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14 Legitimately Useful Tips For Anyone With An Instant Pot Or Slow Cooker

Save yourself some time, clean-up, and hassle.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their best tips for using their slow cookers and Instant Pots.

Here are some of their best tips — as well as a few of our own:

1. Invest in a slow cooker that has browning capabilities (or a stovetop-safe insert) to reduce the number of dishes you have to do.

"First big move is to get a slow cooker has the ability to brown your meat without the extra step — much less of a mess."

Bradley Albert

Get a stovetop-safe Crock-Pot from Amazon for $49.99.


2. Make sure to coat the inserts of both your Instant Pot and slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray — even when the recipe doesn't call for it.

Instagram: @huntingtonbeachvegan

"This is going to sound like a 'duh' comment, but spray the pot with cooking spray — especially when you’re cooking with sticky sauces."


4. Prep out your recipes and store them in gallon-size plastic bags in the freezer for easy dump-and-go dinners.

Instagram: @ljmaggi

"There’s a lady on YouTube that puts all her ingredients in a Ziploc bag and freezes or refrigerates them — then, when she’s ready to cook, she just dumps the whole bag in the the slow cooker."

—Shon Fields, Facebook

5. Add ingredients to your slow cooker in steps based on how long they take to cook.

Instagram: @momnutrition

"Add ingredients in stages the same way you would on the stove. Meat, onions, seasoning, and stock should go in first and cook on low all day. When you get home, turn it up to high and add your veggies or pasta last — that way they don’t become mush but still get a chance to cook and absorb the flavors."



7. When releasing the steam from your Instant Pot, use something long like a wooden spoon to prevent burning yourself.

"When manually venting the steam from your Instant Pot, use a wooden spoon. It makes it unlikely that you’ll be accidentally burned by the steam being released."


8. Preheat your slow cooker before adding anything to it.

Matt6t6 / Getty Images

"Preheat your slow cooker for about 20 minutes before dumping everything in. It helps develop flavors when you add ingredients to a hot pot rather than slowly warming them up with the ceramic insert. Martha Stewart suggests it, so it must be right...right?"


9. For a stronger flavor, add your spices/aromatics to your slow cooker in stages rather than all at once — and finish with fresh herbs.

Fotorybalka / Getty Images

"Only put in half of the total amount of spices during the cooking and put in the other half about 10 minutes before the cooking is done. Doing this helps freshen up the flavor."



10. To prevent scorching, always have "about a cup" of liquid in your Instant Pot at all times.

Kyoshino / Getty Images

Because you're unable to stir the food as it cooks, it's important to always have some liquid in the pot to prevent burning. The liquid can be water, stock, or even the juice from canned tomatoes — just make sure there's something.

11. If the sealing ring on your Instant Pot starts to get smelly, you can easily remove it and wash it in water.

If you use your Instant Pot fairly often, you might notice that the sealing ring can start to smell. To remedy this, simply pop the ring out and wash it with soap and water after each use. You'll easily be able to pop the ring back in the lid with no problem.

12. Learn how to turn slow cooker recipes into Instant Pot recipes and vice versa.

Instagram: @snowsmoon, Instagram: @what_my_family_eats

There's no simple answer for converting a slow cooker recipe into an Instant Pot recipe (or vice versa), but there are a few things to keep in mind that'll make the swap fairly straightforward — like changing the amount of liquid and adjusting the cooking time. Check out a full list of tips here.

13. Line the lid of your slow cooker with a paper towel to absorb the condensation and promote browning.

Andrew Purcell / Via Adventures in Slow Cooking

This will make the top of your food crispy instead of soggy — perfect for recipes like slow cooker mac 'n' cheese that would benefit from a nice golden top.


14. Use your Instant Pot to make perfect hard-boiled eggs that are actually super easy to peel.

Just insert the metal grate into your Instant Pot, arrange some eggs on it, and turn it on. Once it comes to pressure, cook them for six minutes and you'll have perfect hard-boiled eggs that are super easy to peel. See how to do it here.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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