Instant Pot Basics-In this post we talk about basics such as cooking modes,Pressure types, Pressure Release Types, how to set time, delay cooking etc
Now that you know what is an instant pot, it’s time to learn how it works!
Exciting times! Let’s Dive in!
You can use the table below to get to the part you wish.
- How does Instant Pot Work
- Instant Pot Parts
- Inner Pot
- Sealing Ring
- Floating Valve or Pin
- Pressure Release Valve
- Heating Element
- Condensation Cup
- Anti Block Shield
- How to Seal Instant Pot
- How to set time on instant pot
- Pressure Types
- Quick Release,Natural Release & Combination
- Natural Pressure or NPR
- Quick Release or QR
- Combination Release or “TIME”NPR
- How to Delay Cooking in Instant Pot
- Here are some Basic Instant Pot Recipes
How does Instant Pot Work
Primarily instant pot can do 5 basic things- Pressure Cook, Saute, Steam Keep Warm & Slow Cook
For Pressure Cooking and Steam Function, there is a minimum amount of liquid needed as per the type of the instant pot.This type of cooking is faster that stove top or oven cooking.It also retains a lot more nutrients.
Saute mimics stove top cooking and Keep Warm mimics a rice cooker keep warm setting or the Slow cooking.
There are a lot of different settings and levels for these 5 basic cooking functions which are explained in Instant Pot Presets Post.
Instant Pot Parts
These are the parts that come with the instant pot.It’s good to know what they do and how to take care of them for Safe and pleasurable cooking!
This is the steel pot that sits inside the outer casing of the instant pot.It’s made of food grade stainless steel.
It is dishwasher safe.
This is the Pressure cooked lid with the handle.
The lid is completely dishwasher safe and can be washed in the upper level of the dishwasher.
The Silicon Ring inside the instant pot.This ring is seals the instant pot while pressure cooking.
The instant pot will not pressure cook without it.The sealing ring can be cleaned along with the lid.
Floating Valve or Pin
When the Float valve is UP ,it means the instant pot is pressurised and cannot be opened.To open the instant pot at this point, you will need to either wait for the pressure to natually release or Quick Release it using the pressure release valve.
When the float valve is DOWN, it means the pressure has been released and the instant pot can be opened now.
Pressure Release Valve
This Valve is used to release the steam from the instant pot, after the cooking time is over.
To build steam in the instant pot, this valve should be in the SEALING position.If the valve is in the VENTING position, pressure will not rise.
You can Quick Release the pressure by moving the instant pot from SEALING position to VENTING position.
This is the main heating element of the instant pot.You should not wash or soak this.
This is the cup thats attached on the back of the instant pot.It collect condensation.
You can throw out the liquid that collects in it , every week or so.
Anti Block Shield
This is a small strainer sort of a part, that inhibits food from entering the steam release valve.
How to Seal Instant Pot
Instant Pot needs to be “SEALED” when you want to pressure cook or steam in it.
Align the arrows in the lid and the main body of instant pot and slide it anticlockwise.Thats your instant pot sealed.
To open the seal, move the lid in the clockwise direction, till the arrows align again and Lift open the lid.
How to set time on instant pot
Usually the cooking time is set after you pick the cooking process using the +/- buttons.
Instant Pot can cook food in HIGH pressure or LOW pressure.
High Pressure -Temperature ranges between 239°F to 244°F and the pressure is between 10.2 psi – 11.6 psi.
Low Pressure – Temperature ranges between 229°F to 233°F and the pressure is between 5.8 psi – 7.2 psi.
You can choose the type you want based on what you want to cook.
Most Recipes ask for High Pressure Cooking because it’s faster and more efficient.There are certain recipes like Vegetable Biryani where you cook in low pressure to get a better texture.
Quick Release,Natural Release & Combination
When you pressure cook, the food cooks from the time you switch the instant pot ON, till it attains pressure, the time you set and the time it takes the pressure to decrease and come to normal.
So when a recipe calls for 5 minutes of HIGH Pressure, it is typically 10 minutes it takes to get the the required pressure,5 minutes of cooking under that pressure and 10-15 minutes of time it takes to release that pressure.
There are different ways of releasing pressure.
Natural Pressure or NPR
This is the slow, natural way of releasing pressure.It can take anything between 10-25 minutes based on the quantity of food and size of the instant pot.It is recommended that you use this release for food that is highly liquidy like Soups,Dals etc
Quick Release or QR
When you move the valve from SEALED position to VENTING position, the steam can escape at a much higher rate.This is called Quick Release os QR.
Combination Release or “TIME”NPR
In this method, you let the pressure release NATURALLY for some time and then Quick Release the pressure after.
For example 10NPR would mean that you let the pressure release for 10 minutes naturally then Quick Release there after.
How to Delay Cooking in Instant Pot
To delay cooking, you can select the Cooking process- say Manual at High Pressure, Then use the timer Button to delay the cooking.You can choose between 1 minute to 24 hours.
Okay folks! This is it.The time has come to get cooking!
Here are some Basic Instant Pot Recipes
Want to know more about instant pot?Here are some more articles on the instant pot1