The main purpose of the water test is to allow you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the cooker with just a couple of cups of water and a few minutes. It can also serve as a way to ensure that everything is working as it should with your Instant Pot, that your seal is on correctly, and you understand how the sealing/venting functions work.
Starting the Initial Test Run (Water Test)
Plug in your Instant Pot, ensuring that the wire at the back of the pot is securely and firmly pushed in.
Place the stainless steel inner pot into the cooker. It is extremely important to remember this inner pot, and to store it in the housing unit itself whenever possible, to avoid placing ingredients into the exterior housing without the pot.
Using the measuring cup provided, pour in 3 cups of water (750 ml) into the inner pot.
Look underneath the lid, and ensure that the sealing ring is in place. The sealing ring is grooved to accommodate the wire inside the pot. Once firmly in place, you should not be able to pop it out easily, and the ring should not move freely.
Place this lid on the cooker and close securely. The cooker will beep three times to let you know that the lid is closed.
Turn the steam release handle to SEALING
Ultra model automatically pushes the sealing valve down as you close it, so you do not need to set to the seal position.
Press the STEAM button. Press the + / – keys to set it to cook for 2 minutes.
Ultra model turn your dial to STEAM. Using the dial and selections, set it to cook for 2 minutes.
Ultra model press the START button. If you forget to press this button, the Ultra will not start cooking.
The preheating cycle will start after 10 seconds and the cooker will display ON. Traces of steam will release until the float valve pops up. The Steam program will begin after a few minutes when the pot comes up to pressure.
Once the cooking cycle is complete, the cooker will beep and switch to Keep Warm mode if the Auto Keep Warm function is ON.
When the cooking cycle is complete, release pressure by pressing the button (see QPR and NPR below).
What to expect during the Water Test
It will take about 5-10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
During this time, it is entirely normal for the pot to release steam around the float valve. As the steam builds up, you will see the float valve start to come up slowly. Your pot may gently hiss and vent steam around the valve.
If you see a lot of steam releasing around the lid however, you may need to stop the test, and ensure your sealing ring is in place.
You will notice that the pot does not start counting down the minutes right away. First, the pot has to come to pressure. Only then will it start the countdown.
Once the float valve is up, there will be no more hissing or steam. The pot is now up to pressure, and the two-minute countdown will begin.
Once the 2 minutes are up, the cooker will beep to let you know that cooking is complete.
NPR: At this point, you can allow it to release pressure naturally (NPR, Natural pressure release). This means you do nothing, and allow the pot to release pressure on its own. You will know the pot is no longer at pressure when the float valve drops.
QPR: Alternatively, you can turn the steam release hand to venting to release steam quickly (QPR or quick pressure release).
Ultra model press on the sealing button to release steam quickly.
Skills You Have Acquired
With this very simple Initial Run (water test), you have mastered all of the essential functions needed to start pressure cooking with your Instant Pot®. You have successfully:
Placed items into the inner pot
Brought the pot to pressure
Known what to look for to ensure your pot is sealing correctly
Understood how the countdown works
Learned how to release pressure naturally
Learned how to release pressure quickly.
Since these are the very steps you will be following to cook food under pressure, you are ready to start producing easy, fast, and delicious meals in your Instant Pot®!