Floating Valve And Shield
The shield prevents food from getting trapped in the pressure release valve.
The float valve is designed to be pushed up once there is sufficient pressure inside the cooker. Once pushed up, the silicone band seals the instant pot and the pin of the float valve serves as a lock, preventing the lid from being opened before pressure has released. The float valve will float back down as pressure is released, unlocking the lid from the Instant Pot.
Choose A Cooking Setting And Time
Again, this is likely when you’ll rely on a recipe. But, in general, now is the time to choose the method of cooking and how long your food will cook. I’ve found I typically use the manual setting and high pressure, since I frequently use the Instant Pot to prepare large cuts of meat. But in general, you’ll choose a setting, set a time, then start cooking.
Be advised, it can take more than 15 minutes for an Instant Pot to preheat and pressurize, depending on the amount of food and liquid in the pot. That means the number of minutes you chose to cook your food might not show up on the display for more than 15 minutes. That is OK. That is normal. Do not freak out and stop the cook. You might see small amounts of steam release through your valve. This, too, is normal. If you accidentally set your valve to “venting” you will know it. It produces a lot of steam.
After some amount of time, the Instant Pot display will show how many minutes are left in your cook. You’re off to the races. Set it and forget it, baby.
A Major Reason Why Food Is Undercooked
Let me tell you this. Pushing down the Instant Pot lid is actually one of the top reasons why your food comes out undercooked in the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker.
Without going all nerdy right off the bat, let me explain this to you in human language.
If the lid is pushed down to force seal the Instant Pot, air will be trapped inside the pot. Since air has a lower heat capacity than steam, it will reduce the cooking temperature.
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Reasons For Your Instant Pot Not Sealing
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Published: by Paint the Kitchen Red |
Here are the top reasons for your Instant Pot not sealing. This guide helps you troubleshoot a common problem most Instant Pot users encounter i.e. the Instant Pot not pressurizing. Learn how you can prevent the issue and how to seal your Instant Pot correctly the first time.
Your Pressure Release Valve Is Letting Steam Escape
Sometimes, even when the sealing valve is in the sealing position, it can still need a little adjusting. If you see steam coming from your steam release valve, you may need to just adjust the valve a little. Just give it a little wiggle up and down and push it more into the sealing position. Sometimes it just doesnt go into the right place when we turn it.
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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.
How To Release Pressure
After the cooking time has elapsed you may wonder how the pressure is released.
You have two options, you can do a natural pressure release or a quick release of pressure.
- Natural Pressure Release is when the pressure is slowly released on its own. This is when you leave your Instant Pot alone and allow the float valve to float down on its own. It is best to use a natural pressure release for meats, recipes with high starch , and recipes with a high volume of liquid.
- Quick Release is when you manually turn the valve to “Vent” and allow the pressure that has been built up to release rapidly. This method is used for things like seafood or delicate vegetables.
Important Tip for using Quick Release on your Instant Pot: Use a long handle of a wooden spoon to manually turn the valve from seal to venting AND STAND BACK to prevent yourself from getting burned by the steam.
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Lock And Seal The Instant Pot
So you have your pot filled. Now is a good time to confirm the rubber seal inside your lid is properly place. It should fit snugly and tightly inside the lid this will ensure you get a good seal and thus retaining moisture and pressure.
Now you have to lock it. The lid should slide from left to right so it locks in place. You should feel it and you should hear a beeping sound from the Instant Pot alerting you it’s closed properly.
How To Start The Instant Pot
Step 1. Place the Instant Pot on a sturdy countertop or a table close to a power socket. Make sure there is plenty of open space above the pot as you will have steam eject from the lid up in the air if you quick release the pressure.
Step 2. Make sure the inner pot is inside the cooker base and is clean. Plug the power cord in. Instant Pot will switch on and the OFF status symbol will appear on the control panel. This is called a standby mode.
Step 3. Decide on which cooking method you want to use from the below scenarios. This will depend on what you want to cook. Usually, recipe instructions will guide you along here.
In general, your choices will come down to whether you want to Sauté food first and then whether you want to use a manual setting or one of the smart programs.
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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.
Our Top Equipment Picks
Our guide applies to most Instant Pot models, including the Lux, Duo, Duo Plus, Nova, Viva, Smart Bluetooth, Smart Wi-Fi, Ultra, and Max. Certain higher-end models, like the Ultra, automatically seal on their own, so you don’t need to manually adjust the knob to the Sealing position.
The rice paddle that I always use and is pictured in this guide comes as an accessory bundled with your Instant Pot. However, if you don’t have it, then any wooden spoon or kitchen utensil with a bit of a reach will do.
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How Long Does It Take An Instant Pot To Preheat
An instant pot takes about 10-15 minutes to preheat depending on the number of contents present in the instant pot. The more the contents inside the instant pot, the longer It will take to come to pressure. The pressure is released from the instant pot in two ways.
In a quick or natural release, the control knob above the pot from the seal is tuned resulting in quick depressurization of the pot. In case of a slow release, the pot is allowed to sit and release pressure slowly and naturally. This is particularly important when cooking delicate foods like beans.
Dont Forget To Place Your Liner Inside The Pot
Do NOT forget to put your liner in your instant pot prior to using it!
I see it time and time again! People are ruining their pots by dumping their food in there without the liner.
Ive seen tons of ideas to help you avoid this. Some of these tips include placing a wooden spoon over your pot until the liner is in it, but the most creative Ive seen in placing a large rubber band around the pot until the liner is placed. I actually store my instant pot with the liner inside it so that it wont be forgotten.
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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.
Add More Liquid To The Instant Pot
Before trying to close the instant pot to cook, you should have enough liquid in the pot. If too much liquid had already left the pot, it wouldnt pressurize, so it might be necessary to add more liquid.
Depending on the dish youre cooking, add more broth or water. If you mistakenly add too much water in, use the Sauté function so the liquid will reduce and get thicker.
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How To Use The Instant Pot For Beginners
Learn how to use the Instant Pot with step-by-step instructions and photos for manual or smart program pressure cooker settings, how to sauté foods, and how and when to select a natural release or quick release options. Plus, we cover some Instant Pot FAQs and general tips to make your learning curve as the Instant Pot beginner less steep. Lets get started!
Looking at your shiny new Instant Pot box and wondering where to start? Dont panic! This wonderful kitchen gadget might seem intimidating but its actually very friendly once you get to know it. Lets unpack the box, its time to learn how to use the Instant Pot.
As part of our Instant Pot For Beginner series, we have also covered what the Instant Pot is and how it works with its key features and cooking stages. Make sure to check them out!
How Does An Instant Pot Work
The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that works by using steam to build pressure. As the pressure builds forcefully inside the pot, it produces temperatures high enough to quickly heat and cook the food inside.
Instant Pots have other built-in cooking programs, too. It can act as a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice maker, steamer, or sauté pan making it one of the most versatile small kitchen appliances on the market.
Learning to use your Instant Pot naturally comes with some trial and error, but these tips will help you avoid the biggest, meal-ruining mistakes:
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Instant Pot Meat/stew Setting
The meat and stew setting is best for cooking large or tough cuts of meat at high pressure. This button can be used for cooking meat pieces in a little broth or stews that contain meat in them. Below is how to use the Meat/Stew setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add meat, seasonings and liquids to the pot. Secure and lock the lid. Select the Meat/Stew button. The default Instant Pot meat setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 35 minutes, which is suitable for most dishes like beef stew or pulled pork. If you press the Meat/Stew button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More .
- Less mode 20 minutes at High pressure for soft texture meat great for diced steak, pork or lamb, pork or beef ribs, ground meat like when making taco meat or Bolognese sauce, and most stews that use diced or ground meat.
- Normal mode 35 minutes at High pressure for very tender meat texture great for slightly larger pieces of meat and for stews that use tougher cuts of meat like Beef Bourguignon.
- More mode 45 minutes at High pressure for fall-off-the-bone texture great for pork shoulder, beef pot roast or lamb roast.
If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.
Why Keeping The Steam Release Sealed Is Important
Im usually alerted to the fact that I forgot to turn the venting knob by the sounds of a high-pitched hiss and the sputter of water. Its often right around the time Id expect the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
In order for pressure to build in the Instant Pot a necessary requirement for pressure cooking the steam release knob must be turned to the sealed position. This traps the steam pressure in the cooker, which builds over time, eventually pressure cooking the ingredients.
When this knob is set to the venting position, pressure is unable to build inside the Instant Pot, as the steam is continually escaping through the lid. Forgetting to adjust the knob to the sealed position certainly wont ruin dinner , but making sure its sealed before cooking is a simple yet crucial step. Heres hoping we both remember next time.
Our Favorite Instant Pot Recipes
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Instant Pot Poultry Setting
The poultry Instant Pot setting is best for cookingyou guessed itchicken! The mode you choose depends on the size of the chicken pieces and the cut as chicken breast needs less cooking time and is easily overcooked compared to chicken thighs. You can use this setting to cook chicken meat or a dish that contains poultry in it such as chicken and potatoes or chicken and rice . Poultry setting is only available on 6-quart and 8-quart models, not on the mini! Below is how to use the Poultry setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add chicken, seasoning and liquids to the pot. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Poultry button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at HIGH pressure for 15 minutes, which is suitable for larger pieces of chicken. If you press the Poultry button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More .
If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.
Allow poultry to rest for 5-10 minutes, depending on size. It will reabsorb cooking juices for tender, succulent meat. Essentially, what this means is that you should allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally when possible.
Your Instant Pot Sealing Ring Is Surprisingly Easy To Keep Fresh And Clean Here’s What To Do
My absolute favorite recipe to cook in my Instant Pot is Indian butter chicken. I spoon up the saucy, spicy mixture over rice and serve garlic naan on the side for a delicious dinner.
But after the plates are wiped clean, my Instant Pot sealing ring still bears the distinct aroma of all the spices that went into the butter chicken. Heres how to freshen up Instant Pot sealing rings!
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A Quick Recap Of Key Cooking Stages
As we discussed in this post, there are three key phases to cooking in the Instant Pot. Once you add all ingredients and liquids, secure and lock the lid and choose your setting and time, the following things happen: