How To Start The Instant Pot
Step 1. Place the Instant Pot on a sturdy countertop or a table close to a power socket. Make sure there is plenty of open space above the pot as you will have steam eject from the lid up in the air if you quick release the pressure.
Step 2. Make sure the inner pot is inside the cooker base and is clean. Plug the power cord in. Instant Pot will switch on and the OFF status symbol will appear on the control panel. This is called a standby mode.
Step 3. Decide on which cooking method you want to use from the below scenarios. This will depend on what you want to cook. Usually, recipe instructions will guide you along here.
In general, your choices will come down to whether you want to Sauté food first and then whether you want to use a manual setting or one of the smart programs.
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.
The Two Most Important Safety Instructions For Your Instant Pot
The Instant Pot manual is filled with safety instructions, but these two are the critical ones to remember:
First, never put your face near the steam release valve or float valve while the Instant Pot is on. When I toggle the steam release valve, I use a long handled wooden spoon so my hand and arm are not near the valve opening. Any kitchen utensil with a long handle will do. Alternatively, you can use an oven mitt to carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position when you are ready to release the pressure in your Instant Pot.
Second, never open the Instant Pot lid until the pressure has been released through the steam release valve. You will know that all the pressure has been released when the float valve drops down.
Depending on which Instant Pot model you have, the float valve may be red or silver. It may pop up above the level of the lid when the pot is pressurized, or it may pop up to be flush with the level of the lid. In my 6 quart LUX, the silver float valve is below lid level normally and pops up to be flush with the level of the lid when pressurized. You will get to know how your Instant Pot model works.
These photos show my 8 quart DUO and you see that the float valve is above the lid level in the left photo, which shows a pressurized pot.
Never attempt to open the lid of your Instant Pot while it is pressurized.
Recommended Reading: Instant Pot Air Fryer Size
Page : Table Of Contents
Inspecting Your Instant Pot Before Each Use
1. Remove the stainless steel inner pot and look inside the instant pot base. You will see the heating element. The heating element should always be free of debris and dry before you use you the Instant Pot. After washing, I always dry my stainless steel inner pot thoroughly before returning it to the base unit.
2. Check that the silicone sealing ring is fitted properly onto the lid and is clean and free of tears.
3. Remove the steam release valve from the Instant Pot lid by gently pulling it straight up. Make sure it is clean and free of debris. Some foods, such as applesauce, pasta and oatmeal may froth and foam when you cook them and can clog the steam release valve. Check the steam release valve each time you use your Instant Pot. If it is dirty clean it under running water and then put it back on the Instant Pot lid.
4. Check the float valve to ensure it is clean and free of debris. Clean it with warm water as needed. You may place the lid under running water as needed to wash it.
Making sure that all parts of your Instant Pot are clean and in good working condition can help you to have the best success with pressure cooking. My post about the Instant Pot burn message tells you both how to prevent getting this warning and what to do if you do get a burn message.
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Learn How To Boil Water
Whichever electric pressure cooker you end up with, your first time using it should involve literally learning to boil water. You do this by adding a cup or so of water to the inner pot , sealing the lid, and selecting a short cook time. Within five minutes, the water should heat up and build pressure, at which point the pressure is released via the natural method, or you can use the quick-release method. .
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.
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What Is The Timer Button For
Some models have a button that reads Timer. While you may think that this is the button that sets the cooking time for your Instant Pot, it actually delays cooking time and will start the cooking when the timer counts down. You can set the cooking time with the plus/minus buttons or the dial, depending on the model.
Pressure Cooking Requires Liquid
Before we continue, we must mention the most important aspect of pressure cooking. It requires liquid. This is because the pressure is built by the steam accumulating inside the pot, which is produced from the liquid.
Whether youre cooking rice, chicken breasts, pot roast, carrots, stew or cheesecake, you will need at least a cup of liquid for the Instant Pot to do its job.
This is a total amount of liquid and can be in the form of water, stock, tomato sauce, juice, wine and liquids released from the food while cooking , or a combination of those. The amount of liquid required varies depending on the recipe and amount of food but as a rule of thumb, 1 cup is always a good starting point. Also, the food doesnt need to be completely covered or submerged in liquid to cook.
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Which Instant Pot Buttons To Use
As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.
SO MANY BUTTONS! How to use Insta Pot is a top Google search. If you own an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and want to know what each button does and when to use it, my complete guide will tell you everything you need to know about using the Instant Pot buttons for every model and version!
If youre just getting started with your Instant Pot, your first question might be How do I know which Instant Pot buttons to use? Heres a detailed explanation that will help.
The most important thing to know is the buttons are just preset, suggested cook times for specific items. If you use the Poultry button, your Instant Pot will not know how much meat is in the pot or whether its frozen or fresh. Your Instant Pot CANNOT sense what you are actuallycooking and CANNOT tell you when the food in your pot is cooked through.
So when youre cooking chicken soup, you can use the Soup button, the Poultry button, the Meat button, or the Manual button It really doesnt matter which button you use, just choose the button with the closest cook time to the time in the recipe youre using .
Stainless Steel Inner Pot
This inner pot is what you will use for cooking. Wash the inner pot before first use. Dry it completely before use. Place this into the base unit of the instant pot.
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Using Saute Function After Cooking
The Sauté function is also useful for finishing the dish after pressure cooking is done. Once the pressure has been completely released, open the lid and then press Sauté button again. Press the button again to cycle through Less or More for lower or higher temperatures.
Use it for:
- Simmering the sauce or broth in the dish that needs to evaporate and reduce or thicken.
- Adding more fragile or no-cooking-required ingredients like baby spinach, fresh tomatoes, fruit, cheese, milk or cream.
- Thickening sauce with butter, cream or flour.
Page : Product Parts And Accessories
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Page : Important Safeguards
How To Use The Delay Option
Each program will offer the additional option to delay cooking and allow you to enter a specific time. Keep in mind that this setting delays the start of cooking. So if, for example, youre going to be home in four hours and the recipe requires 45 minutes to cook, youll want to delay the cooking time for three hours otherwise, the cooking will start when you get home!
For any program, the cooker will need to pre-heat before the cooking time starts counting down, so add an extra 15 minutes of delay for non-pressure programs to pre-heat and an extra 30 minutes of delay time for pressure programs to pre-heat and begin releasing pressure .
So, to figure out how long to delay cooking:
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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!
Instant Pot Frequently Asked Questions
Published: by Mike Vrobel · This post may contain affiliate links ·
Because of my Instant Pot Duo pressure cooker recommendation, I get email with questions about how to use Instant Pot cookers. This post is to put them in one place, so I can refer everyone to it. So, here we go: Instant Pot Questions and Answers.If you have a question I didnt cover, leave a comment, and Ill do my best to answer.
Q: All your recipes say cook at high pressure for X minutes. My Instant Pot does not have a high pressure button. How do I get high pressure on the Instant Pot?
A: Use the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the pot for X minutes. On older Instant Pots, the Manual button means pressure cooking. On newer pots, there is an actual Pressure Cook button.
The default for both of those buttons is High Pressure. Press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button, and check to make sure the pressure level shows as “High” in the display. If it does not, press the Pressure Level button until it shows high. Then, use the plus and minus buttons to change the cooking time to the “at high pressure time”. . Once the time is set, leave the cooker alone. After ten seconds of no buttons being pushed, the cooker will beep, and it will start cooking. Then, let the cooker do the work. It will bring itself up to high pressure and start the countdown timer. When the countdown reaches zero, it will beep to let you know it is done.
Q: Okay, so, How do I get Low pressure on the Instant Pot?
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When Should I Use The Keep Warm Function
The Instant Pot can be kept on Keep Warm after cooking most foods. In fact, its very handy if you are finished cooking before youre ready to serve food. Some foods like rice, quinoa, or anything that has soaked up a lot of liquid should be monitored or warmed in a more moist environment to prevent dryness or burning. You can select Keep Warm cycle before you start cooking or after.
Page 1: Releasing Pressure
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What To Use The Trivet For
The trivet comes with the Instant Pot. This is a simple insert that allows you to get some space between the bottom of the pot and whatever food youre cooking. Generally speaking, any food that you might want to cook without having it come into direct contact with liquid can be made more easily with the trivet. You can place the food directly on top of the trivet or add it to around heat-proof casserole dish or cake pan and place that on top of the trivet.
Think of things like chicken breasts, lasagna, breads, meatloaf, and other things that wouldnt taste great if they were super soggy. Its also commonly used for eggs, veggies, potatoes, or pot-in-pot cooking. Using the trivet can prevent burning or overcooking and also ensure even cooking.