Using Saute Function After Cooking
The Sauté function is also useful for finishing the dish after pressure cooking is done. Once the pressure has been completely released, open the lid and then press Sauté button again. Press the button again to cycle through Less or More for lower or higher temperature.
Use it for:
- Simmering the sauce or broth in the dish that needs to evaporate and reduce or thicken.
- Adding more fragile or no-cooking-required ingredients like baby spinach, fresh tomatoes, fruit, cheese, milk or cream.
- Thickening sauce with butter, cream or flour.
What Is Natural Release On An Instant Pot
On the other end of the scale, there is a natural release for instant pots, this is the way that is most commonly used as it is slow, steady and much safer.
The natural release happens when you turn the black nozzle on the lid to venting, once it is as venting it will slowly depressurize naturally and will take anything from 10-15 minutes.
The natural way is safer, causes less mess with water spewing everywhere and easier. Once the pot has reached a certain level and has depressurized this will then trigger the metal tab to fall and click.
During the natural release you will see the screen turn to L000 this is the timer for how long the food has stopped cooking and the natural release has taken place. Different foods and recipes with require different release times so make sure to look out for that while you are releasing your instant pot
This timer will go up in minutes as time goes on, this does not indicate that the release is done, which can only be identified when the metal valve has dropped.
This will indicate it is ready to open, even once the instant pot is ready you should still take care when opening the lid for access steam.
What To Use The Trivet For
The trivet comes with the Instant Pot. This is a simple insert that allows you to get some space between the bottom of the pot and whatever food youre cooking. Generally speaking, any food that you might want to cook without having it come into direct contact with liquid can be made more easily with the trivet. You can place the food directly on top of the trivet or add it to a round heat-proof casserole dish or cake pan and place that on top of the trivet.
Think of things like chicken breasts, lasagna, breads, meatloaf, and other things that wouldnt taste great if they were super soggy. Its also commonly used for eggs, veggies, potatoes, or pot-in-pot cooking. Using the trivet can prevent burning or overcooking and also ensure even cooking.
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The Instant Pot Pasta Formula
To cook any type of pasta perfectly in the Instant Pot :
But theres no need to do all that math. Just use the chart below:
**0 is a real setting on the Instant Pot / pressure cooker. For small pasta shapes with a short recommended cook time, set the timer to zero minutes. The pressure cooker will fully pressurize but wont hold for any amount of time.
Do I Need To Adjust My Recipes At Higher Altitude
The short answer is yes. Some Instant Pot models e.g. Ultra and MAX will allow you to set your altitude and the cooking times will be automatically adjusted for you. Otherwise, cooking should be adjusted 5% for every 1,000 feet above 2,000 ft. above sea level. So, for example, at 3,000 ft., you will increase cooking time by 5% and at 4,000 ft., you will increase cooking time by 10% and so forth. One of our team members has lived at many varying high elevations and personally, I have never run into altitude-related issues with my Duo model.
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Instant Pot Parts And Accessories
The first thing youll want to do is wash the parts of your Instant Pot. The Instant Pot lid, steam release valve and stainless steel inner pot are dishwasher safe however, I wash mine by hand. The base unit is not dishwasher safe never immerse the base unit in water.
Open That Instant Pot Box
When you open the box, youll notice a diagram of the boxs contents on the underside of the boxs lid.
Pay attention to this. Youll use it to make sure you have every part and piece.
Heres what your box should contain:
- Instant Pot cooker body with handles and a control panel
- a stainless steel inner pot often called the insert
- the lid with a float valve, pressure release handle, and clear silicon ring
- power cord
- recipe book
- user manual
If youre missing any of those items, you can contact customer service of the store you purchased your pot from, return it to Amazon and request a replacement, or contact Instant Pot directly and ask about replacement parts.
How To Make Instant Pot Yogurt Cups
Yogurt cups are a convenient way to portion out your yogurt into individual or smaller servings. After adding the starter culture to the pasteurized or warm milk, carefully pour the milk into your yogurt cups and seal them tightly. Clean the inner pot thoroughly and place the steam rack/trivet on the bottom of the inner pot. Place the sealed yogurt cups on the steam rack and add water to the inner pot until the cups are submerged halfway. Follow steps in Fermenting Yogurt above.
How To Quickly Release The Pressure
If a recipe calls for a quick release, that means youll need to move the steam release valve from the Sealing position to the Venting position as soon as the Instant Pot beeps, signaling that the cooking cycle is complete.
Make sure that you dont place your hand directly over the vent, as steam will shoot out the top of the steam release valve. Instead, keep your hand to the side of the valve or use a spoon to turn the vent, if youre on the extra-cautious side. I always use my hand and have never had an issue.
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All Right But Whats So Great About Pressure Cooking
It cooks food extra-fast and reliably. Pressure cooking can cook foods that normally take a long time very quickly. Heres the basic science: A pressure cooker like the Instant Pot creates a high-pressure steam chamber. Over about 10 minutes, the pressure inside the sealed pot is raised through heat. At high pressures, the boiling point of water shifts higher, which means that you can cook and boil food at higher temperatures and more quickly. The high pressure also forces water into food, helping it to cook faster but also creating more complex, deeper flavors. A pressure cooker does magical things like cook tough but flavorful cuts like pork shoulder into tender, melting carnitas in an hour flat instead of the usual four to five hours.
Extra Accessories And A Secret Tip
A secret tip you may not initially know about your Instant Pot is the lid holder.
On the side handles you will see a hole that perfectly fits your lid. Place the lid here when you are sautéeing ingredients or serving up recipes.
A few accessories to purchase:
- Extra silicone rings Over time the silicone rings will stretch out or adopt the flavor of various recipes. Its great to have color-coded replacement rings on hand that are designated for certain types of recipes.
- Steamer basket This can be used when cooking delicate items like eggs or when making stocks.
- Glass Lid Using a glass lid when slow cooking and steaming allows you to see inside your pot while cooking.
- Storage Lid Have some leftovers? Pop a silicone lid on top and store the stainless steel pot in the refrigerator.
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Im Getting An Error Code Message
Instant Pots use error codes to indicate specific problems. If a code is popping up, you should look it up to see what it means. You can find a list of the codes on the support page. C1, for example, means theres a faulty temperature sensor, C5 means that theres not enough water in the inner pot, and so on.
I Keep Burning My Fingers When Trying To Release Steam
The release nozzle on the Pots valve is pretty loose, and twitching it open for a fast release after pressure cooking can be painful for even fast fingers. If youve been burnt by steam before, theres a very simple solution that Pot users have found: Just use a wooden spoon. Push the valve open with the spoon to release it and avoid any steam issues.
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Natural Pressure Release Vs Quick Release
First of all, let me explain the difference between Natural Pressure Release and Quick Release when it comes to pressure cooking.
- Natural Pressure Release is when the pressure is slowly released on it’s own.
- Quick Release is when you manually turn the valve to “Vent” and allow the pressure that has been built up to release rapidly.
Once You Get Your New Instant Pot Out Of The Box What Should You Cook First
Obviously, if youve only done a water test, you havent cooked anything except water.
So, now, its time to get to the really fun part! What to cook first in your new Instant Pot?
This is easy, inexpensive, and requires no prep work.
There is GREAT debate on the best way to cook hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot in the Facebook groups and online. Many folks swear by the 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 methods. The eggs pressure cook for 5 minutes, naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, followed by a 5-minute bath in ice water.
Personally, I found that those methods ALWAYS over-cooked my hard-boiled eggs. Then, I realized it was likely because I was using non-refrigerated, farm fresh eggs.
Of course it takes less time to cook a cold egg than to cook a room temperature egg!
So, I came up with my No-Fail Method for Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot specifically for farm fresh eggs that are stored at room temperature.
Regardless of the temperature of your eggs, I recommend beginning your Instant Pot journey with hard-boiled eggs. Use my method for farm-fresh eggs use the 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 method for refrigerated eggs.
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What About The User Manual Recipe Book & Quick Reference Guide
Its always good idea to look over the user manual and familiarize yourself with the different features of the Instant Pot.
For example, you may not know that, in addition to pressure cooking and making yogurt, your Instant Pot also has a feature just for steaming vegetables. Still, youll soon find that the best teacher is to simply use the IP!
Honestly, I think the recipe book is superfluous. Many of the recipes are boring and bland others use processed or unfamiliar ingredients.
If youre cooking for a keto, Whole30, or paleo lifestyle, you wont find much to use from the recipe book. Confession: I tossed mine out and never looked at it again!
The Quick Reference Guide is a new feature to me. It was not included in my previous 2 Instant Pot boxes.
After looking it over, however, I find some of the cook times accurate , but other cook times are inaccurate based on my 4 years of experience .
If youve never used an Instant Pot before, my advice is this: find a few recipe sites you trust and use their tested recipes rather than using this Quick Reference Guide.
How To Use An Instant Pot: What You Need To Know To Get Started With Instant Pot Cooking
There are a few basic things that you need to know when using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Once you use yours a few times, these will be like second nature. Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the buttons may be labeled slightly differently. Consult the manual that came with your Instant Pot.
Minimum Liquid Required: As a general rule, you want to use at least 1 cup of liquid in your Instant Pot every time you cook with it. The Instant Pot uses steam and pressure to cook food, and you need liquid to create the steam and pressure. Some recipes may call for more or less liquid. I recommend following recipes from a trusted source while you are learning to use your Instant Pot.
Fill Level: Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marked. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 line with food or liquid . If you are cooking food that will expand during the cook time such as rice, quinoa or beans, do not fill the Instant Pot higher than the 1/2 line.
Pressure Cook or Manual Button: Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the Pressure Cook button is sometimes labeled Manual and sometimes Pressure Cook. This is the button that you will press to start a pressure cooking cycle. Its your basic pressure cooking button.
+/- Buttons: Use these buttons to adjust the cook time.
Keep Warm/Cancel Button: Use this button to end a cooking program or turn on/off the keep warm function.
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Faq For Slow Cooking In The Instant Pot
Below are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the ideal result when using your Instant Pot as a slow cooker:
- Do you still need to add 1 cup of liquid? No. Youre not using the pressurizer function. If the recipe already has liquid in it, add it. Otherwise there is no need to add an extra cup of liquid to the recipe.
- Do you use the regular Instant Pot lid? Yes. You dont have to use the heavy lid but you can. Again, the pot is not being pressurized so you can use any lid that fits. Personally I use my Instant Pot tempered glass lid when I slow cook in my Instant Pot.
- Can you use slow cooker liners? Yes. If youre using the slow cook function in the Instant Pot you can use slow cooker liners. If you are using your Instant Pot for any other function you can not use slow cooker liners.
Do Make Sure Your Liner And Sealing Ring Are In Place
Make sure you have your liner in the pot and your sealing ring is on properly. To confirm youre doing this right, watch the video above where I walk you step by step through the water test.
You will pour your 3 cups of water into the Instant Pot, and close the top. On the video, I show you how to do this. I struggled with the top my first time so dont feel bad if you cant get it to close on your first try!
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How To Safely Remove The Lid
Are you worried about your Instant Pot exploding? That was my biggest fear when I got started, too. Luckily, the Instant Pot is loaded with safety features to help prevent that from happening, but the best thing you can do is learn how to use it properly to avoid any user errors.
Its NOT safe to remove the lid from your Instant Pot until all of the pressure has been released from the pot. Youll know its safe to remove the lid when the floating valve in the lid drops. This means all of the pressure is gone, and the Instant Pot lid will easily twist off.
Never ever try to force the lid off the pot if it doesnt twist easily. As a safety precaution, the Instant Pot locks the lid while the pot is still pressurized, so dont try to fight it.
A Few Final Important Tips
- Remember to use COLD water in your Instant Pot. If you use warm water, the amount of time that it takes the IP to come to pressure may change and that will result in a different cooking time.
- The rice function cooks at LOW pressure, not high pressure. Therefore if you are cooking a recipe that cooks at High Pressure for 12 minutes , do NOT be tempted to hit the rice function.
- What if your recipe does not have liquid in it? What if you want to bake a dessert or custard in your Instant Pot? This is when cooking Pot in Pot, or PIP, is necessary. To cook pot in pot is basically placing another pot inside the instant pot on a trivet to cook. Here are the Step by Step directions for Cooking Pot in Pot in the Pressure Cooker.
- Check out all my Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for a perfect place to start cooking recipes for your pressure cooker.
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