Instant Pot Instructions and Basics
The best way to get to know your new Instant Pot is to test it with just water. This will also rinse a new unit! To test, all you do is:
- Add two cups of water into the stainless steel pressure cooking pot
- Lock the lid in place
- Make sure the valve is in the sealing/pressure cooking position
- Select the *Steam* cooking button. It should display a 10 minute cook time
- Press the *-* button until you get to 3 minutes
- Wait until it beeps and says *On*
- It will take a few minutes for the water to heat up and build pressure…then you will hear the unit begin to work. When pressure is reached, you will see the small silver button next to the steam release handle come up. From there, the time will start counting down for Natural Pressure Release (see below)
Natural vs. Quick Release
The second thing you’ll need to know is how to release the pressure once it’s done pressure cooking. For most recipes, you don’t need to touch anything and let the pressure release by itself (natural release). Depending on the volume of liquid in the pot, it takes approximately 10-30 minutes to depressurize naturally. The Instant Pot will countdown the natural pressure release time once the cooking process is complete. The silver button will come down when the unit is depressurized.
The quick release method is used by manually turning the steam release handle to the “venting” position to let the steam out of the cooker to quickly stop cooking. It’s important to keep your fingers/hands away from the top of the steam release valve (the steam will rush out where the three holes are). The steam that exits is warm, rather than scalding hot, but stay clear of the valve anyway. With quick release, the Instant Pot can take several minutes to depressurize. Don’t be surprised if a good amount of steam comes out. It won’t turn your kitchen into a Cancun discoteca, but it’s a good amount. Like a natural release, the silver button will come down when the unit is depressurized. The company does not recommend using the quick release method if you’re cooking food with high starch content (oatmeal, pasta), as this may cause food to spill out from the steam release handle. Quick release is best for scenarios when you want to abruptly stop the cooking process.
Please note, it is very important to wait until the Instant Pot has released all of the steam (by natural or quick release) that has built up inside before you open it and take off the lid. DO NOT force the lid open before depressurizing.
Use the *Saute* button, then the *Adjust button*. The heat level of Saute mode is controlled by the *Adjust* button. According to the Instant Pot website: “3 levels of temperature can be chosen with the *Adjust* key for best results”
*More*: Medium High heat for darker browning
*Normal*: Medium heat for regular browning
*Less*: Low heat for light browning.
The *Saute – Normal* is your best bet for general sauteing, browning and reducing excess liquid. For boiling, use the Adjust button to switch to *Saute- More*.
Keep Warm/Cancel Button
Use this button to cancel a function or turn off your pressure cooker.
*Pressure Cook* Button (*Manual* button for older versions)
This is an all-purpose button. Use the pressure cook button if a recipe directs you to pressure cook on high pressure for a specific number of minutes. Use the *+* and *-* buttons to increase or decrease the cooking time. Remember, if your meat is not fully cooked or tender, just reseal and add more time (start with 10 additional minutes on high pressure in most cases).
Keep in mind that pressure cookers need pot space to build pressure – don’t fill past 2/3rds full.