How to properly use the method Pot in Pot in the Instant Pot. This technique explains how and WHEN to use pot in pot cooking in the Instant Pot.
If you have heard the phrase PIP and are curious what that means--it refers to cooking pot in pot in an electric pressure cooker. This is a technique of using separate pot of some sort inside the inner pot of the Instant Pot. It is a great technique to use for many Instant Pot Recipes.
If you have been browsing the internet looking for Instant Pot recipes, you may have heard the term Pot in Pot and wondered what it is.
Pot in Pot cooking (also referred to as PIP) is a useful Instant Pot technique.
What is Pot in Pot?
Pot in Pot is the method of cooking that allows food to cook in a separate bowl or pan that’s placed on a steam rack, or trivet, in the Instant Pot. Steam generated from the water below the pan is used to build pressure and cook the food--without having to worry if your recipe has enough thin liquid in it to be suited to pressure cooking.
When to Use Pot in Pot
It can be hard to know what dishes require pot in pot cooking and what dishes are best cooked right inside the inner pot. I have found the following dishes to be best suited to PIP cooking in the Instant Pot.
- Recipes that don't require liquid-like meatloaf or Instant Pot Lasagna.
- Recipes that don't use a full 1 or 1.5 cups of thin liquid, as you need that liquid in order for pressure to be reached in an electric pressure cooker.
- A recipe that has a thick gravy or sauce.
- Recipes that require a water bath or "bain-marie" like such as cheesecake or creme brulee.
- To steam vegetables or delicate foods.
- To cook two recipes separately but at the same time.
- A dish that contains dairy, such as oatmeal. Remember, dairy can cause a burn notice during pressure cooking.
- To reheat a meal.
Keep in mind that the quantity of food you can cook in a pot-in-pot container will be less than what you can cook directly in the inner pot. You might need to adjust recipe quantities.
How do you use Pot in Pot Method?
To use pot-in-pot in the Instant Pot you will need to have a wire rack, or trivet, to raise the pot above the bottom of the inner pot and oven-safe dishes. You will also need to keep in mind you may need to slightly adjust the cooking time based on the dish you are using. I have found that many dishes take 3-5 minutes LONGER when using the pot-in-pot method, especially when using glass or silicone pots as they do not conduct heat as well.
- Add water to the bottom of the inner pot. You will need 1 cup of water for a 6 quart Instant Pot and 1.5 cups of water for an 8 quart Instant Pot. Remember, the water should NOT be warm. It needs to be cold water from the tap.
- Place a metal trivet or steamer rack in the inner pot over the water.
- Put the food you are trying to cook in an oven-proof container--stainless steel dishes work best inside the instant pot. This container does NOT require liquid.
- Place the container on the steam rack and close the Instant Pot lid.
- Cook and release pressure as recipe directs, adding 3-5 minutes to the cooking time.
Important Tips for Pot in Pot Cooking
- If cooking two recipes at the same time, be sure both recipes have the same approximate cooking time and are cooked at the same pressure level and use the same release method.
- A dish wrapped in aluminum foil will take 5-10 minutes LONGER when pressure cooking. If using heavy-duty aluminum foil plan on a full 10 minutes longer.
- Be sure to use OVEN SAFE dishes for PIP cooking methods.
- Never put a frozen pot into your instant pot. The change in pressure will cause your frozen dish to shatter.
- If you are cooking at a high altitude, you will want to take note of Altitude Adjustments for Instant Pot Cooking.
- While I have never had issues using glass pyrex dishes in my Instant Pot, Pyrex has stated that they are not safe for Instant Pot cooking, and therefore I no longer use myself or recommend others using them.
- You will need a wire rack, or trivet, to raise the pot above the bottom of the inner pot.
- Oven safe dishes, such as stainless steel casserole pans, or stainless steel bowls.
- 7-inch cake pans or cheesecake pans for baking, as they will fit perfectly into 6 and 8-quart pressure cookers.