You’ve likely landed here because you are loving your new Instant Pot, but are ready to branch out to more… exciting Instant Pot adventures!
While everything you technically need to make awesome Instant Pot meals does come in the box, there are a few accessories that are going to make your new life with IP much easier. You might be surprised- you may already have some in you kitchen!
What comes with the Instant Pot. (What’s in the Instant Pot box)
As I mentioned, your Instant Pot comes loaded with all the necessary parts to get cooking. When you purchase in Instant Pot, you get:
- Instant Pot
- 3 Ply Inner Stainless Steel Liner
- Sealing Ring
- Condensation Collector*
- Power Cord
- Stainless Steel Trivet / Steaming Rack
- Sealing Valve
- Anti-Block Shield*
Plenty right? To get started, absolutely. In most models, your Instant Pot comes mostly assembled. Add the power cord, insert the stainless steel liner, and you should be good to go. Instant Pot recommends you test your new appliance by doing a water test.
I am not a manual reader, so of course I skipped right over this step and went right for a whole chicken. 😀
The Trivet / Steam Rack is for things that you don’t want touching the bottom or sides of the liner as they cook, whole chickens, eggs, meatballs. It doesn’t hurt anything to cook these things right in the liner, but you are more likely to have things stick when you go to clean the liner. You will also want to use the trivet when you try pot in pot cooking… more on that later!
Since I skipped reading the manual, I also did not know what the condensation collector was. Yep, that’s what that little plastic white thing is! (It attaches to the side…)
Obviously, you can survive without using it. Just be aware, when you take the lid off, there is quite a bit of water (or condensation!) that has collected on the lid. When I remove the lid, I make sure to tip the lid into the pot so the excess water goes in there.
Hook your lid on the side handle! That’s what it is there for! ;D
So what should you make, right out of the box? Well how about:
or good ole Hard Boiled Eggs
Additional Instant Pot Accessories to Purchase
At this point you may be thinking, alright, what accessories could I possibly need if I can make all that. Well… if you want to make cheesecake, steam veggies, yogurt, poach eggs, or make meatloaf (to name a few) you do need a few simple tools. I’m also listing a couple things that will just generally make your Instant Pot experience easier!
If you make any dishes that are more potent, like curry or pho, you may notice that your sealing ring will hold those smells. Not a big deal… until you go to make yogurt, cheesecake or any other sweet type of dish. You certainly don’t want the flavor of those dishes to overlap, which is where a second ring comes in quite handy. Be sure to purchase ONLY rings sold by Instant Pot on Amazon- there have a been a number of rings sold by random suppliers that simply don’t work correctly.
Yes, your Instant Pot comes with a steaming rack, but you will likely end up using this basket more. Since it doesn’t actually have any sides… the steaming rack doesn’t really work all that well for things like veggies and eggs… basically everything you want to steam ;(.
I recommend this steaming basket. You do need to clip off the handles… but don’t worry it is pretty darn easy! You can also just bend them up:
Use your steaming basket to make:
And pretty much any other veggie or delicate protein like shrimp or scallops. In fact, I don’t know how else you could manage a good old fashioned Instant Pot Seafood Boil!
You know you wanna. Even those of us that eat paleo can enjoy a crustless or almond flour cheesecake from time to time! Plus, you can use your cheesecake pan to make meatloaf, lasagna, and any other type of casserole! So which one fits just right in the Instant Pot? While you can use any oven safe dish in your Instant Pot, not all will actually fit in your IP!
I like the 7 inch springform by Nordic Ware, which will fit the 6qt Instant Pot.
Oh yes you can make breads and angel food cake in the Instant Pot. If you already own a bundt pan, check to see if it fits in the pot. If yes, head straight to these recipes:
A second liner comes in pretty handy when you are too lazy to clean out your first pot… which happens a lot! Like when you make a big pot of chili.. and then you want to make Instant Pot Cinnamon Apples… second liner. It is just plain handy to have on hand!
Yup, the Instant Pot has a slow cooker function! You can’t use the standard lid with this function, so you either need to cook with the lid off (which is not very convenient) or grab a slow cooker lid! I rarely use the slow cooker function, because why cook slow when you can cook fast?! BUT I do like have the lid for keeping things like chili and soups warm.
Stainless Steel Inserts (3) for the PIP cooking method
These are absolutely a must for cooking full meals or re-heating leftovers in the Instant Pot. These three pans fit in the 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot. You can have rice in one, veggies in another, and chicken or fish in the third. Or ham in one and scalloped potatoes in another… or three kinds of fruit crisp! All at once 😀
There are lots of recipes that require PIP cooking (pot in pot), meaning that the food needs to be cooked in a second pot in the Instant Pot. These are usually delicate foods that need to be steamed, like veggies and fish. Most “baked” goods require an additional cooking pot as well.
When I poach eggs normally, they end up looking like weird ghostly things.. and I almost always overcook them! These little cups make poached eggs a breeze… and only in 3 minutes!
Obviously, the Instant Pot gets HOT. Since the liner is removable, it does spin a bit, especially when stirring or scraping the bottom. These little mitts are perfect to pinch the side… without any risk of burns.
If you are going to make yogurt, THIS is the strainer to get. You absolutely could rig up your own strainer with cheesecloth, or coffee filters… or you could get this handy little gadget!
Instant Pot Accessories you might already have in your kitchen.
So, you can use anything in your Instant Pot that:
a. Fits in the Instant Pot 😀
b. Is oven safe
This means oven safe glass dishes, canning jars, and oven-safe dishes can all be used to cook in your Instant Pot.
(**It is NOT safe to can in your Instant Pot, but you can make eggs, meatloaf and cakes in oven-safe canning jars)
Small Glass Jars / Mini Molds. I actually use my glasslock containers in the Instant Pot, which is super handy since they have lids! As long as they are oven-safe, you can use them in the IP!
Sturdy Tongs. Most meats need a good sear in the IP before you put the lid on- so make sure you have a sturdy pair handy!!
Wooden Spoon. I don’t like to use metal in the IP- it can scratch the liner. (Which isn’t the end of the world… but your liner will be all scratched up.) When sautéing, you often need to scrape the bottom of the pan, which is where a nice wide wooden spoon comes in handy. I also prefer wooden over silicon- I find silicon bend much too easily.
Instant Pot Wish List Items:
More often than not, I have been wishing I had a second Instant Pot! A lot of times I want to do a whole roast and veggies… or a fruit dish and and dinner dish. If I do end up with a second, I’m definetly upgrading to the larger 8qt- some of our farm chickens are too big to fit in my 6qt!
Check out this post from Wellness Mama about how to cook without plastic using a Sous Vide! She also does a really great job of explaining what the Sous Vide method of cooking is.
Okay! I think that’s my list… now what are your favorite Instant Pot accessories!?