How To Work An Instant Pot

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What Cant You Cook In An Instant Pot

How to Use an Instant Pot – Instant Pot 101 – Beginner? Start HERE!

Multi-cookers are best for boiling, steaming, and braising. When you think pressure cooker or multi-cookers, you dont think crispy or crunchy. Youre not going to be making onion rings or fried chicken in your new pressure cooker .

Although pressure cookers can make cooking many of your favorite recipes much easier, there are some things they cant or wont do well. Here are a few of our faves you shouldnt attempt to cook in your new pressure cooker:

  • Crispy or crunchy snacks

How Electric Pressure Cookers Work

An electric pressure cooker consists of three parts, the lid, inner pot and housing unit. The most important things to know about electric pressure cookers are the safety valves and smart control box.

The Inner Pot

The inner pot is a removable cooking pot. It is generally made from aluminum or stainless steel. Instant Pot uses high quality stainless steel inner pots made with sturdy, three-ply, or copper-clad bottom for uniformed heating.

The Lid Lock

The lid has a gasket or sealing ring. When the lid is placed on the cooker in the sealed position, the lid and inner pot form an airtight chamber. The pressure inside this chamber increases when heat is applied to the inner pot. Operating the lid not locked in position with a significant amount of pressure generated is unsafe and not recommended. Instant Pot® models have float valves, a pin lock mechanism to prevent the lid from being accidentally opened while there is significant amount of pressure inside. If there is enough pressure inside the inner pot, the float valve is pushed up by the pressure. Once pushed up, the pin of the float valve serves as latch lock and prevents the lid from turning, even under force.

Instant Pot® also extends such safety assurance with a safety power switch. If the lid is not in the desired fully close position, the electronic control system detects the situation and will not switch on the power for heating.

Safety Valves

The Housing: Sensors, Heating Element & Control Box

The Tip You Cannot Skip

Reading the manual.

As excited as you may be when you get your instant pot, there are a lot of buttons and functions of your insta-pot that you might not be familiar with. The best thing you can do is read the manual.

That aside, lets go over some other tips you should be aware of to make the most of your insta-pot.

Read Also: How To Cook Frozen Meat In Instant Pot

How To Safely Open Your New Pressure Cooker

Instant Pots are much safer to use than traditional stove top pressure cookers. The lid locks and stays locked until the pressure is released. This process eliminates the safety concerns many previously had with using pressure cookers.

Heres how to safely open your Instant Pot:

  • When you release the pressure, the steam will be hot enough to burn you. Make sure the steam release is facing away from you before you press the release button.
  • Do NOT remove the lid until all of the pressure from the pot has been released. When the floating valve in the lid drops, youll know it is safe.
  • If the lid does not easily twist off, it is not ready to come off. Dont ever force it.

Instant Pot Or Electric Pressure Cooker Safety Features

Winner, Winner, Instant Pot Dinner: Making Your Instant ...

Dont be intimidated by the word pressure because new electric pressure cookers are super safe and easy to use! The earliest pressure cookers were created around a simple concept: Food cooks hotter and faster inside a pressure-sealed pot.

Todays electric pressure cookers have built on this science and have added in a slew of built-in safety features to prevent mishaps, including automatic pressure control, heating and pressure sensors, lid detection, and heating plates that distribute heat evenly. These features work together to ensure you get faster cook times and consistent results.

At Pressure Cooking Today, we believe in making real food with fresh and familiar ingredients.Browse my collection of the best pressure cooker recipes here on my website . Follow Pressure Cooking Today on and for the latest updates. Or join my to connect with other pressure cooking fans. Or you canjoin my free email list! Youll get just one email a week with my latest recipes. If youre interested in more than just pressure cooker recipes, I share my other adventures in the kitchen over at Barbara Bakes. Youll find some amazing breakfasts and breads, along with the best dessert recipes! Check it out today!

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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 level once youve selected once of the Smart Program function.

Don’t Miss: Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin Time

Instant Pot Pork Shoulder Times & Instructions:

  • Preheat the pot on saute with some oil. Cut your pork butt into large, uniform chunks and season liberally with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like.
  • After 3-4 minutes of heating, add the loin to the pot to brown the sides.
  • Remove the pork loin and add 1.5-2 cups of liquid to the pot. Then, add the trivet or steamer basket and place the pork inside.
  • Cook for 15 minutes on HIGH pressure per pound of meat .

Also Check: Poultry Mode Instant Pot

Dont Get Too Caught Up In What All The Buttons Mean

How to Use Your Instant Pot | A First Timers Guide | Well Done

For the most part, the buttons on the control panel are there to help you decide on your cooking time. For example, if there is a fish button, pressing it will likely mean that your food will cook for a short time . The chicken button will be slightly longer . Some electric pressure cookers have a saute feature, which comes in handy to pre-caramelize your mirepoix, if youre making soup or stew . New models have a sterilize function , and most come with a slow cook option, which means exactly what you think it means: slow cooking without pressure. When it comes to frozen food, learn if you can cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot.

Psst: Heres why you should trade your slow cooker for an Instant Pot.

Recommended Reading: Can Crock Pot Liners Be Used In An Instant Pot

Ready Lets Cook Some Water

The first time you use your Instant Pot, make waternot food. This way, you can familiarize yourself with simply operating itno anxiety over ruining dinner. Ive been pressure cooking for over a decade, and I still do the water test every time I try out a new cooker.

Here’s what to do:

First, check the gasket. Make sure its snugly in the ring in the lid 99 percent of the time, if your Instant Pot isnt coming to pressure, its a simple issue of the gasket not sitting in the ring quite right.

Next, put 3 cups of water in the insert. When following recipes, you should still measure liquids, but note that the insert has hash marks to give you a rough idea of the volume.

Now, lock on the lid. Use the arrows on the lid and the cooker to guide you.

Check the steam release valve to see its in Sealing position. If the valve is in Venting position, the cooker wont come to pressure.

Press Manual” on the Duo or select “Pressure Cook” on the Ultra. The display will say to 30:00. Its programming initially defaults to 30 minutes cook time of high pressure, which we can toggle up or down depending on how much time the recipe calls for. For our water test, well leave it at 30 minutes.

Now…do nothing. In a few seconds, the cooker will beep three times, and the display will read On. That means its heating, but not at pressure yet.

Emma Christensen

Should I Use The Rice Button On My Instant Pot

The Instant Pots rice button is best used for white rice, as it is specifically calibrated to weigh white rice and water and cook the rice accordingly. This is ideal for weeknights when you truly want to set and forget your rice, but not great for cooking different varieties of rice on the fly.

Luckily, you can use your Instant Pots manual pressure function to cook white, brown, or wild rice on high pressure in just a few minutes. Heres how to do it.

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What To Expect During The Water Test

-The 3 Stages of Pressure Cooking-

  • Heating & Pressurization The cooker will preheat, creating the steam required to build pressure. Once enough steam pressure has accumulated, the float valve will pop up and pressurize the cooker. During the Water Test, this may take 5 15 minutes.Do not press down on the lid the float valve will rise when sufficient steam pressure has built up. Until the cooker pressurizes and the float valve has popped up, the lid will be removable. Once pressurized, the lid will lock.Note: The time it takes your cooker to pressurize is determined by a variety of factors, including food and liquid volume.It is normal to see steam exit the float valve hole until the float valve pops up and the cooker pressurizes. If you see steam escaping from around the sides of the lid, stop the test to ensure that your sealing ring is properly installed
  • Cook Cycle The cooker will not start the countdown right away. First, the cooker must come to pressure. Within 5 minutes of pressurization, the cooker will beep once and the countdown will appear on the display. When the timer reaches 00:00, the cooker will beep 10 times to signal that cooking has completed.Note: Smart Programs allow you to make changes to time, temperature, and pressure levels during the cook cycle.
  • Convert Your Favorite Recipes

    Instant Pot Guide: A Beginner

    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.

  • Also Check: Ground Turkey In Instant Pot

    Vent The Food And Enjoy

    Once the cook time has passed, often you’ll then move the valve to “venting” which, in a glorious geyser of food smells, will release the pressure and steam inside your Instant Pot. Be careful touching the valve, it can get hot. Either wear an oven mitt or move the valve with a wooden spoon. It will release a lot of hot air, so it’s a good idea to lean back the first time you move the valve, and definitely keep your eyes away from the valve when you let it vent.

    Once the Instant Pot is done venting this might take a few minutes remove the lid and gaze upon your finished food and enjoy.

    A side note: in the picture below you can see a little circular valve that looks like a button. When the Instant Pot pressurizes, you should see it rise. This lets you know the Instant Pot is pressurized, which means the lid will be locked. The only way to open the Instant Pot, at that point, is to wait for it to depressurize. So don’t worry, feel safe.

    Some recipes, including some very common ones like rice, call for something called a “Natural Pressure Release,” which just means you let the pressure slowly fade inside the Instant Pot. You do not move the valve to “venting” for a certain amount of time. My favorite Instant Pot rice recipe, for instance, calls for just a few minutes of cook time but 10 minutes of natural release before you open the Instant Pot.

    Either way, you need to let the pressure release from the Instant Pot, but then you’re ready to enjoy.

    Natural Release Vs Quick Release

    Depending on what it is youre cooking, there are two different ways to release the pressure:

    Natural release: This is done by not doing anything! Once it beeps letting you know that its done cooking it will automatically start releasing the pressure . This method is used when the food inside could use a little extra tenderizing or when it wont affect the outcome of the recipe to keep it in there a little longer. Some recipes will ask you to naturally release for a few minutes before doing a quick release. Once its done naturally releasing, the pin will drop and you can then open the lid.

    Quick-release: This way requires extra precautions as youre turning the valve to the venting position which will allow the steam to escape quickly . I like to use the end of a wooden spoon to move the valve that way Im not touching it directly and Im far enough away that I know my face wont get in the way. This method is used when we want to make sure whatever is inside doesnt overcook and become mushy. Again, once the pin drops, you can open the lid.

    Read Also: How To Make Yogurt In Instant Pot Without Yogurt Button

    Dont Be Intimidated By All The Buttons

    Yes, theres a lot of buttons but we can run through them quickly and youll feel prepared in no time.

    Pressure Cook or Manual Button: Depending on your model, this button could say either. No matter the name, it will have the same function this is the button to press to start pressure cooking.

    +/- Buttons: Youll use these buttons to adjust the cook time.

    Pressure Button: On certain models, this button might say Pressure Level. This button is how you switch between high and low pressure. Most recipes will call for high pressure, though.

    Warm or Cancel Button: Youll use this button to end a cycle and begin the pressure release process.

    Program Buttons: Depending on your Instant Pot model, your program options can include Soup/Broth, Bean/Chili, Meat/Stew, Cake, Egg, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Yogurt, Steam, and Slow Cook. So many possibilities!

    Sauté Button: One of my favorite things is that I can sauté right in my Instant Pot instead of dirtying loads of pots and pans. Be sure to follow the instructions in your recipe. Sautéing is often done with the lid off.

    Adjust Button: This controls the amount of heat and works well when sautéing.

    Instant Pots Dont Cook Instantly

    Instant Pot Review – How to Use an Instant Pot

    Instant Pots dont always cook faster than other methods. Because the Instant Pot needs time to build and release pressure, it can actually end up taking longer to cook with them. Thankfully, your Instant Pot-friendly recipe should have guidelines that will give you an idea of how to adjust the timing.

    Also Check: Can You Put The Instant Pot Lid In The Dishwasher

    How To Cook Using An Instant Pot

    For a quick and dirty guide, it’s as easy as this:

  • Sauté your meat .
  • Press the Cancel button and add your other ingredients.
  • Place the lid on and lock it in place.
  • Select the pressure and time you would like.
  • Make sure the valve is in the sealed position.
  • Press the Start button to begin cooking.
  • Once the time runs out, release the pressure.
  • Once the pressure is released, open the lid and enjoy.
  • If using your Instant Pot still seems daunting and you need more detailed instructions on how to use it, we’ve got you covered.

    Once you’ve found a safe place to put your Instant Pot I keep mine on a kitchen counter away from other appliances take a moment to gently handwash the removable pot and the interior of the lid before you first use it. Next, plug in the unit.

    If you are using meat or vegetables like garlic and onions that benefit from browning, you’ll want to use the sauté function first. With some recipes you can skip the searing shredded chicken from frozen comes to mind but for the most part, you want to brown or sear your meat first to add and lock-in flavors. Press the Stop or Cancel button to stop the sautéing, and add your other ingredients. If there is an excessive amount of grease left in the pot, drain it before continuing.

    Before you press Start to begin the cooking process, make sure the steam valve is in the closed position. If it’s left open, the pressure will never build up, and your meal will take much longer to cook.

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