Instant Pot Cheese

Discover How Easy It Is to Make Mozzarella, Feta, Chevre, and More


By Claudia Lucero

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The beloved Instant Pot can be used to do just about anything: caramelize onions, boil eggs, steam rice . . . and now, make cheese! Cheesemaking in a multicooker is not only time- and money-saving, but the cooker’s accurate and consistent temperatures make it an ideal tool for the craft. Claudia Lucero, author of the best-selling One-Hour Cheese, presents the cheesemaking basics, then covers classics such as paneer, ricotta, goat cheese, and easy cottage cheese before introducing more sophisticated options like burrata and feta, and even dairy-free alternatives. For multicookers with a “Yogurt” function, there are recipes for cultured dairy products such as buttermilk, ghee, and sour cream, too.


To my nana Julia

Although she taught me the very best of Mexican low-tech cooking, including the tastiest salsas made with a molcajete and elbow grease, she also thoroughly enjoyed the convenience of her slow cooker, blender, and electric knife (like a chainsaw in the kitchen!). I like to imagine that she would enjoy this book, taste my Queso Blanco, and say, "Mm, que rico, Claudita!"


Cheese in an Instant, Really?

1. Getting Started

2. Cheese and Delicious Dairy

Pressure Function, Pot-in-Pot

Whole Milk Ricotta

Tvorog (Russian Buttermilk Cheese)

Quick Cottage Cheese


Queso Blanco (Farmer's Cheese)

Mild Goat Cheese

Herb Lovers' Wheels


Direct Heat, No Pressure

Quick Mozzarella (Hot-Water Stretching Technique)

String Cheese (Microwave Stretching Technique)


Yogurt Function (Cultured), No Pressure


Cultured Buttermilk

Crème Fraîche


Sour Cream

Just-Like-Whipped Cream Cheese

Fromage Blanc

Honey-Lavender Chèvre

Fast Feta

Bonus Recipes: Cultured Butter and Ghee

Cultured Butter

Ghee / Clarified Butter Passive Method

Ghee / Clarified Butter Active Method

3. Delicious Dairy-Free Alternatives

Golden Umami Sauce with Oats, Potato, and Carrot

Sharp White Sauce with Rice and Cauliflower

Smoky Coconut Melter

Tangy Crumbler with Almond Flour

American Cheddar 'n' Chives Wheel

Pepper Jack Block

Cold-Start Coconut Milk Yogurt



Resources and Further Reading

Metric Conversions for Cooking


Cook Up Kitchen Creativity with More Books from Storey

Share Your Experience!

Cheese in an Instant, Really?

Like me, you may already love your Instant Pot for cooking legumes, stews, and curries that quickly develop deep flavor. You may have even used it to make yogurt. As a cheese maker and cheese-making instructor, my experiments led me to use my Instant Pot to make paneer and ricotta. (Dairy curdles under pressure, you say? Sounds perfect!) With those successes, my interest was more than piqued! I thought, Okay, high heat is covered, but if the pot can also make yogurt (at sustained low heat) and Jiu Niang (the Chinese fermented rice porridge mentioned in the Instant Pot manual), can I use the pot to easily culture and make more flavorful cheeses and creams?

The answer is, Yes, friends, yes, it can! I just had to develop recipes further and share my discoveries using this awesome appliance . . . and here I am. You, too, can make melty, creamy, tangy, Instant Pot CHEESE!

Having an Instant Pot is like having your own mini dairy facility at home. After all, it provides a sturdy, stainless steel, temperature-controlled, insulated environment. Some of the issues that beginners may come across — such as inconsistent heat when making yogurt, milk boiling over when making paneer, scorching at the bottom of the pot, and other irritations — are eliminated when using the Instant Pot strategically. There is little I love more than making a skill accessible and attainable for others. That's why I was in social services before I created my DIY cheese kit business, and that's why my company's mission is to provide resources.

As clever as the Canadian inventors of this nifty appliance are, I'm not sure they could've imagined that their creation would spark such varied uses in the hands of us cooks and makers (I'm waiting for Instant Pot candle-making and soap-making books! Anyone?)

As with any kitchen craft, you may require a little practice along with some trial and error, but soon enough, you will be whipping up batches of tender mozzarella, luscious Greek yogurt, and golden nutty ghee with ease and precision. I hope you enjoy this revelation as much as I have.

P.S. I included a few dairy-free recipes just in case you or your family need that accommodation. With these tasty plant-based recipes, no one misses out on cheesy goodness!

1Getting Started

While the Instant Pot will no doubt facilitate your cheese-making dreams (everyone has those dreams, right?), you will avoid some simple errors if you understand your equipment, ingredients, and the basics of making cheese. This chapter is meant to help you do just that, so please don't skip it.

Why Make Cheese in an Instant Pot?

It saves time. Thanks to cooking under pressure, it's possible to make some cheeses in half or even in a quarter of the time required in traditional cheese making.

It saves money. No need to purchase a separate stainless steel cheese-making pot, because you already have one!

It's easy. With the lid on and my pot-in-pot technique, you can avoid constant stirring and watching like a hawk to avoid scorching or boilover mishaps.

It's accurate and consistent. Maintaining a constant temperature is the key to a successful outcome with cheese. The preset temperatures provide the perfect environment for culturing and ripening milk or cream.

It's convenient. The pot acts as a portable electric burner when your stove is in use or if you want to set up in another room. You can make cheese anywhere there's a plug!

It can even pasteurize milk! The Yogurt/Boil and the newer Sterilize settings allow you to lightly pasteurize milk if you are new to raw milk or would prefer to pasteurize it yourself. (See here.)

Instant Pot Specs

The recipes in this book were tested on and written for a 6-quart Instant Pot with a Yogurt button (labeled a 7 in 1 model by Instant Pot). This is by far the most widely used size, and the Yogurt function is very handy for other uses, as you will soon learn. Newer models of 6-quart Instant Pots with additional functions will work just as well (i.e., 8, 9, 10 in 1 models and beyond).

Larger and smaller pots with the seven functions can also be used if you follow a couple of guidelines.

  • For an 8-quart pot, the ingredients and equipment remain the same; however, you will need to double the water in the pot-in-pot recipes to 2 cups for safety.
  • To use a 3-quart pot, cut gallon and half-gallon recipes in half. You'll need a 112-quart insert to fit inside the inner pot for the pot-in-pot recipes.
  • Cooking times will remain the same for pressure-cooked and cultured recipes.
  • Recipes and steps calling for direct heat may require commonsense adjustments, like simmering until you see the results mentioned or the temperature called for (versus a set amount of minutes given for the 6-quart pot).
  • Always make sure all liquid is at or below the maximum fill line marked inside every insert pot size.

If you are making extensive adjustments to the recipes, or have any safety questions at all, I recommend you utilize the customer support chat available at to safely customize recipes for your specific model.

Can I Use a Different Make of Pot?

These recipes may be entirely possible using other electric pressure cookers. If you don't have one made by Instant Pot, you'll have to find the matching settings on your model. They will all have a pressure setting, likely a Low and High option. You should also be able to heat directly without pressure with settings such as Sauté and Slow Cook. Read your manual and consult the manufacturer's support line if you need help making a setting selection.

Some Useful Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind about using the Instant Pot for our cheese-loving purposes. Instant Pot is clearly making an effort to make the settings more intuitive in newer models, but that leaves out a lot of variety in settings in older models. I hope the following notes clear up some confusion, but do play around with your pot and read the manual to learn how to use it to its full potential.

Sauté and Slow Cook = Stovetop-Style Heat

These are the two functions I use most often to replicate a stovetop burner. I prefer Sauté and Slow Cook for active heating because I can control the heat levels between Low, Medium, and High (Less, Normal, and More in older models), much like a regular burner — just press the function buttons to adjust levels. Note that the + and – signs control minutes and hours.

Yogurt Function = Helpful Presets

Instant Pot settings can be adjusted, and the yogurt settings in particular are Instant Pot's gifts to cheese makers. They are Low/Medium/High in newer models and Less/Normal/More or Boil in older models — these settings are interchangeable in the recipes. I use the preset Yogurt settings on Medium (about 110°F/43°C) and Low (about 90°F/32C°) to heat gently when I don't have time to stir actively or just need a low temp without risk of overheating (e.g., for recipes that contain rennet or cultures).

The High (More/Boil) setting heats to about 180°F (82°C). It can come in handy, but beware that the cooker shuts off automatically when it hits the target temperature in this setting. It can be irritating if you aren't paying attention, though it's great for preventing a boilover and it's very useful for its purpose, which is pasteurizing milk. The different models also vary a little on how they are adjusted. To adjust to Low, for example, push the Yogurt button until the light is at Low. In my oldest model, there is an Adjust button that serves the same purpose. Note that + and – signs control minutes and hours. Boil cannot be adjusted for time.

Pressure = Passive High Heat

The Instant Pot's main claim to fame, of course, is pressure cooking. It allows us to heat to temperatures past boiling safely and passively. This makes it possible to heat milk for high-heat cheeses such as ricotta and paneer without having to stir for 30 minutes straight — we use the pot-in-pot method to avoid burning. Older models require that you first select Manual then Pressure; newer models cut to the chase with a Pressure Cook button. These terms are interchangeable in recipes.

Older models require that you simply push the Pressure button to adjust between Low and High pressure; newer models have a Pressure Level button or dials. If adjusting pressure is necessary, I make it clear in the recipes. Note that + and – signs control minutes and hours.

Quick Release or Venting = Huge Mess!

To release pressure manually for a Quick Release, you shift the pressure valve from the Sealing position (used when building pressure) to Venting. Let me save you some frustration and your family the slew of profanities they will hear if you try Quick Release with hot milk. It is not worth saving a few minutes, even if you use the (unsafe) tip floating around the Internet for using a wet towel on the steam valve. Instead, in recipes using pressure, allow the few minutes of Natural Release recommended, then release pressure manually. Trust me. The mess when milk sputters and oozes everywhere is no fun to clean up.

Natural Release = Just Wait

This "natural" term confused me at first, so I want to make sure you understand it. It means that once the pressure cooking time is up, you don't move the valve to Venting for the dramatic steam release. That's Manual Pressure Release (or Quick Release) mentioned above. Instead, you just wait for the time allotted in each recipe and let the pressure slowly lower on its own (without the mess). The pot display has a countdown that will show you the minutes since pressure cooking time ended. You may still hear some hissing and see some escaping steam, but it should not make a huge mess.

Room-Temperature Milk = Faster Heating Time

Allowing the milk or other dairy products to rest at room temperature for one to two hours allows you to shorten the time in the pot warming them to get up to pressure. It doesn't change the recipes since the cooking time (sometimes zero minutes!) begins at the point of pressure, but it does save some energy and a few minutes.

Instant Pot Functions Used in this Book

Cooking Functions


Used to quickly heat milk to a high temperature with no lid. Similar to cooking on a stovetop.

Slow Cook

Different settings allow you to hold milk at preset temperatures without pressure. Similar to a traditional slow cooker.


Heats and holds milk at a consistent temperature with no pressure. Can be used to pasteurize milk.


Used to set the temperature to specific pressure settings and to adjust the level of pressure and time of cooking.

Pressure Release Options

Natural Release

Taking no action, but letting the steam escape slowly to bring the pressure down, which can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes.

Quick Release (Venting)

Opening the pressure valve to let steam escape more quickly. Not recommended!

No Yogurt Button? No Problem.

If you have a model without the Yogurt button, you will not be able to use it for the cultured recipes (see list below) as written, but you can use one of the alternative heating methods detailed below for the fermentation portion of the recipe. If you get hooked enough, you might choose to upgrade your Instant Pot model.

Oven light. An easy alternative to the Yogurt setting is to culture/ferment the milk in the oven with just the light turned on. I purchased an inexpensive oven thermometer to test the temperature right by the bulb, farthest from the bulb, and even the temperature with the door open. The desired range for the Yogurt/Medium (or Normal) setting is between 110°F (43°C) and 115°F (46°C). In my oven, that is pretty close to the bulb. Play around with placement in your oven to get the temperature as close as you can.

Dehydrator. Another option is a good dehydrator, the large kind with removable shelves, which will have its own temperature settings.

You can also experiment with heating pads or a yogurt maker if you happen to own one.

Use your chosen method for the same amount of time called for and the same temperature called for in each recipe requiring time in the Low/Less and Medium/Normal Yogurt setting.

Cultured Recipes

  • Cultured Buttermilk
  • Crème Fraîche
  • Yogurt
  • Quark
  • Sour Cream
  • Whipped Cream Cheese
  • Fromage Blanc
  • Honey-Lavender Chèvre
  • Fast Feta
  • Cold-Start Coconut Milk Yogurt

And for the Mozzarella, String Cheese, and Burrata, you can use Slow Cook on Low/Less when the Yogurt on Low is called for. These cheeses are not actually cultured.

Set Yourself Up for Success


  • “Claudia has once again made cheesemaking fun and accessible for everyone! Instant Pot Cheese is beautifully presented, easy to read, filled with simple and delicious recipes, and will give you another good reason never to put that multicooker away.” — Gianaclis Caldwell, cheesemaker and author of Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, Mastering Basic Cheesemaking, and Homemade Yogurt Kefir

    “Just when I thought I couldn't love my Instant Pot more, Instant Pot Cheese comes about! From homemade feta to burrata, and even dairy-free cheeses, this book has it all. With easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and lots of photos, Claudia has found multiple ways to make the Instant Pot even more useful.”  — Ivy Manning, author of Instant Pot Miracle 6 Ingredients or Less and Instant Pot Italian

    “Old-world artisanal cheeses meet ultra-modern methods and the match is solid. In Instant Pot Cheese, Claudia Lucero has found yet another use for the Instant Pot, showing how to use it as a fermentation chamber capable of much more than yogurt. What’s more, this book covers both traditionally cultured dairy products and a number of dairy-free options. It is a fun, creative, and easy approach to making your own cheeses at home.” — Kirsten K. Shockey, coauthor of Fermented Vegetables, Fiery Ferments, and Miso, Tempeh, Natto and Other Tasty Ferments

On Sale
Sep 29, 2020
Page Count
144 pages

Claudia Lucero

Claudia Lucero

About the Author

Claudia Lucero is the author of Instant Pot Cheese, One-Hour Cheese, and One-Hour Dairy-Free Cheese. She is the entrepreneur behind and DIY Cheese Kits, which she sells through Etsy, specialty food shops, and select Whole Foods stores, and she developed the home cheesemaking kits for Williams-Sonoma’s Agrarian product line. Raised with fresh Mexican cheeses, Lucero cooked alongside her mom and grandmother from an early age, where she first learned the value and reward of cooking traditional foods from scratch. She lives in Portland, Oregon. 


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