How Will I Know It Is Safe To Open My Instant Pot
You will need to wait until the float drops back into the plastic before you move to open the Instant Pot.
When the instant pot lid looks similar to this with the metal valve dropped below the plastic level this is when the instant pot has depressurized and it is safe to open the lid.
If the instant pot looks more like the image below where the metal valve is still visible this is a clear indication that the instant pot has not depressurized and is unsafe to open.
How long the Instant Pot takes to depressurize will depend on whether you decide to adjust the vent from the sealing position to the venting position.
When adjusting this setting youll want to keep your head away from the Instant Pot and use a tool to adjust it instead of your hands as the machine will likely be very hot.
If your Instant Pot is set to natural release then the pressure will likely take anything from between 10 minutes to one hour to come down to a point in which youre able to open the Instant Pot.
However, if your Instant Pot is set to quick release then youll be able to open your lid around two minutes after the timer has stopped counting down
Quick-release will mean that the steam comes out of the vent in a higher volume which can be more dangerous so be sure to give the machine some space and keep your face away from it at this time.
When you do open your Instant Pot be sure that you do so by pointing the inside of the lid away from your face.
What Is Natural Release
So what is natural release and when do you use natural release vs. quick release?
Natural Release means the natural way to release the pots pressure.
If the recipe calls for this option, you dont need to do much of anything. When your timer signals the cooking process has ended, just wait. The Instant Pot will gradually release pressure and steam as it cools. Natural release is good for foods that can continue cooking after the cycle is over and the heating element is off, such as a Instant Pot Ribs, chili or pulled pork.
The floating valve will start to lower as the pressure decreases letting you know when the lid is ready to open. The lid wont open until the pressure is low enough, just be sure not to force it open. You can also quick release the pressure before opening to make sure there is no pressure left built up.
Quick Release means the quick way to release the pots pressure.
If the recipe calls for this option, youll need to manually release the pressure by turning the venting knob on the Instant Pot . Quick release is appropriate for things you dont want to overcook like Instant Pot pork tenderloin or Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. It is perfect when you want to end the cooking process quickly.
A Quick Review Of Important Terms
Since were focusing on the Instant Pot, there are few parts youll need to be able to identify in order for the information in this post to make sense. So lets quickly review a few of the most important parts of the Instant Pot that pertain to pressure release:
- Pressure Release Handle The big knob on the lid used to manually release pressure from the pot. Can be set to Sealing or Venting.
- Float Valve This is the round metal bit next to the pressure release handle. When it is level with the lid, the pot is pressurized when the float valve drops down, the pot is no longer pressurized and can be opened safely.
- Pressure Release Button Newer Instant Pot models dont have a pressure release handle, but rather a pressure release valve and a new pressure release button. Pressing the button triggers the release valve to open and release steam, just like turning the pressure release handle on an older model does.
Note: Other electric pressure cookers may have slightly different parts, but they all work in pretty much the same way. So if you have a pressure cooker that isnt from the Instant Pot brand, the information in this post should still be useful and applicable to you, even if the parts on your pressure cooker have slightly different names. ð
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Difference Between Natural Release And Quick Release
The prime difference between the two methods of steam release is that the natural release method lets out steam in a slow and gradual manner. This is opposite to the quick release method which forces the steam out of the instant pot quickly and almost instantaneously.
Also, by releasing the steam slowly, the food gets to stay in the pot while only the steam is thrown out of the steam release valve. On the other hand, releasing the pressure too quickly without waiting for it to take its due course of time results in both the food and the steam to vent out of the valve. This can cause a huge dirt mess in the kitchen.
How Does Quick Release Differ From Natural Release
A natural release entails leaving the pressure release switch in the sealed position when the cooking time comes to a halt. As a result, the Instant Pot slowly releases the pressure with no input from you. When the pressure is completely released, the float valve will instantly drop, thereby unlocking and opening the lid.
A natural release is a tad bit anticlimactic compared to a quick release. Therefore, theres no jet of steam when the natural pressure release begins. Moreover, theres no clear way of knowing when the pressure is completely released and no signal or beep when the lid unlocks. At times, you may hear the float valve drop if youre within earshot.
The time it takes for the pressure to be naturally released greatly depends on the amount of liquid in the Instant Pot and its ingredients. Keep in mind that a natural release can take anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes in the unit, depending on the amount of food.
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How To Do A Timed Natural Release
The timed natural release process can take 10 to 20 minutes. You can keep the Keep Warm mode on or off while doing a quick release in bursts. If you wish to turn this mode off, press Cancel.
How To Do A Natural Or Quick Release
The procedure for doing a natural or quick release are easy to remember.
For a natural release of pressure: do nothing. Just wait for the pressure to release. Once its done, the float valve will drop, indicating that its okay to open the lid.
See the image below. On the left the pressure is still high and the float valve is up. On the right, the pressure has completely released and the float valve is down.
For a quick pressure release: once the machine beeps to indicate the cooking time is done, carefully turn the valve from sealing to venting.
On some machines, this is a switch instead of a valve, which you turn from Seal to Vent. Be sure to keep your hands away from the actual vent, which is where the steam will spout from.
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What Should You Use Natural Release Quick Release Or A Combination Of Both
Whatever method you choose, the goal is the same: releasing the steam from the instant pot so you can open it safely and enjoy your cooked food.
The method you use to remove steam from your instant pot will make a difference to your overall output. It can also affect the safe operation of the pressure cooker.
Foods that need to be cooked at a specific temperature, like meat, fish, or poultry should be quickly released as you wont want them to be overcooked.
Alternatively, foods like grains, rice, and dried beans should be naturally released as they benefit from continued cooking in a warm, humid environment with a gradually falling temperature.
Consider turning off the keep warm setting for foods like rice during natural release. If not, the heating element in the bottom of the instant pot will stay on and can even cause burning.
A natural release is recommended for liquid recipes like soups or mac and cheese basically, any recipe where you are dealing with a lot of hot liquid.
To sum it up, the method you use to release the pressure comes down to what you are cooking. Simply follow this rule:
- Use natural release while cooking dried beans, legumes, rice, soup, meat, and other recipes that are mostly liquid
- Use quick release while cooking vegetables, eggs, delicate foods that dont benefit from additional cook time
Tips & Tricks Of Quick Release
After the completion of the cooking cycle, youll need to move the valve from the sealing position to the venting position. Do this step carefully, ideally while wearing silicone gloves to protect your hands from any splatters or steam.
It usually takes a few minutes for the Instant Pot to quickly release all the steam. To ensure that there is no residual pressure or steam trapped in, I would recommend moving the valve once again to the sealing position, followed by the venting position.
Once thats done, you should hear a click of the float valve dropping down. This now means that it is safe for you to open your Instant Pot.
Make sure you avoid cooking foods using quick release that are meant to be cooked using the natural release option. This is because your food might end up getting undercooked. Also avoid cooking beans and other such foods that might break due to pressure changes.
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Do I Have To Turn The Pot Off When Doing A Natural Pressure Release
Remember when I said above, NPR means leave it the heck alone? Seriously, leave it alone. You don’t need to do anything. Typically once cooking is over, the KEEP WARM setting kicks in.
Pressure is achieved at 240F+ temperatures. Keep Warm is a lot lower than that. So even at the KEEP WARM setting, the temperature will drop enough to let the pressure dissipate.
So what’s the best way to release pressure for most dishes?
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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Why Use An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot drastically cuts down the cooking time for cuts of meat that usually have to cook slowly for a long time in order to become tender. And there are many accessories you can use with it to cook in lots of different styles. Its one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy.
The Instant Pot is an incredible tool in the kitchen for making dishes that usually take a long time. If you dont have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. You can also read up on how to use it, in case youre not sure if its for you.
- Dont Have an Instant Pot Yet?This guide can help you choose the right one.
Instant Pot Accessories And Parts
Heres a breakdown of the components of Instant Pot.
Upon unboxing your Instant Pot, the first thing youll want to do is wash the parts and accessories. The stainless steel inner pot and steam release valve are dishwasher-friendly. The base unit isnt dishwasher-safe and will require you to wash it by hand and as you do so, avoid immersing it in water.
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How To Saute In The Instant Pot
Sauté is a non-pressure cooking program that can be used in place of a frying pan or flat-top grill. For recipes that call for browned onions or garlic, its important to sauté them before adding liquid to the pot as you will release a lot of flavor this way. Another reason to sauté first is for browning meat. Lastly, sautéeing before cooking is a great way to increase heat and reduce the amount of time your pot will take to come to pressure. Learn more about other smart program settings on Instant Pot here.
Step 1. Star the Instant Pot. Insert the inner pot into the cooker base. Do not use the lid for the next step.
Step 2. Press the Sauté button. After 10 seconds, the cooker displays ON to indicate that it has begun heating. When display switches from On to Hot, add ingredients you want to brown. Note: You can add ingredients before the Hot message appears if you do, it may not appear at all. This is normal.
The control panel will display a 30-minute countdown timer as a maximum Sauté time, you can use it for reference if you like or disregard.
The default temperature setting for Sauté function is Normal. Press Sauté again to cycle through for Less and More temperature options. Use Normal for general pan searing or sautéing, Less for simmering, thickening and reducing liquids and More for Stir-frying or browning meat.
Step 4. Add any other ingredients and liquids. Stir if needed or leave layered and continue with the manual or program settings to pressure cook the food.
Q: What Is An Abbreviated Natural Pressure Release
The different types of pressure releases can also be combined. You dont have to wait for all the pressure to release to get the benefit of a natural pressure release.
In many of my recipes, I will let the pressure release naturally for a certain number of minutes, then I will finish with a quick pressure release.
I almost always only wait 10 minutes before I release the remaining pressure. Combining the two release options reduces waiting time yet gives you many of the benefits of a natural pressure release, such as reducing foam and tenderizing meats.
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How To Rise Your Bread Dough With Your Instant Pot
All youll need to do is place your dough into a greased Instant Pot with a fitted lid on top. It doesnt need to be a fancy Instant Pot glass lid, using a lid from a pots and pan set in your kitchen works great.
Press the yogurt setting on the Instant Pot to poof the dough quickly. Now all you need to do is wait!
When your dough is finished proofing , simply use it as directed by your recipe and youre good to go!
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When Should You Use Natural Pressure Release
As this method takes its own time to release the pressure from the instant pot, it is recommended to be used for primarily liquid foods like soups or foods that can form foam like beans, potatoes, and oatmeal.
While the pressure is released gradually, the food continues to sit in the instant pot. If you try to quickly release the pressure, especially while cooking liquid or foamy foods, the steam and the food can come out from the same release vent creating a mess in your kitchen.
Natural release instant pots are also a great option for roasting foods such as meats. Remember, the instant pot is still cooking your food while it is releasing the steam naturally. Leaving your meat to cook this way will allow it to rest and be more tender.
Advantages Of Magic Release
This pressure release method is something of a compromise between the Natural Release and Quick Release methods. Its a good option to choose when youre not sure which method to use, or the Instant Pot recipe youre using isnt clear about how you should depressurize the pot.
Magic Release also mediates some of the disadvantages of the other two methods. Its faster than Natural Release and gentler than Quick Release, so you can eat sooner and have less of a mess to clean up afterward.
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