This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on the affiliate link and buy an item, I’ll receive commissions.

Is the Instant Pot pressure cooker healthy?

I recently bought a pressure cooker called the Instant Pot. In this post, I’d like to share with you how I concluded that an Instant Pot pressure cooker is a good choice for people seeking a healthy lifestyle.

pressure cooker

Before I bought an Instant Pot, I looked into whether pressure cookers preserve the nutritional value of food. I also investigated the safety of the materials used in their construction.


How does a pressure cooker work?


At first, to start cooking, it takes a few minutes for a pressure cooker to get pressurized. The Instant Pot pressure cooker has a valve that releases traces of steam as the pressure increases inside the pressure cooker.


During the cooking process, steam does not escape, which significantly shortens the cooking time and makes the food moist and delicious.


The food also remains moist because under pressure, the boiling point of water is raised. You can think about it this way. At high altitudes, where air pressure is low, water reaches a boiling point at a lower temperature. In a pressure cooker, where the pressure is high, the moisture in the dish and the food gets to the boiling point at a higher temperature.


As you might remember, the boiling point of water is 100º C or 212º F at sea level. The working temperature inside the Instant Pot using the high-pressure setting is 115º C – 118º C (239º F – 244º F). The boiling point at the low-pressure setting is 110º C – 112º C (229º F – 233º F).


Does a pressure cooker destroy nutrients?


Before I learned how a pressure cooker works, I was concerned about the impact it has on the nutritional value of food. However, I learned that this is not a problem, for two reasons.


First, even though the boiling point is raised, the maximum temperature is still well below temperatures used in conventional ovens to cook foods.


Second, I looked into the scientific literature for answers and this is what I found.


This study concludes that broccoli loses 47% of its nutrition when cooked in a pressure cooker while it loses 66% when boiled, and 87% when microwaved (yet another reason to avoid microwaves).


This study found that “when water-soaked beans were cooked in a regular pan, the highest percentage of bioaccessible iron obtained was 8.92%, whereas when they were cooked in a pressure cooker without previous soaking, the highest percentage was 44.33%.” This means that you will absorb over 4 times more iron from beans cooked in a pressure cooker versus a regular pan.


This study concluded that pressure-cooking of Bathua and fenugreek leaves results in better retention of beta-carotene and vitamin C as compared with open pan cooking, meaning that pressure cooking is a good way of preserving the nutritional value of food.


The safety of the Instant Pot pressure cooker materials


There is a removable bowl inside the Instant Pot pressure cooker where the food is cooked. Pressure cooker bowls are normally made of aluminum, ceramic non-stick, or stainless steel. Out of these three, I recommend stainless steel. The Instant Pot uses stainless steel – and this is one of the main reasons I chose it.


Stainless Steel


The stainless steel used in the Instant Pot pressure cooker is 18/8 gauge. 18/8 stainless steel means that it is comprised of 18% chromium and 8% nickel; this is considered “food grade” stainless steel.  Let’s talk about the safety of stainless steel.


I use stainless steel as one of the safer cookware options available; however, stainless steel is not perfect. Stainless Steel leaches chromium, nickel, and iron into food during cooking. While iron and chromium are essential nutrients for which stainless steel may be useful, nickel is not needed for our health. Moreover, some people may be allergic to nickel.


Here is something exciting. This study determined that the amounts of chromium and nickel significantly increase with longer cooking times. Since a pressure cooker significantly shortens cooking times, the study concludes that leaching will be minimized when using a pressure cooker. To take advantage of that, I recommend using the “quick release” method described in the instructions versus a “natural release.” Which reminds me, be sure to read all instructions very carefully, including, of course, the safety instructions, before using your unit.


Heavy metals in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker


I purchased this model: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W. This model was tested by Tamara Rubin, the producer and director of the movie called MisLead: America’s Secret Epidemic. Apparently, she tested it with XRF technology, which shows the amounts of heavy metals contained in the material tested.


These are the results of that testing, as reported by Carissa of Creative Green Living:


  • Stainless steel inner cooking pot: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Stainless steel lid (outside of lid): Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Inner portion of steam release valve: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Anti-Block shield: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Power Cable: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Float Valve: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Steam Release: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Steaming rack: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Plastic tools: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Exterior pot: Non-Detect for Lead, Cadmium and Mercury
  • Heating unit disk: 1,400 PPM lead +/- 90 and 46 PPM cadmium +/- 11
  • Safety button in base of unit: 303 PPM for Lead +/- 36, Non-detect for Cadmium and Mercury


As you can see, all the parts that come in contact with food have been tested and were negative for lead, cadmium, and mercury.


Functionality of the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker


I was pleased to see that the Instant Pot has a variety of other uses, in addition to being a pressure cooker.


Instant Pot Pressure Cooker


In addition to being used as a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot can be used as a slow cooker. As mentioned above, stainless steel is not a perfect solution. However, I’d rather use it than ceramic for slow cooking. With stainless steel, we generally know what we’re getting. However, ceramics can be contaminated with lead and cadmium, and really the only way of knowing for sure is to test it yourself. You can’t really learn this from calling the manufacturers, because if you call them, the customer service person with whom you will speak will probably inform you that there is no “added” lead but won’t have enough information to be able to tell you whether or not your ceramic insert might be contaminated with heavy metals, including naturally-occurring lead and cadmium.


In addition, the Instant Pot pressure cooker has a sauté function, which I found helpful. There is also a function to make yogurt that I am looking forward to trying out. By the way, there is another model of the Instant Pot pressure cooker that does not allow you to make yogurt that is $20 cheaper.


And lastly, I love the fact that I can make bone broth in a few hours (as opposed to 24 – 48) without worrying about leaving it on the stove and making the whole house smell like soup.


Where the Instant Pot pressure cooker is made


They are made in China. Generally, I am not a big fan of products made in China; however, this is one of those cases where, after having done my due diligence, I am comfortable recommending it even though it is made in China.


Where to Buy the Instant Pot pressure cooker


For more information and recipes, please visit


The model I bought



The cheaper model without yogurt function



Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I will receive a small commission from your Amazon purchases.  The price to you is the same. Thank you!

healthy kitchen non-toxic kitchen

Is silicone harmful?  How do I shop for lead-free dishes?  Learn to make DIY cleaners without mixing! 

Let's start creating a healthy home today!

I read labels for you

When you join the I Read Labels For You community, you'll receive weekly emails with inspiration, exclusive content and coupons to gain clarity and confidence to create a healthy home. Plus, you'll get the FREE guide: "5 Powerful Steps to a Non-Toxic Home You Can Take Today!"

"I find your knowledge so helpful, to the point and like a gold mine. You have saved me so much time and have taught me so much. Toni

Powered by ConvertKit

23 thoughts on “Is the Instant Pot pressure cooker healthy?”

  1. Thank you Irina. You rock with your posts. I always look forward to your new posts .
    I just dont have space for one more appliance however I need pressure cooker. Do you have recommendation of gas stove pressure cookers ? I see Tamara’s blog that lots of pressure cookers have been tested positive for lead so I want to be sure before I get one.

    1. Hi, Pallavi: Thank you for asking. I don’t have a recommendation for a gas stove pressure cooker right now. But I put it on the list of things to research. Is anybody else interested in a gas stove pressure cooker? ~Irina

  2. Hi Irina! I just bought POWER PRESSURE COOKER XL and then read your blog. Im very concern about it. What do you think about this pressure cooker? THANK YOU!!!

    1. Hi, Maryna: I am not familiar with this brand. Since you have it, could you tell us what materials come in contact with food? Does it also stainless steel bowl? ~Irina

  3. Hi Irina, I’ve read your post before and also looked at Tamara’s website, I decided to buy this pressure cooker, but there is a newer model with an added sterilize function on Amazon. I purchased that one, but have not used it. Do you believe it is safe as far as lead and other heavy metals because it is the same company and practically the same product?

  4. Hi, I recently bought a Midea pressure cooker, more or less the same things as instant pot. It is leaving a smell in the food ( same smell as in chinese import shops, sort of camphorous & grassy). Gross, it won’t go away even after cooking 5-6 times in it. I’m sending it back. The pot is still and I cleaned the silicone ring, I wonder if the smell is coming from the plastic outer??
    Any idea what could be causing this?

  5. Hi
    I follow Tamara’s work and also bought the IP because of her testing. Do you know if she tested the sealing ring and the plastic piece that attaches to the floating valve? As soon as I opened mine the smell of plastic was very noticeable. Very much like the plastic smell in pvc shower liners.

      1. Alberto Enriquez

        The IP sealing ring isn’t PVC, it’s silicone, which makes it very stable even at high temperatures.
        We’ve really enjoyed our IP, but have one tip to share. Black beans cook too rapidly to release all of their flavorful black color into the broth. If you leave the beans to soak in water earlier in the day before cooking, the color will release just fine on cooking.

  6. I bought the ip, Just got it but haven’t used yet. Im actually allergic to nickel now I’m wondering if I should return it.

  7. I have just tested positive for lead and cadmium . I am trying to find out where I have been coming into contact with these two heavy metals. I use a ninja three in one. Do you have any knowledge on this unit? I also use a keurig 2.0 and the purple and blue ball canning jars to drink out of.

    1. Hi, Jill: You came to the right place. There are a lot of resources for your here. Did you take a blood test or a challenge test? Is it your ongoing exposure? I understand Ninja is a slow cooker with a ceramic insert. Ceramics is always a suspect for traces of lead and cadmium unless they show test reports. I think you should start with most common and significant places of lead and cadmium exposure. Have you looked into your water? Here is a test I have done on my water: They have a sale today. Also, you might find my journey interesting: Know that I can consult with you on the phone to go over the details and devise a practical plan for you: Let me know what you think. Good luck! ~Irina

  8. What is your thinking on cooking acidic foods in the instant pot? I add vinegar to my bones when making stock but have read that this encourages leaching of metals into the food. I purchased the vita clay for this reason but now cannot get a super low simmer. So discouraging!

    1. I add vinegar and taste fine. Yes, you are right that the acidity of vinegar may increase leaching metals such as nickel, chromium, and iron, which is not ideal, but not as bad as lead and cadmium. While iron and chromium are essential nutrients for which stainless steel may be useful, nickel is not needed for our health.

      This study determined that the amounts of chromium and nickel significantly increase with longer cooking times, with the use of new cookware, and with cooking acidic foods. While generally these amounts are under the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, some people may have adverse reactions such as dermatitis even when the exposure amounts are under the established tolerable upper intake levels. A recent heavy metal test, which shows how much if any heavy metals my body has accumulated over time, shows that I do have some nickel, but it is within the safe level.

      Does it help? What do you think? ~Irina

  9. Saladmaster cookware has Titanium coating where the food will touch while cooking on cooking surface, protecting you from leaching metals that are in stainless steel. It is also 316 grade stainless steel which is a higher grade stainless steel. Saladmaster is also lifetime warranty. You only invest once.

  10. I just recently found your site and I have to tell you – I’m super impressed with the amount of consumer information and research that you provide for your readers. As a long time holistic health enthusiast and researcher, I’ve become quite frustrated with the multitude of unhealthy/toxic products routinely marketed to unsuspecting consumers. Thank you for your due diligence. I’m adding you to my dependable list of go-to sites for quality, trustworthy info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top

Join our community today for inspiration, exclusive content, and vouchers to create a healthy home.  Plus, you'll learn the top 5 safest shampoos, chosen out of 112.

I hate spam, too!  Your email address will NEVER be shared or sold.