Got a new Instant Pot…but still confused how to get started?  You have come to the right place. Here is the guide that you have been looking for, with step-by-step photos to get you started with the setup and water test.

Instant Pot Water Test
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Check out my post about the all the parts of the Instant Pot and initial setup. Then you are ready to start the water test.

Why do the Instant Pot Water Test?

I know you are excited to make the first dish in your new Instant Pot. However Instant Pot highly recommends to do the Initial Water Test before jumping in to use it. There are 3 reasons:

  1. It helps to check everything is functioning correctly in the instant pot.
  2. It will help you get familiarized with how to operate the instant pot.
  3. Clean the instant pot of any manufacturing residues.

How to do the Instant Pot Water Test?

Step 1: Place the stainless steel inner pot into the base unit. (Caution: Do not forget this. I have seen many posts with people saying they have ruined their instant pot by forgetting to place the inner pot before adding food to be cooked.)

Instant Pot Setup - Putting inner pot in base unit

Step 2: Pour water till the “3” mark (3 cups) on the inner pot.

Instant Pot Water Test - Add water

Step 3: Close lid by matching the triangles on the lid and the base unit. Turn clockwise, and you will hear a chime.

Instant Pot Water Test - Close lid

Turn vent to sealing position.

Instant Pot Water Test - Close vent

Step 4: Press the Steam button. Then “+” or “-” to set to 2 minutes.

Instant Pot Water Test - Set Steam mode for 2 mins

In a few seconds, the instant pot display will show “ON”. It will keep showing ON while it builds pressure.

Instant Pot Water Test - Display shows on

Once the pin it up and the pressure is built, the countdown will start.

Instant Pot Water Test - Pin up pressure built up

Step 5: After 2 minutes, the Instant Pot will beep and go into the “Keep Warm” mode. The display will change to showing “L0:00”, this will count up to show how long the instant pot has been in the keep warm mode. Until I got a good picture, the instant pot had counted up to “L0:01” 🙂

Instant Pot Water Test - Complete Keep warm mode

Step 6: The test is complete. You can press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. The display will read “OFF”. Let the instant pot rest until the pin drops and the pressure is released. Do NOT try to open the instant pot when the pin/float valve is up.

Note: The display of the newer versions of Instant Pot can be different. The “Manual” button has been rightly renamed to “Pressure Cook”.

How long does the Instant Pot Water Test take?

This has been asked by many people, so I want to mention that it really does not take long. Just about 20 minutes start to finish. So if you are getting a new instant pot, please do the water test and you will feel much more confident moving along and trying your favorite recipes!

Did you know? If you want the instant pot to not go in “Keep Warm” mode after the cooking cycle is complete, press the mode you used for cooking twice. eg. When you want to pressure cook and you press the “Manual” button, you will see the light on for “Manual” and “Keep Warm” buttons. Press “Manual” once again (without any time lapse), then “Keep Warm” will turn off.

Hop on to read about The Instant Pot Language: Acronyms & Terminology to get familiarized with all the jargon related to Instant Pot.

Check out all about the Instant Pot Buttons at Which Instant Pot Buttons to Use?

Now you are ready to try your favorite recipe.

I highly recommend to start with something easy – Instant Pot Boiled Eggs, Instant Pot Jasmine Rice, Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli.  If you are keen to learn another new thing, try the pot-in-pot cooking method with this Pot-in-pot Basmati Rice recipe or cook Lentils and Rice together.

Another recommendation is to initially follow some recipes, rather than making adjustments. Find a trusted website for instant pot recipes, and then follow along. Feel free to ask questions, as you want to be successful with your initial recipes. Check out this post for 10+ Easy Instant Pot Recipes for new owners.

I have 130+ tried and tested Instant Pot Recipes, do check them out. Leave a comment on the recipe or on any social media channel. I always respond to questions/comments.

Want to buy a cookbook for Instant Pot Recipes. Check out my post about Popular Instant Pot Cookbooks.

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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  1. i followed the same procedure that you told and my pot is working very well. i enjoy making food in itt for my family?