Are you new to Instant Pot cooking? You may hear the terms “quick release” and “natural pressure release” and be a little confused. Today I’m sharing with you exactly what this means so that you can start cooking in your new Instant Pot!
Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking, it beeps to let you know that it has finished the cook cycle. At this point, most recipes direct you to either release pressure naturally, quickly release pressure, or perhaps a combination of the two, such as allowing the pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes and then releasing all remaining pressure.
What is Natural Pressure Release? (video)
Natural Pressure Release (also called NPR or NR) means that you let the pressure in the pot dissipate on its own. A natural pressure release happens when the cooking time is over and the valve is left closed. The pressure decreases without doing anything. Your Instant Pot will automatically switch to the Keep Warm setting. As soon as it switches to Keep Warm the pressure will begin to drop. The time it will take to release all the pressure depends on the ingredients and the amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. Unfortunately, there is no beep or signal when the pressure is released. The float valve will simply drop down and you’ll be able to open the lid. Sometimes you can hear the float valve drop if you’re close by.
What is Quick Release?
Quick pressure release (QPR or QR) is a way to let all the pressure in the Instant Pot escape as fast as possible. To release pressure quickly, move the valve from sealing to venting and allow the pot to release steam and pressure. Ensure that the pot is not directly under cabinets that may get damaged by steam, and be sure to keep hands and face away from the steam.
How long does the Instant Pot take to Naturally Release?
The time it will take to release all the pressure depends on the ingredients and the amount of liquid in the pressure cooker. For a very full pot it can take up to 30 minutes to release all the pressure. For a less full pot with little liquid it can be as quick as 5 minutes. For roasts you’ll definitely want to use a natural pressure release. Give yourself enough time to let the pot release the pressure naturally or else you’ll end up with a door stop of a roast instead of meat that is fork tender.
Related: 7 Common Instant Pot Mistakes
How long does the Instant Pot take to Quick Release?
Most of the time quick release is, well, fairly quick. But again it depends on how full the pot is and how much liquid is inside. If there is a lot of liquid it can take up to 5 minutes of steam escaping before it’s all released. Most of the time when I perform a quick release I try to see how many drawers I can organize or how many cupboards I can wipe down before the pressure is all released. This way it doesn’t drive me crazy that it’s taking so long.
What is a 10 Minute Natural Release on the Instant Pot?
Most of the time I write recipes that call for a combination of the natural pressure release and the quick release. I’ll say something like, “let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting.” This just means that you’ll let some of the pressure dissipate normally and the rest of the pressure is quickly released. I like to use this for full pots of soup or for chicken. That way there won’t be foam sputtering out of the valve but you also get to stop the cooking process in a timely manner. (One thing to remember is that the whole time the pressure is building the food is cooking. And when the pressure is slowly dissipating the food will still be cooking.)
Do you turn your Instant Pot off to Natural Release?
Some people will unplug their Instant Pot to natural release. Others keep the pot plugged in and the display will turn to L0:00 (L stands for lapsed time and the pot will start counting up indicating how long the pressure cook cycle has been done). For those who leave the pot plugged in the “Keep Warm” setting will automatically turn on. Whether your pot is off or is on keep warm setting will NOT affect how long it takes to naturally release the pressure. So it’s totally up to you. I like to keep the pot on so I can see how long it has been done.
What should I make first in my Instant Pot?
The first thing you should do with your Instant Pot is read the instruction manual and perform the water test. After that there are so many great options of foods you can try out! Here are some ideas.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot I highly suggest reading this article. It explains so many things about pressure cooking that I wish I would have known when I first starting using my pot.
What Pressure Cooker Do You Use?
I have 3 different Instant Pots. However my go-to pot is my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.