If you’re a new Instant Pot owner you might encounter recipes that call for a trivet and be asking ‘What is a trivet?’ Or you may be wondering how to use the round wire rack that shipped with your Instant Pot. In this article, I tell you everything you need to know about this important pressure cooker accessory, also known as an Instant Pot steam rack.
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Table of Contents
What is a Trivet?
What’s a trivet? The pressure cooker trivet is a raised steam rack that sits in the Instant Pot inner pot and serves to elevate foods above the cooking liquid.
Does the Instant Pot come with a trivet? Yes, Instant Pots are generally shipped with a metal trivet. Although most Instant Pots are shipped with trivets that have handles, some are shipped with trivets without handles.
The handles help you lift the trivet out of the inner pot easily. If you have one without handles, I recommend that you purchase a trivet with handles. More on that later.
The trivet is also referred to as an Instant Pot steam rack. Trivets can be made of different materials including metal and silicone.
Of all the accessories, the trivet is the one I use the most often. It is such a versatile accessory, and I have many different kinds. I’ll show you how to use a steamer rack in the Instant Pot.
10 Best Ways To Use Your Instant Pot Trivet
What is a trivet used for? Here are some different ways of using the pressure cooker steamer rack. It’s a very versatile accessory!
- Boiled eggs
- Steamed vegetables
- Cakes and cheesecakes
- Lasagna and casseroles
- Meats such as ribs, roasts, whole chicken, ham
- Delicate foods such as fish
- Avoiding the burn message
- Cooking with thick liquids
- Pot in pot rice
- Cooking multiple foods together using the pot in pot method
Note: the quantity of water you put in the bottom of the Instant Pot depends on the size of your Instant Pot. 1 cup should be enough for a 3 quart and 2 cups will work for a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot.
1. Boiled Eggs
One of my favorite uses of the Instant Pot is to make boiled eggs. They are so easy to make and more importantly, so easy to peel! Eggs can be cooked by placing them directly on a trivet or in a steamer basket.
[Find out how to make Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs.]
2. Steamed Vegetables
I steam vegetables like beets, potatoes, asparagus, squash in the Instant Pot by adding 2 cups of water to the inner pot, placing a steam rack in the inner pot and an Instant Pot steamer basket with the vegetables on the steam rack.
Vegetables can also be placed directly on the Instant Pot steamer rack as long as they’re cut large enough so they don’t fall through.
[Find out how to make this Instant Pot Beet Salad.]
3. Cakes and Cheesecakes
You can make desserts like cakes and cheesecakes in the Instant Pot using the trivet. Add 2 cups of water to the inner pot. Place a trivet in the inner pot and place the cake pan on the trivet. The cake pan must fit in the inner pot without touching the edges.
4. Lasagna and Casseroles
You can make lasagnas and casseroles in the Instant Pot. Add 2 cups of water to the inner pot. Place the Instant Pot rack in the inner pot and place the casserole pan on the steam rack. The pan must fit in the inner pot without touching the edges.
You can cook ribs, hams, chicken breasts, and whole chickens in the Instant Pot. Place the marinated meat on the rack above the level of the liquid. You can pour broth or seasoned liquids into the inner pot instead of water and this allows the meat to absorb some of the flavors of the liquid.
6. Delicate Foods
If you’re cooking delicate foods like fish filets, you can place the food on a rack, even if the food is submerged in liquid. This allows you to easily remove the food when cooking is complete, without the food breaking apart.
7. Avoiding the Burn Message
If I have recipes that are prone to getting the Instant Pot Burn message, I raise the food slightly by placing it on a low steam rack. I am usually able to avoid the burn message because the liquid is able to cover the entire bottom of the pot.
8. Cooking with Thick Liquids
Some recipes have thick liquids that can prevent the Instant Pot from generating enough steam to pressurize the Instant Pot.
Some examples of recipes that are in this category include mole sauce, pasta sauce, sauces made with a lot of chili powder.
I use the pot in pot method when I have a recipe with a thick liquid that can cause the burn message.
9. Pot in Pot Rice
Ever since I got my first Instant Pot, cooking rice using the pot in pot method has become one of my favorite ways to cook rice.
- Add water to the Instant Pot (water level should be slightly lower than trivet height).
- Place trivet in the Instant Pot.
- Add rice and water to an oven-safe container.
- Place the bowl of rice and water on the trivet and pressure cook.
- Find out more on how to cook pot in pot rice.
10. Cooking Multiple Instant Pot Recipes Together (Pot in Pot Method)
I frequently cook different foods that have approximately the same cooking time together. This is one of my favorite Instant Pot trivet hacks!
- Add 2 cups of water and place a steam rack on the bottom of your Instant Pot.
- Place a bowl containing the first food on top of the trivet.
- Add a second steam rack on the bowl.
- Place the second bowl of food on the top rack. [Read more about Pot in Pot cooking.]
Trivets for Instant Pots
There are many different types of pressure cooker trivets and they have different purposes. These are some of the trivets that are useful:
Metal Trivet with Handles
This is the official trivet for the Instant Pot that is shipped with most Instant Pots. It has handles that allow you to easily remove the food. It fits 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pots.
This is one of the most-used Instant Pot pressure cooker accessories that I own. This is the best Instant Pot trivet because it takes very little space in the dishwasher and it has handles.
Instant Pot Silicone Trivet
This silicone trivet is made by the Instant Pot company and fits 6 quart and 8 quart Instant Pots.
This silicone trivet is very easy to clean because it’s made of silicone and is dishwasher safe. The design allows steam to circulate and cooking liquid to cover the bottom of the inner pot which helps prevent the Burn Message and the food to cook evenly.
Tall Trivets Without Handles
Tall trivets come in different heights. These long-legged racks are useful for elevating the foods above the level of a larger quantity of liquid in the Instant Pot.
I use these trivets mainly for pot in pot cooking when I want to cook two foods together and the first food is directly in the inner pot and the second food is in a separate oven safe container on the steam rack. The height of the trivet allows the second food to sit well above the first food.
Flat Wire Round Trivet
This flat wire rack with low legs works great not just for the Instant Pot but is a perfectly-sized cooling rack for round cake pans or to protect your countertop from hot dishes.
I use this round trivet to slightly elevate chicken or other meats that are cooking in liquid. Many times this technique helps me avoid the Burn Message. I also use it to separate multiple containers that are stacked on top of each other.
Egg Steamer Rack
This multi-function egg steamer rack can be used in one layer for 9 eggs or 2 layers for 18 eggs. The lower rack can also be used as an ordinary trivet.
The silicone handles make this trivet particularly attractive because they allow for easy removal since they cool down quickly. You do need to watch out for steam from the inner pot!
Instant Pot Trivet Alternative
Trivets are easily available and are fairly affordable. However, if you don’t want to purchase one or you’ve misplaced your pressure cooker trivet, there are a few alternatives that you can substitute for a trivet.
Make sure you use substitutes that are suitable to be used in an oven i.e. heat resistant.
- Metal lid of a large jar or bottle
- Rings from a large mason jar lid
- Large cookie cutter
- Small round cake rack
- Steamer basket
- Small metal colander
- Balls of aluminum foil
Instant Pot Accessories for Trivet
Once you’ve figured out how to use your trivet, you might want to try out some other accessories that can be used with it. Here are some accessories that come in handy:
Glass Bowl for Pot in Pot Cooking
The 7 cup Pyrex glass bowl fits perfectly in the 6 quart Instant Pot and is great for making smaller quantities of rice (up to 2 cups uncooked rice). The best part is that you can store the food in the same dish that it was cooked.
I’ve been using a Pyrex glass bowl for Pot in Pot cooking for many years and haven’t had any issues. However, some people are hesitant to use glass in their Instant Pot so I suggest you check the manufacturer’s instructions and use at your own discretion.
The steamer basket can be used for steaming vegetables like potatoes, beets, broccoli, and cauliflower.
This steamer basket can be placed on a high rack because it has short legs which is useful if you want to cook two things at the same time.
Silicone Egg Mold
This is the official Instant Pot silicone egg mold accessory for making egg bites. It comes with a silicone lid so you can cover the food while it’s pressure cooking and store the food in the same container after cooking.
This egg mold accessory also comes in handy for making mini muffins, mini cupcakes or mini cheesecakes too. You can purchase two and stack them on top of each other. Give the egg molds a spray of oil before putting the egg mixture in.
Instant Pot Accessory Set
This Instant Pot accessory kit includes multiple steamer baskets, trivets, egg mold, springform pan, and lots more.
If you’re brand new to the Instant Pot and are planning on purchasing some accessories, make sure you look at this set to see if it has everything you need. You might save some money buying a set. It comes in different colors too.
You don’t need to use a trivet in the Instant Pot. It’s just an accessory that you have the option to use when you’re making certain types of recipes.
If you don’t use a trivet for certain recipes, you won’t have the desired outcome. For example, making eggs, cheesecakes, or steamed vegetables requires a trivet.
You can use a large cookie cutter or a couple of rings from a mason jar lid.
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