How To Use An Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

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Cooking With A Pressure Cooker In 6 Easy Steps:

How to Use Instant Pot as a Pressure Cooker
  • Add food & liquid in the pot
  • Close lid, ensure valve is at the correct position
  • Select pressure setting
  • Electric pressure cookers: select cooking program and time
  • Stovetop pressure cookers: put on stovetop, select pressure setting, turn heat to high
  • Wait for the pressure to build up inside the pot
  • Starts cooking under pressure
  • Electric pressure cookers: the screen will display the cook time countdown
  • Stovetop pressure cookers: turn heat to low and start timer using the required cook time
  • Release pressure
  • One disadvantage of cooking with a pressure cooker is you cant inspect, taste, or adjust the food along the way.

    Thats why its essential to follow a recipe with accurate timings as you learn how to use a pressure cooker.

    However, you may halt the cooking by quickly reducing pressure and open the lid if necessary.

    If you want step by step instructions, check out our Pressure Cooker & Instant Pot Recipes and Pressure Cooking Videos.

    Lets Put This Thing Together

    First, wash and dry the lid, gasket, and metal insert. Now youre ready.

    On the back of the cooker, youll see a spot where the drip catcher goes. Slide it right in. Its made to remove easily, so you can empty it. Without the catcher, youd wind up with small puddles on your counter.

    Pop the insert in the cooker. Now insert the power cord into the cookers socket. Plug it in. The digital display on the front should now read OFF. Your cooker is now in standby mode.

    Slide the rubbery gasket ring under the lid there’s a bracket where it will snap into place. The gasket helps seal the pot, allowing it to come to pressure.

    Alison Conklin

    On the underside of the lid is also a small metal cage. It will be round or rectangular, depending on your Instant Pot model, and it helps keep the valve from getting clogged with bits of food. Its removable so you can clean it out if necessary, but you probably won’t need to do this very often.

    Alison Conklin

    Look for arrows on the top of the lid and side of the cooker. Line these up to get the lid on and off. The first dozen or so times you use your IP, this whole getting-the-lid-on-and-off will feel unnatural, because your cooker is new and so are you. Itll eventually become second nature. If the cooker is plugged in, it bleeps cheerfully when you open and close it.

    Next to the steam release is the pressure indicator. This is a little metal cylinder that the steam pushes up its a manual indicator that the unit has attained pressure.

    Whats Up With All Those Knobs And Buttons

    I know, there are so many. Good news! You can ignore most of them. I use my Instant Pot nearly every day, and Ive never touched the Rice, Porridge, or Soup buttons. I do, however, make rice, porridge and soup in my IP all the time, just by programming it manuallywhich you need to know in any case.

    For now, were focusing on the buttons you need for most pressure cooking recipes. If it helps, just get masking tape and cover up those other buttons so that you only focus on the buttons needed for our test drive:

    • On the Instant Pot Duo: the Low Pressure and High Pressure buttons, the +/- Cooking Time buttons, the Manual button, and the Keep Warm/Cancel button.
    • On the Instant Pot Ultra: Cancel and Start buttons and the central knob

    Alison Conklin

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    Instant Pot Multigrain Setting

    This setting is best suited to cooking tougher, whole grains like brown and wild rice, farro, millet and steel-cut oats it can also be used to cook dry beans and a mixture of grains and legumes. We find that this is one of the most confusing functions for people because some of the recommended manual cooking times for grains dont match the pre-programmed setting times, so its hard to know when to use this function. Below is how to use the Multigrain setting on the Instant Pot.

    • Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add the grains, liquid and seasoning if you wish. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Multigrain button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 40 minutes. If you press the Multigrain 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.

    If cooking dry beans, ensure they are completely submerged in water the same if youre making a mixture of grains and beans.

    Illinois Woman Burned By Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

    Instant Pot LUX80 8 Qt 6

    An Illinois woman recently filed a new Instant Pot pressure cooker lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. She claims that the pots safety mechanisms did not work as advertised and that while using it, she suffered from serious injuries. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the manufacturer, Instant Brands, Inc.

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    Yedi Total Package Pressure Cooker

    Price: $$

    The Yedi Total Package Pressure Cooker holds up to 8 quarts of food and boasts 15 instant-touch cooking programs, making it an awesome weeknight dinner option for families.

    It also combines nine kitchen appliances into a single device, enabling you to make yogurt and cakes, cook rice, keep food warm, and pressure cook, slow cook, steam, pasteurize, and sauté ingredients.

    Whats more, it includes a recipe book, cheat sheets for using the product, and a variety of accessories, including egg racks, a rice paddle, cooking mitts, a steamer basket, a measuring cup, and a ladle.

    However, its relatively expensive, and, because its very large and sturdy, those with less counter space may prefer a more compact or portable instant pot.

    Price: $$

    This smart cooker from Chef iQ is jam-packed with features and functions fit for tech-lovers.

    In fact, its equipped with Bluetooth and WiFi and can connect to the Chef iQ app, which includes hundreds of recipes and preset cooking programs and allows you to control your instant pot using your smartphone.

    You can use this high end instant pot to pressure cook, sear, sauté, steam, slow cook, and ferment foods.

    It can also hold up to 6 quarts and includes a built-in smart scale, which weighs the ingredients that you add to your instant pot and calculates exactly how much liquid is needed.

    Nevertheless, it comes with a higher price tag than most other instant pots, and consumers who arent tech-savvy may find it difficult to use.

    The Three Most Important Instant Pot Buttons

    There are really only three buttons you need to know when you are just starting out with pressure cooking:

    Manual/Pressure Cook. This button is where the magic happensif a recipe says to cook at High Pressure, this is the button you need. Just press it, then use the and buttons to change the cook time. After a brief pause, the Instant Pot will beep to tell you its beginning the pressure cooking process. Some Instant Pots, such a the Duo Evo Plus have a start button that youll need to press to start the cooking process.

    Sauté. Press the Sauté button to brown meats, sauté vegetables, and simmer ingredients in the pressure cooking pot. Adjust Sauté to less for simmer, normal to sauté and more for browning.

    Keep Warm/Cancel. Use this button to cancel a function or to turn off your Instant Pot.

    Honestly, thats it! I recommend beginning with some easy, tried-and-true recipes before branching out into converting your old favorites. Since I write my recipes so they can be made in any electric pressure cooker, I rarely use the preset Instant Pot buttons.

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    Instant Pot Porridge Setting

    The porridge setting on the Instant Pot can be used to cook oatmeal using old-fashioned oats and steel-cut oats, rice porridge and congee or porridge-like dishes that use a mixture of grains that expand in liquid. Ideally, you should use natural release when cooking high-starch foods that expand or a combination of 5-10 minutes natural release and quick release to follow. Below is how to use the Porridge setting on Instant Pot.

    • Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add the grains, liquid and spices or fat if you wish. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Porridge button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 20 minutes. If you press the Porridge button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More.
    • Less mode 5 minutes at High pressure this is suitable for cooking rolled oats and risotto-like porridge or rice porridge with slightly firmer to bite texture.
    • Normal mode 20 minutes at High pressure use for steel-cut oat porridge or rice porridge with a slightly softer texture and for making congee.
    • More mode 30 minutes at High pressure use for a porridge/congee that contains a mixture of beans or tougher grains.

    If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.

    Here are some suggested water to rice/oats ratios for porridge and oatmeal dishes:

    Instant Pot Soup Setting

    How To Use The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

    The default Instant Pot soup setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at HIGH pressure for 30 minutes. The soup program brings contents of the pot to a slow simmer and results in a clear broth due to lack of boiling motion. Below is how to use the Soup/Broth setting on Instant Pot.

    • Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add all ingredients, seasonings and liquids to the pot and stir. Secure the lid on top. Press the Soup button. It will say Normal, 30 minutes at High Pressure. If you press the Soup button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More .
    • Normal mode 30 minutes at High pressure recommended for soups with meat.
    • Less mode 20 minutes at High pressure recommended for soups without meat.
    • More mode 4 hours at High pressure recommended for soups that require longer cook times such as rich bone broths. Release the pressure naturally.

    Use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.


    We find that most vegetables, including potatoes, dont need the full 20 minutes at High pressure and will often overcook and get too soft, so for most vegetable-based soups, 5 to 10 minutes at High pressure is usually enough.

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    What Is A Pressure Cooker And How Does It Work

    A pressure cooker is a sealed pot that uses steam pressure to cook food quicker. A valve on top of the pressure cooker is used to control this steam pressure. When cooking, the valve should be closed, which allows steam to fill the pot and build up pressure as its heated. Using this method, food can be cooked up to 70% faster.

    Get To Know The Design

    Electric pressure cookers come with an inner pot and an outer pot , as well as a lid that creates an airtight seal.

    The airtight seal is what creates the pressure, which will eventually need to be released, and to do so safely, youll need to read the directions that come with your pot. But generally speaking, youll either use the quick-release method , or the natural-release method .

    Test Kitchen tip: A cool, wet towel placed on the lid can help speed up the release process.

    Also Check: How To Slow Cook In An Instant Pot

    When Is It Okay To Open The Lid

    One of the biggest fears people have with the Instant Pot is getting burned, and thats a valid concern because the steam built up in the machine is ultra pressurized and it can burn you in an instant. The good part, though is that with a little precaution, you dont need to worry about this.

    The Instant Pot has a float valve that shows when its under pressure. If the float valve is up, that means its not safe to open the pot. The vent is set to sealing and if you open the vent, that hot pressurized steam will start blowing out the top of the machine. Its that steam that can burn your arm, particularly if you open the valve with our hand in the way.

    The best way to prevent getting burned is to know when its okay to open the pot.

    Float valves on Instant Pots may be red or silver, depending on the model. Under pressure, it may rise above the level of the lid, or it may rise to be flush with the top of the lid. Normally, the silver float valve in my 6 quart LUX is below the lid level and pops up when it is pressed. As you use your Instant Pot, you will become more familiar with it.

    As you can see in the photo above, my 6-quart DUO has a silver float valve that is at lid level when pressurized and drops down below the lid level when not under pressure. When the float valve is up, never attempt to open the lid.

    The Instant Pot: Heres Why Cooks Love It

    Instant Pot SMART® Pressure Cooker Review â hip pressure ...

    People have fallen in love with their Instant Pots.

    They may like their blenders, cherish their slow cookers and need their food processors.

    But the Instant Pot a device that combines an electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker in one handy unit sends even mild-mannered cooks into fits of passion.

    You find the L word over and over in the 15,000 or so product reviews on Amazon. And if you click over to Instant Pots , youll find more than 360,000 members sharing their undying affection alongside their recipes for chili.

    If youre a cook and got through last year without bumping into people who couldnt stop talking about their Instant Pots or any of the other multifunctional electric pressure cookers on the market then you wont have to wait much longer.

    Electric pressure cookers is one of the fastest growing kitchen appliance sectors on the market, with sales doubling and tripling over the last four years, according to Robert Wang, the C.E.O. of Instant Pot Company.

    When the Instant Pot debuted in 2009, it was one of the first brands to hit North America electric pressure cookers were already gaining popularity in China. In 2010, approximately 300,000 electric pressure cookers were sold in the United States and Canada, said Dr. Wang. By 2015, that number rose to over three million.

    So why do electric pressure cookers inspire such a devoted following?

    I bought one to find out.

    It was that pork shoulder that turned me into a believer.

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    Instant Pot Faq And Troubleshooting

    Im scared to press down the valve. Help!

    Some people use the handle of a wooden spoon to press down the valve and avoid risk of potential contact with hot steam. Point the valve away from people or kitchen cabinets. I try to point it towards my cooktop exhaust fan and have it running at full blast.

    Steam is coming from my valve. Is it not sealed?

    First double check the valve is in fact sealed. If it is, normally steam escapes from the valve while pressure is building. Once the Instant Pot has fully come to pressure, the valve will seal, and the steam will stop.

    If steam is coming from the sides of the lid, it means its not sealed properly. Turn off the unit, quick release pressure, and check under the lid to make sure the silicone ring and float valve are properly in place and free of food particles.

    Why is liquid sputtering out of the valve? Is it not sealed?

    The Instant Pot is either too full or it is what you are cooking inside. Foods that typically froth or foam are pasta, soups, applesauce, beans, grains, and potatoes. When cooking foods such as these make sure pot is not more that 1/2 full and adding 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the liquids help stop foaming.

    My Instant Pot stopped cooking and LCD says BURN.

    Usually this means something you are cooking has deposited at the bottom and is overheating. I find this happens when I cook tomato-based foods. Release pressure, stir contents, and set cooking time for remaining time.

    Can I cook frozen meats?

    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.

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    So Many Recipes So Little Time

    The Instant Pot is touted as multi-cooker that can do anything from steaming your veggies and cooking a healthy bowl of spaghetti squash. This bad boy can make you breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition to making cooking just about anything easier than an old-fashioned pressure cooker, it can make cold things as well, such as yogurt. Score!

    So How Do Instant Pot Settings Work

    Instant Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker

    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.

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