Before I cooked in it, I actually read the user manual. I know, who reads those things, right? I’m usually, more of a skip-the-manual-and-figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of girl, but this time not so much. I didn’t want something to go wrong and I had heard scary stories about pressure cookers exploding. I was a little paranoid that mine might blow up. Don’t worry. It won’t. At least mine hasn’t yet. 😉
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So needless to say my Instant Pot has become a life saver.
1. Quick Release vs. Natural Release
The first time you do a quick release it can be a little scary… okay, A LOT SCARY!
A Quick Release is where you turn the pressure release handle to the “venting position” right after the timer beeps. This will allow the pot to depressurize quickly. This may sound simple enough, but be prepared for the steam to release, it will be quick and it will be HOT! Turn the valve and stand back!
I about peed my pants the first time I released mine. It spit water everywhere and it was LOUD! I wasn’t quite expecting that. Now when I do a quick release I know what to expect. I just stand back a bit and switch the valve to open.
A Natural Release on the other hand is where you just let the Instant Pot cool down on its own until the float valve drops down. This usually takes 10-15 minutes.
2. Building Pressure vs. Cooking
Once you set up what you want it to do, it does take a little bit of time for the pot to come to pressure before it starts to cook. ALWAYS make sure that your float valve is in the “sealing” position. If you forget, you will know, because you will see/hear steam coming out and your pot will not be able to build up enough pressure to cook.
You will know when it starts to cook because the count down timer will appear. I thought that it would just cook right away, I didn’t really understand the pressure part when I first started using it.
So now that I know that the pot needs to build pressure, I allow a little extra time when cooking meals. The time seems to vary. It really depends on the amount of liquid and the condition of the food that you are cooking (frozen or thawed).
If you are like me, you will find that you spend most of your time using the manual function. I rarely use the presets. You will experiment and play around and find out things that work for you, but I tend to use manual the most.
To use this setting, push the Manual button and then Pressure to adjust whether you want to cook with High or Low pressure. Once you’ve decided that, use the + or – to adjust the cook time.
There are things I cook all the time that I just know. For example, I cook hard boiled eggs all the time. I have found that I like to cook them using the Manual function on Low Pressure for 12 minutes. I use a quick release, followed by a 1 minute water bath and voila, done!
4. Sealing Ring
5. Things Will Go Wrong
There is a little bit of a learning curve involved when you start anything new. Just know, that something is bound to go wrong.
One time, I couldn’t figure out why my pot wouldn’t come to pressure. After 25 minutes I finally figured it out… I had forgotten to put the sealing ring back in after I washed it.
Luckily I was cooking corn and it just so happened to be okay with a long steam bath. If I had been cooking chicken or some other meat it wouldn’t have worked out so well.
ALWAYS put your sealing ring back in before you start cooking!
These are just a couple of the things I’ve learned while using my Instant Pot over this last year. I hope you have found them helpful. Don’t be afraid to start using your Instant Pot today!
I promise you that it will become one of your favorite kitchen gadgets! Don’t give up, it’s not so scary after you’ve cooked a couple meals.
Need some ideas to get you started?
Check out my Instant Pot Pinterest Board