Instant Pot Cook Times: A Handy Cheat Sheet

Instant Pot Cook Times: A Handy Cheat Sheet

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.

Vegetables

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.

VegetableCooking time (fresh)Cooking time (frozen)
Broccoli, florets1 minute1 minute
Brussel sprouts, whole1 minute2–3 minutes
Butternut squash, peeled and sliced1–2 minutes3–4 minutes
Carrots, peeled whole or roughly chopped3–5 minutes6–8 minutes
Cauliflower florets1 minute2–4 minutes
Dark leafy greens (kale or collards), chopped4–5 minutes5–6 minutes
Sweet potatoes (small), whole3–4 minutes5–8 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 LegumesCooking time (dried)Cooking time (soaked)
Adzuki beans16–20 minutes4–6 minutes
Black beans20–25 minutes6–8 minutes
Black-eyed peas14–18 minutes4–5 minutes
Chickpeas35–40 minutes10–15 minutes
Kidney beans15–20 minutes7–8 minutes
Lentils, green or brown8–10 minutesNo need to soak!
Pinto beans25–30 minutes6–9 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 grainsGrain to water ratioCooking time
Barley, pearled1:2 ½20–22 minutes
Brown rice1:120–22 minutes
Millet1:1 ¾10–12 minutes
Oats, quick or old-fashioned1:22–3 minutes
Quinoa1:1 ¼1 minute
Wheat berries (not soaked)1:325–30 minutes
Wild rice1:220–25 minutes

Different cuts of meat on cutting board

Meats and Poultry

Cooking times are per pound. Don’t delay cooking more than an hour, as meat is perishable!

MeatCooking time
Beef, stew meat20 minutes
Bone broth or chicken stock40–50 minutes
Chicken, breasts (boneless)6–8 minutes
Chicken, whole (4-5 pounds)8 minutes
Eggs (large, hard-boiled)5 minutes
Turkey, boneless breasts7-9 minutes
Turkey, whole breasts20–25 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 FishCooking time (fresh)Cooking time (frozen)
Fish, whole4–5 minutes5–7 minutes
Fish, fillets2–3 minutes3–4 minutes
Mussels1–2 minutes2–3 minutes
Shrimp1–3 minutes2–4 minutes

Raw salmon on cutting board

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.