Today I’m going to share with you 10 Things Not to Do with Your Instant Pot. These tips are great for new (and maybe some old) Instant Pot users. Please share this article with your friends that are new to Instant Pot cooking!
10 Things Not to Do with Your Instant Pot (video)
#1: Don’t add thickeners (yet). You’re going to be tempted to add in flour or cornstarch to your Instant Pot to thicken your soup or sauce. And you’ll be able to do that…eventually. But don’t add those thickeners at the beginning (before the pressure cooking time). Add the thickeners after the food has pressure cooked. If you do add these ingredients they will burn to the bottom of the pot and you may get the burn error message.
#2: Don’t underestimate how long it will take to cook a recipe. Just because it’s called an Instant Pot doesn’t mean it’s “instant!” There are 3 time components to a pressure cooker recipe.
- Building pressure
- Pressure cooking
- Pressure releasing
The time that the Instant Pot takes to build pressure can depend on a few different factors (how full the pot is, what the temperature of the food is, etc.) I usually give myself 10 minutes for the pot to pressurize. More about that in this video:
The pressure cooking time for a recipe is the easy part of the recipe…because you can know exactly how long that part will take.
The third part is the pressure release time. Watch this video if you are unfamiliar with quick release and natural pressure release.
Add these three components together to estimate how long a recipe will take to cook. But also realize that once the food is in the pot you have freedom! Get chores done, emails checked, the dishes washed and all the while your food is cooking.
#3: Don’t forget your yogurt starter. I have been making yogurt in my Instant Pot close to every week for the past 2 years. And there have been a handful of times that I’ve forgotten to add the yogurt starter in with the milk. My yogurt recipe is very simple. But it requires that you add 2 Tbsp of yogurt in with the milk. And, unfortunately, there have been a couple of times that I’ve actually forgotten to stir that in. Then when I go to look for my yogurt the next morning it’s still milk. Womp wah.
#4: Don’t worry if you’re Instant Pot doesn’t have a manual button. When you’re reading a recipe and it says “press the manual button” and you don’t have a manual button on your Instant Pot don’t fret. Some models of Instant Pots have a button called “manual” and some have a button called “pressure cook.” They do the exact same thing. They pressure cook your food.
#5: Don’t overfill your pot. Your pressure cooker liner should have a “max fill line.” It’s about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the top of the pot. Make sure that you never fill any liquid over that point. The reason? You need space for the pot to build pressure. If it’s filled all the way to the top there’s no way that pot can build steam and get to pressure when it’s so full. Now let’s say you’re cooking a whole chicken and you have 1 1/2 cups of broth in the bottom of the pot and your chicken comes way up to the top and it’s kind of past that max fill line…don’t worry about that. The max fill line is for liquids. There’s plenty of open space around the chicken for the pot to build enough steam and pressure.
#6: Don’t disregard thickness. Thickness is a very important determinant in how long you’re going to pressure cook. For example, if you have a thin chicken breast that has been sliced into a filet it’s going to take a lot less time to cook than a thick chicken breast. For more info on thickness and chicken watch this video:
#7: Don’t get burned by the steam. The Instant Pot has a ton of safety mechanisms on it. And it is generally really safe. The one thing I would caution you of is when you’re moving the valve from sealing to venting. There will be a rapid escape of steam. Move your hand away so that you don’t get burned. Some people I know like to use a spoon to move the valve from sealing to venting.
#8: Do not use the timer button to pressure cook. The timer button (on some models it’s called delay start) is for a delay start to your cooking. It can be confusing for some people because they assume that “timer” means the time they want to cook their food. If you want to use a delay start set the pressure cook time first with the manual/pressure cook button and then press the timer button/delay start button and set how many hours of a delay you would like.
#9: Don’t brown your meats or saute your onions until the pot says HOT. Many people complain that food sticks to their stainless steel pot when they use the saute setting. Turn the pot to the saute setting and wait for the display to read HOT. Once it says hot you can add in your cool oil and saute your onions or brown your roast. The food won’t stick!
#10: Don’t keep your Instant Pot in the box. Get it out and use it. If you’re nervous and you’re still unsure of how to use it watch my video “How to Use an Instant Pot.”
And if you have it out of the box and you’ve only use it once or twice put it on your countertop. If it’s on your counter you’re going to see it and you’re going to be cued to use it more. The more you use it the more comfortable you’re going to feel with it. You will love your Instant Pot. I promise you.
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