Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Are Instant Pots GAPS-Friendly?

FTC Disclosure: This post may include links which allow me to earn a small commission on the item(s) purchased. This has no effect on your price. GAPS Diet Journey is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Can I Use the Instant Pot on GAPS?

This is a question that comes up a lot, so I thought I would address it.

Let's begin with Dr. Natasha's official response regarding pressure cookers:

Question: “What are your thoughts about using an old-fashioned pressure cooker to expedite preparation of meat stocks?

Dr. Natasha's answer: “I don’t recommend pressure cooker, as it destroys food to a degree. It is better to cook food slowly on lower heat.”

Notice exactly what Dr. Natasha says: “I don't recommend pressure cooker, as it destroys food to a degree.”

She doesn't actually say, “It is illegal to use a ‘pressure cooker' on GAPS.” I recognize that she is suggesting cooking food slowly on lower heat as the recommended alternative.

Instant Pot “It's a Pressure Cooker” (NOPE, it's more than that)

The beauty about the Instant Pot is that you can use it to replace several appliances in your kitchen. If you feel strongly about interpreting Dr. Natasha's response as saying Instant Pots are illegal and should not be used, you can still use the 7-in-1 Instant Pot in six other ways.

#2 Replace your slow cooker

Yesterday I pressure cooked a batch of Roasted Chicken Meat Stock Broth on high for two hours, strained out the broth, then put the bones and bits back into the Instant Pot to slow cook overnight. I was playing around with the timer and discovered that I can slow cook for up to 20 hours, and then the Instant Pot automatically goes to warm and stays there for 10 hours (that's on automatic warm, it can be set to manually stay on warm for 99 hours).

You may or may not have heard that some ceramic based inserts are being found to contain lead? No worries there with the Instant Pot since the insert is stainless steel.

You can use your Instant Pot to do the slow cooking the Dr. Natasha recommends.

#3 Replace your yogurt maker

You're making your own yogurt using raw milk, right? Because GAPS yogurt needs to be made in a specific way in order to be “legal”.

The 7 in 1 Instant Pot has a yogurt setting and you can set it for the recommended fermenting time for GAPS yogurt of 24 to 29 hours. Actually, I discovered you can set it for up to 99 1/2 hours on the yogurt setting.

If you need more information on making your own, here's a blog post from my friend Patty from Loving Our Guts who can tell you more about it: Internet Archive Loving Our Guts GAPS Yogurt.

“So for GAPS yogurt, the recommendation is to ferment it for 24 to 29 hours. This will eliminate enough of the lactose to prevent digestive problems and yet leave a trace behind for keeping the colony of beneficial bacteria alive until it is consumed. In just a cup of properly prepared GAPS Yogurt (236ml) you’ll get 708 Billion beneficial bacteria. (source) That is a lot of beneficial bacteria. Bio-Kult Probiotic, for example, has just 2 billion CFU (cell forming units).

“Since it takes 24-29 hours to make this yogurt it may be tempting to make up a whole bunch at once and then dole it out over time. This isn’t such a great idea, however. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt don’t last very long and after 2 weeks have nearly all died. You can only expect GAPS yogurt to last 3-4 weeks in the fridge at the most but past 2 weeks it isn’t really a probiotic food, just a lactose-free dairy food.

If you're interested in reading about making yogurt in your Instant Pot, go to this post at Team Yogurt.

#4 Replace your vegetable steamer (and no more worries about burning veggies on the stove top)

In doing a bit of research, I discovered that the steamer feature does use some pressure in the steam mode when the lid is engaged. The way around this is to use the special glass lid with a vent hole that fits the Instant Pot insert.

In my kitchen, I have two different lids, both have vent holes, and they fit my Instant Pot insert so I don't think there's a need to buy a special lid (if you have one that fits already). Of course, you'll leave the big pressure cooker lid sitting on the counter when you use a different steaming lid.

I like using the Instant Pot to steam vegetables while I have a roast in the oven. I can pretty much forget about it, since I can set the timer to steam my vegetables for the amount of time I wish, then the Instant Pot automatically switches to warm mode. If I am making steamed vegetables on the stove top, and happen to forget about them, the water could boil away and start burning (ask me how I know).

#5 Sauté Foods

If you're doing Intro wait until you get to Stage 4 before you sauté. Otherwise, you can sauté (brown) meats in the same pot as you'll be cooking them. For example, if you're making a beef stew you can sauté the pieces of meat in a little fat before adding the rest of the ingredients.

#6 Porridge/Rice Cooker

You won't be making rice or typical grain-based porridge on GAPS, but here are a few recipes to help you use your Instant Pot to make porridge while on GAPS. The first recipe is actually an Instant Pot recipe, and will cook your porridge in just eight minutes so it does use pressure. If you wish to avoid pressure, I would suggest making these recipes using the slow cooker setting. I would try the recipe during the day first, and keep an eye on it to see how long it will take. Check after 4 hours, then 8 hours, etc. When you know how long it takes, you can then set your Instant Pot to cook your porridge overnight using the slow cooker option.

 #7 Warmer

I've mentioned the warming feature of the Instant Pot. I actually haven't used the manual warmer yet, and that's mostly because it hadn't sunk into my head, that “warmer” is one of the features! I will definitely consider using this option when I need to warm up leftovers.

Does Pressure Cooking Destroy Food?

The next thing I want to talk about: does pressure cooking really destroy food? If you were paying attention, the question asked mentioned “old fashioned pressure cookers“. The Instant Pot is not your mother's pressure cooker.

My mother owned and used a pressure cooker. The old fashioned kind. I can remember it rattling and hissing. Hers was actually made from aluminum! I bought my first pressure cooker in my 30s, but it was stainless steel as I already knew about the dangers of cooking in aluminum.

So, does pressure cooking really destroy food? Well, according to a report in the Journal of Food Science, an investigation was performed to learn how much Vitamin C was retained in broccoli when cooking by various methods.

Guess what? Boiling and steaming caused losses of 34% (boiling) and 22% (steaming). So the retention respectively for each method: 66% and 78%.

Microwaving (I'm not going into microwaving here, but I can say I don't own one of the things and haven't for over a decade) and pressure cooking had more than 90% retention.

“Boiling, steaming, microwaving, pressure cooking, and the combined use of pressure and microwaves were the cooking methods investigated. Boiling and steaming caused significant vitamin C losses, 34% and 22%, respectively, while with the other treatments more than 90% retention was observed.” Source: Wiley Online Library

While the retention amount isn't huge, it does point toward pressure cooking actually being less damaging to food. I think that people equate home pressure cooking with commercial pressure cooking… think canned green beans. Or canned spinach. Ugh.

If you are interested to read a few more opinions, here are a few more articles on the topic:

We Do a Lot of Cooking on GAPS, Give Yourself a Little Break

Hopefully I have soothed some of your concerns about using the Instant Pot.

Being on GAPS isn't easy, there's a LOT of cooking, and a LOT of dishes. My husband and I have lived the life of eating out and eating fast food. There are a lot less dishes to clean when you eat out a lot.

GAPS produces a lot of work.

Even if pressure cooking DID damage food “to a degree” wouldn't it be worth it to regain some of time by needing to babysit food cooking on the stove? Time we could be spending with our families. The dishes will always be there, but the Instant Pot can even help in that regard, if you're sauteing. 😀

You Shouldn't Be on GAPS Forever

Finally, one day you won't be doing the GAPS Diet. Dr. Natasha does not recommend staying on it indefinitely. I personally have discovered that I feel better sticking with the full GAPS list of foods, but eventually, it will be okay to lighten up a bit on the restrictions. So maybe you'll feel okay to use the pressure cooking option of your Instant Pot then.

Crushing on the Instant Pot

Hopefully, I have soothed some of your concerns about using the Instant Pot. Even if you don't want to use the pressure cooking part, there are so many other ways to cook with it. You might clear some space in your kitchen cupboards!

My Instant Pot has a home right on my counter top because I use it quite often.One of the best parts is that you can truly set it and forget it. Slow cookers have advertised that for years, but the Instant Pot goes a step further because you can customize the time you wish to cook, and it automatically goes to the warm feature. Can you tell I love that feature?

When I made that broth I mentioned earlier? The one that I pressured cooked for two hours? Well, I didn't get back to taking care of it until six hours later. The Instant Pot just kept it warm. And really, it's not just “warm” but hot enough that there is no chance the food is going to spoil. And after it slow cooked for eight hours… it was another six hours on “warm” before I got it strained and chilled and in the fridge.

The more I use my Instant Pot, the more I love it. If you're ready to use one, check it out at Amazon:

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker


I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you want one?

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

9 thoughts on “Are Instant Pots GAPS-Friendly?

  1. Good morning Starlene,

    Excited to see your post on Insta-Pot. My husband is a journalist and gets products to review for cooking etc. So we got an Instant Pot. Haven’t tried it yet, but your email was timed perfectly.

    Thanks for sharing your hard won knowledge on GAPS eating. It is certainly a challenge until you get used to a rhythm in preparing all our food. Don’t know if it is harder or easier that my kids are grown and my husband doesn’t use GAPS, but I am determined.

    Best wishes in all you do.

    Lisa Sherman
    Western MA

  2. Hi Lisa, oh wow! A review Instant Pot! That’s awesome! I gave away an Instant Pot last month in my 30-Day Broth Challenge and wrote to the company to see if they will sponsor my March Challenge (I bought January’s giveaway on Black Friday – was tempted to give it to my son as I know he would find it useful). You are so right, GAPS is a challenge, especially if you have to be out and about a lot. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and best of luck to you with your GAPS Journey. Do you know about the March Broth Challenge? Several hundred people were on board for January and many are going for a second round in March. The link is here in case you are interested: It is a perfect precursor for getting started with GAPS to establish the habit of making and drinking broth. Have a great day! ~Starlene

  3. Thanks for this timely (for me) post! I am in about week three of GAPS intro (I started abruptly, so I messed some things up in week one like using bone broth instead of meat stock, finishing off some avocados I already had on hand by blending them up with broth, ate a raw baby carrot, LOL). Anyway, I was feeling much better informed and “with” the program until I just read a post on one of the FB groups I joined stating pressure cooking isn’t allowed. Argh! Off to google to find more discussions and came across your blog.

    I have been having a surprisingly easy transition to eating this way, but thinking of going back to slow cooking my stock/broth made me briefly consider just quitting (not sure why, slow cooking wasn’t that big of a deal, but pressure cooking is so much better – especially when I’m out of stock and hungry!). Pretty frustrating to think I may still be messing up despite all the research and effort. I’ve been trying to mimic the chicken meat stock recipe of a short cooking duration and find that the standard soup setting on my Instant Pot (low pressure for 30 minutes) cooks a whole cut up chicken and the stock gels well. Depending on how full I fill it, I do either slow or quick release – either seems fine unless I put too much liquid in (then it splatters out the vent).

  4. Hi Allie, I’m glad you found my post to be helpful. I know exactly how that is to be in the groove and then find out “Oh, this is not allowed” and now you feel this roadblock. Sometimes we just have to do the best we can. Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Best, Starlene

  5. Hi, I have tried making chicken bone broth in the instant pot but do not seem to get the gelatinous results I have seen from others. I am preparing to start GAPS and am keen to use the instant pot where possible. Do you have a foolproofish method to achieve the best bone broth?
    By the way I am glad to have found your site, this whole GAPS diet looks to be a bit intense so any advice is very welcome.

  6. Paul – Dr. Natasha recommends that we make meat stock broth when beginning GAPS so you won’t be making bone broth. I’m leading a 30-Day Broth Challenge beginning on May 1st and registration is open now until 4/24. You can sign up here and I’ll teach you how to make meat stock broth and bone broth with recipes for stove top, slow cooker or the Instant Pot. One thing you can try right now is to make sure you are using chicken parts that have a lot of gristle and connective tissue. One easy way to get more gelatin is to add chicken feet to the stock, but you could also use a couple of extra chicken backs. Here’s the link to my broth challenge: Also Dr. Karen Lee has a recipe for making meat stock in the Instant Pot which I’ve shared here: Finally, this post of mine discusses bone broth vs. meat stock from a question answered by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, founder of the GAPS Diet:

  7. I am doing Intro Stage 1 and I wonder if using the IP to cook meat is the equivalent of boiling? I assumed it was but then started to wonder. Your article is very helpful btw.

  8. Hi Theresa, thank you!

    As I mentioned in the article, Dr. Natasha’s stance on Instant Pots is that she prefers slow cookers.

    But she doesn’t outright say the Instant Pot shouldn’t be used. I think we have to determine what works best for us, especially with regard to time management. If you need the time savings of cooking with the Instant Pot, then I say go on and use it. I think it will be okay. And as I mentioned further down in the article, some sources actually think using the Instant Pot allows us to retain more nutrition.

    And there again, we have to figure out what works best for us. The Instant Pot does function as a slow cooker so you can go that route if you want. Or if you forgot to start the slow cooking process earlier in the day, or the previous night, take advantage of the pressure cooker feature of the Instant Pot. I hope this helps. ~Starlene

  9. Thank you for this! I bought an instant pot the other day and have used it on the pressure cooker setting a couple times to make my beef stock. It was delicious and super gelatinous! For some reason my mind has been totally ignoring all of the other amazing settings! I will try the slow cooker setting for my next batch.

    I’m on the Full GAPS while I take my son (who has eczema and food allergies to tree nuts, dairy, soy, and legumes) on the Intro Diet. We’ve been in Stage 1 since January 1, because he’s still having some skin reactions and I’m waiting for it to clear up before moving on (and I’ve had to make so many adjustments and have had quite a few missteps, like not knowing the difference between bone broth & meat stock!).
    At any rate, I love the Instant Pot because it brings the “convenience” back into a diet that is seemingly soooooo inconvenient (with all the cooking we have to do!). I think that’s what I miss most about my previous “life”. ?

    Thanks for the information, I’ll keep using my instant pot and experiment with all the different settings… maybe I’ll even try pressure cooking on low for longer??

Leave a Reply

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