How To Cook Pot
One of my favorite perks of the Instant Pot is that you can cook two dishes at the same time! Its called pot-in-pot cooking, where one dish cooks on the bottom of the pot, and then a separate bowl of food can cook on top of that. You can see an example of this with my Chipotle Burrito Bowls. In this case, the spiced black beans cook on the bottom while a bowl of brown rice cooks on top, both from scratch in a 30-minute cooking cycle.
Ive dedicated an entire blog post to pot-in-pot cooking, so you can get a better idea of which ingredients can be cooked together at the same time. There are also several recipes in my cookbook that teach you how to cook rice, cauliflower rice, and cauliflower mashed potatoes at the same time as your main entree.
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.
What Is A Natural Pressure Release Vs Quick Release
Two methods can be used to release pressure: natural release and quick release.
Natural pressure release is just that you leave the lids valve in the sealing position and allow the pressure to dissipate naturally over time. It can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on what youre cooking. High-liquid meals, like soup and chili, require more time than low-liquid dishes .
Theres also a quick release option . Youll carefully move the valve into the venting position here, releasing the pressure manually. Steam will shoot out of the vent until all the pressure is released. The quick release method is much faster, but it will still take time to release the steam through the vent, especially for very high-liquid meals, like soup.
Which method you use depends on the food youre making. There are cases for both. With a natural pressure release, the Instant Pot is still full of pressure, so the food will continue cooking as the pressure naturally dissipates. This is good for soups and stews, braised meats, and whenever you have time. Manual pressure release is useful when cooking needs to be stopped as fast as possible, like with steaming vegetables, cooking potatoes and eggs, pasta and rice.
A good recipe should say which method to use. If in doubt, you can do a hybrid release where you do a 10 minute natural release, then manually release the remaining pressure.
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How To Cook With The Instant Pot
Many recipes follow the same type of cooking instructions, though things like rice, pasta, eggs, and yogurt will be different. For most recipes, you will follow these basic steps:
The above steps can vary quite a bit, depending on the recipe, but most of what I cook in my Instant Pot follows that sequence.
The Instant Pot Display Wont Turn On
Most display issues are often the direct result of a power problem. One quick way to try and fix your display is to make sure the power cord is fully plugged into your Instant Pot. If you previously tried this and the screen still wouldnt turn on, you should try to plug your Instant Pot into a separate outlet entirely. If youre still unsuccessful, contact Instant Pot support.
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How Many Instant Pots Have Exploded
I cant answer this with an exact number. However, I can say that it has happened before.
In March of 2018, a woman claimed that her Instant Pot exploded after she put a kitchen towel over the release valve as it was venting.
As a result, she claimed that the soup was cooking shot several feet from the cooker, burning her neck and arm.
Also, in March of 2018, more than 100,000 Instant Pot 8-in-1 multicookers were recalled as they posed a fire hazard. A manufacturer defect was causing the multicooker to overheat and melt the bottom.
However, while that recall was for an Instant Pot branded product, that was actually NOT a pressure cooker.
So, can they explode? Possibly. Nothing is perfect, including manufacturers and users.
That said, there are millions of Instant Pots in peoples homes. If they posed a significant risk of exploding, consumers would be aware of the issue. They wouldnt even have to Google it because it would be all over the news.
Using the Instant Pot for the first time to make beer braised pulled pork. Will I explode? I am scared
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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What Does Snopes Say About Instant Pot Explosions
I searched Instant Pot just to be general, Instant Pot exploding, and Instant Pot explosion. Neither of these searches was fruitful as it relates to exploding Instant Pots.
I did find an article about the Multicooker melting down that I mentioned above, but I didnt find even one article that mentioned exploding Instant Pots.
So again, while its possible one has actually exploded due to a manufacturers defect, there is really no evidence of it. At least not that I could find.
Bad things happen if you overfill your instant pot ever so slightly.
You dont want to know how I know.
How To Make Sure The Instant Pot Is Sealed To Build Pressure
Check and make sure that the silicone sealing ring is properly seated around the ring rack. If it’s properly seated, you should be able to rotate it with some effort.
Take a look at the float valve and anti-block shield. The shield can be taken off to be cleaned after use, but you want to make sure that it’s back in place afterwards. Both the float valve and anti-block shield should be clean and free of debris.
Make sure that the pressure release valve is in place, and it is set to the Sealing position .
For those who have the Instant Pot Ultra model, it automatically seals for you so you don’t have to manually do it yourself.
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What Is Natural Release On Instant Pot
Instant Pot is a pressure cooker. How does it work? It creates pressure inside the sealed pot from added thin liquid like water. After food is cooked, pressure has to come down before we can open Instant Pot. Learn more how this is much different than a slow cooker!
Here is how Instant Pot cooking process goes:
Natural Release means to let pressure inside Instant Pot to come down on its own.
Do You Need To Double The Cook Time For A Double Recipe
If you would like to double an Instant Pot recipe, you may double the ingredients . You do not need to double the cook time.
However, you may need to adjust the cook time based on the size/width of meat and vegetables. For example, a small 8 ounce chicken breast will cook faster than a large 12 ounce chicken breast and a small sweet potato will cook faster than a large sweet potato. Read all recipes and directions carefully to determine how long to cook your food.
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What Comes In The Box
Depending on your specific model of Instant Pot, in the box you should generally find:
- An owners manual, for one. Its boring and confusing, which is why you are reading this. But dont get rid of it!
- A recipe booklet. Some of these recipes are good, some arent so hot, but they all work. Still, hang onto this, too.
- A big ol lid.
Be Careful With The Lid
Locking the lid properly is important before any pressure cooking. A lid that’s off kilter or unlocked can explode off and cause burns. Trust me, I’ve seen a pressure cooker explode. It is literally a hot mess.
Always double-check that the sealing ring is properly in position under the lid, clean and free of debris before cooking. Otherwise, your lid may not seal.
Finally, twist the lid clockwise and align the arrow with the locked icon to get the pot to lock properly. Your display should flash “Lid” if it isn’t placed correctly.
Remember, programs start cooking 10 seconds after you press the button. So, be sure you have your lid sealed and the steam release handle where it needs to be before you press Saute, Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Yogurt or any of the other program buttons.
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Have Any Instant Pots Been Recalled For Safety Reasons
The only Instant Pot recall for safety issues was specifically for their Gem Multi-cooker which was recalled for overheating issues.
In fact, you can check the company website under the support menu to where it says Product Recall and youll see the only product from Instant Pot to have ever been recalled is the Gem 65 8-in-1 Multicooker .
So no Instant Pot pressure cooker has ever been recalled, had an official safety issue, nor are there any verifiable records I found of explosions.
So Instant Pots do NOT explode.
S Of A Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker has five parts. These are the whistle, valve, lid, rubber ring and pot. The rubber ring ensures that no air escapes the container. The valve located on top of the cooker is designed to release pressure inside the pot after reaching a certain amount of pressure. This safety measure is put in place to avoid buildups which can cause the lid of the pot flying off, as discussed in article 1. Finally, the whistle tells the user if the food has already finished cooking.
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Lets Put This Thing Together
First, wash and dry the lid, gasket, and metal insert. Now youre ready.
On the back of the cooker, youll see a spot where the drip catcher goes. Slide it right in. Its made to remove easily, so you can empty it. Without the catcher, youd wind up with small puddles on your counter.
Pop the insert in the cooker. Now insert the power cord into the cookers socket. Plug it in. The digital display on the front should now read OFF. Your cooker is now in standby mode.
Slide the rubbery gasket ring under the lid there’s a bracket where it will snap into place. The gasket helps seal the pot, allowing it to come to pressure.
On the underside of the lid is also a small metal cage. It will be round or rectangular, depending on your Instant Pot model, and it helps keep the valve from getting clogged with bits of food. Its removable so you can clean it out if necessary, but you probably won’t need to do this very often.
Look for arrows on the top of the lid and side of the cooker. Line these up to get the lid on and off. The first dozen or so times you use your IP, this whole getting-the-lid-on-and-off will feel unnatural, because your cooker is new and so are you. Itll eventually become second nature. If the cooker is plugged in, it bleeps cheerfully when you open and close it.
Next to the steam release is the pressure indicator. This is a little metal cylinder that the steam pushes up its a manual indicator that the unit has attained pressure.
When To Use Natural Pressure Release
A Natural Pressure Release allows the pressure to get released gradually, hence the cooking time is also increased. You wont like to open the valve quickly to find out the ingredients foaming. It might not be quite safe.
Thus, you must use this method to make large pots of soups, pasts or steel cut oats. Large cuts of meat become more tender if you let it cook in the pressure cooker gradually. Other recipes that you can try using the natural pressure release process are turkey breasts, beef ribs, pork etc.
If youre scared of the jet of steam released by the quick release process but your recipe requires using that method, I can find you a solution. Just reduce the cook time and use the natural pressure release method!
You must remember that the cooking continues as the pressure is decreasing in this process. Therefore, set your time accordingly.
These two are the main methods that should be used to open the instant pot. Another method that can be used is the intermittent pressure release method.
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Safety Tips During The Cooking Process
It’s important to understand how to fill the inner cooking pot, not just for proper cooking, but for general safety. If you are cooking any foods that expand, such as grains, beans, or dried vegetables, you should only fill it up to the halfway mark. Liquids should never go higher than the two-thirds mark. If the pot is properly filled, then you don’t risk hot liquid or starch spewing out from the pressure release valve. Also, the more liquid there is, the longer it will take to come to pressure.
Before you put that lid on, you should double check to make sure that the silicone sealing ring is properly seated, the anti-block shield is in place, and the pressure release valve is on top and set to the Sealing position. All of these elements ensure that the Instant Pot will come to pressure. Otherwise, if it’s not sealing, then the liquid inside eventually evaporates and the food gets burned to the bottom of the pot.
The lid should also always be closed properly and locked before you start the cooking cycle. To properly close it, have the pressure release valve at around the 10 o’clock position, and then turn it clockwise until it locks in to place. When the food is done cooking, it’s impossible to open the Instant Pot until it has depressurized. It’s a safety mechanism, so it’s impossible for it to do something like blow up.
Q: When Do I Use A Quick Pressure Release
Using a quick pressure release stops the pressure cooking quickly. Therefore, you should use a quick pressure release when you are cooking ingredients, like vegetables, that you want to avoid overcooking.
I use a quick pressure release when I make my Quick Pressure Cooker Potato Salad so the potatoes are tender but still chunky and hold their shape.
Our Favorite Recipes to use Quick Pressure Release:
Dont use a quick release with ingredients that foam or have fatty or thick ingredients.
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It Can Take Time For Your Instant Pot To Build And Release Pressure
Depending on the recipe and the amount of food youre cooking, it can take up to 40 minutes for your Instant Pot to fully build pressure. But remember, releasing that pressure from your Instant Pot takes time, too.
A Quick Release only takes a few minutes, but Natural Releases take 10-40 minutes, which can really add to your overall cook time.
Before starting your Instant Pot recipe, dont forget to factor in the time it takes to build and release pressure. A 15-minute recipe can quickly turn into a 35-minute recipe when you account for the whole process.