You Finally Bought an Instant Pot! Here Are 10 Tips on How to Use It Properly

Perhaps your Instant Pot has been sitting in the box for six months, you just brought it home, or you’re seriously thinking about making the investment. It’s different from slow cookers and traditional pressure cookers - it comes with a set of instructions all its own. Settle in, and take a look at the 10 tips you need to know about working your Instant Pot safely and successfully.


1. You’ll rely on pretty much one button. Sure, there’s a poultry button, a rice button, and a multigrain button, but the one you’ll use most often is manual.

2. Don’t ignore the sauté function. Unlike a slow cooker, which cooks food through prolonged indirect heat, the Instant Pot has the ability to sauté and sear ingredients for optimal flavor. If you’re cooking something like skin-on chicken thighs, you’ll start with the sauté function to sear the meat, then add your cooking liquid, lock the lid, and use the manual button to finish out the cooking process.

3. There’s more than one way to relieve pressure. You can release pressure from the Instant Pot in two ways. There’s the natural release method and the quick release method. Once your timer goes off, you can allow it to sit and depressurize naturally, which takes approximately 10-30 minutes depending on your amount of liquid. The more liquid content, the longer it takes. The quick release method is used by manually turning the steam release handle to the “venting” position to let the steam out of the cooker for faster cooling. This method takes about 1-2 minutes to depressurize and you’ll actually see the steam releasing from the vent.

4. You always need liquid. At least one cup, to be exact. Too much liquid will weaken the flavor of your dish, and increase both the pressure release time and the amount of time it takes to get to pressure.

5. Beware of over-filling the Instant Pot. The lines on the inside of the bowl indicate how much the Instant Pot can safely hold when using the sauté function only.

6. Don’t force a locked lid. When the Instant Pot is finished depressurizing, it will automatically unlock to indicate that it’s safe to open. There’s a floating valve on the lid located by the venting knob that will drop when all of the pressure has been released.

7. Your 10-minute recipe may actually take 30. The time indicated on most recipes refers to the time it takes for the dish to cook once the Instant Pot comes to pressure, which could take 10 minutes depending on the liquid content. By the time your Instant Pot comes up to pressure, cooks the food, and then depressurizes, you’re looking at tripling the time the recipe typically says. The good news is that there’s little effort involved, and that dish may normally have taken an hour on the stove.

8. Play with the adjust function. If you want to go back and forth between functions, the adjust button will be your best friend. For example, if you’ve been cooking something on the slow cooking function for several hours and you want to bring it to a boil at the end, press the adjust button whenever you’re ready, and then push the boil button to start that process.

9. Start simple. Don’t unbox your new Instant Pot and then try to make the most complicated thing you can think of. Start with something basic like rice or hard boiled eggs to get your feet wet and get used to the venting process. Then, you can move on to fun things like beef bourguignon.

10. Invest in a few accessories. Your Instant Pot will come with a few basic accessories, but there are all kinds of goodies you can get to make your cooking process more fun and simple. Stackable metal containers will allow you to cook multiple dishes at one time, large steamer baskets accommodate eggs and veggies, and springform pans are great for lasagna and cheesecake.

Happy Cooking!

This Fourth of July Chia Pudding Is As Patriotic As It Is Healthy (and VEGAN!)

Every year around 4th of July, everything, from our mani-pedis to our desserts, turns red, white, and blue. But before you reach for the food coloring, how about whipping up an ultra-healthy and naturally patriotic chia pudding? It will satisfy your craving for something sweet, but it’s totally vegan and won’t fill you with empty calories. What’s more, it’s super-simple to prepare, and is the perfect festive treat for your holiday barbecue!


Makes four

  • 5-6 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 cups coconut yogurt (or Greek yogurt if not vegan)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Pour the coconut milk into a large jar and add the chia seeds. Stir to combine and add the yogurt.
  2. Stir very thoroughly, as the chia seeds tend to form clumps, which is a big no-no! You might also want to give the jar a good shake.
  3. Seal the jar and chill in the fridge for a minimum of four hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Place the raspberries and agave syrup in a bowl and mash lightly.
  5. Stir the chilled chia pudding, then add an even layer in little glasses. A jar funnel will help keep things neat!
  6. Add a layer of the raspberries and spoon some more chia pudding over them.
  7. Top with fresh blueberries and serve immediately.

Happy Independence Day!

Eat Healthier & Beat Belly Bloat With These 7 Foods All Year Round!

While we live strictly by the “any body is a bikini body” motto, we understand even the most self-accepting, body-positive ladies among us dread slipping into a bathing suit when we feel bloated. There are a few gut-busting foods we can eat to help keep us feeling our best during swimsuit season. Here are a few tips from Neka Pasquale, Urban Remedy founder and certified Chinese nutritionist. She gives us a closer look at the real causes of bloating, plus seven good-for-you foods that’ll keep it at bay all summer long.

Asparagus: contains the amino acid asparagine, which is a natural diuretic. It releases excess water from the body and clears excess salts as well.


Leafy Greens: Collard greens, spinach, kale, and other deep leafy greens work well to reduce bloating because of their high-water content. They’re also natural diuretics and beneficial to gut health because they provide minerals and vitamins. Check out this recipe for a collard green smoothie!

Seaweed: Pasquale says that ancient Chinese medicine claims, “There is no swelling that is not relieved by seaweed.” It has been used for thousands of years for its diuretic properties. Look for seaweed salads in the cold case of your local gourmet grocer, or head out for a sushi dinner to get your seaweed fill.

Cucumber Juice: Yet again we have a natural diuretic in the mix! Cucumber juice “flushes excess water out of the body via urination. Like a river flowing, it pulls debris on its path, a diuretic flushes toxins and waste via urination, leaving you less bloated and feeling lighter,” Pasquale says. Try subbing cucumber sticks for pita chips the next time you dip into hummus for your 3pm snack.

Fennel: Fresh fennel is tops when it comes to vegetables that support digestion. Bloating, gas, intestinal cramps, and irritable bowels are all good reasons to eat fennel. You can also use the seeds by making a tea or even chewing them after meals.

Ginger Root: Ginger has long been a go-to ingredient in our detox regimens — and is an amazing natural antidote to morning sickness. Ginger “stimulates the digestion and aids in transforming and transporting the fluids in the body.  Phenolic compounds like gingerol are primarily responsible for ginger tea’s positive effect on the digestive system.  Drinking a hot ginger tea just before a big meal or sipping on a small cup of it while eating to reduce bloating and support digestion.

Turmeric Root: From face masks to golden lattes, turmeric is one of our favorite wellness ingredients. It helps brighten skin, reduces inflammation, and even combats fatigue. Pasquale adds that turmeric can also “strengthen digestion, support liver detoxification, and lower inflammation. Turmeric root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a sattvic herb, which means it has purifying and balancing properties. As a tridoshic herb, it is tonifying and healing for all body types.” Add turmeric to your tea or a mug of hot water with fresh lemon juice and cayenne pepper in the mornings and see if it stops bloating during the day.