How To Sterilize Bottles & Jars Using An Instant Pot

Being able to sterilise kitchen equipment and household items is an essential task to keep your kitchen safe and clean. Instant Pots make the task of sterilising jam jars, metal utensils and even baby bottles a quick and easy job with minimal mess and time. 

Washing containers before and after use in hot soapy water is a good way of cleaning. However, sometimes you do need to go that step further and sterilise jars and containers under a significantly higher temperature. 

Instant Pots are equipped to sterilise any household glass, silicone, and dishwasher-safe plastics. You can either use the sterilise function available on newer models of the Instant Pot or pressure cook/steam for a short period of time on those without.

Do not use this method of sterilisation for any medical or industrial equipment. 

How To Sterilise Jars In An Instant Pot

Storing food in glass is a great way to ensure that the food is properly covered, sealed, unexposed to air and therefore protected from contaminating germs. This will be even more effective if you sterilise the jars before using. 

Things like homemade jam or sauces need to be stored in clean sterilised containers otherwise there is a risk that they will quickly start to go mouldy. Also sterilizing jars for storing dry food such as rice, lentils or cereals also prevents them from being contaminated and will ensure they last much much longer. 

Here is the method for sterilizing jars in an Instant Pot.

First add some water to the bottom of your Instant Pot. This will vary depending on the size of your unit:

  • 1 cup (250ml) for a 3qt (3Ltr) pot
  • 2 cups (500ml) for a 6qt (5.7Ltr) pot
  • 3 cups (750ml) for a 8qt (8Ltr) pot

Then insert the steam rack. This is very important because you don’t want the jars (or any items that you are sterilizing) to touch the base of the bowl. This may cause your Instant Pot to stop functioning and display errors.

Place your jars upside down on top of the steam rack. You can also add in the metal lids if needed. Once everything is in, secure the lid.

The settings you have available will depend on the Instant Pot model you have. The latest models have a specific ‘Sterilise’ button, but with other models, you can simply select the ‘Pressure Cook’ or ‘Steam’ functions. Choose your available function, set the time for 15 mins and set the pressure to high. Press start and leave the Instant Pot to do its thing.

Once done, release the pressure and allow the Instant Pot to cool down for about 5 minutes before removing the lid carefully to release the steam gently. The jars may still be hot so best to remove them with a heat protected cloth or tongs and transfer to a drying rack or clean towel to air dry.

Once the jars are fully dry, use them straight away to store food or whatever you need. If left empty for any longer than a few days or so you may need to sterilise them again. 

How To Sterilise Babies Bottles In An Instant Pot

Baby bottles and other food containers that you use for your children need to be cleaned thoroughly and often. An Instant Pot is a fantastic piece of equipment which allows you to ensure all of your child’s utensils are adequately sterilised. I’ve found that it’s significantly easier than cleaning all the individual bits and pieces of bottles, cups, breast pumps etc. 

To sterilise baby bottles, use the exact same method as described above for jam jars.

Make sure you take apart all the bottles so that all the separate bits have a chance to be properly sterilised. If you have small bits like straws or bottle tops make sure they are not going to fall through the gaps in your steam rack.

You may have to use a colander instead or place cheesecloth over your steam rack. This is again to ensure none of your items come in contact with the base of the Instant Pot while it is on. 

Once the Instant Pot has finished its cycle. Carefully remove the baby bottles and caps and let them dry on a clean towel before using. Because this method is so simple and easy, you can use it regularly to make sure your child’s food containers stay clean and hygienic. 

Which Instant Pots Have The ‘Sterilise’ Feature

As previously mentioned, not all Instant Pots have the ‘Sterilise’ function. 

The models that do have the ‘Sterilise’ function are: 

  • Duo Plus
  • Viva
  • Ultra

It isn’t necessary to have this function to use your Instant Pot for sterilizing your household items; you simply just use a different setting. The other models will all have either a ‘Pressure Cook’ or ‘Steam’ function that works just as well and can be set to the same time and pressure, as described above, to create a sterilizing environment. 

Using your Instant Pot to sterilise bottles and jars is a straightforward kitchen hack (especially if you don’t have a dishwasher) and another way Instant Pots can be a useful gadget to have in your kitchen.

Having a quick and easy way to sterilise kitchen containers allows you to have a contaminate-free kitchen and will reduce the chances of you throwing away mouldy food due to it being stored in dirty, unclean containers.