I Added Liquid Like I Was Told But Things Went Wrong
When an Instant Pot recipe calls for liquid, its being very specific, especially when it comes to pressure cooking. This needs to be a true liquid, usually water or chicken/vegetable stock, but some recipes call for anything from juice to beer. You cannot use a sauce or a liquid with any thickeners , which wont add enough of the needed pure liquid to the mix something thats needed to create steam. Doing so results in burnt foods and other problems. Pressure-cooked meals usually require at least one cup of liquid to work properly. Instant Pots will often warn you if they sense a lack of liquid, but it pays to understand what the recipe requires. Add sauces and thickeners after the cooking is completed.
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.
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.
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Problem 4: The Lid Won’t Shut
No matter how much you fight it, the darn lid just won’t close.
The fix:;Check the float valve , that small metal button near the release valve. If it’s up, push it down. The button has to be down for the lid to open or close.
If that doesn’t work, check that the seal in the right spot. It should be tucked in close to the edge of the lid.
What About Other Instant Pot Models
- Duo Plus: Like the Duo, but with a blue LCD display and few more settings . You can toggle to sound off or on.
- Smart WiFi: Generally like the Duo, but you can pair it with an app and use your smartphone to control some of its functions.
- Lux: No yogurt making setting. Does not need a drip catcher. Each setting will remember the cook time you programmed most recently.
- Ultra: Has a central control knob, not as many buttons, and a few more special settings. Has a feature to automatically adjust for pressure cooking at altitude. Quick release button keeps fingers away from the steam release valve. Each setting will remember the cook time you programmed most recently.
- Max: This has a touch screen, a sous-vide function, heats faster, can be programmed to automatically release steam, and offers an altitude adjustment option.
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Safety Time Steam Is Hot
Steam is hotter than boiling water, and it can burn you badly. Keep your hand clear of the steam release valve when you do a quick release. Sometimes I even use the handle of a spoon to push it open instead.
If you have your Instant Pot near cabinets, be mindful when you do a quick releaseit can get a lot of condensation on your cabinets, which can damage them over time. To keep the steam at bay somewhat, you can tent the valve with a kitchen towel during a quick release. Foods like oatmeal, beans, and porridges can sputter goop through the steam valvethe towel trick is handy for those times, too.
Im Getting An Error Code Message
Instant Pots use error codes to indicate specific problems. If a code is popping up, you should look it up to see what it means. You can find a list of the codes on the support page. C1, for example, means theres a faulty temperature sensor, C5 means that theres not enough water in the inner pot, and so on.
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What Is Natural Release On An Instant Pot
On the other end of the scale, there is a natural release for instant pots, this is the way that is most commonly used as it is slow, steady and much safer.
The natural release happens when you turn the black nozzle on the lid to venting, once it is as venting it will slowly depressurize naturally and will take anything from 10-15 minutes.
The natural way is safer, causes less mess with water spewing everywhere and easier. Once the pot has reached a certain level and has depressurized this will then trigger the metal tab to fall and click.
During the natural release you will see the screen turn to L000 this is the timer for how long the food has stopped cooking and the natural release has taken place. Different foods and recipes with require different release times so make sure to look out for that while you are releasing your instant pot
This timer will go up in minutes as time goes on, this does not indicate that the release is done, which can only be identified when the metal valve has dropped.
This will indicate it is ready to open, even once the instant pot is ready you should still take care when opening the lid for access steam.
Which Instant Pot Is Right For Me
There are plenty of options to choose from in the Instant Pot lineup! But which multi-cooker is the right for you? These brief summaries of all the major Instant Pot models will tell you everything you need to know!
Instant Pot Lux
Price: $79, 6-quart
This is the baseline Instant Pot model, featuring six primary functions and 12 built-in programs. It doesnt offer the same number of bells and whistles as the higher-end models, but its a solid choice for anyone looking to save money
Instant Pot Duo
Price: $79-99, 6-quart
The Duo is the most popular Instant Pot model, and its one of our favorites! The major difference between the Duo and the more basic Lux model is that the Duo is a 7-in-1 cooker , setting it one notch above the 6-in-1 Lux for the same price.
Instant Pot Duo Nova
Price: $99, 6-quart
The Duo Nova debuted in 2019 as an upgrade to Instant Pots massively popular Duo model. It offers the same 7-in-1 cooking features as the Duo, but has an upgraded LCD display as well as an upgraded lid design. The new EasySeal lid seals automatically when you start cooking
Instant Pot Duo Plus
Price: $119-129, 6-quart
The Duo Plus is the next step up from the Duo and Duo Nova, with a jump in price to match. This one gets a 9-in-1 moniker for its egg cooking and a sterilizing functions, and it has an upgraded LCD screen thats brighter and easier to read.
Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus
Price: $119, 6-quart
Instant Pot Ultra
Price: $150, 6-quart
Instant Pot Max
Price: $150, 6-quart
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Instant Pot Parts And Accessories
The first thing youll want to do is wash the parts of your Instant Pot. The Instant Pot lid, steam release valve and stainless steel inner pot are dishwasher safe; however, I wash mine by hand. The base unit is not dishwasher safe never immerse the base unit in water.
How Much Water Do I Add
In the IP, you have to account for the water/juices released by meats or veggies, plus some condensation that will happen in your pot while cooking.
The extra water has no way to evaporate. In all my recipes, youll see that I add minimum water, depending on what Im cooking.
Size and type of veggies and meats also determine how much liquid youll end up with.
Check out some of my recipe videos on this site here to see how much water is really needed in different dishes.
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Want More Practice Bring It Back To Pressure
Try it again with the same hot water. This time, press Manual and then adjust the 30 minute default time by pressing the button, then press the + button to go up. Lets do 10 minutes.
You may notice how, if you press Manual and take too long before pressing the other buttons, the cooker will just beep on its own and proceed for 30 a minute pressure cooking time. If you need to re-start, just press Cancel/Keep Warm and start over.
Since the water is in your cooker is already almost boiling to begin with, the cooker will come to pressure a lot faster than it did the first timewithin a minute or so. Itll hiss, then the hissing will abruptly stop as the pressure indicator button goes up. If the hissing just keeps on going, its probably because you left the valve in the venting position instead of sealed. Just use your spoon handle to nudge it back.
What next? Same as before: the cooker beeps, the readout will say 10, and then it will switch to LO:00. You can do quick or natural release, whichever floats your boat.
Pressure Isnt Building In My Pot
This usually happens when the pressure release valve has been turned to open when you sealed the lid, but you didnt notice at the time so steam is just slowly leaking out of the pot as it tries to heat up. This isnt good for the food inside, and it keeps the pot from actually reaching the correct pressure levels.
The best solution for this is to get in the habit of always checking the pressure valve when you seal the lid. Just look and make sure its in the locked position before you select your pressure cooking setting.
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I Am Pressure Cooking But Steam Is Leaking Out
Is steam leaking out of the pressure valve, even when turned to the upper locked position? Its normal for a small amount of steam to leak from the valve while the pot is heating up, but if it continues to leak steam during the pressure cooking cycle, you may have a problem. This could be a sign that you need to clean out and reposition the valve. If this doesnt work, you may even need to replace the valve.
If steam is seeping out the sides, make sure the lid is properly locked for pressure cooking. If the lid seems to be fine, examine your sealing ring. A stretched or cracked ring should be replaced. If the ring has become dislodged, you can usually put it back into place without trouble. A loose ring can firm up if you put it in the freezer for a little while, but this will ultimately hasten the silicone decay, so you should plan on getting a new ring either way.
How Do I Get Into This Thing When Its At Pressure
Now you need to release the pressure. There are two ways:
- Natural release: That means you do nothing but wait. The more food in the Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the pressure to come downas long as 30 minutes if you have, say, a big batch of chili. In a lot of recipes, this time is actually part of the cooking time, and the recipe will specify natural release in the instructions. Think of it as carryover cooking. Youll use natural release with dried beans, a lot of soups and stews, most meats, steamed desserts, and long-cooking vegetables.
- Quick release: With this method, you use the quick release valve and steam shoots up out of it. Once again, the more food in your Instant Pot, the longer it takes for the steam to release. Youll use quick release for quick-cooking foods like tender vegetables and seafoods.
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Know How To Use Natural Pressure Release Vs Quick Release
Once the;Instant Pot is done with Manual / Pressure mode, it will beep so you know its done. Depending on the recipe, youll do a;natural pressure release or quick release .;Some recipes usually with meat or chicken call for NPR to keep the meat tender. Other foods like steamed vegetables use the QR to keep it from going soggy.
With;NPR, dont touch the;Instant Pot.;Just let it sit and naturally release the pressure in the unit usually 10-20 minutes. Once its done for that time, you can release the steam vent on the top of the unit and then open the Instant Pot.
With QR, you can release the steam vent once the Instant Pot beeps that its done. Wait for all the steam to be released, and then open the;Instant Pot. Avoid using QR with meals that have large liquid volume or high starch content as food may platter out from the pressure release valve. Opt for NPR instead.
Another option to QR and NPR is a combination of the two. You could let the;Instant Pot;depressurize in NR mode for 10 minutes, and then press Cancel on the unit and turn the steam release valve to Venting.
What Is An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. However, it can also sauté, slow cook, steam, cook rice, keep foods warm and more. Basically, it works by allowing steam pressure to build up inside the pot, creating a high temperature environment that cooks foods faster. The Instant Pot has many features that make it safer and easier to use than a traditional stove top pressure cooker .
I have the popular 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo but they also make a mini 3-Quart version and a large 8-Quart version. There are also a number of different models available within each sizing. I recommend comparing the differences to find the best Instant Pot model for you.
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What Is Quick Release On An Instant Pot
Instant pots have 2 ways of releasing the pressure from the pot a quick release and natural release. Depending on your time, what you are cooking and how you like to cook will depend on which one you choose to use.
Though the safety latch on the instant pot works the same way with each setting this may also may cause delay in opening your instant pot.
While the quick release is obviously quicker it can also cause mess and be harmful if you are not careful. The quick-release of the steam and pressure can still cause a delay in the pressure fully leaving the pot. Once the instant pot is ready to be opened the small metal latch will have dropped.
If you wish to use the quick release you would be expected to wait roughly 2-5 minutes at the most. Turn the black nozzle to venting until it clicks up, this will completely open the vent to let the pressure out. I suggest using a long tool as to keep your hands away from the steam.
When To Use Natural Release
Certain recipes need, taste and come out better using Natural Release. But in general, I try to develop Instant Pot recipes with Quick Release. Because time, friends. Time. I need to feed my hungry family asap. Aint nobody got time for NR.
But lets go over recipes when you want to use Natural Release:
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Should I Use Quick Release Or Natural Release
After cooking something in your pressure cooker, there are two basic ways to safely release the pressure from the pot:
- Quick Release: The Quick Release method involves turning the steam release handle on top of the lid to Venting. This opens a valve and allows steam to escape rapidly out of the holes in the release handle.
- Natural Release: The Natural Release method is simplejust leave the pot alone! The pressure inside the pot will drop over time as the steam and liquid cool. This take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes for the pot to depressurize naturally, depending on how full the pot is.
Which method you should use depends entirely on what youre making. Quick Release is a good choice when cooking vegetables, seafood, and other foods that are likely to overcook, while Natural Release is good for red meats, stews, and other foods that benefit from a rest period.
Whenever Im not sure which method to use, I like to split the difference by using a combination of both! Ill do Natural Release for 10 minutes, then Quick Release the remaining pressure.
To learn more about the different pressure release methods, and which one to use when, check out this post.