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.

Instant Pot, Asparagus and Ingredients

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 quick. The Instant Pot solves that problem.

You just need to know the proper Instant Pot cooking times for these foods, and you’re good to go. That’s why we’ve put together this useful printable 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.

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

Does Food Really Cook That Quick?

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 (a frozen meal) the ingredients, or the bigger the cut of meat, the longer it will take to come up to high 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

Cooking Times for Rice and Grains

When it comes to cooking rice and grains like barley in your Instant Pot, you’ll find that it’s a real game-changer in the kitchen. The Instant Pot makes the process incredibly convenient and efficient. Remember to always check your user manual and recipe for any specific instructions and cooking times based on your model. It is also a good idea to read through the recipe fully before starting. These times are general guidelines for Instant Pot cooking and may need adjustment depending on your preference, the elevation you are cooking at, and the specific conditions in your Instant Pot.

Here Are Some Of Our Favorite Instant Pot Recipes To Try

Tomato sauce in a bowl and on psta

Before You Go

Since you made it to the end of this article, you’re probably pretty interested in pressure cooking with the Instant Pot. Take a minute to download the cook time cheat sheet or pin it for later. Here are a few more articles we think you might enjoy.

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17 thoughts on “Instant Pot Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for posting some great recipes. I particularly appreciate you including nutritional info on all your recipes and discussing substitutions for high fat ingredients.
    I currently own a 6 qt & mini 3 qt IP.
    I’d appreciate it if you would regularly include measurements & cooking times for the 3 QT mini. Particularly for chili’s, stews & soups. As summer approaches, the mini is one appliance we can take on vacation.

    • Angela Morris says:

      It is possible that your foods will need a bit more time if you are at a higher altitude since food takes longer to cook. We haven’t tested this. Please let us know what you find.

  2. Chris says:

    I use my Instant Pot constantly. One thing I would like to know is what type of steam diverter do you recommend? There are so many diverter’s out there, I don’t know what is the best one to use.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Hi Chris. I used a basic one that I got on Amazon a few times, but it didn’t really seem necessary. Now I have the Instant Pot Duo Plus that has its own steam cover so I don’t use one anymore.

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