with your Instant Pot as a steamer basket to cook these vegetables. Add 1 cup of broth or liquid to the bottom of the inner pot, no matter how many vegetables you are cooking. The Instant Pot will malfunction if it does not have at least 1 cup of liquid.
Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for Vegetables
- Artichokes: 5 minutes.
- Asparagus Spears: 1 minute.
- Beets: 8 minutes (small, whole beets, or cubed/sliced beets); 15 minutes (large, whole beets)
- Bell Peppers/Sweet Peppers: 2 minutes.
- NOTE: While it is okay to pressure cook hot peppers as part of a recipe, I do not recommend steaming them alone. When you release the pressure, you will also release capsaicin into the air. You won’t like it – trust me, it feels like tear gas! That’s another story for another time.
- Bok Choy/Baby Bok Choy: 2 minutes.
- Broccoli Florets: 2 minutes.
- Brussels Sprouts: 3 minutes.
- Cabbage: 3 minutes.
- Carrots/Parsnips: 6 to 7 minutes (baby or chopped carrots/parsnips take less time to cook).
- Cauliflower: 3 minutes.
- Celery: 3 minutes.
- Corn: 2 minutes (kernel); 5 minutes (cob)
- Eggplant: 4 minutes.
- Green Beans: 3 minutes.
- Greens (Turnip, Mustard, Collard): 5 minutes.
- Kale: 2 minutes.
- Okra: 3 minutes.
- Onions: 3 minutes
- Potato, whole: 12 minutes (small); 15 minutes (large).
- Cubed or sliced potatoes: 10 to 12 minutes.
- Spinach: 2 minutes.
- Squash, sliced or cubed (zucchini, summer): 3 minutes
- Squash, whole or halved (spaghetti, acorn, butternut): 6 minutes.
- Cubed winter squash: 3 minutes.
- Sweet Potato, whole: 12 minutes (small); 15 minutes (large).
- Cubed or sliced sweet potato: 8 to 10 minutes.
- Tomatoes: 3 minutes.
- Turnips: 7 minutes (small, whole turnips, or cubed/sliced turnips); 15 minutes (large, whole turnips)
Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for Meat & Poultry
Pressure cooking creates juicy, flavorful, and tender meat and poultry. These cooking times will also preserve the texture of your meat, preventing mushy or stringy proteins. Use the following tips to create perfect meat and poultry every time.
Take advantage of the “sauté” function on your Instant Pot to brown your meat and poultry. Then, change the setting to manual, high pressure and place the lid. Set the timer according to the recommended times listed below on the Instant Pot Cheat Sheet.
After your meat is finished cooking, turn the Instant Pot to “Off/Keep Warm.” Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes. Then, switch the release valve to “vent” and allow the rest of the pressure to release quickly.
Note: Cooking times are for fresh cuts of meat or poultry. Additional time is needed if the meat is frozen.
- Ground: Sauté/brown in Instant Pot, then cook according to recipe instructions
- Roasts/Stew Meat: 20 minutes per pound
- Ribs/Short ribs (boneless): 20 to 25 minutes (add 15 min if cooking bone-in steaks)
- Whole: 8 minutes per pound
- Boneless, Skinless Breasts & Thighs: 6 to 8 minutes per pound
- Bone-in, Skin On Breasts, Thighs, & Drumsticks: 10 minutes
- Wings: 9 minutes
- Boneless, Sliced: 9 to 12 minutes
- Bone-In: 8 minutes per pound
- Chops: 5 minutes
- Ribs: 15 to 20 minutes
- Shoulder/Butt (boneless): 15 minutes per pound (add 20 minutes to total cooking time for bone-in shoulder).
- Tenderloin: 20 minutes per pound
- Boneless, Skinless: 7 to 9 minutes
- Bone-In, Skin-On: 15 to 20 minutes (legs), 20 to 25 minutes (breasts)
Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for Grains:
It’s important to note that rice, oats, and other grains require less liquid in the Instant Pot than when they’re cooked on the stovetop. Ratios and cooking times for all types of grains have to be exact. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a soft, mushy, and very unpleasant texture.
Always use the natural pressure release with grains to prevent the vent from clogging. Ratios are included in the Instant Pot Cheat Sheet below.
(For added flavor, I prefer to use broth or stock instead of water)
- Basmati: Ratio of 1 part rice to 1 part liquid; cook for 4 minutes
- Brown: Ratio of 1 part rice to 2.5 parts liquid; cook for 22 minutes
- Jasmine: Ratio of 1 part rice to 1 part liquid; cook for 4 minutes
- White: Ratio of 1 part rice to 1 part liquid; cook for 4 minutes
- Wild: Ratio of 1 part rice to parts liquid; cook for 20 to 25 minutes
- Couscous: Ratio of 1 part couscous to 2 parts liquid; cook for 2 to 3 minutes
- Quick Oats: Ratio of 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid; cook for 2 to 3 minutes
- Quinoa: Ratio of 1 part quinoa to 1.25 parts liquid; cook for 1
- Steel Cut Oats: Ratio of 1 part oats to 3 parts liquid; cook for 3 to 5 minutes
Instant Pot Cheat Sheet for Beans:
Start with dried beans that have been rinsed well. Remove any foreign material, like pebbles, rocks, etc. You do not need to presoak beans that are pressure cooked in an Instant Pot. Always use the natural release method when cooking beans because they tend to be gaseous and could cause injury if you use the quick release method.
Finally, use liquid 4 times the volume of the beans (so, 4 cups of liquid for every 1 cup of beans), but do not fill the inner pot more than half-full. The contents will expand during cooking. Like with rice, I recommend using broth instead of water for added flavor.
- Black Beans: 20 to 25 minutes
- Black-eyed Peas: 14 to 18 minutes
- Cannellini Beans: 30 to 35 minutes
- Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas): 35 to 40 minutes
- Red/Yellow Lentils: 8 to 10 minutes
- Brown/Green Lentils: 12 to 15 minutes
- Navy Beans: 20 to 25 minutes
- Green Peas: 15 to 20 minutes
- Pinto Beans: 25 to 30 minutes
- Kidney Beans/Red Beans: 15 to 20 minutes
- Lima Beans: 12 to 14 minutes
- Soy Beans (shelled): 35 to 45 minutes
Wondering About Frozen Food?
Think you can’t cook frozen vegetables and meats using your Instant Pot? Think again. Simply add 1 to 3 minutes to the recommended cooking time in the chart above. The more delicate the vegetable, the less additional time you need to add. For example, you would only need to add 1 minute to the cooking time for frozen asparagus, but up to 3 minutes for frozen potatoes.
Add 4 to 8 minutes cooking time for frozen meat. Before freezing, cut larger pieces of meat into smaller pieces to decrease the cooking time.
Now, at last: you’re an Instant Pot Wizard! Happy cooking!
Download the FREE Instant Pot Cheat Sheet here:
Want more recipes like this sent directly to your inbox? First, subscribe to our newsletter. Then, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to not only get fantastic healthy recipes, but also to receive exercise tips, meal plans and much more!