How Does An Instant Pot Work

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When Was The Pressure Cooker Invented

How to Use an Instant Pot – Instant Pot 101 – Beginner? Start HERE!

It was invented in the 1600s by a Frenchman by Denis Papin, who wanted to translate new discoveries in physics about pressure and steam into cooking. He called his pot the Digester, but it took quite a while before better manufacturing standards and technology could make these high pressure pots safe.

But Dont Add Too Much Liquid Or Use The Wrong Kind

Pay attention to the Max Fill Line its there for a reason. Certain foods expand when cooking , and the pressure in the pot needs ample space to function properly.

As for the right type of liquid to add to your Instant Pot, youll need a liquid that can turn into steam to cook your food. So avoid using heavy cream sauces, cornstarch, arrowroot, potato starch, or tomato paste.

Instead, wait for your food to be done cooking, then set it aside and use the saute function to thicken your sauce.

Get To Know The Design

Electric pressure cookers come with an inner pot and an outer pot , as well as a lid that creates an airtight seal.

The airtight seal is what creates the pressure, which will eventually need to be released, and to do so safely, youll need to read the directions that come with your pot. But generally speaking, youll either use the quick-release method , or the natural-release method .

Test Kitchen tip: A cool, wet towel placed on the lid can help speed up the release process.

Recommended Reading: How To Cook Brussel Sprouts In Instant Pot

How To Use An Instant Pot : Add Liquid Before Cooking

Always, I repeat, always add liquid to your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Pressure cooking requires steam to build pressure. If you dont add any liquid, or your foods are dry to begin with, youll be going out for dinner that night.

Add a minimum of 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid before starting your pressure cooker.

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How To Cool A Pressure Cooker Down

How Does The Instant Pot Work?

There are three main methods for bringing the pressure in a cooker back down: natural release, quick release, and cold water release.

Natural release involves taking the cooker off heat and allowing the temperature to gradually decrease until the spring-loaded lock disengages. Keep in mind that there could be significant carryover cooking with a natural release technique, depending on how much food youre cooking.

Quick release, as the name implies, involves removing the weighted jiggler or pressing a button to allow steam inside the cooker to escape. Doing so allows you to stop the cooking immediately, but it also means that the contents of the pressure cooker will boil vigorously. Kenji takes advantage of that boiling to effectively blend his pressure cooker split pea soup without using a blender.

Lastly, theres the cold water release, which requires running the entire apparatus under cold running water until the cooker depressurizes and the lock disengages. Like the quick release method, the cold water release allows you to access your food effectively immediately. On the other hand, this method doesnt cause the contents to vigorously boil, which might be desirable for a given recipe. Be aware that the cold water release cant be used on electric models.

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How To Do An Instant Pot Water Test

  • Make sure that the power cord is firmly connected to your Instant Pot. Plug it into a power outlet in your wall.
  • Place the stainless steel inner pot in the base unit. Add 3 cups of cool water to the inner pot.
  • Check that the silicone sealing ring is fitted properly into the Instant Pot lid. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it clockwise until it is in the closed position. Your Instant Pot will chime each time you close and open the lid .
  • Turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
  • Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button.
  • Use the +/- buttons to set the time to 5 minutes. Wait for 10 seconds and the Instant Pot display will say On and the cycle will begin.
  • The Instant Pot will take anywhere from 5-15 minutes to reach pressure. Once it reaches pressure the float valve will pop up, the Instant Pot will beep once, and the cook time will begin to count down from 5 minutes. You might notice hissing sounds and some steam escaping from the steam release valve or float valve hole while the pressure builds this is normal. You may also notice a plastic smell the first time you use your Instant Pot. This is also normal and shouldnt happen again.
  • When the float valve drops down remove the Instant Pot lid.
  • Now that you have completed the water test, you are ready to cook in your Instant Pot!

    Third Generation Electric Pressure Cookers

    After the stove-top pressure cookers, in 1991 came the electric pressure cookers, called the “third generation” pressure cookers.

    These include an electric heat source that is automatically regulated to maintain the operating pressure. They also include a spring-loaded valve .

    An electric pressure cooker integrates a timer. Depending on cooking control capability, there are three generations of electric pressure cookers:

    • First-generation electric, with mechanical timer. There is no delayed cooking capability.
    • Second-generation electric, with digital controller. Delayed cooking becomes possible and the controller shows a countdown timer when working pressure is reached.
    • Third-generation electric, with smart programming, which includes pre-set cooking times and settings based on heating intensity, temperature, pressure and duration.
    • The first configuration consists of the air fryer lid hinged to the main unit, and is non-removable the air fryer lid flips up when using the removable pressure cooking lid, and then after the pressure cooking lid is removed, the air fryer lid flips back down. This is the configuration used by the Ninja Foodi line of pressure cookers.
    • The second configuration consists of a completely removable air fryer lid, with a protective pad for storage. This is the configuration used by most other pressure cooker manufacturers, including Instant Pot.
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    The Perfect Rice Experiment

    Match-up: Instant Pot vs. rice cooker

    Test Recipe: Perfect Instant Pot brown rice, from the Instant Pot manual.Total time: 38 min

    Assessment: The finished rice was well-cooked with a nice bite to it, and was done in slightly less than 40 mins, the average amount of it takes a rice cooker to turn out a finished product.

    Verdict: Again, the Instant Pot delivers.

    My Top 5 Instant Pot Recipes For Beginners

    What is the Instapot and How Does it work?
  • Instant Pot Strawberry Chia Jam
  • So, here you have it: 7 Things You Need To Know About Instant Pot . Would I recommend buying one? Absolutely! As long as you realize that it is not a magical appliance and dont expect your life to change while using it.

    Do you love your Instant Pot? Were you disappointed at first with the actual cooking time? Id love to hear from you! Comment below!

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    You Can Use The Instant Pot To Reheat Food For Real

    I was kind of skeptical on how you could reheat food in the Instant Pot at first. I mean, if youre reheating stew or soup or something else thats okay to touch the cooking surface, I can see how it would work. But what if it was a casseroleor shredded chicken wouldnt that make a mess? Or ruin the leftovers?

    Solution steamer insert pans. These pans fit in 5, 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot and allow you to put food inside while putting water or something else on the outside. The Instant Pot heats the water, and the water reheats your leftovers. Done!!

    What Is An Instant Pot Exactly

    The Instant Pot is simply an electric pressure cooker with multiple functions, which sets it apart from many kitchen appliances with a single purpose like a rice cooker or slow cooker.

    If youre brand new to the concept, a pressure cooker electric or stovetop version creates a pressurized environment inside the pot, which cooks food much quicker than the oven or a regular pot on the stove. You can learn about how the Instant Pot works in more detail here.

    The Instant Pot is also multi-cooker so in comparison to a gadget like a rice cooker, it has multiple functions instead of a single function. There have been dozens of models since it was first introduced, but they all possess similar features that make the Instant Pot what it is.

    So, what does this multi-cooker entail? Well, it has functions of a simple pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and yoghurt machine in one. While previously all of these appliances were sold separately, you can now have them all in one. You can also sauté foods in the Instant Pot, which is done without pressurizing and uses a heating element that sits just underneath an inner pot. It will even keep your food warm once it stops cooking.

    The Instant Pot is a self-regulating machine in many ways. You dont have to be watching over it to make sure it turns off when its done cooking. Gone are the days of exploding pressure cookers on the stovetop! The Instant Pot is super safe, efficient and economical.

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    How Is The Instant Pot Different From A Stovetop Pressure Cooker

    The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker with internally built heating element while the stovetop pressure cooker is fueled by heat from a stove, whether gas or electric. Learn how the Instant Pot works in more detail here.

    A pressure cooker works on a simple principle: steam pressure. A sealed pot, with a lot of steam inside, builds up high pressure, which helps food cook faster. Here is a video explaining how a traditional stovetop pressure cooker works. The physics of high-heat and steam under pressure also apply to the electric pressure cookers, except they require no monitoring or manual timing.

    How To Use Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

    How Electric Pressure Cookers Work
  • Prep your food. Cut, chop, or season the ingredients according to the recipe.
  • Place the lid on the pot. Again, a tempered glass lid will work best for this purpose but you can use the standard lid if that’s all you have available.
  • Press the Slow Cook button. If you have the 3-quart version, it’s on the bottom right side, under the Steam button.
  • Set the time. Set the cooking duration between 30 minutes and 20 hours with the + and buttons under the time display.
  • Press the Adjust button. It’s in the bottom center section on the 3-quart version, next to Timer and above Manual. You can choose “Normal,””More,” and “Less.” These correspond to medium, high, and low on a traditional Crock-Pot.
  • Cook. Cooking will start automatically 10 seconds after the last button is pressed. When your recipe is finished cooking, the Instant Pot will beep and transition automatically to “Keep Warm” for 10 hours.
  • Read Also: How To Cook A Brisket In The Instant Pot

    What Affects Presurrizing Time

    The pre-heating and pressurizing stage is something many Instant Pot recipes dont mention in the time required for cooking. The Instant Pot must come to pressure before the timer begins counting down, and the time it takes depends on a few factors.

    First, the amount of liquid. For example, cooking food with one cup of water should only take a few minutes to come to pressure. On the other hand, a large pot of soup reaching the maximum fill line may take 20-30 minutes to come to pressure.

    Another factor to consider is the temperature of the contents of the pot. If you begin the recipe by sauteing your contents and heating up the liquid, it will come to pressure more quickly than cold water. On average, it will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure. This is important to know so you can better plan how long your meal will actually take to cook.

    While this stage is often thought to precede cooking, it is actually where cooking begins. For example, in the case of delicate items such as broccoli or cauliflower, bringing the pot to pressure is the only cooking that needs to be done.

    What Is An Instant Pot Heres Everything You Need To Know

    Looking for a quick meal, but dont want to use a microwave? An Instant Pot is a multifunctional pressure cooker that can cook anything from roasts to chicken to desserts, and in much less time than most other cooking appliances.

    Instant Pots come in a variety of designs, but each one has its own unique set of features. Some of the new technologies include air frying and Wi-Fi connectivity. What can this appliance do? How does an Instant Pot work? This guide explains everything you need to know about Instant Pots.

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    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.

    How Does The Instant Pot Sous Vide Function Work

    Instant Pot Review – How to Use an Instant Pot

    The Instant Pot sous vide smart program is a built-in function that works differently than traditional sous vide circulators.

    When using the Instant Pot sous vide function, the pot heats to the desired temperature, but there is no circulator inside the pot. Its merely a matter of programming the pot to your desired temperature.

    This is less precise than using an immersed circulator, because the water isnt being circulated , and because the pot cant actually measure the temperature of the water.

    For this reason, I recommend using a thermometer to check the temperature of the water to ensure it is adequate for the food you are cooking.

    Despite this shortcoming, Ive found the built-in smart program sous vide function to work quite well.

    However, if you want the ability to precisely control the temperature, and if you prefer to have the water agitated throughout cooking, it would be best to purchase an immersion circulator.

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    What To Do If Your Instant Pot Timer Isnt Working

    Before you go looking for solutions because your timer isnt working. Make sure to wait. This is because the timer only starts when the desired heat and pressure inside the pot is reached.

    This can take some time, so be patient and wait it out to really see if the timer isnt working.

    While that is the most common solution to a timer not working, if the timer really is busted, its best to go to a professional to fix it.

    This is because fixing it without experience or the right knowledge on Instant Pots can actually lead to your pot being damaged even further.

    So there you have it, all the basics of an Instant Pot timer. An Instant Pot is one of the greatest kitchen tools of its time. It allows people to cook great tasting, nutritious meals without having to wait hours on end.

    Theyre also generally safer than standard pressure cookers and much more convenient. So now that you know how the timer works and how to use it properly, all thats left to do is get cooking!

    If I Already Have A Slow Cooker And A Rice Cooker Do I Really Need Another Appliance

    Well, we cant dictate what you need. However, the Instant Pot is more functional than both a slow cooker and rice cooker combined because it can also pressure-cook. The word instant in the name gives it away: You can cook things astonishingly fast in a pressure cookereven notoriously slow-cooking or labor-intensive foods like risotto and brisket.

    We think rice cooked in the Instant Pot is fine for most people, though the grains dont come out as fluffy and light as they do from a high-end rice cooker like our upgrade pick, the Cuckoo CRP-G1015F. Rice aficionados might want to keep their rice cooker, especially for cooking sushi-grade grains.

    If youre worried about clutter, you can donate your old appliances to a charity, or hand them off to someone in your life whos just starting out. Were sure theyd appreciate them.

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    Vent The Food And Enjoy

    Once the cook time has passed, often you’ll then move the valve to “venting” which, in a glorious geyser of food smells, will release the pressure and steam inside your Instant Pot. Be careful touching the valve, it can get hot. Either wear an oven mitt or move the valve with a wooden spoon. It will release a lot of hot air, so it’s a good idea to lean back the first time you move the valve, and definitely keep your eyes away from the valve when you let it vent.

    Once the Instant Pot is done venting this might take a few minutes remove the lid and gaze upon your finished food and enjoy.

    A side note: in the picture below you can see a little circular valve that looks like a button. When the Instant Pot pressurizes, you should see it rise. This lets you know the Instant Pot is pressurized, which means the lid will be locked. The only way to open the Instant Pot, at that point, is to wait for it to depressurize. So don’t worry, feel safe.

    Some recipes, including some very common ones like rice, call for something called a “Natural Pressure Release,” which just means you let the pressure slowly fade inside the Instant Pot. You do not move the valve to “venting” for a certain amount of time. My favorite Instant Pot rice recipe, for instance, calls for just a few minutes of cook time but 10 minutes of natural release before you open the Instant Pot.

    Either way, you need to let the pressure release from the Instant Pot, but then you’re ready to enjoy.

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