Your Food Wont Always Be Ready In An Instant
I think the most deceiving thing about the Instant Pot is the name. Just because you use your Instant Pot to cook a meal, doesnt mean it will be ready significantly faster than it would if you were to cook it on the stove. For example, Instant Pot steel cut oats cook in just a 4 minute cooking cycle, but you still have to wait about 8 to 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, and another 15 to 20 minutes for the pressure to release. That means it takes closer to 30 minutes for your oatmeal to be done.
The real advantage to cooking with your Instant Pot is that the process is almost completely hands-off, so it feels like you have more time on your hands. Instead of standing by the stove, watching to make sure nothing burns or boils over, you have your hands free to finish other tasks around your house. It makes you the ultimate multi-tasker, which is why so many people have fallen in love with it.
As an added bonus, cooking with your Instant Pot preserves more nutrients when compared to other methods of cooking! This is possibly due to the fact that it rarely reaches a temperature higher than 250ºF inside the pot, or that it cooks food faster, giving it less of an opportunity to lose nutrients.
Using A Quick Release
A quick-release is once you manually force the pressure to begin releasing from the pressure cooker by turning the steam discharge valve into your venting position.
You need to be cautious when you turn the valve since scalding steam will instantly begin to escape. Some people make use of the grip of a long spoon to slowly maneuver the vapor discharge valve so that their hand is not near the valve.
Also, you would like to keep your body away from the valve. Use a quick-release whenever you would like to end the cooking process fast to avoid overcooked food, also for tender cuts of beef
How To Use A 6
- Make a Single Layer 6-Inch Cake from a Single Layer 9-Inch Cake Recipe. Halve any recipe written for a single layer 9-inch cake and bake it in a 6-inch pan. Be sure to check it several minutes early, as the smaller cake may bake more quickly.
- Make an Adorable Double Layer 6-Inch Cake from a Single Layer 9-Inch Cake Recipe. Keep the 9-inch single layer cake recipe the same. Divide the batter between two 6-inch pans. If you dont want to purchase two 6-inch pans, you can bake the layers one at a time. Be sure to let the pan cool to room temperature in between.
- Make an Double Layer 6-Inch Cake from a Double Layer 9-Inch Cake Recipe. Halve the 9-inch cake recipe. Divide the batter between two 6-inch pans , unless you want to make a teetering-but-impressive 4-layer 6-inch cake, in which case, I want to see photos!
- For Recipes Written for Cake Sizes other than 9-Inches, I recommend using this conversion link to compare the pan volumes and using your best judgement.
Or just bake this Instant Pot Cake! The recipe is ready to go for a 6-inch pan as-is.
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How Will I Know It Is Safe To Open My Instant Pot
You will need to wait until the float drops back into the plastic before you move to open the Instant Pot.
When the instant pot lid looks similar to this with the metal valve dropped below the plastic level this is when the instant pot has depressurized and it is safe to open the lid.
If the instant pot looks more like the image below where the metal valve is still visible this is a clear indication that the instant pot has not depressurized and is unsafe to open.
How long the Instant Pot takes to depressurize will depend on whether you decide to adjust the vent from the sealing position to the venting position.
When adjusting this setting youll want to keep your head away from the Instant Pot and use a tool to adjust it instead of your hands as the machine will likely be very hot.
If your Instant Pot is set to natural release then the pressure will likely take anything from between 10 minutes to one hour to come down to a point in which youre able to open the Instant Pot.
However, if your Instant Pot is set to quick release then youll be able to open your lid around two minutes after the timer has stopped counting down
Quick-release will mean that the steam comes out of the vent in a higher volume which can be more dangerous so be sure to give the machine some space and keep your face away from it at this time.
When you do open your Instant Pot be sure that you do so by pointing the inside of the lid away from your face.
Can Instant Pot Be Used For Canning
Why Make Jam in the Instant Pot. Ever since I got my Instant Pot, I prefer to cook jams and chutneys in that instead of the stove. Heres why: Pressure cooking the fruit and sugar gives me a head start on the cooking process.
Glass canning jars are designed for pressure canning. Unless you have the Instant Pot Max model, you wont be using these jars to can in your Instant Pot. Many Instant Pot owners use canning jars to pressure cook successfully. They are glass, so they can break but they are created to withstand the pressure during canning.
Clearly, the reason you want to use an instant pot pressure cooker to help can products is because it can help kill harmful bacteria and maintain the foods flavor. Is Instant Pot Water Bath Canning a Good Idea. As for high acid water bath canning this is going to be perfectly fine if you have a larger model Instant Pot.
This Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce is the best of both worlds. This instant pot pasta sauce is almost as fast an easy as jarred saucealmost. And its infinitely more delicious, with a flavor that says cooked from scratch and simmered for hours. Its amazing in recipes like my Easiest Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, for example.
I use three Oui Yoplait brand yogurt jars to elevate my steamer basket because I dont own an Instant Pot trivet. The little jars elevate my steamer basket to a great height for juicing. You dont want your grapes swimming in the juice at the bottom of the pot, if you can help it.
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Lets Try The Quick Release
Back to our pot of water: Push the steam release valve to the venting position using a long-handled spoon or your finger. Just keep your fingers to the side and away from the top of the knob where the steam vents.
This valve should stay open on its own once you nudge it. The steam will come shooting up and be a little noisy.
Releasing all of the steam can take a minute or more. The more liquid in the cooker, the longer the release will take. With the 3 cups of water, it took mine 45 seconds.
Natural Vs Manual Pressure Release
When the cook time is up on your Instant Pot, there’s still one more step — releasing the pressure.
There are two ways the pressure can be released. With natural pressure release, the valve on the lid stays in Sealing position and the pressure dissipates naturally over time. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour, depending on what you were cooking. Low-liquid meals take much less time than high-liquid meals, like soup or chili.
The other option is manual pressure release . Here, you’ll carefully move the valve into Venting position and watch as steam shoots out of it, releasing the pressure. This method is much faster, but very high-liquid meals, like soup, can still take about 15 minutes to release pressure manually.
So which one should you use? Consider that with natural pressure release, the Instant Pot is still full of pressure, so the food will continue cooking while the Instant Pot is in Sealing mode. Manual pressure release is useful — and necessary — when you’ve built in enough cooking time and cooking needs to be stopped as fast as possible.
If the goal is to cook a meal quickly, set enough time on the Instant Pot to cook your food and release the pressure manually when the time is up.
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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 Do You Release An Instant Pot Naturally
When your Instant Pot is done cooking you have to release the pressure inside the pot before you can take the lid off.
After all, its the built-up pressure inside that could cause an Instant Pot to explode, so make sure you know how to release the pressure correctly.
There are 2 basic ways of doing that, the quick release, and the natural release.
It goes without saying that you if you try to open the lid without releasing the pressure you could cause the Instant Pot to explode or damage it in the process both of which could be hazardous.
Here is a breakdown of the 2 release methods and why you might want to do one or the other:
QUICK PRESSURE RELEASE
- Why you might want to do it Ideal when you want to quickly stop the cooking process so you dont overcook your food. For example, cooking brussels sprouts or chunks of potatoes both of which could get mushy quickly. Things like seafood also lose their delicate texture when overcooked. Avoid using this with foods that tend to sputter. Usually, the quick release is done inside of a couple of minutes
- How to do it Simply turn the pressure release valve from center to the left or right
NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE
Not sure if your pressure cookers noises are normal?
I wrote a recent article that breaks down exactly what noises are OK AND which ones arent. Its normal for a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to make some noise or expel some steam and pressure.
But you make sure you know the difference!
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Straight From The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Manual:
- Prior to each use, inspect to make sure the sealing ring is well seated in the sealing ring rack and the anti-block shield is mounted properly on the steam release pipe. A properly seated sealing ring can be shifted, with a bit of effort, clockwise or anti-clockwise inside the sealing ring rack.
- Never pull the sealing ring by force, as the pulling may cause deformation and affect its function in sealing the pressure.
- A sealing ring with cracks, cuts or other damages should not be used.
Avoid these mistakes will save you some stress & frustrations in using your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker!
I hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing this post Jacky
*Disclosure: We are an Amazon Influencer/Amazon Associate. This means that if you decide to purchase items or services on Amazon through our links on Pressure Cook Recipes to Amazon, Amazon will send a small commission to us at no additional costs to you. Thank you!
How To Perform A Quick Release
The Instant pot has a pressure switch at the top which you can set to either venting or sealing. If you are pressure cooking, you will need to have it set at sealing.
This seals the Instant Pot and allows pressure to build up inside. When the pressure is built up in the pot, the float valve will rise up.
At this point, you then set the timer to the required cooking time like 10 minutes. Once the timer runs down to zero, you then need to move the switch from sealing to venting and steam will be released.
You need to be careful when performing this step as the steam can get really hot and burn you. You also want to do a quick release away from any cupboards and walls as these can get damaged over time. Not all recipes should use a quick release.
If you are cooking beans, for example, they can break up and some meats can actually toughen up. You need to need to use a slow-release in such instances.
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The Getting Started Guide Series
Other How To Guides
- How to Get a Pan Out of the Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot
- How to Use the Pot-in-Pot Method in Your Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot
- How to Convert a Recipe to a Pressure Cooker Recipe
- How to Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts
- How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot / Electric Pressure Cooker
- Which Instant Pot Buttons To Use
- Our Favorite Pressure Cooker Accessories
New to the Pressure Cooking World? Here are some of our favorite beginner’s recipes to get you started:
- Easy Recipes for the Pressure Cooker
- How to Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts
- How to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot / Electric Pressure Cooker
- How to Make Perfect Pressure Cooker Cheesecake
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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.
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How To Quickly Release The Pressure
If a recipe calls for a quick release, that means youll need to move the steam release valve from the Sealing position to the Venting position as soon as the Instant Pot beeps, signaling that the cooking cycle is complete.
Make sure that you dont place your hand directly over the vent, as steam will shoot out the top of the steam release valve. Instead, keep your hand to the side of the valve or use a spoon to turn the vent, if youre on the extra-cautious side. I always use my hand and have never had an issue.
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What Happens If You Overfill An Instant Pot
If an Instant Pot is over-filled it could block the pressure release valve resulting in dangerously high pressure inside. But if excess water is added, it can result in overcooked and mushy, bland food.
Instant Pots work by maintaining a high pressure inside the unit.
This helps cook the food faster. Because there is a finite amount of space, it stands to reason that aside from your food and cooking liquid, you also have to allow room for the steam coming off the cooking liquid and the pressure in general.
So its very important to NOT overfill an Instant Pot .
If you do overfill an Instant Pot, the following are some of the possibilities that could happen:
- The food could block the pressure release valve with this blocked, it may delay your ability to release the steam making it take longer to get the lid off. At best it could delay your meal, but if it was totally blocked, it could make it dangerous trying to get the lid off.
- It could force you to add too much water Pressure cookers rely on cooking liquid to cook the food and keep it from sticking or burning. You shouldnt use more than 1 1/2 cups of cooking liquid in your Instant Pot. But if you add too much food, youll have to add additional water to keep it from sticking or burning. Extra water means extra steam & pressure, which again could be dangerous or at least prevent you from cooking the food properly since the Instant Pots safety features would likely kick in.
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