Everyone says the Instant Pot can save you time and money. Sometimes it seems like it might get you to the moon, it’s so amazing!
One thing I know I love about it is that it’s not a one-hit-wonder. In other words, it’s not one of those items that take up a lot of space in your cupboard and can only do one thing.
However, it IS a big item. It does take up some space in your cupboard, and when you start learning how to use the Instant Pot and get into Instant Pot culture (yep, that’s totally a thing), you’ll see all these accessories that people say you just must have.
Well, shoot! Now you need a whole cupboard just for your Instant Pot and all its little friends. Let’s cut through the mess here and talk about which Instant Pot accessories you actually need.
The Best Instant Pot Accessories for a Real Food Kitchen
I’m a pretty down to earth person and treat my Instant Pot like a workhorse. My main goal is to save time on dinner – not summon forth incredible culinary creations. I want to serve my family real, nutritious foods without breaking the budget and without spending hours each day on meal prep.
On any given day, my Instant Pots (yes, we have two that we use regularly!) are full of soaking beans, whole chicken, bone broth, spaghetti squash, oatmeal, or rice pudding – just to name a few. And, while I’m sure it comes out great, you probably won’t find me making a three-tiered wedding cake with my favorite electric pressure cooker.
If that sounds like you, then this is the list you’ve been waiting for – the best Instant Pot accessories for no-frills cooking in a real food kitchen.
Can Instant Pot Accessories Be Used in Other Pressure Cookers?
I’m pretty loyal to the Instant Pot brand. My direct experience with other brands is limited, but a quick review of functions and features and the experiences of friends and readers have made me feel confident that the Instant Pot is the right electric pressure cooker for me.
My most favorite attribute of the Instant Pot (which several other brands don’t have) is the stainless steel insert. I will always, always reach for stainless steel over non-stick Teflon.
Another significant function some other brands lack is the ability to adjust between high and low pressure on the manual setting. All those pre-set buttons for stew/meat, poultry, rice, saute, etc. come in handy sometimes too!
All that being said, if you own another brand of an electric pressure cooker, or even if you have the old school stovetop pressure cooker, you can still use many of these accessories. Just be sure to check the size before you buy, even for the Instant Pot branded ones, as these pressure cookers come in all shapes and sizes now.
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
Now…on to my list of essential Instant Pot accessories!
Instant Pot Trivet – the One Accessory Everyone Needs
I’m pretty sure that all Instant Pot models come with a trivet that sits on the inside. Its job is to lift food up out of the water if you’re doing something like steaming vegetables or cooking a big cut of meat that you don’t want all down in the liquidy sauce (unlike this beef BBQ recipe or this BBQ chicken recipe).
So you probably won’t need to buy an extra trivet, but it’s something you want to keep handy and understand how to use.
Trivets are also imperative for cooking hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. You can even buy a special egg trivet – this one looks like a fantastic option – but they aren’t strictly necessary.
Extra Sealing Rings (For Two Reasons)
Having no sealing ring renders your entire Instant Pot completely useless. So, yeah, this one is pretty necessary.
Because the sealing ring is so crucial to achieving safe and accurate pressure cooking, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra on hand just in case something terrible happens to your ring.
Even if your original sealing ring is still in good shape, it’s still a good practice to buy a few extra.
You’ll find that you want to keep sweet and savory flavors separate. After cooking something like Mexican rice or barbecue chicken, your sealing ring will absorb those flavors in a pretty intense way.
This is okay if you only want to make savory dishes in the Instant Pot.
But you might also want to use it for plain ol’ steel-cut oatmeal or even homemade yogurt like Stephanie teaches you. Imagine sitting down to a warm, comforting bowl of oats and getting the distinct odor of chiles and cumin. Ewwww.
Enter the separate sealing ring. Switching out the rings when you’re switching flavor profiles from savory to sweet (or even neutral) will prevent really disgusting flavor combos like barbeque flavored yogurt or roast beef rice pudding.
You can keep your rings in separate gallon-sized plastic bags labeled ‘sweet’ or ‘savory.’ Or, skip the plastic bag if you can remember which color goes with which flavor. Now the only hard part is remembering to switch it out when you make sweeter dishes or very flavorful dishes.
In my book, this is worth the space it takes to store them and the money to buy them – for sure!
Instant Pot Carrying Case – Great for Travel, Potlucks, and More
Do you travel and cook when you get there? If so, this one is a must.
One summer, our family was away from home for a full six weeks, staying with friends and at Airbnbs with a few hotel rooms tossed in for good measure. We took our Instant Pot everywhere we went, and I’ve never been so glad to have a carrying case.
You can read more about how we use the case and how much I love it in my full review, but it’s definitely worth the investment if you think you might be taking the Instant Pot while you travel on vacation.
I’ve often taken my Instant Pot to potlucks or Teacher Appreciation meals and things like that, and it’s very convenient to have a case (6qt/8qt) to carry it in, along with whatever utensils you need.
One time we were taking the Instant Pot to Detroit to be on TV. It was full of cheeseburger soup. And I got a little lost, made a wrong turn, and had to whip a U-turn to get on the right on-ramp.
It was totally safe as far as cars coming at me, but utterly unsafe for the Instant Pot. It fell over sideways.
Amazingly only a little bit of soup spilled. But had I owned a carrying case at the time, I would have been much happier to have the soup inside the carrying case instead of seeping into my carpet in the back of my van. Thank goodness the Instant Pot lid locks so well.
What About an Instant Pot Steamer Basket?
I find that it’s not too much work just to use the trivet and remove what I’m steaming one by one.
However, I don’t steam vegetables in my Instant Pot exclusively. We also often steam them on the stovetop. If I used it the Instant Pot all the time for steaming veggies, I would think I would really like the convenience of having a whole steamer basket.
This is my second steamer insert for a regular pot, and it would work in the Instant Pot as well since it sizes to many diameters:
BUT the advantage of an actual steamer basket is that you can lift it out without your food falling all over, off, and through the trivet. This is definitely a time saver if you do it pretty often. There’s even one with a divider basket that has three different sections (6qt/8qt)!
Here at Kitchen Stewardship®, we have a really popular post on cooking frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot. We’ve noticed that tons of people grab the stainless steel, 3qt wide rim mesh basket from that post, so I’m guessing it’s a really good one!
The steamer basket would also speed up the process of making hard-boiled eggs because you could probably remove them all at once to your ice water instead of having to use tongs one at a time with the trivet.
One disadvantage is that this is a larger item and will absolutely take up space in your cupboard. You could probably store it inside the Instant Pot and just take it out when you don’t need it.
A Glass Lid for the Instant Pot
There are a few pros and cons of buying the glass lid. I bought one, and I like it, and I use it regularly. However, your mileage may vary.
The glass lid is great at preventing splatter when you’re using the “saute” or the “keep warm” function.
Using the glass lid at a picnic or pot luck would come in handy, so people could look in and see what was in there. I would probably still use the regular lid for transporting since it locks in, along with the carrying case, just in case you had a hamburger soup incident like me. #facepalm
The lid makes storing leftovers in the refrigerator a cinch – just lift the insert out of the Instant Pot and pop on the lid. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
You can also use the glass lid when you use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker. But, you can use the regular pressure cooking lid for this too, so I find this to be a bit of a moot point.
I’ll admit it does seem a bit extraneous if you’re buying the lid for the slow cooking purpose only. Sure, you can see your food, but unless that’s really important to you, it might be something that takes up more space than it’s worth.
Pro tip: Did you know that on some Instant Pot models, the pressure cooker lid can actually be set into the side handles and stand up straight? I remember watching some other blogger’s demo video, and when they nonchalantly set the lid in the handle, I literally gasped and jumped back from my computer.
It was such a shock because I’m always trying to figure out where to set this doggone hot lid! Definitely use this pro tip the next time you’re serving someone, or even just doing your own cooking with your Instant Pot.
Thinking Outside of the (Instant Pot) Box
There are a few things that I consider to be a necessity to any kitchen, not just for cooking with the Instant Pot. These two things will come in handy for so much more than pressure cooking, but will also make integrating the use of the Instant Pot with the rest of your kitchen tasks just a little more seamless.
Stay Safe – Use a Meat Thermometer
I do think that every cook needs an instant-read meat thermometer, whether you use it in your IP often or not.
I use it much more often for grilling or roasting meat in the oven, but anytime you’re not quite sure if a big chunk of meat is done in the Instant Pot, you can skip cutting it open just to find out that it needs more time.
Use a quick-read meat thermometer, and you don’t have to worry.
Investing in one is well worth it. I have one similar in style to this one, and I just love it!
Quick and Easy Storage and Reheating – Glass Storage Containers
I had another jaw-dropping moment when I read my friend Wardee’s information on reheating leftovers in the Instant Pot.
She puts food in a basic Pyrex glass dish, puts it on top of a trivet with the water beneath, and can reheat food in the Instant Pot, much like you could in a microwave.
What’s funny, though, is that I have never once reheated leftovers in my Instant Pot. We tend just to throw them on the stove in a pot with some water or use our beloved cast iron griddle to heat up all sorts of things. I’m sure I should try it someday.
But we use our Instant Pot so much that it’s often dirty or full of beans soaking or chicken broth cooking, and it seems like a big item to get out just to reheat leftovers. Am I crazy? Is this an awesome technique that I’m totally missing out on?
I still recommend that everyone should have a wide variety of glass bowls. We love the Anchor Hocking brand with the more complicated-looking TrueSeal lids because those lids last far longer than Pyrex or Anchor’s red or blue lids.
When you cook big batches in your Instant Pot, you’ll be happy to have leftovers for the next day, and leftovers should be stored in glass to be the safest for your family since plastic leaches and is no fun when it breaks.
We love our glass containers, and they last forever. So this is sort of a necessary accessory…and yet, sort of not.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
A Few Instant Pot Accessories You Might Be Able to Skip
The Instant Pot can still save you tons of money and time if you don’t go down the rabbit hole of buying every little item that might go with it. Here are a few I think you might be able to do without.
Silicone Mesh Steamer Pad
I thought it would be vital to have one of these mesh cover thingies because I knew I wanted to make rice pudding often in my Instant Pot.
The intent of the apparatus is to prevent a lot of filming up that could interfere with the pressure cooking function of the pin and cause your recipe not to work. They’re simple to use. You just set it on top of all your food, and it should keep the foam down.
I’m just not entirely convinced that they work perfectly.
When I make rice pudding, I tend just to use the sauté function on my Instant Pot, as I explained in this basic Instant Pot techniques post.
I’d love to hear in the comments if you have this item and use it well. Maybe I need to learn some new recipes.
Okay, I know I might take a hit on this one, but I just haven’t jumped on the ‘baking in the Instant Pot’ train.
I know people make springform cheesecakes in their Instant Pot and have special tools for that. There are cute little egg dishes that you can buy some silicone inserts to make. I’ve come across recipes for Italian Cream Cakes and 3 Tier Wedding cakes, but I’m just not going to be going there anytime soon.
There are all sorts of one-time-use accessories for the Instant Pot, but I simply haven’t gotten into those fancy recipes.
Call me crazy. Call me simple. I’ll take it as a compliment!
If you love your Instant Pot for making simple recipes, rice, eggs, and all the stuff you used to make in your slow cooker, then these are really the only accessories you need.
I’m never afraid to admit I’m wrong, though. So I’d love to hear in the comments if I missed any favorites!