Getting Your Instant Pot To Pressurize You Can Do It
Below, Im sharing the top 6 reasons that can keep your Instant Pot from pressurizing.
Ive experienced all of these instances at one time or another, and you will likely experience some of the same issues at some point in time its just par for the course and part of the learning curve for using an Instant Pot.
So before you toss your Instant Pot out in frustration, consider which reason is likely the culprit and youll be armed and ready. Read on!
Do You Know Quantum Mechanics
Do you actually love cooking? Tasting the sauce, adding a little bit of this and that? Adjusting the spices? Seeing the magical transformation of ingredients? Well, cooking using a pressure cooker method is totally different!
I dont know if you need a degree in quantum mechanics or physics but figuring out how long to cook something in your Instant Pot is not easy! Deciding what spices to use and if the recipe needs more of something else is only done at the end of the cooking process. You cant simply open the lid and check if something is done or not. Remember the pressure?
There are some recipes that require opening the pot and adding potatoes or pasta and then cooking for another few minutes. And if this sounds easy with a conventional way of cooking, using an Instant Pot to do that means that extra 10 minutes of cooking actually could mean extra 20-25 minutes. Remember that to open the lid you need to release the pressure , then the pot needs to come to pressure again , and then once everything is cooked, you need to release the pressure one more time. So, 10 min+5+5+5 is 25 minutes.
How The Timer On An Instant Pot Works
An Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen items one can have. While in its simplest form it is usually described as a pressure cooker, its much more than that.
An Instant Pot can saute, slow cook, and it can even make rice and steam vegetables and poultry. They make cooking much easier and cut the time it takes to prepare a meal by a huge amount.
In fact, you can actually make those time-consuming like pulled pork in about an hour.
One of the most important components of an Instant Pot is the timer. Its responsible for letting you know how much longer you have to wait, while also making sure your food is always cooked just right.
At first glance, the timer can be overwhelming as there are so many buttons and settings to choose from that it leaves a lot of first-time users confused.
While the buttons on your pot all have names of different types of food on them, they actually correspond to a specific set of minutes that you can adjust manually.
In this article, we take a look at how the timer on an Instant Pot works, and how you can make adjustments to really make the best meal possible.
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Instant Pot Wont Come To Pressure If Your Liquid Is Too Thick
In order for your liquid to produce steam, it has to be thin enough to produce steam. Many times you will get a burn notice before your Instant Pot even begins when sauce is too thick. This has happened to me with spaghetti sauces and even stews and soups.
If you have a thicker liquid in your pot, you are going to want to thin it down. You can do this by adding 1 cup of broth or water to the sauce. Then, try to cook it again.
Tips For Using Instant Pot
Instant pots are multi-functional.
They come with a lot of buttons, and if you dont know how to use them properly, you wont be able to reap the benefits.
Here are a few tips you can keep in mind before using an instant pot.
- Your instant pot comes with a user manual that details how the pot functions. Before you start using the pot, make it a point to go through the entire manual.
- While pressure cooking, the pot uses the steam from the water to cook your food. So you should put at least half or one cup of water into the food that you are cooking. Instead of water, you can also add broth to make your food flavorful.
- Explore the different functions of your instant pot. For example, change its temperature depending on the food that you are cooking for optimum convenience.
- When you are cooking something at a set timer of 30 minutes, count in a little extra cooking time. The real work inside the pot begins after the water is completely warm and the pressure inside the cooker is ample. This process takes about 15 minutes, depending solely on the amount of food you are cooking.
- The instant pot boils your food very well. But this can often lead to overcooking. I am sure you are not a fan of overcooked veggies or meat. So keep the time in check when you are using the pot for cooking food.
Recommended Reading: How To Steam Pre Cooked Tamales
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.
Something’s Up With Your Instant Pot
Pressure cookers can be picky, and if one thing is off, your food is at risk. Some of the most common culprits include using a damaged or dirty sealing ring, not closing the lid all the way, and a dirty Instant Pot. If there are food debris in your Instant Pot, they can compromise the pressure by blocking a part, such as the float valve, or simply burn up along the inner pot’s underside.
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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.
Spot & Avoid Recipes For Disaster
The internet has made it incredibly easy, and exciting, for anyone to share pressure cooker recipes at the push of a button. Unfortunately, the recipe author may not be aware of how the pressure cooker works which is why its important to only follow recipes from trusted sources.
Heres how to spot a recipe that could lead to an unexpected eruption after the lid of the pressure cooker is removed:
- Read your pressure cooker manual, and pay special attention to the list of foods to avoid pressure cooking such as oatmeal, applesauce, pasta and split peas/lentils some of these can be pressure cooked safely following specific precautions such as: pressure cooking oatmeal in a bowl, ensuring pasta has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, and specific cautions for split peas . In addition, do not pressure cook hard liquor heres why.
- Never overfill the pressure cooker follow the filling guidelines detailed in the manual: no more than 1/2 full for beans, rice and grains and no more than 2/3 full for everything else here are more details on this.
- Avoid recipes that include steps for thickening or use thickening agents before pressure cooking . These include:
- instructions for pureeing ingredients before pressure cooking,
- adding flour, starch, gum before pressure cooking, and
- prepared ingredients such as soup/salad dressing/meat flavoring packets, condensed soup cans, jars of commercially produced sauce.
Recommended Reading: What To Do If Your Instant Pot Says Burn
So What Are Some Things That I Like About My Instant Pot
- I feel like I have to start this list with humble eggs. Eggs boiled in Instant Pot are some of the easiest to peel. Heres one of the ways to make Hard-Boiled Eggs in Instant Pot.
- Also, I think that this totally deserves a sub-point. If you like quail eggs then you know that they are notoriously difficult to peel. Making them in my Instant Pot helped a lot with peeling. It wasnt as easy as with regular chicken eggs but so much better than if they were conventionally boiled.
What To Expect During The Water Test
-The 3 Stages of Pressure Cooking-
Read Also: Pre Smoked Ribs
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.
Put Instant Pot On The Stovetop And Accidentally Turned The Dial
Mistake: Due to convenience or limited counter space, some users like to place their Instant Pot on the stovetop. Sometimes, things happenand we see melted burnt Instant Pot bottom.
Sorry, we dont have a picture to show you the aftermath, but we see this happen frequently.
Solution: Please dont put the Instant Pot directly on the stovetop. Some users lay a wooden board between the stovetop and Instant Pot to prevent this disaster.
Or, you can get this cart from IKEA, as it fits the Instant Pot perfectly.
*Note: this is not sponsored by IKEA, just that many Instant Pot users find the cart very handy.
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You Can Cook Pot In Pot
This means you can use your pot for canning. It also means you can make breads and cook more than one thing at the same time and NOT have touching food! Does that make sense? You can insert a small pan for rice and then another that will hold your chicken and you can cook them TOGETHER. AT ONCE.
Here are my favorite pans to use for the PIP method. Anything that is oven safe is normally IP safe, including silicone molds and forms!
Press The Timer Button To Set Cooking Time
Mistake: Some new users have mistaken the Timer button for setting the cooking time, then wondered why the Instant Pot is just sitting there not doing anything.
The Timer button is actually for delayed cooking.
Solution: Before you decide to return your Instant Pot for not working properly, check to see if the Timer Button is lit . If so, press Keep Warm/Cancel Button to start again.
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Can Instant Pot Be Used For Pressure Canning
This is a direct quote from Instant Pots official website: Instant Pot has not been tested for food safety in pressure canning by USDA. Due to the fact that programs in Instant Pot IP-CSG, IP-LUX and IP-DUO series are regulated by a pressure sensor instead of a thermometer, the elevation of your location may affect the actual cooking temperature. For now, we wouldnt recommend using Instant Pot for pressure canning purpose.
Cooking Times Are Based On Size Not Weight
This is very important. People often think that times go up as weight goes up. Thats not really the case here. Time goes up as SIZE of the chunk you are cooking goes up.
For example I have a 1 lb pork shoulder and a 3 lb pork shoulder. If I cut my 3 lb pork shoulder into roughly 1 lb chunks I would cook all three of those 1 lb pieces the same amount of time that I would cook the single 1 lb roast.
Larger chunks = more cooking time.
Also Check: How To Cook Frozen Tamales In Instant Pot
Instant Pot Tips For Beginners
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Learn how to use and better understand your Instant Pot with these 10 Instant Pot tips for beginners.
Are you new to the Instant Pot or perhaps have been too intimidated to even open the box? Get started! Believe meyou are going to love it. It has become a vital tool in my kitchen. I want to share 10 Instant Pot tips with you to help you gain your confidence and better understand your Instant Pot.
I bought my Instant Pot a number of years ago before it gained its current popularity. We had moved back to Canada from Australia and I needed to repurchase my small kitchen appliances. I had a slow cooker on my list and somebody mentioned that I should get an Instant Pot instead. Initially, I was a little hesitant and freaked out since when I heard the term pressure cooker, I had memories of a traditional version we had received as a wedding gift that I found absolutely terrifying to use.
I am so happy that I took the plunge and bought it. I dont have too many kitchen gadgets but the Instant Pot has become one of my must-haves. My Instant Pot gets used multiple times a week and sometimes daily for either a component of a meal or to make the main course itself.