Instant Pot Guide: A Beginners Guide To Using Your Pressure Cooker
Wondering how to use your new Instant Pot? In this Instant Pot Guide, Ill walk you through what you need to know to start cooking with your Instant Pot today. Safety features, how to do an Instant Pot water test, whats the difference between a natural pressure release and a quick release, and what will happen step by step through the cooking process.
Ill be honest the first time I used my Instant Pot, I was overwhelmed and a bit scared. An Instant Pot can be intimidating for a new user. There are so many buttons and safety warnings.
However, I guarantee that once you get started, youll wonder what you ever did without your Instant Pot. I love mine so much that I now own two Instant Pots!
Im going to help you get started with all of the tips and tricks that I have learned through trial, error and research. This Instant Pot manual will tell you everything you need to know to use your Instant Pot for the first time.
Overview Of A Pressure Cooker And Instant Pot
A pressure cooker is the traditional stovetop cooker that we have been using in our households for a long time. In comparison, the instant pot is an advanced electric pressure cooker that comes with great multitasking features to assist you with your cooking.
Although both have been designed to provide you with the best cooking experience, each type comes with the characteristics that can maximize your performance in the kitchen.
A stovetop cooker is perfect for all canning needs. It gains pressure faster and takes little time to release it. This reduces the overall cooking time. It is also quite easy to use and is even affordable. These days, there are tons of different kinds of pressure cookers, so make sure to review all your pressure cooker options before buying.
An instant pot is an intelligent electric cooker that has the functions of multiple cooking appliances. It speeds up your cooking and takes 2 to 6 times less time than a normal pot.
An instant pot speeds up the cooking time by 2 to 6 times. It is essentially a stovetop cooker with added features like an automatic shut-off function, LED control panel, delay timer, and variable cooking programs.
So, which device is the winner? If you want to look into their differences further, you can get a detailed explanation here stovetop cooker vs instant pot.
Now that we know the basic differences, lets dive deeper into how they can be used.
Is This Thing Safe
Its actually safer than conventional cooking or stovetop pressure cooking. Everyone has heard stories about old-time pressure cookers exploding. Your Instant Pot wont do that because the temperature and pressure inside the pots is carefully monitored and regulated through its internal programming.
Remember: Its your trusty cooking robot.
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When Should I Use Natural Release
When cooking dishes that have a lot of liquid, the Natural Release method is often the best option. As such, stews, pot roast, and especially soups generally benefit from the Natural Release process.
After the cooking cycle has finished, steam and pressure will begin to dissipate naturally. All the user needs to do is give the Instant Pot a little time, and then opening and accessing the food is safe and simple. Nevertheless, its essential to remember that the food will continue to cook during this process, so bear that in mind depending on the dish.
Instant Pot Natural Pressure Release Vs Quick Release
Last updated By Susan
Instant Pot Natural Pressure Release vs. Quick Release -What does it mean when an Instant Pot recipe calls for Natural Pressure Release and/or Quick Release? and how do you know which method to use?
One of the first things youll want to understand when cooking in the Instant Pot is how to release the steam thats formed in the pot while youve been pressure cooking. How you release the steam will depend on what you are cooking.
Heres a visual for the terms we will be talking about.
Anatomy of an Instant Pot
**Please Note- I have the Instant Pot Ultra model and the photo above is of my Ultra- depending on what model you own, the configuration may be slightly different. In some models the steam release valve and the quick release handle are combined.
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Know Your Instant Pot Buttons
In case you didnt notice, the thing has buttons galore. Heres a post that goes over what all those buttons mean.
If youre pressed for time , here are the 3 main buttons to know:
- Manual or Pressure Cook: older models have the manual button whereas newer ones have the pressure cook button. They both turn the insta-pot pressure cooker on.
- Saute: Adjust this to simmer , saute or browing . Check out my instant pot hacks on how to use this button to cut down your cooking time.
- Keep Warm/Cancel: Stop a function or turn off your instant pot.
What Is The Difference Between The Natural Release And Quick Release
The above explanation states that if you leave the pressure cooker for a while until the steam releases naturally while going back to normal, it is a natural release. It can take up to 30 minutes, depending on the food inside.
On the other hand, if you decide to release the pressure right away by pushing the knob, it is a quick release. This process can take up to 2 to 5 minutes.
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Know How To Clean Your Insta
Keep the machine clean so its ready to go whenever you need it, which is going to be often once you get the hang of it.
One handy tip is to have an extra set of sealing rings*. Because the flavors of your food will absorb into the rings, it’s best to have at least one for sweet recipes and a separate for savory fare.
This post goes into full detail on how to clean your instant pot . Itll be good to know what is and isnt dishwasher safe and make clean up a cinch.
How To Make Quinoa In An Instant Pot
Jump To RecipeThis post may contain affiliate links.
Heres how to make perfectly fluffy quinoa in your Instant Pot in just minutes! This foolproof method will give you delicious quinoa every time.
I typically cook quinoa in a rice cooker, but I know many of you dont have a rice cooker at home. Luckily, its easy to make quinoa in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker! I like using my Instant Pot because I get perfectly fluffy quinoa every single time. I dont have to worry about standing over the stove or keeping an eye on a simmering pot.
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How To Do A 10 15 Minutes Natural Pressure Release
After the cooking cycle finished, wait 10 15 minutes before moving the Venting Knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to release the remaining pressure.
Always make sure the Floating Valve completely drops before opening the lid.
Whats the advantage?
- Compare to Quick Release: Significantly reduces the chance of food splattering out from the Pressure Release Valve.
- Compare to Natural Release: Faster release method when the pressure cooker is full of food with high liquid volume.
Inspecting Your Instant Pot Before Each Use
1. Remove the stainless steel inner pot and look inside the instant pot base. You will see the heating element. The heating element should always be free of debris and dry before you use you the Instant Pot. After washing, I always dry my stainless steel inner pot thoroughly before returning it to the base unit.
2. Check that the silicone sealing ring is fitted properly onto the lid and is clean and free of tears.
3. Remove the steam release valve from the Instant Pot lid by gently pulling it straight up. Make sure it is clean and free of debris. Some foods, such as applesauce, pasta and oatmeal may froth and foam when you cook them and can clog the steam release valve. Check the steam release valve each time you use your Instant Pot. If it is dirty clean it under running water and then put it back on the Instant Pot lid.
4. Check the float valve to ensure it is clean and free of debris. Clean it with warm water as needed. You may place the lid under running water as needed to wash it.
Making sure that all parts of your Instant Pot are clean and in good working condition can help you to have the best success with pressure cooking. My post about the Instant Pot burn message tells you both how to prevent getting this warning and what to do if you do get a burn message.
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How Do I Use Quick Release
When using the Quick Release feature, steam will shoot out of the top of the Instant Pot very quickly, so be aware of location when doing this. The escaping steam can damage kitchen cabinets and may have a strong food smell.
For this reason, taking the pot outside for a second or moving it to a safe location like a countertop away from the cabinets or the kitchen table could be helpful. Whatever you choose to do, to use the Quick Release, do the following:
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Tips & Tricks To Do It The Right Way
The Instant Pot natural release is actually one of the safest ways to use the device. Since you wont be opening the lid until it is actually safe to, theres little to no risk of you coming in contact with hot steam and hurting yourself.
The only thing youll need to keep in mind is the cooking time.
And how do you know that the pressure has been released? Youll hear a small click sound of the float valve dropping down after the cooker has completely cooled down and released all the pressure.
This usually happens 10-25 minutes after youve turned off the cooker. You can then unlock the lid easily. Cool right?
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Quick Pressure Release Safety Precautions
The jet of steam coming out of your Instant Pot is extremely hot. Keep your face and hands away from it.
Make sure the hot steam is kept well out of your childrens reach, too.
Dont let the pressurized steam come in contact with your skin. If you need to touch the hot lid, use kitchen tongs, a wooden spoon, a kitchen towel, or an oven mitt.
As the float valve drops and steam is released, make sure to move your Instant Pot away from low cabinets, walls, and windows. You dont want to damage the finish or paint.
The Quick Pressure Release method is safe as long as you take the right precautions.
What Is An Instant Pot
An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It is a multi-use appliance that can cook foods quickly at high pressure. Steam pressure builds up inside the pot, which creates a higher temperature environment that cooks foods faster. Unlike old fashioned pressure cookers, the Instant Pot has many safety features that make it safe and easy to use.
An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, sauté pot, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker and warmer all in one. Ive been amazed at the versatility of my Instant Pot and the flavor and texture of the foods that I am able to cook in it. The high pressure inside the Instant Pot can tenderize even tough cuts of meat. It creates rich, complex flavors seriously, Ive never had better chili than Instant Pot chili!
If you are not sure which Instant Pot to buy, check out my guide to the Best Instant Pots. Ive also tested out many Instant Pot accessories so that I can share my favorites with you.
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Natural Release Vs Quick Release
Then of course you are probably wondering what the difference is between natural release and quick release.
Natural release is waiting for your food to release its pressure without you having to hit the valve from sealing to venting.
Whilst quick pressure release is moving the valve from sealing to venting as soon as the instant pot beeps.
For more information and to compare I recommend you check out how to quick release instant pot, which is episode 4 of this podcast series.
You Overfilled Your Instant Pot
Every Instant Pot has a max fill line on the inside of the pot. When you fill liquid past this line, you risk clogging the vent, which could mean big problems down the road.
If you accidentally fill past the max fill line, dont panic. The simple fix is just using the natural pressure release to relieve the pressure, remove the extra liquid, re-seal the pot and start over.
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How To Use Quick Release
To use quick release on an Instant Pot, the venting knob needs to be turned from seal to vent. This allows steam to flow out from inside the cooking pot more quickly and release the pressure inside. It might spit a little when the knob is turned, so consider using oven mitts or a dish towel to keep from getting scalded. After a few minutes of venting, the steam will stop and the float valve will drop, allowing for the lid to be opened safely.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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Q: What Is A Natural Pressure Release
A natural pressure release is when you leave the pressure release switch in the Sealed position when the cook time ends. This lets the pressure release slowly, without you doing anything. When the pressure is fully released, the float valve will drop and the lid will unlock and open.
A natural pressure release is a bit anticlimactic in comparison to a quick pressure release. There is no jet of steam when the natural pressure release starts. Theres also no clear way to tell when the pressure is fully released, and no beep or signal when the lid unlocks. Sometimes you can hear the float valve drop if youre close by.
The time it takes for the pressure to release naturally will vary depending on the ingredients and amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. A natural pressure release can take from 5 to 30 minutes in the electric pressure cooker.
Food inside the cooking pot will continue to cook as the pressure decreases.
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Natural Release Vs Quick Release: Whats The Difference
There are two ways you can release the pressure from your Instant Pot when the food is done cooking: Natural Release vs Quick Release.
Natural Release: Natural Release is letting the pressure release naturally. Instead of manually releasing the pressure, you wait for the pressure to release from the pot on its own.
Quick Release: A quick release method is immediately letting the pressure out of the pot once the food is done cooking. This process usually only takes a couple of minutes.
In recipes, you may see natural release as NR or NPR. You will see quick release as QR or QPR.
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What Is Natural Release Instant Pot
As the name suggests, you need to leave your instant pot to work on its own for this method. Your instant pot will release the pressure once it depressurizes on its own.
Your instant pot will signal you with a beep stating that it has completed the cooking cycle and will automatically start releasing the pressure.
To figure out if your instant pot has released its steam completely, completely check the float valve for this. The natural release process is complete if it drops down.
Once the pressure is released it is now safe to open the lid. Remember, you will only be able to open the lid if the pot is depressurized. Never try to open the lid before this process.
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The Science Of Yogurt
The first thing to understand is that fresh milk from a cow is loaded with beneficial bacteria and enzymes. However, it can easily become contaminated with dangerous pathogens if it is mishandled. Therefore, store-bought milk is pasteurized by heating it up to varying temperatures to ensure it is safe for people to drink and use. Most milk is pasteurized to a standard temperature of 161 degrees Fahrenheit and held for at least 15 seconds to kill off much of the bacteria in the milk. Then when milk is properly refrigerated under 45 degrees, it will remain tasty and food-safe for 12-21 days.
Some milk is pasteurized at even higher temperatures , thus rendering it completely sterile. This is called Ultra-Pasteurization or Ultra-High Temperature Pasteurization . This kills all good and bad bacteria in the milk and allows it to be shelf-stable for months without refrigeration until it is opened.
When youre making yogurt at home, you are creating an environment that is ideal for the growth of the good yogurt-producing bacteria in your milk. The problem is that this is also the environment for bad bacteria to grow. Therefore, you want to inhibit all the other bacteria in your milk before planting those good yogurt bacteria into your milk.
Then you cool the milk back down to the culturing temperature of between 105-115 degrees.
We use 2 Tablespoons of starter yogurt for every half-gallon of milk or 1/4 cup of starter for a gallon of milk.
by // by Holly
by // by Holly