Forget To Put The Sealing Ring Back In The Lid Before Cooking
Mistake: Since the silicone sealing ring absorbs the food smell, many users regularly air out/wash the sealing ring. Its easy to forget to place it back into the lid before using the Instant Pot.
Solution: Make it a habit to ensure the sealing ring is properly installed every time, before you close the lid for pressure cooking.
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:
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.
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Q: Do I Need To Turn The Pressure Cooker Off Before Using A Quick Pressure Release Or A Natural Pressure Release
No you do not need to turn the pressure cooker off for a quick or natural pressure release. The pressure will release on the Keep Warm setting. The benefit of not turning it off is that the time will count up so you can see how long its been since the pressure cooking time ended.
There is some debate about whether or not the pressure releases more slowly if its on the Keep Warm Setting. The Instant Pot Companys official position is that it does not release more slowly on the Keep Warm Setting because the Keep Warm heat does not turn on until the pressure has been released.
I prefer to turn off or unplug the pressure cooker before I do a quick pressure release or natural pressure release. I seem to always forget to turn off the pressure cooker if I dont turn it off when the pressure cooking ends. I also prefer to set a timer to remind me 10 minutes has passed and its time to release the pressure when Im doing a natural pressure release.
Part 3 in our Getting Started Guide will walk you through an initial test run for your Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, Crockpot Express, or other brand of electric pressure cooker.
If youre in a hurry to get cooking, you can always skip to our Make Your First Meal post and come back to this information while youre waiting for the chicken to cook.
How To Use An Instant Pot
Feeling overwhelmed by your new Instant Pot? Do NOT fear!! I will walk you through the essentials on how to use your Instant Pot! This beginners guide to using an instant pot will leave you feeling confident and ready to conquer pressure cooking! Before long, the Instant Pot is sure to become your new favorite kitchen appliance.
Once you master knowing your Instant Pot, check out Instant Pot Recipes to get cooking and sign up for my top Instant Pot Secrets!
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There Are 2 Things To Know About Using Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker
First, the Instant Pot only heats from the bottom surface, whereas typical slow cookers heat from the bottom and all of the sides.
Second, setting the Instant Pot slow cook function isnât the most intuitive.
If you select slow cook function, set your time, and walk away, you may have accidentally set your Instant Pot to âkeep warmâ.
Unfortunately the terms used on the Instant Pot face plate for slow cooker temperature settings are not awesome.
With a regular slow cooker you are used to âKeep Warmâ, âLowâ, and âHighâ.
But, on your Instant Pot, those settings are called âLessâ, âNormalâ, and âMoreâ
If you simply press slow cooker, set the time, and walk away, you may have your pot set to âLessââ which is essentially a keep warm function.
So, here is the run down of how to set your Instant Pot for slow cooking:
As for the lid. You can use the regular instant pot lid, and set it to vent. Or, you can get a clear instant pot lid, OR you can use a lid form your pots and pans set that fits!
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Instant Pot Steam Setting
The Steam setting on the Instant Pot is perfect for cooking vegetables, fish and seafood, tofu and any other food that is suitable to steaming. This function uses Low pressure, which helps to avoid overcooking the food and means that the Instant Pot will come to pressure quicker. You need to use the trivet/steam rack provided to elevate food from cooking liquid. Always use QR to prevent food from overcooking. Below is how to use the Steam setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add a cup of water to the inner pot and place the trivet on top. You can place the vegetables or a piece of fish or thinly sliced chicken on top of the trivet OR you can use an additional steam basket or a round pan with holes that fits inside the pot. A steamer basket might be useful for smaller-sized vegetables or cut-up vegetables to prevent them from falling into the water.
- Secure and lock the lid. Press the Steam button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at Low pressure for 10 minutes. If you press the Steam button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More.
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When To Select Low Pressure
Low pressure should be used for delicate foods like eggs, fish, and vegetables. However, all of these foods can also be cooked using high pressure for a reduced amount of time. If you are confused about whether or not to use low or high pressure, its best to stick to high pressure. This should be specified in recipes.
Natural Pressure Release Vs Quick Release
First of all, let me explain the difference between Natural Pressure Release and Quick Release when it comes to pressure cooking.
- Natural Pressure Release is when the pressure is slowly released on it’s own.
- Quick Release is when you manually turn the valve to “Vent” and allow the pressure that has been built up to release rapidly.
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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
How To Make Shredded Chicken In Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is wonderful for many reasons, and chief among them is the amount of time that it saves. That, and the fact that *most* Instant Pot recipes are, essentially, hands-off, saving even more of our time! Heres how youll make simple shredded chicken in the Instant Pot:
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Instant Pot Setup 101
Wondering how to setup your new Instant Pot? Heres all the information you need to get going!
Ready to setup your new Instant Pot DUO? Heres the step-by-step guide. Well look at everything from the manual to how to conduct the water test. Once youve finished the setup, youll be ready to start using your Instant Pot!
What an exciting sight. A new Instant Pot! I remember opening my first Instant Pot and thinking, and now what?
To be honest, I found the setup process a little confusing. I thought that the minute I closed the lid and hit the start button, the machine would be under pressure. Heres everything I wish I knew about setting up and using an Instant Pot.
Today well walk through unboxing and setting up a six quart Instant Pot DUO. The basic setup up for the DUO and the Bluetooth Instant Pot is the same. The Instant Pot LUX has a slightly different lid and steam release valve than what youll see pictured here.
Note: the links above are affiliate links. If you use them, I earn a small commission from Amazon which supports the site. I only use affiliate links for products that I love, love, love.
How To Do A Pressure Cooker Natural Release
After the cooking cycle finished, wait until the Floating Valve completely drops before opening the lid.
Always turn the Venting Knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to ensure all the pressure is released before opening the lid.
This pressure release method usually takes 10 25 minutes .
Whats the advantage?
Since the pressure is released gradually, there is less movement in the pressure cooker. Your stock and soup come out cleaner and food are more likely to stay intact.
Whats the catch?
- A pot full of stock or soup takes very long to release pressure naturally.
- If the recipe is designed for Quick Pressure Release, the food may overcook, as the cooking process continues during the natural release process.
The Hybrid of Quick Release and Natural Release
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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:
How To Store Your Instant Pot
Store your cooker like this, with the lid upside down and the gasket loose. Condensation builds up in the gasket, which can become moldy if you lock a damp lid on the cooker.
This method allows for lots of air circulation. Its not so pretty on a countertop, I know. If nothing else, make sure you at least never store your cooker with a damp lid.
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Instant Pot Setup: Cooking Pot Cord And Condensation Collector
The cooking pot of the Instant Pot. This is where the cooking happens. You never want to run the Instant Pot without the insert in place.
With a three-ply bottom made of layers of stainless steel, aluminum, and stainless steel, the insert heats evenly. I love that doesnt have a nonstick coating and that it handles sautéing really well.
Theres one problem with the Instant Pot cooking insert: the max fill lines markings are INCORRECT for pressure cooking.
When using the Instant Pot for pressure cooking, never fill the pot more than 2/3 full or 1/2 full if youre making foods that release a lot of liquid. If a pressure cooker contains too much liquid, the hot liquid can spray out of the pressure release valve, causing severe burns. As long as you respect the maximum fill on a pressure cooker, youll be fine.
I find the markings to be very confusing and have reached out to Instant Pot to inquire why the max fill line is too high for pressure cooking, If I hear back, Ill update this page.
To make cleanup easy, the insert is dishwasher safe. However, I tend to just add some soapy water and let it soak while we eat dinner. It wipes out easily even without a nonstick coating.
insert the cord. In my experience, the pot doesnt work well when its not plugged in.
Q: What Is An Intermittent Pressure Release
An intermittent pressure release is the best of both worlds. Its a way to quickly release pressure for foods such as pastas, soups, and certain grains, which are prone to foaming or spitting if you try to release pressure with a quick release but would be overcooked with a natural pressure release.
With this method, you open and close the pressure release valve in short intervals. This allows the pressure to escape more quickly than a natural pressure release and also prevents foam from coming out of the pressure release valve.
With some foods, one or two closed intervals is all I need before I can leave the valve in the Venting position with other foods, if the foaming is particularly bad, I will close the valve and wait a minute or two, then slide the valve to Venting again and continue opening and closing the valve as needed.
Favorite Recipes with Intermittent Pressure Release
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