Pressure Cooking Requires Liquid
Before we continue, we must mention the most important aspect of pressure cooking. It requires liquid. This is because the pressure is built by the steam accumulating inside the pot, which is produced from the liquid.
Whether youre cooking rice, chicken breasts, pot roast, carrots, stew or cheesecake, you will need at least a cup of liquid for the Instant Pot to do its job.
This is a total amount of liquid and can be in the form of water, stock, tomato sauce, juice, wine and liquids released from the food while cooking , or a combination of those. The amount of liquid required varies depending on the recipe and amount of food but as a rule of thumb, 1 cup is always a good starting point. Also, the food doesnt need to be completely covered or submerged in liquid to cook.
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 temperatures.
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.
Where To Buy An Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you dont need more bells and whistles than that!
If youre deciding on size, most people say its better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If youd like to shop directly at Instant Pots website instead of Amazon , check them out here.
If youre still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
Instant Pot Tutorials:
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Do A Test Run Of Your Instant Pot
Before using your Instant Pot for the first time, youll want to do an actual test run to ensure everything is in proper working order.
1. Add 3 cups of water into the inner pot.
2. Close the lid by lowering it onto the rim of the pot and turning clockwise.
3. Turn the steam release valve to the SEALING position.
4. Press the STEAM button and adjust the +/- keys until you reach a set time of 2 minutes.
After 10 seconds, the preheating cycle will start and the display will show On. Traces of steam will release until the float valve pops up. Once a working pressure is reached, the steam program will commence. When finished, the cooker will beep and switch to keep warm mode if the warming function has been selected.
After the cooking process has started, you may cancel it at any time. To do so, simply press the cancel button and the pot will switch to standby mode.
Your cooker will naturally release the pressure in 10-40 minutes if allowed to sit. You will know it is depressurized once the float valve drops down.You may also manually release the pressure on your Instant Pot by turning the release handle to the venting position until the valve drops down.
Once your pot has been depressurized, you may safely remove the lid by turning it in a counter-clockwise motion.
Here is a little example on how this Instant Pot works so you know what to expect
Once the lid is locked in place you will reach in the back of the lid and set the valve to SEALING.
Natural Vs Manual Pressure Release
When the cook time is up on your Instant Pot, there’s still one more step — releasing the pressure.
There are two ways the pressure can be released. With natural pressure release, the valve on the lid stays in Sealing position and the pressure dissipates naturally over time. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour, depending on what you were cooking. Low-liquid meals take much less time than high-liquid meals, like soup or chili.
The other option is manual pressure release . Here, you’ll carefully move the valve into Venting position and watch as steam shoots out of it, releasing the pressure. This method is much faster, but very high-liquid meals, like soup, can still take about 15 minutes to release pressure manually.
So which one should you use? Consider that with natural pressure release, the Instant Pot is still full of pressure, so the food will continue cooking while the Instant Pot is in Sealing mode. Manual pressure release is useful — and necessary — when you’ve built in enough cooking time and cooking needs to be stopped as fast as possible.
If the goal is to cook a meal quickly, set enough time on the Instant Pot to cook your food and release the pressure manually when the time is up.
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How Instant Is An Instant Pot
I wouldnt lie to you. Instant Pot is a misnomer. It does not cook food in an instant.
Here’s the catch: It takes time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
If a pot roast cooks for 30 minutes at pressure, the total time from start to finish might be more like 45 minutes or more. An Instant Pots heating element has less juice than the burners on your range, so it takes longer to heat food enough to get to pressure.
BUT! The ease of use frees you up to do other things. With most recipes, Instant Pots truly are set it and forget it. Lets say youre making a stir-fry, and youd like brown rice to go with it. Before you start prepping the stir-fry, put the rice and water in the Instant Pot, program it to cook for 22 minutes at pressure, then go about your business.
By the time youve chopped and stir-fried everything , your rice will have finished its cooking cycle, the pressure will have come down naturally, and the cooker will automatically switch to its Keep Warm functionso your perfectly cooked rice is waiting patiently for you at the ideal serving temperature.
How To Natural Release Instant Pot
Simply leave it undisturbed! It will release all the steam and pressure by itself after a period of time . Once the pressure is released, the float valve on the top will drop back down and the lid will loosen up allowing you to open it. Please note, the food continues to cook at a slower rate during the natural release.
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Install The Instant Pot App To Your Mobile Device To Continue With How To Set Up Instant Pot Smart Wifi
The app is named Instant Pot, and is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Note that the app that controls this Instant Pot is a different app than that for the Bluetooth version of this pressure cooker. So be sure you install the correct app. Weve included an App Store screenshot next, that shows exactly what the download page for the Instant Pot app looks like.
The right app has a red and white icon with a picture of an Instant Pot inside its red boundary.
Steps To Setting Up Your New Instant Pot:
Step 1. Take your Instant Pot out of the box and lay it on the counter. Remove everything that comes inside the pot. Inside the pot you will find the following:
- Instruction Manual
STEP 2.There are 3 pieces to the Instant Pot. Take the Instant Pot apart and take a look at the 3 main parts:
- The Inner Pot lightweight and stainless steel. This holds food and liquids.
- The Cooker Body with Control Panel smaller than a crockpot and easy to read.
The Lid The lid to the Instant Pot is important. Before you can start the pressure cooking process, you need to turn the steam release valve to SEALING. This will ensure the pot is sealed properly and the food will be pressure cooked quickly. If you do not turn this valve the pressure cooking will not work as intended.
Once the food has cooked and you hear the timer go off, you can do two things 1. Carefully turn the steam release valve to VENTING and let the pot quickly vent of steam. This is what is called a quick release. This takes about 30 seconds. You will hear a hiss sound as the steam is released. 2. Or leave the pot alone and it will slowly vent on its own. Do not put your hand directly over the valve when venting.
Always remember togently wash the inside of the lidwith warm soapy water after each use.
The pot is light enough that you can easily carry it around the kitchen. Just make sure you always have oven mitts or a towel nearby because the pot can get very HOT after the cooking process.
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What Is Quick Pressure Release
A quick pressure release QPR is a safety feature built into many modern pressure cookers. It allows you to quickly release the pressure in the cooker if it becomes too high. A QPR works by opening a vent between the inner chamber and the outer chamber. This vent lets off gas that builds up during cooking. Once the pressure drops below a certain level, the vent closes automatically.
Instant Pot Rice Setting
This button is made for cooking medium and long-grain white rice. The Rice setting uses low pressure and a 10-minute natural release is recommended for perfect results, however, we found that 2-3 minutes natural release followed by quick release is sufficient. Below is how to use the Rice setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add rice, water or stock and seasoning if you wish. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Rice button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at Low pressure for 12 minutes, which is suitable for slightly larger rice kernels. If you press the button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More .
- Less mode 8 minutes at Low pressure tender but firm to bite texture great for thinner white rice such as Basmati and Jasmine rice.
- Normal mode 12 minutes at Low pressure for normal texture white rice great for regular medium to long-grain white rice and for more al dente Arborio risotto rice.
- More mode 15 minutes at Low pressure for softer texture white rice great for slightly softer risotto.
If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.
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What Does Quick Release Mean
- Quick release means to move the steam valve to the side or flick it open quickly
- If you want a slow release move the steam valve just slightly so the steam comes out slowly
- Natural release means to not touch that valve at all and the steam will eventually leave
- Unlock by twisting the lid, and carefully open it away from you
- When the lid is lifted off of the pot pull it up and turn it away from your body.
- as if you had a shield in your hand
Heres how to clean your Instant Pot which will be helpful if you use it daily like I do.
This is what I used to make the most amazing no soak Instant Pot baked beans!
The basic timing for a purely pasta dish in my opinion is manual, pressure, high for 3 minutes like you do in my Instant Pot macaroni and cheese. It makes it not too al dente and not mushy either.
Those three basic cooking time schedules are really all you need to try any type of dish you want.
Why Do Most Recipes Use Manual Settings Instead Of Smart Program Buttons
One size does not fit all in most scenarios. This is true of the smart one-touch buttons on the Instant Pot too. While some may come in handy down the line, you should learn more about specific recipes before you begin relying on them. Using Manual/Pressure Cook button and adjusting time and pressure level by yourself gives you more control.
Having said that, you can also adjust time and pressure levels once youve selected one of the Smart Program functions.
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Convert Your Favorite Recipes
Conventional recipes can also be adapted for the multicooker. Its not exact, but you can get good results by following these guidelines.
For Pressure Cooking: Cut the liquid by at least half or even three-quarters. You wont have any of the evaporation happening in the pot. A very rough estimate is to plan on about a third of the standard cooking time for meats, vegetables and grains, with beans taking a quarter of the standard cook time.
For Slow Cooking: You dont get as much evaporation in a slow cooker as you do in the oven. Double or quadruple the cooking time, depending on if youre using the high or low setting.
For Both Methods: If you end up with a thin sauce, open the cooker and use the sauté function to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
How To Close The Lid
To CLOSE the lid, place the lid on the base unit and align the arrow in the lid, to the arrow with an open lock symbol, in the base unit. Rotate the lid clockwise and align the arrow in the lid to the arrow with a closed lock symbol in the base unit. If you’ve left your sound settings at default, you will hear a chime when the lid is locked.
To OPEN the lid, turn the lid counter-clockwise and align the arrow with the open lock symbol.
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Why Would You Use Delay Start
There are two main reasons you might want to use the Delay Start function on your Instant Pot. The first is if youre going to have your food ready at a specific time. For example, if youre planning on serving dinner at 6:00 pm, you can set the Instant Pot to start cooking at 4:00 pm to be ready on time.
The second reason you might want to use Delay Start is if youre going to cook a meal that takes longer than the maximum cook time of the Instant Pot. For example, if youre cooking a stew that takes 2 hours to cook on the stove, you can set the Instant Pot to start cooking 1 hour before the maximum cook time expires. Then, even though it took longer than the Instant Pots full cook time, your stew will be cooked through.
If youre using Delay Start, youll need to factor in the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. For example, if youre cooking a stew that takes 2 hours to cook on the stove, and it takes 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, youll need to set the Instant Pot to start cooking at 3:45 pm to have it ready at the 6:00 pm.
Check Other Parts On Lid
The following 3 Instant Pot parts are critical for the Instant Pot to function properly. Make sure theyre all properly in place, clean, and clear of any obstructions during the Instant Pot Setup & every time before using.
a. Instant Pot Venting Knob ensure its fully attached to the lid and pushed down all the way. Its perfectly normal and necessary for it to be loose. You should be able to remove it for washing by pulling it straight out.
b. Instant Pot Floating Valve test & make sure it can easily pop up and down .
c. Instant Pot Anti-Block Shield push it on the side to lift it up and press it down in position to install it back in.
*Pro Tip: there may be times when food or liquid gets stuck on or inside the anti-blocking shield. Be sure to remove it and wash it thoroughly from time to time.
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