Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

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My favorite thing about the Instant Pot is how quickly it cooks food. If you’ve used your Instant Pot already, then I’m sure you agree. It’s one of the fastest ways to make foods that typically take a long time to cook, like a pork roast or baked potatoes.

Many foods can be cooked in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time. Find out the exact time savings in our Instant Pot cooking times cheat sheet.

» Check out these 15 Common Instant Pot Questions You Might Have.

Instant Pot, Asparagus and Ingredients

But the Instant Pot can also be used for a myriad of foods, even if they don’t take that long to cook normally, like corn on the cob or asparagus. It’s also super useful for cooking foods from frozen, like these meatballs or chicken tenderloins, so you don’t have to mess with defrosting anymore.

Seriously, gone are the days of frustration caused by not having defrosted anything for dinner when you need to have the food on the table in 30 minutes. The Instant Pot solves that problem.

You just need to know the proper cooking times for these foods, and you’re good to go. That’s why we’ve put together this useful cooking times cheat sheet that you can use to remember all the cooking times for the foods you make all the time.

You can even download a copy here and print it out, if you want.

Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

cooking times cheat sheet for the Instant Pot
If you reuse this cheat sheet, please give credit to A Pressure Cooker Kitchen with a link to the original.

Does Food Really Cook That Fast?

Truth be told, the claims that you can cook chicken breast in 5 minutes, or a roast in 20 minutes, are – while absolutely true – a little misleading.

Yes, you can cook chicken in 5 minutes, but the actual time before it is done is a little longer than 5 minutes, because the Instant Pot has to come up to pressure first.

This process of pressurizing can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes.  The fuller the pot, the colder (or even frozen) the ingredients, or the bigger the cut of meat, the longer it will take to come up to pressure.

Once the correct pressure is achieved, the cooking timer will start.

After the food has cooked for the allotted time, it takes a little while before you can safely open the pot and serve your meal.

instant pot artichokes

How to Release Pressure in an Instant Pot

There are two options for releasing the pressure in an Instant Pot. Which one you choose depends on the meal you’re preparing.

The first is to manually release the pressure through the vent in the lid. This is also called Quick Release (QR). This causes hot steam to escape and the pressure to go down within a matter of minutes. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to open the lid and serve the food.

The second option is a process called Natural Pressure Release (NPR).  Whenever a recipe calls for this, you shouldn’t turn the valve to release the pressure. Instead, you let the pot sit until the pressure releases on its own.

This process takes about 10 to 20 minutes and allows the food to continue cooking, until the pressure valve drops down and you are able to open the pot.

releasing pressure from an Instant Pot

It’s important to allow for this additional time when preparing a meal in the Instant Pot.

All in all, you have to figure in the time it will take for the pot to come up to pressure, and for some recipes, additional time to allow the pressure to slowly drop back down.

Does this mean the Instant Pot isn’t fast? Of course not. It’s still a much quicker method of cooking roasts, beans and the likes than any other cooking style. In short it’s not super-fast for everything, but great for things that take a long time otherwise.

As an added bonus, once you add everything to the pot, it is hands-free cooking. You don’t have to stir pots or babysit the food. Instead, you can work on something else, or relax for a bit while dinner cooks itself.

chicken in instant pot

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

Here Are Some Of Our Favorite Instant Pot Recipes To Try

Tomato sauce in a bowl and on psta

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Instant Pot safe?

The Instant Pot is a popular kitchen appliance and many people use it without incident. However, like any appliance, there is always the potential for injury if not used properly. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using the Instant Pot and follow them closely.

There are a lot of safety mechanisms on the Instant Pot that keep it safe to use. These features weren’t available on a traditional pressure cooker, so you can rest easy that the pot is safe.

Can I double a recipe in the Instant Pot?

ome recipes can be doubled in the Instant Pot, while others cannot. The general rule is that you can only double a recipe if the ingredients don’t exceed the Instant Pot’s max line. If the recipe you’re working from is small, you can usually double it without issue. However, if you’re making soup and to double it would be very close to the max fill line, you should err on the side of caution and only add 50% more.

Another thing you need to be careful of is cooking rice or things that expand. You should never fill the pot more than 1/2 way full with rice. 

What do I do if my Instant Pot says “BURN”?

The burn notice is a safety mechanism on the Instant Pot that keeps food from burning and possibly setting a fire. If your pot doesn’t have enough liquid, or a piece of food because stuck to the bottom of the pot, it will begin to burn.

To avoid this, always add at least 1 cup of water to a 6-quart and 1 1/2 cups of water to an 8-quart. Be sure to deglaze the pot after sautéing or cooking anything that sticks to the bottom. If your pot says burn, turn it off and release the pressure, then try to assess what went wrong. If the food isn’t yet burned, you can salvage it by adding more water, or by removing the food to deglaze the pan, then starting over.


As you can see, the Instant Pot allows you to cook all types of food in a short amount of time, adding in the time needed to pressurize. This Instant Pot Cooking Times cheat sheet should come in handy for all cooking situations.

Instant Pot Pro Plus

Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.

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cheat sheet graphic

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