The Lid Wont Come Off
First, make sure enough steam has been released after pressure-cooking. Whether you choose a natural pressure release or quick release, give the Instant Pot time to get rid of the steam and cool down. Remember, Instant Pots are designed to be extra safe, so the pot wont let you open the lid with too much pressure still inside the pot. A little patience can often fix this issue.
Otherwise, the lid probably wont come off because the steam release button is stuck. If youre sure all the pressure has been released from the pot, use a spoon handle and tap the button beside the release valve.
Understand The Difference Between Natural Release And Quick Release
There are a few different methods to release pressure in your Instant Pot that you will see recipes refer to: Natural Release, Quick Release and a Hybrid Release
How to do a Natural Release?
Natural Release is when you wait for the pressure to drop down naturally. After the cooking cycle finishes, wait for the float valve to drop down on its own. This may take 10-20 minutes. Once the float valve drops, turn the steam release valve to the Venting position and open the lid.
How to do a Quick Release?
Quick Release is when you manually force the pressure to release. After the cooking cycle finishes, move the steam release valve to the Venting position. Steam will start shooting out and pressure will quickly release. Once the floating valve drops down, you can open the lid. Make sure to keep your hand and face away from the top while steam comes out . Personally, I prefer to move the valve slightly over a little at a time to slowly release the steam instead of one big gush.
Note: Quick Release is not suitable for food with large liquid volume or high starch content since food content might splatter out with the steam. What a mess!
How to do a Hybrid Release?
Simple Water To Rice Ratio
The first thing you need to know when it comes to cooking ANY of our Instant varieties is that you will use equal amounts of water and rice, for a 1:1 ratio.
- Instant White Rice : 1 cup rice + 1 cup water
- Instant Brown Rice : 2 cups rice + 2 cups water
- Instant Jasmine Rice : 3 cups rice + 3 cups water
- Instant Premium Rice : 4 cups rice + 4 cups water
Its as simple as that! If youre cooking a tasty side of Mexican Rice containing more than 8 servings, as a rule of thumb, measure your rice and use the same amount of water to guarantee grains have the perfect texture. To calculate servings, we suggest using ½ cup rice + ½ cup water per person.
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Functions Of Each Of The Instant Pot Buttons
Still, there may be times you prefer to use the preset options or you might just be curious to know how they work. There is a bit of variety among each of the different models however, all of the Instant Pot buttons cook the same.
For your convenience, Ive created a printable Button Summary Sheet with detailed explanations of the different settings for each of the major Instant Pot modelsjust click the link on your model below:
Instant Pot Duo
What Exactly Is The Point Of Using A Delay Start Method
When you use the Delay Start program, you can start cooking before you get home from work by preparing items in the morning and scheduling the Instant Pot to begin cooking when you come home from work.
Preparing the rice for soaking by setting the Delay timer. 15 minutes later, start the rice cooking process.
Setting the timer for the beans and getting the water ready are two important steps. Begin prepping the beans for cooking six to eight hours after the initial preparation.
Depending on whether or not you drain the water in which you soaked the beans, this may not be an option for you.
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Instant Pot Water Test
Before you use your Instant Pot for the first time, you should perform a water test. The Instant Pot water test is like an initial test run for your Instant Pot.
The water test will both ensure that your Instant Pot is working properly and will familiarize you with using your Instant Pot.
One of the Instant Pots that I purchased was defective. A water test helped me to determine that the Instant Pot wasnt working properly. I was able to contact Instant Pot support and get a replacement.
Note: If you have the Instant Pot Ultra, you will use the dial to select cooking programs and change the cook time and then press start. Instead of a steam release valve that you turn, the Instant Pot Ultra has a steam release button that you will press if you want to manually release the pressure. The steam release valve will seal automatically on the Ultra, whereas on other models you turn the valve between a venting and a sealing position.
How To Set The Timer On An Instant Pot
Once youve added your ingredients to the Instant Pot you can go ahead and close the lid ensuring that the pressure release valve is set to sealing.
Then youll want to use the buttons on the appliance to set it to the correct setting whether that be pressure cook, slow cook etc.
Then you can either use one of the pre-timed functions along the right or left-hand side of the display.
These will have the name of the ingredient and be pre-set to the best temperature and time to produce the best results.
In this case, you wouldnt have to then go ahead and manually set the timer.
However, if youre following a certain recipe or would like your ingredients cooked a certain way then you might want to manually set the pressure type and the timer.
To move between the pressure settings go ahead and click the pressure cook button, then press it again and watch the light move from the low pressure to the high-pressure marker.
Then go ahead and use the plus and minus buttons to set the timer.
Depending on the cooking function you can set a timer from 1 minute up to 24 hours.
Once youve set your timer the display will show on.
This might make you think that youre Instant Pot timer isnt working. However, this isnt the case.
Instead, the on button signals that the timer has been set and the Instant Pot is now heating up.
After a while, youll notice that steam will begin escaping from the Instant Pot out of the venting hole.
This steam is incredibly hot!
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How To Cook For Zero Minutes
Yes, there really is a zero minute cooking cycle on the Instant Pot. This short cycle is most commonly used to cook non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini. If you cook them for even one full minute, then turn to mush!
Cooking for 0 minutes is the same as cooking anything else on Manual. Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button, then use the button to lower the cooking time to zero minutes. The Instant Pot will still take several minutes to come to pressure , and then as soon as the cooking cycle beeps to signal that its complete, youll quickly release the pressure right away so that the vegetables dont over-cook. It will take 2 to 3 minutes for the pressure to release, so the food will be in your Instant Pot for at least 12 to 15 minutes in total, giving it plenty of time to cook.
Doubling A Recipe Does Not Double The Cook Time
Do not double the cook time if you double a recipe. If you want to double an Instant Pot recipe, you can double the ingredients . However, the cook time you set remains the same. It will just take longer to come to pressure.
Note: Cook time may need to be adjusted though based on the size of the chunk of food .
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Make Sure The Silicone Sealing Ring Is In The Lid
You want to make sure that the sealing ring is properly placed in the lid before cooking. It is responsible for sealing the lid to lock in the steam pressure. I store mine in labelled Ziploc bags right next to my Instant Pot so that I see them. I purchased a second Instant Pot sealing ring so that I could designate one for savoury and one for sweet recipes.
A Beginner’s Guide To Instant Pot Cooking
Welcome to the wonderful, slightly wild world of Instant Pots, the multi-tasking devices that are designed to make your life a whole lot easier. The most popular brand, simply called Instant Pot, is an electric pressure cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and a saute pan that has a whole bunch of pre-programmed settings meant for the cooks who want to set it and forget it.
Sound too good to be true? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than all that. In fact, the biggest complaint about this popular piece of kitchen equipment is that the manual is a tough read, which is one reason loads of community forums have popped up, offering great advice about how to approach this helpful tool instead of letting it gather dust in the cupboard. Here’s what we’ve learned from poring over user’s suggestions, hints, tips, and advice.
1. Start Slowly
Because so many cooks feel right at home with a slow cooker, head in that direction as a way to become familiar with the various buttons and settings. The beauty of this high-functioning device is that it has the ability to saute, so braising is super easy. Press the saute button and wait for the display to read “hot” before adding food. Then, after the food has browned, hit the slow cooker button and set the timer, according to the recipe instructions. After cooking, the Instant Pot keeps the food warm for up to six hours.
Try testing your braising/slow cooker skills with this winner from Chef John:
2. Under Pressure
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How The Timer On An Instant Pot Works
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The Instant Pot is my favourite kitchen appliance. Its so incredibly compact and versatile making it perfect for a range of different recipes even in the smallest of kitchens.
However, using the appliance for the first time can be daunting.
There are a number of different buttons and settings and while the purpose for most of these are relatively obvious, setting the timer and then understanding how it works isnt.
The timer on an Instant Pot counts down from a time that you set. When the timer reaches the end of the countdown, it shuts off. Alternatively, if you have the keep warm setting on, it simply lowers the heat and pressure to the right setting to keep your food warm.
However, sometimes when you set the timer on your Instant Pot youll notice it counts up instead of down and in some cases, the number the timer reaches can surpass the time you set.
Again, for new users of the Instant Pot, this can be incredibly confusing, however that doesnt have to be the case.
Understanding Cooking Meat In An Instant Pot
Pressure cooking meats is a fun and wondrous journey. There are so many wonderful dishes you can create for which pressure cooking is ideal. And while pressure cooking meats has many advantages, there are certain instances where it might not be ideal, or, requires special attention. Lets take a look at some Instant Pot Meat Mastery 101...
Pressure cookers use steam to cook not direct dry heat. A standard Instant Pot has a sauté feature which is awesome for browning/searing meats prior to the pressure cooking. However, this will not provide a crispness to the outside of the meats. For recipes such as our Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice, we recommend placing the chicken in an air fryer or under a broiler for 5 minutes afterwards to crisp up the skin.
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Your Food Wont Always Be Ready In An Instant
I think the most deceiving thing about the Instant Pot is the name. Just because you use your Instant Pot to cook a meal, doesnt mean it will be ready significantly faster than it would if you were to cook it on the stove. For example, Instant Pot steel cut oats cook in just a 4 minute cooking cycle, but you still have to wait about 8 to 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, and another 15 to 20 minutes for the pressure to release. That means it takes closer to 30 minutes for your oatmeal to be done.
The real advantage to cooking with your Instant Pot is that the process is almost completely hands-off, so it feels like you have more time on your hands. Instead of standing by the stove, watching to make sure nothing burns or boils over, you have your hands free to finish other tasks around your house. It makes you the ultimate multi-tasker, which is why so many people have fallen in love with it.
As an added bonus, cooking with your Instant Pot preserves more nutrients when compared to other methods of cooking! This is possibly due to the fact that it rarely reaches a temperature higher than 250ºF inside the pot, or that it cooks food faster, giving it less of an opportunity to lose nutrients.
Instant Pot Vs Traditional Pressure Cookers
The Instant Pot did not invent the concept of cooking with steam pressure. Stovetop pressure cookers have been helping home cooks long before the advent of this convenient countertop appliance.
So whats the big difference? Why did the Instant Pot explode the popularity of pressure cooking?
The Instant Pot has quite few perks over the traditional stovetop pressure cooker.
One important note the Instant Pot cannot be used to seal canning jars. Youll have to hang on to the stovetop pressure cooker for that.
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Bonus Boil Water In The Instant Pot With The Saut Button
Ever just needed an extra burner to bring some water to boil? Instant Pot to the rescue.
Simply add water and turn on the sauté button!
You can also use the sauté function to warm leftovers, brown meat or veggies that are part of your IP recipe anyway, or as a way to pre-heat the Instant Pot to help it come up to pressure more quickly.
To save time on coming up to pressure, turn on the sauté function with liquid in the pot as you prep your food and adding ingredients to the Instant Pot. The hot liquid will come up to pressure faster.
Note: Official Instant Pot instructions recommend against this practice. Ive never had a problem with it, but make sure you have a few extra minutes on the other side just in case, especially if youre cooking a tough roast or something that really needs all its time at pressure.
Instant Pot Accessories
Accessories can add extra cost to what is already a significant purchase, and its often something you dont think of beforehand. But do you really need them?
I have a whole post on the Instant Pot accessories you actually need, but for these 10 basic Instant Pot techniques, the only accessory you truly need is a steamer basket or trivet. The steamer basket can be used to hard-boil eggs and to steam vegetables and may even be included with your Instant Pot.
Once you move beyond the basics, you may find that having specialty accessories just makes life easier and theres nothing wrong with that! Here are a few that look pretty handy.
Familiarize Yourself With The Panel
The panel with all the buttons can be intimidating, but you actually only need to use a few settings.
- Pressure Level button make sure it is set to high
- Pressure Cook button use the up and down arrows to set the time
- Cancel button if you need to cancel the program
Just forget about all those other buttons on the panel for now. And, just in case you were wondering, there is no Start button. Once youve pushed the Pressure Cook button and set the time using the up and down arrows, then the Instant Pot will start by itself.
The LED screen will show you the time youve set, and the time will count down once the post has come up to pressure.
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What Can Be Cooked With The Instant Pot
With the Instant Pot, you can cook a hearty meal for a whole family in less than 30 minutes. Dishes like rice and chicken, beef stew, chili and even a whole-roasted chicken cook in 30 to 60 minutes, start to finish. And, yes, you can even bake bread with the Instant Pot.
Paleo and ketogenic diet followers love the Instant Pot for its ability to “braise” meats in such a short amount of time, but it’s also loved by vegetarians and vegans who can quickly cook dishes like butternut squash soup, sweet potatoes, chili, steel cut oats and mac-and-cheese.
Even dry beans that usually require overnight soaking can be cooked in about 30 minutes for dishes like chili and hummus.