5 Things Not To Do With Your Instant Pot

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If you’re semi-new to the world of electric pressure cooking, these 5 things not to do with your Instant Pot will come in handy as you start using this awesome counter-top appliance.

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1. Don’t store your Instant Pot with the lid on top. As you may know by now, the sealing ring of your Instant Pot can get pretty smelly. If you store your pot with the lid on top securely in place the sealing ring won’t get to air out. I always store my Instant Pot with the lid on top but upside down. That way the sealing ring will get to air out and it becomes less smelly. Some other ways to get that sealing ring to not stink are to air it out in the sunshine, put it in a ziplock bag with baking soda or clean it with white vinegar or lemon. I have two sealing rings (https://amzn.to/2CdB5SC).* One for savory dishes and one for sweet dishes or for making yogurt.

2. Don’t add dairy until the food is done pressure cooking. Just like slow cooking you can’t add dairy to the Instant Pot until the food is done cooking. If you do it will curdle. Sour cream, cream cheese, milk and even coconut milk or evaporated milk will all curdle and separate. For example in my Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta I stir in milk, cream cheese and parmesan cheese after the pasta and chicken has pressure cooked.

3. Don’t act like you know what you’re doing and don’t give up. Although I’m a good stovetop cook, who likes to “wing it” when cooking, I find that pressure cooking is a whole different thing. Entirely. I met constant failures and frustrations, until I realized I needed to pretend like I knew nothing about cooking, and go into it with that mindset, so I could learn afresh. I followed recipes, from trusted resources, because winging it didn’t work until I knew this new method of cooking. Once I came into it with that mindset, it all became a LOT easier. Once you get a handle on the “rules” of pressure cooking you can experiment a bit. But until then, follow recipes and don’t give up if you have a recipe fail every now and then!

4. Don’t get frustrated by how long it takes. Just because a recipe has a pressure cook time of 2 minutes doesn’t mean that the food will actually be done in 2 minutes. There is a good 10 minutes of heating up the pot and letting the pressure build and then the recipe might also call for a “natural pressure release” which will take another 10 minutes or so. Don’t get irritated by this! Use your time wisely by doing all the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen in the meantime. I like to prepare a salad or fresh veggies during this time as well. I have gotten a lot of laundry folded and put away in the time the pressure is releasing. Make it a game to see how much you can get done while your Instant Pot is cooking your food! Remember it’s all hands-off cooking time which is such a blessing when you have a busy family that needs your attention on something other than stirring the risotto.

5. Don’t quick release meats. If you’re making a pot roast or pulled pork don’t use a quick release (QR)! A quick pressure release is when you open the valve and allow the steam to release quickly. If you’re using an Instant Pot, you turn the valve from sealing to venting to release the pressure. This quick release dries out the meat and it won’t be as tender.

When possible use a natural pressure release (NPR) when cooking meats. A natural pressure release is when the cooking time is over and you leave the valve closed and allow the pressure to decrease 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. Even doing a partial natural pressure release (let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting) will be better than moving the valve to venting right away. You don’t have to wait for all the pressure to release to get the benefit of a natural pressure release.

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