Congratulations on your new Instant Pot! I know you can’t wait to start using your newest kitchen gadget but before you do that here are a few things you should know before using Instant Pot.
The first 5 points deals with basic maintenance and the remaining points are my observations from using the Instant Pot for over a year.
- Dry the steel insert completely before inserting in the unit.
- Make sure the vent position is always at Sealing before you begin Pressure Cooking.
- Make sure the vent position is at Venting before you begin Slow Cooking.
- DO NOT use Quick release feature for sticky foods or for Porridge / Congee
- Clean the steel insert and the lid after each use. DO NOT immerse the base unit in water. Also, keep it far away from your stove. There are enough and more people who burnt their Instant Pot because they accidentally kept it on a hot stove.
- Instant Pot uses less water than your traditional stovetop pressure cooker, so adjust your recipes accordingly.
- Don’t expect the vent to go off like a traditional stovetop pressure cooker. I waited and waited for the vent or whistle to go off and wondered if it was working when I used it the first time.
- When a recipe says 15 minutes of cooking time, it does not include the time to build up the pressure and sometimes that can take from 10-15 minutes. The Instant Pot’s display will read “On” and it may take another 10-15 minutes before the display will show the cooking time. To shorten the time to build up steam, use hot water (not from the tap for obvious reasons) to cook.
- Did you know you can make idli in Instant Pot? Here’s a recipe how to ferment idli batter in Instant Pot. When you ferment your idli, remember to pay attention to the “Less Normal More” setting and make sure it is at Less. I accidentally set it to More once and ended up with a batter which got cooked and was not salvageable.
- Once Instant Pot is done with the cooking, it automatically goes into the Warm mode. If you are intention is to open the Instant Pot immediately after the pressure has naturally released, keeping it in the Warm mode will delay the process. Select Warm/ Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot. [Tip – Press the Manual button or any smart function button (beans, rice etc) that you are using for cooking two times in a row and it will turn off the warm function.]
I know I promised 10 things but what can I say I like to over-deliver :-). This applies only to older Instant Pot models. The one thing I did not find intuitive was increasing/decreasing the heat while sautéing. To increase or decrease heat, you’ve to hit warm/cancel and then choose “Sauté” mode and then adjust the heat to Less, Normal and More. Also, a point to note – Sauté mode switches off after 30 minutes.
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Hope this helps! Do you have any words of wisdom to share with someone who just purchased the Instant Pot? Please share in the comments.