Illustration: Nicholas Davison

1 of 5
Only Considering the Actual Cook Time
Beef stew in 20 minutes, lentil soup in 12—it all sounds so wondrous. And it is! The Instant Pot quickly tenderizes tough cuts of meat, beans and legumes much faster than slow cookers, ovens and stoves do, but be aware that a recipe's cook time of 20 minutes doesn't take into account the amount of time the pot needs to build pressure—which can be 10 to 15 minutes. So, a 20-minute stew is probably more like a 30- to 45-minute stew; and, if you need to brown the meat first, add an additional eight, or so, minutes.