Are you somewhat new to the world of electric pressure cooking? I have 5 more things not to do with your Instant Pot to share with you today. These tips of things NOT to do will help you avoid some common Instant Pot mistakes.
5 more things not to do with your Instant Pot
Before you read this article make sure to read the original article called 5 things not to do with your Instant Pot. You might also like this article called 7 Instant Pot mistakes. And if you’re a brand new Instant Pot beginner you will probably want to print off my step by step guide to get your started.
1. Don’t double the cooking time.
I often get the question, “I want to double this recipe. Do I double the cooking time?”
Most often the cooking time will be the same when you double a recipe. Pressure cooking cooks each piece of food equally. That means that each piece of chicken (2, 4 or 8) will require the same cooking time, and so will each grain of rice. That’s because the pressure cooking time is determined by the size and not the quantity of food. In other words, the pressure cooking time is the amount of time the food requires to be cooked all the way to the center.
Doubling the THICKNESS of meats, veggies, and other foods DOES require increasing cook time. This is why someone else’s recommended 8 minutes for a whole potato won’t cook your super duper sized baking potato. However remember that a 2 pound roast is not necessarily twice as thick as a 1 pound roast. If you double the time just due to weight you might get unsatisfactory results.
2. Don’t forget to add thin liquid
In order for a pressure cooker to work properly it needs to build pressure with steam. The steam is created by water, broth or another thin liquid that you add into the pot. In order for your pot to come to pressure you’ll need approximately 1 to 1.5 cups of liquid in your 6 quart Instant Pot.
If you don’t add any liquid into your Instant Pot you will most likely get the BURN message error. Here is the best explanation I’ve read about the BURN message error. It was from someone who works at Instant Pot. I think it will really help you too:
“To avoid getting a burn warning on your pot or a countdown without pressure, or if you get one and need to fix it, you just need to understand the basics of how pressure cooking works. The liquid inside the pot boils, which creates the steam and ultimately the pressure because it’s in a sealed pot where the steam can’t escape. So to successfully cook in it, you need liquid that can boil without scorching….it needs to be on the bottom and water consistency. Burn problems come in when you start adding things that thicken and stir them into your liquid (examples would be tomato sauce or other tomato products, cream soups, thick sauces, etc). When you do that, now that liquid is too thick to boil without burning on the bottom of the pot. Once that happens, the pot will never come to pressure until you scrape off anything burned on the bottom and add more liquid to thin it out.
One helpful way to think of it is this: could I put this on the stove in a pot and bring it to a boil and never stir, and not have it burn? If the answer is no (lasagna, chili, spaghetti sauce, gravy, etc) then it won’t work in the Instant Pot either without some work-arounds.
One of the best work-arounds (besides pot-in-pot or PIP) is layering. So for something like spaghetti, you put your meat in the bottom, then your pasta, then your water, then pour the sauce on top and don’t stir. This lets you cook with a thick sauce without it thickening your thin liquid and keeps it off the bottom of the pot.
Keep in mind that casserole-type dishes (thick, layered dishes like lasagna, taco pies, egg bakes, etc.) do not work directly in the pot because they just absorb your liquid, leaving nothing to pressurize the pot. You need to do them pot-in-pot, which means in another dish inside the pot on the trivet, with water in the bottom.”
3. Don’t pour anything into your Instant Pot without the liner inside
I’ve seen soooo many people that have ruined their Instant Pots by accidentally pouring ingredients into the pot without the stainless steel liner inside of it! You might think, “I’ll never do that!” Well, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to just start cooking and forget that your liner isn’t inside the base of the Instant Pot.
For example Clark a member of the 365 Days of Instant Pot Recipes FB group said, “Okay, I am new to cooking with an instant pot! I have completed about 8 dinners and desserts. Making yogurt this morning and poured about 3/4 of a carton fairlife milk into the INNER pot! Milk came pouring out from the bottom. Is my instant pot ruined? By the way! I was sitting at eye level to pot and watching a YouTube tutorial when I blundered.” And there are countless others who have done similar blunders!
Here’s what you should do: turn it upside-down and take off the bottom, clean and dry everything as much as possible, and then leave it open like that and let dry for 72 hours. Then put it back together, plug it in, and if it turns on, do the water test again to check if it’s working. If it is, you’re all set.
4. Don’t put your Instant Pot on the stove burner
PSA – Here’s what happens when you set your IP on the stove and accidentally turn the burner on.
This happens a LOT! I’ve seen this happen 100 times. Beth said, “R.I.P. Instant Pot 😫😢😭 My daughter was cleaning the kitchen and shoved it to the back of the stove which flipped on the burner and burned the bottom right out! The smell of burning plastic in my house is almost unbearable right now. I’m so sad ☹️”
5. Don’t think that the slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot is going to cook like your normal crockpot.
The Instant Pot does have a slow cooker function on it. However, in my opinion, this is the one Achilles heel of the Instant Pot. The slow cooker function isn’t great.
- The slow cooker function works best if you get the pot hot before turning it down. Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function while you’re preparing the food. Then turn off the saute function and use the slow cooker function.
- The Instant Pot only heats from the bottom. Regular slow cookers heat from the sides. You may need to stir every now and then to prevent the food on the bottom from getting too done and the food on the top from not cooking. Soup would be a good choice to cook on the slow cooker setting.
- America’s Test Kitchen tested tons of brands of electric pressure cookers and instant faired poorly on the slow cooker. But what they did discover is you need to use it on the “more” setting. NEVER use “less” setting. If recipe calls for 8 hours on low in a normal crockpot, do 8 hours on the “more” setting in your Instant Pot.
I hope these tips were helpful to you! What other tips have you learned the hard way? I’d love to know. Comment below!
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