The Most Common Instant Pot Problems And How To Fix Them
The Instant Pot is a highly versatile appliance that can save time and energy in the kitchen. While the best Instant Pots are intuitive, these multifunctional pressure cookers can be confusing too. If youre running up against issues like a bad smell lingering in your Instant Pot or trouble with the timer, youre not alone. Most of the problems youre seeing are likely pretty easy to correct when you know what to look for.
We have the best tips, tricks, and hacks to solve some common Instant Pot problems.
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.
How To Brown Chicken In Instant Pot Without Sticking Including Step
After much trial and error as well as research, Ive arrived at a solution. I cannot lie, it was a bitch getting here, but my pain is your gain! Follow these steps to not not only avoid effing up your chicken, but actually maximizing flavor in whatever chicken dish youre making.
Step 1: Heat the pan FIRST using More saute setting
Step 2: Add the oil ONLY AFTER POT HAS REACHED DESIRED TEMP LEVEL and make sure the entire pans surface is covered with a thin coating
Step 3: Allow the oil to heat properly before adding the meat. YOU WANT HOT OIL FIRST!
Step 4: Add the chicken to the outer areas where the oil collects and cook skin side down
After 4 minutes of cooking on “Hot” setting the chicken should release easily
Step 5: WAIT. WAIT SOME MORE before flipping. Any sticking means chicken aint ready for the FLIP. You can use your tongs to test for release. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Notice skin is still intact and has a nice color to it
Also Check: How To Boil Chicken In Instant Pot
Dont Get Too Caught Up In What All The Buttons Mean
For the most part, the buttons on the control panel are there to help you decide on your cooking time. For example, if there is a fish button, pressing it will likely mean that your food will cook for a short time . The chicken button will be slightly longer . Some electric pressure cookers have a saute feature, which comes in handy to pre-caramelize your mirepoix, if youre making soup or stew . New models have a sterilize function , and most come with a slow cook option, which means exactly what you think it means: slow cooking without pressure. When it comes to frozen food, learn if you can cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot.
Yes But How Hot Can A Pressure Cooker Get
Now that you know the basics of how a pressure cooks, you can understand how hot a pressure cooker gets under normal circumstances.
Due to the buildup of steam and pressure, pressure cookers can get hotter than boiling water. In a conventional pot using a standard stove top, water can never get above boiling temperature, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter how high you turn up the burner or flame. However, with a pressure cooker, it can reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit when at its highest pressure setting of 15 psi, which also aids in reduced cooking time.
Pressure cooking is fast, easy, economical and convenient. It also doesnt take as long to master as other methods of cooking.
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Seals Misaligned Or Damaged
Another reason that the instant pot may not come up to pressure is that because the sealing rings are misaligned or damaged. This may also lead to leakage of pressure.
The seals must be tested regularly and restored after every 12 to 16 months. One more piece of advice as far as the sealing ring is related is that you must at least have 2 rings and you must use distinct ones for sweet and sour dishes.
Instant Pots Cant Do Everything
You cant cook everything in a frying pan, and you cant cook everything in an Instant Pot. Heres a quick list of the things that an Instant Pot cant do:
- Slow Cooking : Yes, we just said that Instant Pots have a slow cook function. But it isnt perfect. Well get back to this, dont worry.
- Anything Crispy: The Instant Pot cant be used as a pressure fryer or a deep fryer. You can get crispy foods by using the Instant Pot to pan-fry foods, but if thats the goal, then youre better off using a pan.
- Pressure Canning: To do any sort of canning, you need a pressure cooker with a temperature gauge. The Instant Pot doesnt measure temperature.
- Stir Frys: Because of the Instant Pots lid and limited surface area, its terrible for any kind of stir fry, even on the saute setting.
- Pasta and Noodles: Some people may want to cook noodles in the Instant Pot, but thats a bad idea. Pasta and noodles are best cooked uncovered. Not to mention, you have to turn off and depressurize the Pot before you can check whether or not your pasta or noodles are cooked properly.
Instant Pots are specialized devices. They cant do everything, but they can do a whole lot. Its worth thinking of the Instant Pot as an oven, but with steam. Ovens can do a lot, but you probably dont use your oven for cooking everything. The same goes for Instant Pots.
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How Long Does The Instant Pot Last
Over time, the gasket can be worn out by the repeated exposure to high temperatures and pressures. If you dont clean the gasket regularly, it isnt sitting in the Instant Pot correctly, or just isnt in great condition, then theres a chance that the seal is not air-tight.
This means that some of the hot air can escape. As a result, the Instant Pot may not start cooking your food at all. How long this takes depends on how often you use your Instant Pot.
So What Are Some Things That I Like About My Instant Pot
- I feel like I have to start this list with humble eggs. Eggs boiled in Instant Pot are some of the easiest to peel. Heres one of the ways to make Hard-Boiled Eggs in Instant Pot.
- Also, I think that this totally deserves a sub-point. If you like quail eggs then you know that they are notoriously difficult to peel. Making them in my Instant Pot helped a lot with peeling. It wasnt as easy as with regular chicken eggs but so much better than if they were conventionally boiled.
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How Much Water Should You Add To The Instant Pot
When it comes to the quantity of water that you should add to the instant pot to cook food in it, it varies for different recipes. But generally, you should add at least 1 cup of water to the instant pot. The reason for adding water in the instant pot is that the instant pot cooks the food with the help of pressure and steam, therefore it needs water for making this steam and pressure.
My Top 5 Instant Pot Recipes For Beginners
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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Youre Going To Make Some Mistakes But Dont Worry Youll Eventually Have A Long List Of Successes
One quick search for fail in the very prolific 90,000+ member turns up pages upon pages of results. And hundreds of more responses of commiseration, suggestions of what to do differently next time, and other favorite recipes.
Heres my confession: Despite owning two different Instant Pots for over 3 years, I made mushy brown rice this week. Through miscalculation and not enough reading, I added too much water. Luckily, it was just rice and since it was short-grain it will actually work well in some sushi, but all the same, it wasnt what I was trying to make.
I remade another batch using the correct ratio and you can see the difference here:
So basically the Instant Pot is much like life. Youre going to fail, but if you surround yourself with the right guides , youre bound to recover and be even more successful in the long run. And really, can you put a price on lessons like this?
But seriously, find yourself a group of people who know what theyre doing. I recommend your 90K closest friends in the group above, but Im sure there are others out there. If your Facebook Feed can handle it, being part of a group will help you to learn what works and what doesnt, will notify you of great recipes, and above all will keep your Instant Pot top of mind. Plus, you can find cool ideas like this one:
My friend, Sarah, a new IP user shared this awesome idea to write your recipe on the side of the Instant Pot in dry-erase marker.
Do You Know Quantum Mechanics
Do you actually love cooking? Tasting the sauce, adding a little bit of this and that? Adjusting the spices? Seeing the magical transformation of ingredients? Well, cooking using a pressure cooker method is totally different!
I dont know if you need a degree in quantum mechanics or physics but figuring out how long to cook something in your Instant Pot is not easy! Deciding what spices to use and if the recipe needs more of something else is only done at the end of the cooking process. You cant simply open the lid and check if something is done or not. Remember the pressure?
There are some recipes that require opening the pot and adding potatoes or pasta and then cooking for another few minutes. And if this sounds easy with a conventional way of cooking, using an Instant Pot to do that means that extra 10 minutes of cooking actually could mean extra 20-25 minutes. Remember that to open the lid you need to release the pressure , then the pot needs to come to pressure again , and then once everything is cooked, you need to release the pressure one more time. So, 10 min+5+5+5 is 25 minutes.
Recommended Reading: How To Steam Rice In Instant Pot
I Cant Seal My Instant Pot Lid
The pot lid can be tricky to lock and unlock without a little practice. If you are new to your Instant Pot, try moving the lid back and forth from the locked position until you get the hang of it. If you know for sure that your lid isnt locking properly, look for food blockages or a sign of a slipped sealing ring. The lid may also be damaged, but this is relatively rare Instant Pot lids are very tough.
But What About Those Explosions
Legends of exploding pressure cookers aren’t entirely unfounded. As the US entered World War II, the government promoted self-sufficiency programs, which encouraged canning home-grown produce. Steel was allocated for the production of pressure canners, and the popularity of pressure cookers rose as well. After the war, demand for pressure cookers was at an all-time high, precipitating a boom in production. Manufacturers began pumping out pressure cookers, but at the expense of materials, construction, and overall safety. For instance, models from the ’50s had a single, poorly constructed weighted valve that easily clogged with debris. As pressure built to an extreme, the gasket would blow, and water or steam would spew from the top in some cases, the lid would just fly right off.
Fortunately, manufacturing and design practices have improved considerably, and todays pressure cookers feature several fail-safe mechanisms to ensure safety, such as multiple valves, dual pressure regulators, and spring-loaded lid locks. No more sketchy deathtraps.
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What Size Instant Pot Should I Get
There are four Instant Pot sizes: 3-, 6-, 8-, and 10-quart options. The 6-quart Instant Pot is the most popular optionmany recipes call for a 6-quart Instant Pot, and a meal cooked in the 6-quart variety feeds 36 people. The 8-quart and 10-quart sizes, on the other hand, are ideal when youre feeding a large family, cooking for a party, or doing weekly meal prep. Last but not least is the 3-quart Instant Pot , which is perfect for cooking for 12 people.
I Cant Figure Out The Timer
This is a very common issue when first using the Instant Pot, and there are a couple of guidelines you really need to know to avoid mistakes or problems.
Selecting an option like poultry will automatically create a timer, which you then adjust to the proper time with the + and buttons below the timer screen. Remember that the timer does not include how long it takes the Instant Pot to heat up or cool down. Its designed to only be the time that the food inside is actively pressure cooking. Therefore, your Instant Pot will take time to reach pressure anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, usually, but it depends on the initial temperature of the ingredients, the amount of the ingredients, and the type of ingredients. It will also take time to release pressure, especially if the recipe calls for a natural pressure release, which often takes another 10 to 20 minutes. Remember to include all this time in your cooking calculations.
Recommended Reading: How To Instant Pot Chicken
Things To Know About Your New Instant Pot
July 28, 2016 by Amy Vig
Congratulations! Im guessing youre here because you recently made the decision to finally get one of those fancy pressure cooking machines that everyones been talking about.
Usually, this is the point at which I see lots of people say I got my Instant Pot, but Im too afraid to take it out of the box.
No longer! Were going to do this together. Lets get started with 10 things to know about your new Instant Pot.
Or maybe youre looking for something specific:
Choosing The Right Cooker: A Difference In Psi
Here in America, you have a greater choice to make when it comes to pressure cookers: electric or stovetop? There are several advantages and disadvantages to using either design. But the single biggest difference is this: Electric pressure cookers operate at lower pressure than their stovetop counterparts . Once again, lower pressure means lower temperature, so cooking times will be longer when using an electric model.
Why would you want to cook at lower pressure, and cook slower? The tradeoff is convenience and safety. Electric pressure cookers build pressure up to 15 psi, but maintain a lower pressure during cooking, removing any need to monitor heat. Just like the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie 4000, you can just set it and forget it.
Read Also: How To Cook Eggs In Instant Pot
I Have A Pretty Small Kitchen Will I Have Trouble Using The Instant Pot
The Instant Pot does not take up a lot of space, especially with the 3- and 6-quart sizes. If you opt for the 8-quart size, do note that it’s a bit taller and wider than the 6-quart, so it may be harder to fit into smaller cabinets. However, the smaller sizes should be able to fit into most standard kitchen cabinets, or you can opt for something like a rolling cart.
Even if your kitchen has smaller counters, the Instant Pot can fit on the countertop if it isn’t too cluttered. If you have absolutely no space, then having the Instant Pot on a sturdy fold-out table should be fine, as long as you the power cord can reach an outlet.
It’s strongly advised to not place the Instant Pot on the stovetop, because accidents do happen and the plastic bottom can melt if the burners get turned on. If you have no where else to put your Instant Pot and absolutely must use the stovetop, you should place something on top of it as a barrier between the burner and the Instant Pot, such as a cutting board. And the burner knobs should be removed so you don’t bump into them and accidentally turn them on.