On April 19, 2017 by Once a Month Meals

You got your Instant Pot out of the box, you did the water test, made rice,  sautéed something, made some soup and now you’re feeling pretty good about your fancy new appliance – you are ready to take it to the next level!

You’re ready to try “Pot-in-Pot” (PIP) – but what is it exactly, why do you need to do it, how do you do it, and is it ok to stick plastic in your Instant Pot (the answer is no – by the way)?

Have no fear!

We are here to answer all your Instant Pot Pot-in-Pot questions!

So you’ll be well on your way to Instant Pot status level – Expert, in no time!

What is Pot-in-Pot Method?

PIP is essentially using an oven safe dish to cook your meal, side or dessert in, and placing it in your Instant Pot. Simply put, you are putting another “pot” into the “Instant Pot.”

When and Why would I want to use Pot-in-Pot Method?

There are several reasons you might like to use the PIP method, including but not limited to:

  • Reheating meals
  • Cooking meals not on direct heat – such as those with low liquid content or those you don’t want sitting in liquid
  • For a recipe you’ve made before that stuck to the bottom of the pot
  • Desserts such as cakes or cheesecakes
  • Preparing multiple items at once, for example: rice and honey bourbon chicken.

Here’s what you need to successfully pull off the Pot-in-Pot Method:

Things to Note about Pot-in-Pot Method:

At Once a Month Meals we’re all about that cook-from-frozen life (reason 5,430 why we love the Instant Pot) but it’s important that you know:

*You NEVER want to put a frozen glass bowl straight into the Instant Pot to pressure cook.*

You can put frozen contents into a room temperature bowl to cook, just not frozen contents in a frozen glass bowl as you risk the glass cracking due to a sudden change in temperature.

We recommend that you freeze your meal in a freezer bag, molded to your dish rather than the dish itself.

Here’s how you do that successfully:

  1. Place a freezer bag inside the dish you want to cook in. We highly recommend using an oven safe pan or dish, not glass.
  2. Fold the sides of that freezer bag over the edges of that dish.
  3. Put your meal and food contents inside the freezer bag, so the freezer bag sits full inside your dish. Seal the filled freezer bag.
  4. Place the dish with the sealed, full freezer bag into the freezer so that the meal freezes in the shape of your pan/bowl.
  5. Once frozen solid, remove the freezer bag from your dish. Place your meal back into your freezer and your dish back into storage!
  6. When ready to serve, locate the dish you originally froze your meal in, and place the frozen meal back inside of that pan or bowl.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready to get started!

STEP 1: Stick your trivet in the bottom of your pot. If you’re cooking something on the bottom (like rice) go ahead and add that first. If not, go ahead add your liquid to the Instant Pot – minimum half a cup.

STEP 2: Earlier we referenced the sling, this is not something you have to do, but sometimes it might be hard to retrieve your container so this will help. To craft a foil sling you can fold the foil into thirds for reinforcement. Place your bowl on top of the sling and pull the sides up.

STEP 3: With your bowl in the sling, put your bowl (and foil sling) on top of the trivet. Hold the bowl steady as you put it in the Instant Pot to set and cook.

STEP 4: Set and forget! Cook according to your recipes directions and you’re good to go!

And that is Pot-in-Pot!

Below is a list of things you might want/need to complete the PIP method, but we encourage you not to buy a bunch of accessories for IP until you’re super familiar with it. That’s like buying a bunch of new gym outfits before ever having stepped foot in the gym!

See this method done in real time!

Finally, if you’d like to see Pot in Pot done live – you might like to watch this video. We might add this video was done with things already laying around the house (no new purchases!).

Pot-in-Pot Method FAQ

How do I determine how long to cook for if I’m cooking two things like rice and chicken?

When cooking more than one thing while using the Pot-in-Pot method, you’ll determine your time based on what you’re cooking on the trivet. For example, if you’re making rice and chicken – you’ll cook for the amount of time the chicken will need since the chicken will be in a separate bowl on the trivet, and the rice in the bottom.

Meat usually needs to cook longer than rice, won’t my rice get soggy?

Actually, nope!

How do I determine if the trivet should be right side up or upside down?

Typically, you want your trivet to be right side up. You might like your trivet upside down if your trivet is too high or if you wanted to stack more things so you needed to watch the height. In place of a trivet, you could try a steam basket as well if you really need the space.

How do I determine which type of dish to use (Pyrex, Springform, etc.)

Determining what type of “pot” to use in your pot really depends on what you’re cooking. If you’re making a cheesecake it might make more sense to use a springform pan, whereas if you’re making meat, it might make more sense to use pyrex. It ultimately won’t make or break your meal either way! Just make sure it’s oven safe!

More Instant Pot resources:

Instant Pot Tips and Tricks 101 - FB Instant Pot Tips & Tricks 201 - FB 

  50 Instant Pot Freezer Meals  Transform Freezer Cooking with an Instant Pot

Pot-in-Pot Method for the Instant Pot - your recipe calls for this method but you need to know how to do it properly.