Whats The Best Way To Clean An Instant Pot
The two parts you should clean regularly are the inner removable pot and sealing ring, which detaches from the lid. Both of which are dishwasher-safe .
To clean the base of the machine as well as the lid, first be sure the machine is unplugged and completely cool. Use a damp towel with soap and scrub. Use a clean damp towel to remove any soap and allow to air dry.
Keep A Positive Mindset
When we surveyed our readers about their initial experience with the Instant Pot, many users had the advice to just have fun with the pressure cooker! Set aside any expectations, know the Instant Pot is an exceptionally safe kitchen device, and try something new. Even if it doesnt go according to plan, it should boost your confidence.
Over to you! Do you have any further questions about how to use the Instant Pot as a beginner? What foods or recipes do you plan to cook first? Anything else we can help you with? Leave your feedback and comment below!
Using The Slow Cooking Feature On Your Instant Pot
Electric Pressure Cookers come with a slow cook feature that allows you to use your unit as a slow cooker. Many folks find this feature a little frustrating because it usually takes much longer to slow cook a recipe in an electric pressure cooker than a traditional slow cooker. While it can be a bit confusing at first, if you want to use your electric pressure cooker as a slow cooker, you can. You just need to allow more time for dishes to cook.
- A basic rule of thumb for slow cooking in an electric pressure cooker is to allow for an additional 2 or more hours more hours to slow cook your dish completely.
- Remember, all electric pressure cookers cook differently, so cooking times are always a basic guideline. Recipes should always be tested first in your own electric pressure cooker and time adjusted as needed.
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Whats The Big Deal With Instant Pots Anyway
Instant Pots are multifunction, programmable electric pressure cookers. Think of them as little cooking robots.
If youre not familiar with pressure cooking, the entire point of an Instant Pot can be confusing.
The big sell here is pressure cooking is up to 70 percent faster than other ways of cooking. Pressure cookers reach higher temperatures because their lids lock into place without steam escaping, which creates a pressurized environment inside the pot. In this environment, the cooker reaches 250°F .
With pressure cooking on a stove, you have to keep a close eye on the cooker because you regulate the heat source. But with an electric Instant Pot, the cooker regulates its own heat via sensors. Thats the other win. Program the Instant Pot and once its going, youre free to go for a walk, vacuum the living roomyou get the idea.
Instant Pots can do other things besides pressure cook, too. With the lid off, you can sauté ingredients before pressure cooking. You can also use it as a slow cooker or for making yogurt. Were not going to worry about doing those things here, though. This guide is all about pressure cooking.
No Need To Stir Before Cooking
With Instant Pot recipes, you dont have to stir before cooking. Again, to avoid the dreaded Burn but more than that its not necessary. The pot is often too full already, you will create unnecessary step for yourself and dirty an extra spoon. Instead, stir cooked food after.
Stirred ingredients will not come out more flavorful than unstirred.
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How Do I Know The Food Is Ready And Done
The Instant Pot beeps once the pot comes to pressure and then starts counting down cooking time. When there is no time left, it will beep once again . Then the pot will automatically switch to its Keep Warm setting.
We like to cancel the Keep Warm setting immediately because we have found it can overcook some delicate recipes. After that, you can allow the pressure to release naturally or set the valve to quick release, which will start letting out all the steam, um, quickly.
Never Over Fill The Instant Pot
It is best to never fill the Instant Pot more than of the way full for pressure cooking and only ½ full for rice and beans.
What happens if you overfill the Instant Pot?First, it will take a long time to reach pressure and a long time to release pressure. It is also NOT advised to do a quick release if you did happen to overfill the Instant Pot, as that would result in a mess!
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How To Do An Instant Pot Water Test
Now that you have completed the water test, you are ready to cook in your Instant Pot!
How To Use Instant Pot
Beginners can learn how to use an Instant Pot in minutes with this easy how-to guide, tips, and directions. These easy Instant Pot instructions will take you from a beginner to an expert in no time!
You need an instant pot!I love my instant pot!So, you got one.
Now youre sick of staring at that brand new life changing appliance still sitting in its box.
I get it. Its intimidating and its never really the right time to learn how to use it. What you need is a quick beginners tutorial to start using your pressure cooker and finally see what everyone is raving about.
Give me 5 minutes and soon youll be drinking the Instant Pot kool-aid!
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Smart Program Pressure Cooking
If you choose to use one of the pre-set smart program options, the steps are even simpler. Please refer to our post on Smart Program Instant Pot Buttons Explained for how to adjust each setting.
Step 1. Start the Instant Pot. Insert the inner pot into the cooker base.
Step 2. Add ingredients and liquids to the inner pot. Stir if needed or leave layered.
Step 3. Secure and lock the lid. Make sure everything feels well sealed.
Step 4. Select one of the Smart Program buttons. Pre-set cooking time and pressure level will display. You can leave it as is or adjust things like the pressure level from HIGH to LOW. You can press the Smart Program button again to cycle through the Less, Normal and More time options or use the and + buttons to adjust the cooking time further. If you make any adjustments to the selected Smart Program, they will be remembered next time you use it.
Step 5. Preheating & pressurizing stage begins followed by cooking under pressure as per program settings. Once the Instant Pot beeps again and the timer has reached zero, the cooking process is done.
Step 6. You can do a quick release or allow the built-up pressure to release naturally , or do both depending on the food/recipe.
Step 10. Once pressure is released, open the lid and stir or remove the contents.
The Float Valve Is Stuck
That little float valve on the top of the lid is meant to loosely move between venting and natural pressure release. If this valve gets jammed, theres a problem. It usually means that the valve has become clogged with food. Unclog the valve, and then wash the lid all around the valve and make sure all bits of food are removed.
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So How Do Instant Pot Settings Work
Each Instant Pot setting button is essentially a SMART PROGRAM option. Most smart programs, or buttons, simply set the pot to HIGH or LOW pressure for a specific period of time most closely aligned with the food it is meant to cook. For example, the default SOUP button sets the pressure cooker for 30 minutes at HIGH pressure, which you could use to cook any food that requires that much time and pressure.
If you press each SMART setting button more than once, it will toggle between Normal, Less or More options, which gives you more control of time, temperature or default pressure. For example, the RICE button can be set to Less or More depending on how soft or firm you like your rice or the type of rice you might be cooking.
Some buttons dont use the pressurizing function of the Instant Pot. For example, Slow Cook and Sauté settings use the heating element that sits underneath the inner pot. They are programmed for heat level and time.
To keep it super simple, it is possible to use the Instant Pot for all recipes using just a few important buttons. With the Pressure Cook or Manual buttons in addition to the Pressure Level and and buttons, you can control the time and pressure level which are otherwise preset for the rest of the buttons. This will work for any recipe that requires pressure. For non-pressure cooking, the Sauté, Slow Cook and Yogurt buttons help you accomplish a similarly custom cooking setting.
Wash The Pot Trivet & Lid
Its important to wash the pot, trivet, and lid of the Instant Pot Duo before you start to use it. You can easily just wash them in the sink with a mild dish soap and a sponge, or you can run the pot and the trivet through the dishwasher.
The lid of the Instant Pot should not be put in the dishwasher. Its best to always wash the lid by hand in the sink. This will help preserve the seal that is installed on the underside of the lid.
While we are talking about the lid, its important that you take note of the sealing valve. There are two settings of the Instant Pot Duo lid: sealing and venting.
When cooking something, the seal should always be set to sealing. When you need to release the pressure, the seal should be set to venting .
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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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When Compared To A Slow Cooker
Pressure cooking is ALWAYS quicker!
Ive made this Mexican Beef Stew in 53 minutes in my Instant Pot a recipe that wouldve taken hours in a slow cooker. Yet, the results were just as yummy, just as tender, and just as easy as if I had used a slow cooker!
Its called a slow cooker for a reason because it cooks things long, low, and slow. And the Instant Pot is definitely more instant!
Ill be the first to admit that I havent used my slow cooker once since getting my second Instant Pot an 8-quart.
Second, you cant do last-minute anything in a slow cooker!
If youre one of those people who consistently remembers to put dinner in the slow cooker in the morning so its ready by supper time, youre my hero. Truly.
I, however, am not one of those people. Typically, my mind starts kinda, sorta thinking about dinner around 2-3 p.m. By that time, the slow cooker doesnt stand a chance. The Instant Pot really meets that time-crunch need.
In fact, I have a post that compares the Instant Pot to a slow cooker specifically for which one I think is best for making bone broth. You can read it here: Instant Pot or Slow Cooker: Which Is Best For Bone Broth?
Instant Pot Quick Start Guide For Easy Home Cooking
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Learn how to quickly start using your Instant Pot with this Quick Start Guide, filled to the brim with practical tips, Instant Pot recipes, accessory ideas, and more! Kick fear to the curb and start pressure cooking!
Its no secret that we love cooking with our Instant Pot. Weve made so many delicious recipes using the one appliance that may as well sit out on our counter, rather than in our stocked pantry, because we use it almost every day.
We also get a lot of questions from readers about how to use it. One recurring theme Ive noticed with readers is that theyre afraid to use their Instant Pot pressure cooker so it sits in a box just waiting to be opened up, taken out, and used.
Lets dispel some of those fears today, because once you use this handy dandy small kitchen appliance, there will be no turning back. I can promise you that. Youre going to fall in love with it, my friend, because the sky really is the limit on everything you can make with this fancy gadget.
We are working on a FAQs post to address specific questions weve gotten over the last year or so it will be up very soon. But for now, this will get you started using your Instant Pot and even give you ideas for a few Instant Pot accessories and Instant Pot recipes you can add to your weekly menu planner.
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A Few Final Important Tips
- Remember to use COLD water in your Instant Pot. If you use warm water, the amount of time that it takes the IP to come to pressure may change and that will result in a different cooking time.
- The rice function cooks at LOW pressure, not high pressure. Therefore if you are cooking a recipe that cooks at High Pressure for 12 minutes , do NOT be tempted to hit the rice function.
- What if your recipe does not have liquid in it? What if you want to bake a dessert or custard in your Instant Pot? This is when cooking Pot in Pot, or PIP, is necessary. To cook pot in pot is basically placing another pot inside the instant pot on a trivet to cook. Here are the Step by Step directions for Cooking Pot in Pot in the Pressure Cooker.
- Check out all my Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for a perfect place to start cooking recipes for your pressure cooker.
Always Check The Sealing Ring
The lid of your Instant Pot has a silicone sealing ring inside, and this is responsible for sealing the lid and locking-in the steam pressure. This silicone ring should be properly seated along the metal ring that is in the lid, but because its exposed to heat during the cooking cycle it can sometimes move out of place or get stuck.
Its important to check the silicone ring every time you use your Instant Pot, to make sure its properly placed and has a little wiggle room to expand. I usually grab it with my fingers and wiggle it all around the lid to make sure its not stuck anywhere.
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