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How to safely travel with a full Instant Pot

Instant Pot DUO80 turned on with food inside
Instant Pot DUO80 turned on with food inside

While the Instant Pot is great for cooking up delicious meals at home, it's also a great way to prepare tasty food for social gatherings, such as potlucks. However, the best food at a potluck is kept warm for everyone, not in storage containers where it ends up getting cold over time. But how do you do this safely with an Instant Pot? We're going to show you how.

Products used in this guide

How to safely travel with a full Instant Pot

Please note that before you do anything to try and move the Instant Pot, make sure that it is depressurized, either by NPR (Natural Pressure Release) or QR (Quick Release). NPR is where you leave it alone until it depressurizes on your own, and QR is when you manually release the pressure yourself. Under no circumstances should you move your Instant Pot while it's still under pressure. This is even stated in the instruction manual that comes with your Instant Pot.

  • First, make sure that all pressure is released from the Instant Pot before you move it. To make sure of this, look at the floating pin on the lid. If it's down, then all pressure is gone and you are able to move the Instant Pot.

  • You'll also want to make sure that the pot isn't too full, because it'll be harder to move a pot around when it's overflowing with hot liquid. Always remember that when pressure cooking, you should never fill up more than two-thirds of the inner pot. When cooking foods that expand (grains, beans, dried vegetables, etc.), do not fill the pot past half full.

Instant Pot Stainless Steel Insert showing max lines 2/3 and 1/2

  • The easiest way to transport a full pot is to unplug it, grab it by both side handles, and then carefully move it to where you want it to be. NEVER lift it by the lid handle, because it may accidentally unlock if not handled properly, and the Instant Pot and all of the contents may spill.

Christine Chan gladly holds up her Instant Pot, which is one of her favorite kitchen appliances
  • If you intend to take that full Instant Pot with you in the car, you can try putting it in a seat, making sure it's securely in place by buckling it up with a seat belt. This may look silly, but it'll prevent the Instant Pot from moving around when driving.
  • Another option when moving it by car is to have it on the backseat on the floor, with little room for it to slide back and forth while you're driving.
  • If you're nervous about spillage while it's on the floor of the car, try putting the Instant Pot in a cardboard box first, or even something like a cooler or household storage bin. Make sure there's little room for movement in there too. Use some padding (like bunches of plastic bags, etc.) if necessary.
  • There are travel bags that are specifically designed to help you travel with your Instant Pot and other kitchen appliances. If you have one of these, you can put your Instant Pot in there and use the handles to make it easier to move. They may be designed for empty pots though, so if it's full, just be extra careful transporting it around within the travel bag.

  • When you don't want to take the entire Instant Pot with you, try taking just the inner cooking pot instead. Make sure that it's safe to remove from the Instant Pot, then cover it with the official silicone lid for a secure fit. You should also place it in a box to carry because that pot will be hot. If you don't have the lid, you could try covering it with foil or plastic wrap and then place it into a box, but be extra careful when moving it around to prevent spillage.

That's all there is to it. You can transport the Instant Pot when it's full of food like you would with a normal slow cooker or some other kitchen tool, but you just need to be a bit more careful. The most important thing is that you absolutely must depressurize the pot first before moving it because it's incredibly dangerous to move it while it's still under pressure.

Our top equipment picks

Traveling with a full Instant Pot is completely doable, but you just need to be a bit more careful. Here's everything you need to get the job done.

The Instant Pot is a great kitchen appliance to have, whether you're cooking for home or the next big social gathering. It's big enough to feed plenty of people, and it's super easy to cook with, since you don't need to babysit the food at all once it's in and cooking. Transporting it is just like you would with a slow cooker, but with a few more precautions.

Additional Equipment

These are some optional items to help make Instant Pot transportation a bit easier.

Chloe's Home Instant Pot travel bag gray

Chloe's Home Instant Pot Travel Bag gray
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Chloe's Home Travel Bag for Instant Pot (opens in new tab) ($36 at Amazon)

This bag is specifically designed to fit Instant Pot and other kitchen appliances. It makes traveling with them easier, and you can take some accessories with you.

Instant Pot genuine silicone lid product

Instant Pot Lid (Image credit: Instant Pot)
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Genuine Instant Pot Silicone Lid (opens in new tab) ($10 at Amazon)

If you just want to take the inner pot that's full of food with you, instead of the entire Instant Pot itself, use this silicone lid for a tight and secure fit. None of your pot's contents should spill out with this in place.

Christine Chan
Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.