Congratulations! You’re the proud new owner of an Instant Pot. But now you have to figure out how to use your Instant Pot — and how long it really takes to cook dinner.
Compared with your slow cooker, stove, or oven, the Instant Pot seems like it cooks things instantly.
For example, depending on how you chop them, Instant Pot cook times for cauliflower or sweet potatoes are as little as one minute (once it reaches pressure).
Are you skeptical? Don’t be.
You can trust the Instant Pot cooking times, says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and cookbook author.
“I find that many people don’t trust the cook times they see on some recipes, thinking they are too short, so they add more time and overcook the food,” says Angelo White, author of “Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.”
To help you avoid tough chicken and soggy veggies, refer to our handy list of Instant Pot cook times, and your meals will always turn out perfect.
Instant Pot Cook Times
Here’s a list of some of common healthy foods and their perfect Instant Pot cook times.
To steam vegetables in any amount, use 1 cup of water and an ovenproof bowl on the steam rack that came with your Instant Pot. Use the steam setting.
|Vegetable||Cooking time (fresh)||Cooking time (frozen)|
|Broccoli, florets||1 minute||1 minute|
|Brussel sprouts, whole||1 minute||2–3 minutes|
|Butternut squash, peeled and sliced||1–2 minutes||3–4 minutes|
|Carrots, peeled whole or roughly chopped||3–5 minutes||6–8 minutes|
|Cauliflower florets||1 minute||2–4 minutes|
|Dark leafy greens (kale or collards), chopped||4–5 minutes||5–6 minutes|
|Sweet potatoes (small), whole||3–4 minutes||5–8 minutes|
Dried Beans and Legumes
Beans will double their size after cooking, so don’t fill your insert more than halfway. Always use enough water! Soaking can help cut down on cooking times.
|Dried Beans and Legumes||Cooking time (dried)||Cooking time (soaked)|
|Adzuki beans||16–20 minutes||4–6 minutes|
|Black beans||20–25 minutes||6–8 minutes|
|Black-eyed peas||14–18 minutes||4–5 minutes|
|Chickpeas||35–40 minutes||10–15 minutes|
|Kidney beans||15–20 minutes||7–8 minutes|
|Lentils, green or brown||8–10 minutes||No need to soak!|
|Pinto beans||25–30 minutes||6–9 minutes|
Rice and Grains
Use the measuring cup that came with your Instant Pot, and maintain the same ratio of grains to water no matter how much you prepare.
|Rice and grains||Grain to water ratio||Cooking time|
|Barley, pearled||1:2 ½||20–22 minutes|
|Brown rice||1:1||20–22 minutes|
|Millet||1:1 ¾||10–12 minutes|
|Oats, quick or old-fashioned||1:2||2–3 minutes|
|Quinoa||1:1 ¼||1 minute|
|Wheat berries (not soaked)||1:3||25–30 minutes|
|Wild rice||1:2||20–25 minutes|
Meats and Poultry
Cooking times are per pound. Don’t delay cooking more than an hour, as meat is perishable!
|Beef, stew meat||20 minutes|
|Bone broth or chicken stock||40–50 minutes|
|Chicken, breasts (boneless)||6–8 minutes|
|Chicken, whole (4-5 pounds)||8 minutes|
|Eggs (large, hard-boiled)||5 minutes|
|Turkey, boneless breasts||7-9 minutes|
|Turkey, whole breasts||20–25 minutes|
Seafood and Fish
You can steam fish and seafood using 1 cup of water and an ovenproof bowl on the steam rack that came with your Instant Pot.
Use the steam setting and use quick release to avoid overcooking. These guidelines apply to all serving sizes.
|Seafood and Fish||Cooking time (fresh)||Cooking time (frozen)|
|Fish, whole||4–5 minutes||5–7 minutes|
|Fish, fillets||2–3 minutes||3–4 minutes|
|Mussels||1–2 minutes||2–3 minutes|
|Shrimp||1–3 minutes||2–4 minutes|
Helpful Instant Pot Tips
Your multicooker/electric pressure cooker can make so many of your favorite healthy recipes faster and easier. Here are 10 of the Best Instant Pot Recipes to get you started.
Follow these tips for better results:
- Don’t forget to close the pressure valve — that’s a common mistake that’ll impact your Instant Pot cooking times, says Tina Marinaccio, MS, RD, CPT, a culinary dietitian who teaches group and private cooking classes.
- “Instant Pots come with very specific instructions in terms of how much liquid to use,” she adds. Follow recipes exactly to avoid issues like soupy beans or mushy vegetables.
- One complaint about Instant Pot recipes is that meat can end up tough and overcooked. You can avoid that, says Marinaccio, by using just the right amount of liquid. And adding an acidic ingredient, “like fresh lemon juice or a dash of balsamic or apple cider vinegar, helps to tenderize meats,” she adds.