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Instant Pot IP-DUO80 7-in-1 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt
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- DUO80 7-in-1 programmable pressure cooker
- Latest generation technology
- Stainless steel inner cooking pot and exterior
- Note: New Anti-Block Shield is used and the actual component may not match images shown in manuals. For pressure cooking programs, do not fill the inner pot over 2/3 full. For non-pressure cooking programs, do not fill the inner pot over the MAX line.
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From the manufacturer
Created for Fast-Paced, Health-Oriented and Green-Conscious Lifestyles
Instant Pot IP-DUO series is a smart electric pressure cooker designed by Canadians with the objectives of being Safe, Convenient and Dependable. Instant Pot is a kitchen partner that works with you and for you.
Why Instant Pot is Better?
- Easy to Use and Clean.
- Extensive Safety Mechanisms Throughout the Cooker.
- Best-in-Class Customer Service and Support.
- Strong Fan Base and Online Community.
Convenient, as Simple as Pressing a Button
With your Instant Pot, green peas, sweet corn and baby carrots can be steamed in 4 - 7 minutes, fresh or frozen. To make mashed potatoes, you don't need to boil the potatoes in water and let nutrients leach into the water, simply steam them in Instant Pot for just 15 minutes. An entree of chili or Irish stew can be done within an hour without you watching over it.
To tailor for various cooking results and lifestyles, Instant Pot is programmed with adjustable cooking modes, up to 24 hours of delayed cooking, and automatic keep warm for up to 10 hours. Most traditional, modern, and international recipes can easily be adapted for Instant Pot.
Don't forget to visit the official website and join our Instant Pot online community, where users access cooking tips, recipes, share ideas and obtain the latest news on Instant Pot.
Elegant Durable Design, Dependable Consistent Cooking Results
The Instant Pot's elegant and ergonomic industrial design makes it easy to clean and use for both left-handed and right-handed users. The stainless steel inner pot and lid are both dishwasher safe while the cooker base can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth.
When the cooker is in operation, its microprocessor monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time, adjusts heating intensity and duration, and even adjusts cooking time based on the volume of food in the cooker. All cooking programs have been lab-tested* for consistency and optimal cooking results.
Note: The inner pot is made of 18/8 food grade 304 stainless steel. The outer pot is made of steel (not stainless) coated with heat resistant paint.
*For more information you can contact the official customer service or visit the official website.
More About Instant Pot
- Best-in-class customer service with a team of dedicated, friendly and responsive support staff.
- 3-ply Food Grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel cooking pot for durability and safety.
- Low profile 18/8 stainless steel steam rack with handles to lower and lift food into and out of the cooking pot.
- Pressure cooking recipe booklet and suggested cooking time tables are included.
Safety Without Compromise
Instant Pot is carefully designed with all models passing stringent UL and ULC certifications, giving users uncompromised safety and peace of mind. Instant Pot protects users with the following 10 proven safety mechanisms:
- Safety Lid Lock prevents accidental opening while cooker is pressurized.
- Pressure Regulator ensures working pressure is under the safety limit of 15.23 psi.
- Leaky Lid Smart Detection (eg. steam release is at open position).
- Anti-Blockage Vent prevents food debris from blocking the vent.
- Magnetic Sensor for Lid Position Detection monitors whether the lid is in an unsafe zone for pressure cooking.
- Automatic Pressure Control keeps pressure in a safe range.
- Excess Pressure Protection releases excess pressure into internal chamber in the event of a dangerous situation.
- Automatic Temperature Control regulates temperatures based on the type of program selected.
- High Temperature Monitoring prevents food from burning.
- Fuse Cuts Off Power when electrical current or temperature exceeds safety limits.
|Bluetooth Wireless Connection. Free Apps for Recipe Writing and Sharing||✓|
|Microprocessor Controlled Programs. Thermal, Pressure, and Lid Position Sensors||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Pressure Cooking||High Pressure (10.2 - 11.6 psi) and Low Pressure (5.8 - 7.2 psi)||High Pressure (10.2 - 11.6 psi) and Low Pressure (5.8 - 7.2 psi)||High Pressure (10.2 - 11.6 psi) and Low Pressure (5.8 - 7.2 psi)||High Pressure (10.2 - 11.6 psi) and Low Pressure (5.8 - 7.2 psi)||High Pressure Only (10.2 - 11.6 psi)||High Pressure Only (10.2 - 11.6 psi)|
|Slow Cooker: 0.5 - 20 hours at 3 Temperatures||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Saute: up to 30 minutes at 3 Temperatures||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Keep Warm||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm: up to 99 hours and 50 minutes||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm: up to 99 hours and 50 minutes||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm: up to 99 hours and 50 minutes||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm: up to 99 hours and 50 minutes. 3 Temperature Choices||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm up to 10 hours||Automatic Keep Warm: up to 10 hours. Manual Keep Warm up to 10 hours|
|Yogurt Maker: Fermentation up to 99.5 hours at 2 Temperatures. Pasteurizing Milk||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Pot Size and Heating Element Power||8 Quart / 1200W||6 Quart / 1000W||5 Quart / 900W||6 Quart / 1000W||6 Quart / 1000W||5 Quart / 900W|
|Lid Fin Holders on Base, Condensation Collector and Cord Rack, Double Anti-Block Shield||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Built-In Smart Programs||14||14||14||14 + Many Downloadable Recipe Programs in Instant Pot App||10||10|
Compare to similar items
This item Instant Pot IP-DUO80 7-in-1 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Item Dimensions||13.31 x 14.84 x 14.17 in||12.6 x 10.2 x 11.8 in||12.6 x 13 x 12.2 in||12.2 x 12.2 x 13.2 in|
|Material Type||18/8 Steel||stainless steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Size||8 Quart||6 Quart - V3||6-Quart||13.2"x 12.2" dia.|
Instant Pot is a smart Electric Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians aiming to be Safe, Convenient and Dependable. It speeds up cooking by 2~6 times using up to 70% less energy and, above all, produces nutritious healthy food in a convenient and consistent fashion.
IP-DUO is a 7-in-1 programmable cooker, building on our best-selling IP-LUX series, with the functions of pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker & warmer. 14 built-in smart programs (Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Slow Cook, Keep-Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurize & Jiu Niang) cook your favorite dishes with the press of a button.
A 24-hour timer allows for delayed cooking. Automatic keep-warm holds the temperature of the food until you serve it. Instant Pot generates almost no noise and leaks no steam. It traps all the aromas in the food without heating up the kitchen. The 3-ply bottom stainless steel inner pot is extremely durable and leaves no health concerns of non-stick coating residual. The new slim body design has smaller foot print and lid holders for both left and right handed users. The brushed stainless steel exterior is finger print resistant. Its elegant and durable design makes it easy to clean and pleasurable to use for the years to come.
IP-DUO uses the latest 3rd generation technology with an embedded microprocessor, which monitors the pressure and temperature, keeps time and adjusts heating intensity. The cooking programs have been lab-tested hundreds of times for optimal effect. These greatly improve cooking result and maintain consistence.
Instant Pot is carefully designed to eliminate many common errors from causing harm or spoiling food. It passed the stringent UL certification giving you uncompromised safety and peace of mind and protects you with 10 proven safety mechanisms and patented technologies.
Top Customer Reviews
So, here are a few tips that have really helped me to finally 'get' it, plus instructions for two things that you can make in your Instant Pot that will change your life: incredibly easy perfectly poached eggs in 2-3 minutes, and baked potatoes in 12 minutes.
First, it is almost impossible to mess up with this thing to a point of being dangerous, so if you're concerned about the exploding pressure cookers of yore, you needn't be (I said "almost", don't go overriding your pot's safety features and then blame me when you poke an eye out). The lid audibly tells you when its sealed (when you turn it clockwise), and the pot won't even build up much pressure if you haven't properly closed the steam release handle by turning it, too, clockwise. The most likely point at which a problem could arise would be if you try to open the lid (by turning it counter-clockwise) before all of the pressure has been released and normalized (so don't do that). The pot visually lets you know when it's safe to open the pot, by the float valve (the little silver post that pops up when the pot is pressurized) dropping back down flush with the lid instead of being popped up. Think of the float valve as the reverse of a turkey pop-up button, in the case of the float valve it's done when the button pops *in*, instead of out.
The sauté function has three temperature settings: 'Normal' heats to 320 degrees, 'More' heats to 338 degrees, and 'Less' heats to 221 degrees (all in Fahrenheit)
For pressure cooking, you will probably use 'manual' nearly all the time (nearly every Instant Pot cookbook I've read relies on the manual setting almost exclusively). So *don't* feel badly for not using all of those other buttons very much, if at all (I've never used any of the preprogrammed buttons).
The preprogrammed settings each have their own timing, and *variable* pressure, which the pot manipulates by manipulating the temperature of the contents (the higher the temperature, the higher the pressure). That is primarily what makes them different from manual, which provides one consistent pressure (either high or low). However they *generally* bring the contents to high pressure, fluctuating the temperature a little so that the pressure fluctuates a little too, for a set period of time (the main exceptions to this are the rice button, and the multigrain button). Personally I just find it easier to use 'manual' and set the time that I want.
After you hit 'manual' to start cooking, you then set the amount of time you want it to cook at pressure, after which you will have a 10-second grace period (for example to add more time, etc.), after which the display will switch to displaying the word "on". Then it will be a while before the display switches to the timer countdown. This is *normal*. The amount of time you enter is for how long it will cook *after it reaches full pressure* (either high or low pressure, depending on what you selected), and so the timer will switch on when it reaches full pressure.
The cooking time in any recipe is the time *at full pressure*, not in total. So you need to take into account the time it will take to reach full pressure (which depends on many variables, including what is in the contents of the pot, what temperature they started at, and your altitude), *and* how long it will take for the pressure to be released and normalized (i.e. for the float valve to pop in, which of course is really "dropping in", but you get the point). And this brings us to the two different types of pressure release.
All Instant Pot recipes will include (or *should* include) either one of these terms: natural pressure release (also known as NPR), or quick pressure release (QPR or QR). What these mean is simply either "let the pressure dissipate on its own" (natural pressure release), or "force the pressure to escape immediately by turning the steam release handle counter-clockwise to the open position (quick release). The reason for using quick release (QR) is not because you are too impatient to wait for natural release, but because your food will be over cooked if you don't get it the heck out of dodge once it's done cooking at pressure. A really good example of a food needing quick release is poached eggs (which come out *perfectly* in the Instant Pot (see how to poach eggs in the Instant Pot below)). On the other hand, lots of (if not most) foods need the natural release - it's part of their cooking process and processing time.
Natural pressure release generally takes between 15 and 20 minutes.
Quick pressure release takes about a minute, plus the hours spent in the ER if you forget to KEEP YOUR HANDS, FACE, AND ALL OTHER BODY PARTS AWAY FROM THE STEAM VALVE WHEN YOU DO IT!! Many people put a towel over the valve before they turn it, to help suppress the steam, which you may want to do (I don't because then I just end up with a scalding hot towel - but I also rarely need to do QR, and those times that I do, I'm sufficiently respectful of the power and heat of that steam to keep my distance).
Finally, in my experience, unless you are doing a "dump everything in at once and turn it on" recipe, you will definitely want to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start cooking. For example, for any recipe that includes sautéing in the pot first, then adding ingredients and then starting pressure cooking, you definitely want to have everything lined up before you start.
Oh, wait, *this* is actually the final note: the stainless steel inner pot can take a real beating, and cleans up just fine..BUT...after the first use or so (it was after my first use) you will see little "stains" (not sure what else to call them) and, if you are anything like me, you will think "Oh no! I have ruined the beauty of this pot! How can I fix it?" It turns out that this is *very* normal (at least the 'staining', not sure about my reaction being normal :-) ). In my case I had made means, and my pot now still bears the "imprints" of beans, even though it is completely clean..it's sort of like the chalk outlines from a little bean murder scene. ;-) I'm in an Instant Pot forum on Facebook where many IP cookbook authors are members (including JL Fields and Jill Nussinow) and they have all said that this is perfectly normal and just what happens (in fact they said it in response to my "Oh no, I've ruined my beautiful pot" post).
Ok, I think that those are about all of the things that I had wished that I had fully understood on my first day with my Instant Pot.
Oh, actually there's one more thing. I didn't fully appreciate, until several days in, just how amazing this aspect of the Instant Pot is: you can start something cooking in it, and then *walk away* - even leave the house, and it will finish cooking just like you instructed, and be *perfectly done*, and then it will *keep it warm for up to 10 hours*! Not keep cooking it, just *keep it warm*. For up to 10 hours! You can put something in there in the morning, leave for the day, and come back to a perfectly cooked whatever, just waiting for you! Booyah! (I think this is the thing that pressure cooker purists who try to talk people out of getting an Instant Pot, rather than a stovetop pressure cooker, fail to understand. You can't just walk away from a stovetop pressure cooker after the stuff starts cooking.)
Now, here are the *the best* accessories (in my opinion) that you will want for your Instant Pot.
You definitely will want this steamer basket for your Instant Pot (the Instant Pot comes with a little steaming trivet, but this steamer basket is *way* more useful - in fact it's how you make both poached eggs and baked potatoes). Actually you will want *a* steamer basket, but trust me, this is the one you want, both because of the big handle, the fact that the handle telescopes, and, most importantly, you can use it with or without the little legs flipped down, and when you flip the little legs down, they give you plenty of space for as much water for steaming as you could ever need without worrying about the water touching the food that's in the basket.
Or, instead of, or in addition to, the above steamer, you can get this steamer basket and steaming rack / trivet set. The legs on this trivet are an inch and a half high (the rack that comes with your Instant Pot only gives 3/4 of an inch of clearance). and the flat-bottomed steamer is very versatile.
Personally, I have both, as they each serve their own purpose, and the trivet that comes with the set is really useful for pot-in-pot cooking, at which you may also want to try your hand. Pot-in-pot (or "PIP") is where you put a second, smaller vessel inside your Instant Pot's main internal pot. There are different reasons for doing this, ranging from "I only want to cook a small amount of something like oatmeal" to "I want to cook a cheesecake in my Instant Pot" to "I want to cook two different things at the same time in my Instant Pot (like cooking beans, and having a bowl of rice on a trivet (see why you want a good trivet?) above the beans, steam cooking at the same time).
For pot-in-pot cooking, I recommend any stainless steel vessel that is no greater in diameter than 7.5 inches, and no taller than 4 or so inches (your internal pot has a diameter of just over 8.5 inches and a height of about 6 inches). Lots of people use glass vessels such as Pyrex or Corningware, but I personally prefer to use stainless steel because if you drop it you'll just have a mess, rather than a mess plus broken glass.
If you're really keen on making cheesecakes, steamed puddings, flans, and that sort of thing in your Instant Pot, you may also want to grab this stainless steel pot-in-pot 'dessert insert' pan set, which includes two stacking pans. and a rack to set them on which has handles that close up over the pans to secure them.
You will also want this separate glass lid that is sold by the Instant Pot people. This lid fits on your *inner metal pot*, and this way when you are using your Instant Pot for *non-pressurized* cooking, such as when using it as a slow cooker, or with the sauté function, you will be able to see what is going on in there. Basically, in these usages, you can think of your Instant Pot as a counter-top stove burner (albeit one with really cool bells and whistles) - that may help you to understand why you want a (see-through!) lid for that inner pot. Plus, once you are done cooking in any mode, you can use the inner pot to store the leftovers in your fridge, and use this lid to cover it.
In terms of Instant Pot cookbooks to get you started, they are a relatively new genre, and a *lot* of them are only available as Kindle or other digital format books. Personally, I like to have a physical book when it comes to cookbooks, and so I like this one...you can't go wrong with America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, and their pressure cooker cookbook is no exception:
Pressure Cooker Perfection
I also happen to be a strict vegetarian, and for vegetarian and vegan Instant Pot cooking, this book by J.L. Fields is considered the best book out there (it's pretty darned good!):
Vegan Pressure Cooking: Delicious Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes
And if you also are vegetarian or vegan, you'll appreciate the recipes in this one:
O M Gee Good! Instant Pot Meals, Plant-Based & Oil-free
..and this one:
Vegan Under Pressure: Perfect Vegan Meals Made Quick and Easy in Your Pressure Cooker
And speaking of recipes - here is how to make those poached eggs, and baked potatoes.
Poached Eggs: Lightly grease 1 to 4 (depending on how many poached eggs you want) Pyrex custard cups with butter or oil. Put a cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot, put a steamer basket or trivet in the pot (making sure that the water doesn't come over the top), and set your Pyrex cups in the steamer basket or on the trivet. I use my Oxo steamer basket for this, and I love that when they are done I can just grab the handle and pull the whole shebang out (remember the handle will be HOT, be sure to wear an oven mitt). Use Manual setting, low pressure, for 2 to 3 minutes. 2 minutes will probably be enough unless you're at a high altitude.
Baked Potatoes: Remember how I said you could make baked potatoes in 12 minutes? And remember how I said that the recipe times are for the time *at pressure*? ;~) Still, even given the time to come to pressure, and to have the pressure come back down, you can have perfectly steam-baked potatoes in under half an hour, and the best part is that you can start them, and then *walk away*! When you are ready for your potatoes, they will be perfectly done and waiting for you, even if you have abandoned them for hours! Just put water in the bottom of your Instant Pot, flip the legs down on your Oxo steamer, put the steamer in the pot and then dump your potatoes in on top of the steamer. Using the Manual setting, set the cooking time for 12 minutes, using high pressure. Then walk away! Now, because these are 'steam baked' (i.e. cooked whole over steam, but not in water), the skins will not be crisp, but these are otherwise exactly like the baked potatoes you know and love - they're great with butter, sour cream, etc.! This works with new potatoes, and regular potatoes!
Happy Instant Potting!
What got me thinking about the IP was talking to a friend at work who is a firefighter. He works long shifts with mostly men, they can't really cook, but they just buy meat and throw it in here. He swore by it. Then someone else chimed in and said they pressure cook a lot. About a month later it went on sale for Prime Day and I picked it up. I am all of a sudden a much, much better cook! There are so many cookbooks for this, my favorite being Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful and there's a wonderful Facebook page where people post their successes and fails, so we can all learn from each other. This whole last month has been wonderful. I'll highlight some things I've tried or heard about:
-Chicken: For the first time every I cooked a whole chicken (see picture of it falling apart). My husband couldn't believe I cooked a whole chicken since I usually buy them at the store already made. It was excellent. I did 6 minutes per pound + 2 minutes. I also cook chicken thighs for dinner about once a week, which I had never cooked before. I do that for 10 minutes with some chicken broth and whichever seasoning sounds good. Ironically enough, I can't get my classic boneless, skinless chicken breasts to turn out, but based on my Facebook group a lot of people have success with them.
-Pot roast: I tried this once and it didn't work great. It was a very lean, thick cut of meat. I heard that the leaner meats are harder to do. Next time I'll try something different.
-Eggs: I can hard boil 30 eggs at once!!! I work 12 hour shifts and eat 4 with my lunch and 4 with my dinner. Since I work 4 days in a row I have to hard boil 32 eggs. I used to use my egg cooker and do 7 at a time, which was a pain. Now it's quick and easy!
-Steel cut oats: Another thing that I never ate before. At one point a couple years ago we tried making them a few times, but it's so annoying having to stir the pot all the time and then half the time I ended up with some crusted on the bottom which was annoying to clean up. Now I use the PIP (pot in the pot) method. I put 1 cup of water in the bottom, then the trivet in, then 1 cup of steel cut oats in a large Pyrex glass dish with 2 1/2 cups of water. I put it on for 10 minutes manual high pressure and walk away. Once the pressure releases and I open it they are perfect! I then divide them up into mason jars and put them in the fridge. At breakfast time I warm them up, add some milk for creaminess and they are perfect. We eat them every single morning now. The only dish I have is the Pyrex bowl and I just rinse the metal pot out since it didn't touch any food.
-Soups: I had never made soup before this. I have made chicken noodle soup many times and everyone loves it. I HATE how chicken noodle soup always has mushy noodles. Not mine! I cook the noodles to how I like them. I've bene wanting to experiment with more soups, but I'll do that in winter.
-Yogurt: Another amazing feature. I've made yogurt 3 times and love it. My 2 year old only eats my yogurt. I can make a gallon of organic yogurt for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store. It takes some patience, but the hands on work part of it is only about 20 minutes. There's a lot of waiting for things to heat, cool, incubate, set. I've finally learned when to start to have each step finish at the right time. Feel free to ask if you have questions.
-Sides: I found a recipe for a mac and cheese that everyone loves. My daughter and her friends are always begging me for it. The best part? It's only 5 ingredients (pasta, heavy whip, butter, salt and cheese). It also only requires washing a cheese grater and the pot and it only takes 20 minute from start to finish. No hard to pronounce, artificial, food dyed ingredients. I have also mastered spaghetti with meat sauce. Before this I had never once made spaghetti with meat sauce. Now I do it all the time. Again, I only have ONE thing to clean afterwards. If I tried doing with without the IP I would have a pan for the meat, pot for the pasta, strainer. It only takes about 20 minutes start to finish. It can be real simple (meat, jar of sauce, pasta, water) or get really complicated with making your own sauce (even then it's still pretty easy).
-Veggies: Many veggies can be cooked in here. Delicate ones, like broccoli are harder to do. Con on the cob in here is amazing though. Much quicker than any other method.
-Deserts: I haven't made a desert yet, but on my Facebook group a ton of people are making cheesecake. I try to keep deserts out of the house and just have them for special treats when we're out. So I haven't tried this. A ton of people in my Facebook group are doing it and they look like they turn out great.
-Chicken broth: I am not the type of woman who makes chicken broth. My step-mom does that kind of stuff and I look at her like "why don't you just buy it". Well, now I am the type of person who makes chicken broth. After throwing a whole chicken in here I take the carcass (I hate that word!) and put it back in with some veggies, set it for 2 hours and it's done! I strain it and then have beautiful, healthy, yummy chicken broth. The first time I did it my husband looked at me like I was cray-cray. Now he helps by saving his bones. There is no better chicken noodle soup that when it's made with homemade broth! Yummy!!!
-Spaghetti squash: This is one food I accepted that it's harder to make than it's worth, so we hadn't eaten it in years. Not anymore! I put it in for 20 minutes without cutting it. When I opened the pot the squash is intact, but with the skin peeling off. It's easy to cut it in half from there, scoop out the seeds and separate it.
-Applesauce: Whenever my apples start getting too soft, I peel them, use my little apple slicer and throw them in here with some cinnamon. There are recipes for if you want to add sugar, lemon, honey, ect. I prefer just apples and cinnamon though since it's healthy and natural. My kids love it. 8 minutes on manual with a natural release. I just stir it with a fork and don't even need to blend it. There are small, very soft chunks. I wish I had this when my son was a baby!
Those are a few of them things I've made. I have learned to experiment more. Since I usually don't have to do many dishes with the IP I tend to enjoy experimenting. I have a cookbook I write all of my successes in. My family is constant surprised at how much this has changed how we eat. I usually don't keep appliances out on my counter, but since I use this at least once a day I never put it away. The only downfall is I think there is a learning curve to it. It's a little intimidating at first and requires some trial and error. I was terrified of almost everything the first time I did it. 90% of everything has come out great. I'm learning what I like to cook and don't like to cook in it. I love that when we have a last minute neighborhood get together (it happens a few times a week) I can whip up a pasta dish and veggie real quick.
Tips (Added Jan 2017):
-Recipes generally don't include time to come to pressure. Think of this is the same as your oven warming up or water boiling. After your food goes in the pot it has the pressurize, then the timer starts counting down. You can speed this up but turning on "saute" first. It cuts the time more than in half.
-Instructions have lingo related to you the pressure gets released. First there's natural pressure release (NPR). This is just leaving the pot alone until the pin drops, indicating there's no pressure in the pot. The lid can then be removed safely. Then there's a quick release (QR), which is where you turn the pressure release valve at the far side of the pressure cooker. This takes about a minute and releases a bunch of steam, so you probably don't want this under a cabinet. There is also a chance of some food/fluid coming out, depending on what's in the pot and how full it is. If that happens you can wait for it to do the NPR or you can do short, slow bursts.
-If you're having problems with getting anything to work check all the parts first. Is the silicone ring in place? Is the pin in place and able to move up and down? Is the valve set to "sealing"? Is there enough water/fluid in the pot to pressurize?
Nov 2016 update: Well, it's not longer sitting on my counter, but I still use it about 2-3 times a week, which is more than any other appliance. I got over the honeymoon period, where I tried EVERY food in here. Now I know what I like and what I don't like in here and I stick with that. I recommend you get 2-3 good cookbooks with this and start finding fun recipes on Pinterest. I keep adding pictures and things in my review.