instant-pot-quick-release

Are you a proud new owner of an Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker?

You’re probably excited and overwhelmed with where to start, which button to use, or how to start cooking!

As you’re reading some pressure cooker recipes, you might be confused about:

 

What is a Quick Pressure Release?

What is a Natural Pressure Release?

How about 10-minutes Natural Pressure Release?

 

Quick Pressure Release (QPR or QR) & Natural Pressure Release (NPR or NR) are the 2 methods for releasing pressure in your Instant Pot.

 

When should we use Quick Pressure Release?

Quick Pressure Release is great for quickly stopping the cooking process to prevent overcooking.

Ideal for food such as:

  • Quick-cooking vegetables (e.g Broccoli, Corn on the Cob, Bok Choy)
  • Delicate seafood (e.g Salmon, Crab, Lobster)

When should we use Natural Pressure Release?

Natural Pressure Release is great for keeping your kitchen nice and clean. Since the pressure is gradually released, there is less movement in the Instant Pot. Your stocks and soups come out cleaner and food are more likely to stay intact.

Ideal for food such as:

  • Foamy food, food with large liquid volume or high starch content (e.g Porridge, Congee, Soup)

 

Watch: How To Pressure Release: Natural Release & Quick Release Video

Read More: How To Pressure Release: Natural Release vs. Quick Release

For More Easy Instant Pot Recipes

 

102 replies
  1. Elizabeth Raudebaugh
    Elizabeth Raudebaugh says:

    I am very new to the instant pot. After the food is done cooking (high pressure for 10 min) does it automatically switch to the natural release pressure? Or does it keep cooking?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      When any recipe calls for the natural release method, the unit will switch off once the cooking time is complete. The food is still cooking as the pot is turning off.

      Reply
  2. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    First time user,
    When making Basmati rice why can’t the Rice button be used? What is that setting used for if not for cooking rice? As per manuel, natural pressure release is to be used. What setting is release handle to be set at?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      If you’re using a pressure cooking function, the steam release is to always be on sealing. The rice setting is used for only white or parboiled rice. For any other type of rice grain, use Manual/Pressure Cook or Multigrain and follow cooking time table for the correct cooking time. For further information on cooking time click this link.
      https://instantpot.com/instantpot-cooking-time/

      Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Jessie,

      You do not have to press cancel, it will natural release on it’s own. Keep in mind if keep warm is on, it will take longer to depressurize as the unit is maintaining some heat level and not fully off.

      Reply
  3. Frank S
    Frank S says:

    was excited about my new Gem 8 in 1 Multicooker. Tried the Pot Roast recipe which was in the Instant Pot recipe book. Followed the recipe and heat and timing exactly. After 45 minutes ( recommended cook time was 2hr and 30 minutes) all the vegetables and meat were burnt on the bottom.

    Where did it go wrong for me!

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Frank,

      We are sorry to hear the roast and vegetables burned.

      We recommend maintaining the liquid level, stirring vegetables and turning the roast.

      Since the heat source is the bottom, foods that are touching the bottom of the inner pot will cook faster.

      Reply
  4. Elana Lewy
    Elana Lewy says:

    Hi I just got an instapot IP-Lux60 I can’t figure out how to change the settings from low normal and more. I press the manual button as the recipe says and then the time but not sure how to make it between the levels:( Thanks

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Elana,

      The manual program doesn’t have a less, normal, more option. Less, Normal, More for non-pressure programs, like saute, controls the heat level. Less, Normal, More on pressure cooking programs depending on the program have preset cooking time for the desired doneness.
      For more information on our cooking programs here: https://instantpot.com/cooking-program-options/

      I believe you may be referring to pressure level Low or High? The Lux model only has one pressure level which is high and cannot be adjusted.

      Reply
  5. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hello. We just got a new pot for Christmas. However I am finding that in order to do a quick release I have to hold it, otherwise the steam barely comes out in a small slow stream. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
  6. Shelley
    Shelley says:

    When cooking meats am I supposed to add water I have used it 2 times and find I add hardly any water and by the time it’s done cooking there is so much liquid I have to pour it out and it washes all the seasonings off what am I doing wrong? The valve is sealed should I leave it open?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Shelley,

      When pressure cooking you always need a thin liquid, the liquid can be water, cooking sauces, wine, beer, and stocks.

      You are doing nothing wrong. The steam can “wash” off some seasoning because of the steam but the great part is that liquid becomes a broth. After cooking you can reduce the liquid and add a thickener to have some gravy.

      When pressure cooking the steam release must be on sealing.

      Please note that when cooking vegetables or meat some may release liquid, that is why some recipes call for less liquid than the minimum required amount.

      Reply
  7. Harley
    Harley says:

    I thought that the Keep Warm function, even if on, wouldn’t turn on the heat until after the pressure is released, because the pressure cooking happens at a higher temperature than keeping warm. Can you explain why you said, “Please note having the Keep Warm function activated will prolong the time required for depressurization.”?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Harley,

      Automatic Keep Warm, when turned on, will produce heat even if still pressurized. Since the unit is still producing heat it will take longer for the pressure to release.

      Reply
      • Thomas Aglione
        Thomas Aglione says:

        Your answer doesn’t make sense to me. I thought that keep warm would keep the food at about 140 degrees F. Are you saying that there is still pressure in the pot when the contents has dropped down to near 140 degrees? The keep warm element as actually turned on while the contents is still way above that? Please help me understand how the pot works if what you say is true.

        Reply
        • Instant Pot
          Instant Pot says:

          Hi Thomas,

          Keep warm, keeps the temperature above 140 F to ensure food is kept at a safe temperature. There shouldn’t be pressure at a temperature of 140 F at most elevations. What I was trying to explain is that when cooking is complete, it will switch to automatic keep warm (if on), the element will turn on regardless if the heat is over 140 F to ensure it doesn’t drop below the designed temperature. This is important because when you quick release the pressure the heat rapidly drops along with the pressure.

          Since the element will still be emitting a low heat, it will take longer to naturally release the pressure as the heat will be dissipating less quickly.

          Reply
  8. F Troy
    F Troy says:

    I cooked pasta for 4 min. I did not fill the water past the 1/2 full line. When I used the manual release it released liquid in addition to steam. What a mess. What did I do wrong?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi F Troy,

      For foods that expand or can foam the maximum fill line, is the 1/2 full mark, this includes both dry and liquid items combined. We recommend letting the unit natural pressure release when cooking those food types or when the volume is near the Max fill line.

      If you want to speed up the release, you can use pulse release which you slowly let out the steam by moving the steam release back and forth between seal and venting.

      Reply
  9. Jerry M.
    Jerry M. says:

    Your cookbook that comes with my insta pot states that when cooking rice “Open the insta pot using the 10 minute natural pressure release”. Does this basically mean leave it alone for ten minutes then vent?

    Reply
  10. Josée
    Josée says:

    What does the L letter stands for after it has finished cooking?

    Also, can you set a timer for the time release after it had finished cooking with a beep or alarm at 10 minutes or a predetermined set time ?

    I have the Viva IP

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Josee,

      The screen will display L0:00 and start counting up once your unit has finished pressure cooking and switched to automatic Keep Warm. No, you unable set an alarm on the unit to indicate when to quick release after x amount. It will display the lapsed time after cooking so you know when to manually quick release.

      Reply
      • Nora
        Nora says:

        What do you do when it turns off instead of counting down? Mine has started doing this and the keep warm function doesn’t automatically come on.

        Reply
        • Instant Pot
          Instant Pot says:

          Hi Nora,

          Is it shutting off before it comes to pressure or do you mean after cooking is complete it turns off?

          If it is turning off after cooking is complete then keep warm was not turned on when entering the program. Please consult your manual to know how to turn keep warm on/off for your unit; this will vary by unit.

          If your unit is shutting off before cooking time, please reach out to our Support Team.
          support.instantpot.com

          Reply
  11. Jonathan Conrad
    Jonathan Conrad says:

    When cooking with natural release for 7 min in the soup setting I notice it switches to warm for so long and then kick back in to the soup setting for 7 min? Is this normal? I turned warm off and the pot then just shuts off , which you said should natural release quicker? Just want to understand this more. Recipe calls for a 10 min natural release. Should I quick release after the 10 min or let sit until it does it on its own. I am super confused why the soup setting would restart while warm mode is on? Please help

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      The unit shouldn’t switch back to pressure cooking. Once the program is complete, it will change to keep warm but it will still indicate the program you chose. Did it properly pressurize?

      If you notice this again, please contact our Customer Care Team.

      You can natural pressure release with keep warm on or off, it will take longer to depressurize if keep warm is on.

      You are correct, if a recipe calls for X amount of natural pressure release, you would switch to quick release after the stated amount.

      Reply
      • Jonathan Conrad
        Jonathan Conrad says:

        It definitely switched back into soup mode the second time I tried. This is while I am waiting for the natural release to occur. It simply goes back into pressure cook mode after sitting in warm natural release for a little while.

        Reply
  12. Phyllis
    Phyllis says:

    I bought my instant pot a few weeks ago and have had mixed results with it. Some things turned out great. Others were not anywhere near cooked at the reported time.(Pork roast took double or triple the time it should have) Today I tried making baked beans. I chose the method to precook 1 pound of beans in 8 cups of water. 47 minutes after the pressure stopped it still had not released so I try a bit of Quick release. ThenI prepared the sauce which was much less liquid and added the cooked beans for 15 minutes under pressure. I am supposed to use the natural pressure release and it is now 26 minutes and still under pressure. Is that normal? I hesitate to do a quick release because I don’t want to clog the release valve..

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Phyllis,

      Pressure cooking time depends on the thickness. Recipes such as roasts state the size by pounds, but their thickness can vary between the cuts; even if they weight the same.

      Yes, that is normal, the amount of time it takes to naturally depressurize depends on many factors, such as the amount inside the inner pot, and if the keep warm is still on it will also add time. Natural pressure release can take 30 minutes- 1hour.

      To ensure the steam release doesn’t get clogged only fill to the 2/3 max line and 1/2 full for expandable or frothy foods like beans.

      Reply
  13. Tina Kernell
    Tina Kernell says:

    I have a Ultra 6 qt. When I push the button for a quick release a lot of steam comes out for about a min or less and then you don’t hear anything. It’s clicked down though. I have to hold down the qr button or just wait for it to finally release on its own.

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Tina,

      If you hold down the steam release button on the Ultra a little more steam will escape compared to when it is in Quick Release position as it lifts the steam release a little higher.

      If you feel as though you have to hold down the steam release button for any steam to release, then please reach out to our customer care team.
      https://support.instantpot.com

      Reply
  14. Bonnie Smith
    Bonnie Smith says:

    Please advise, should the warning label glued to the top center of the instant pot remain? Or should it be removed from the device. The getting starting instructions say to remove all warning labels, but his one is stuck on securely.

    Reply
  15. JJ
    JJ says:

    Using my IP for the first time and it’s been releasing steam and PSI from the valve the entire cook. If this is normal it is not pleasant to have to listen too for 1 1/2. Noisy

    Reply
    • Chris Wrinn
      Chris Wrinn says:

      Hi Lisa,

      The time indicated is usually in minutes, 45 would be 45 minutes and 2 would be 2 minutes. For 2 hours, how it is displayed will depend on the model, it would indicate either 120 or 2:00, on the display, for 2 hours.

      Chris W,

      Reply
  16. Joy
    Joy says:

    I am new to the IP family. I have the LUX version. Every article I read about natural release says when the float drops down the natural release of pressure is done. My silver float never pops up. This is the third time I’ve used my IP. the first tow times I did quick release but this recipe called for natural release and I’m not sure what to do now.

    Reply
    • Sorley O
      Sorley O says:

      Hello Joy,

      Thank you for reaching out. The float valve pin for the LUX60 model is quite short, hollow, and does not have a top piece.

      If you look on the bottom side of your lid, you should see a small silicone ring attached to the bottom of your float valve. You can test what the float valve will look like when it rises up by moving the pin up and down from underneath the lid.

      Please let us know if you find it.
      Sorley

      Reply
    • Sorley O
      Sorley O says:

      Hello Mohit,

      Once the Instant Pot has depressurized the float valve will drop-down to it’s original position. In addition the cooker status icon on the LCD display screen will indicate that the current pressure level with your Instant Pot. For further detail please detail your Instant Pot’s model and version.

      Kind Regards,
      Sorley

      Reply
    • Sorley Oneil
      Sorley Oneil says:

      Hello Janet,

      Great question! When using the Natural Release (NR) method the Keep Warm function may be activated or deactivated depending on the recipe requirements. Please note having the Keep Warm function activated will prolong the time required for depressurization.

      If you have any further questions please feel free to reach out!
      Sorley

      Reply
      • Betty
        Betty says:

        So if the recipe says HP 3 min NPR 10 minutes, do I turn the IP off after cook time is finished and let NPR 20 min or do nothing till 10 min has passed?

        Reply
        • Sorley O
          Sorley O says:

          Hello Betty,

          You are correct. Once cooking has finished let your Instant Pot depressurize by itself, this is the NPR, also known as the Natural Release method. If the recipe details an NPR of 10 minutes, then let your Instant depressurize for 10 minutes without touching the steam release valve. You can turn off the Keep Warm function to help it depressurize faster if necessary.

          Please note that once the float valve drops, your Instant Pot will no longer be at pressure and the lid may be removed.

          Kind Regards,

          Reply
          • Tawnya
            Tawnya says:

            Hi. I have the ultra model. When it is finished cooking it just turns off and there is nothing on the control panel to indicate natural release times. Is this correct for this model?

          • Instant Pot
            Instant Pot says:

            Hi Tawnya,

            Yes, that is correct for all models if “Automatic Keep Warm” is turned off. It will only count up if Automatic Keep Warm is turned on, otherwise, it will simply turns off after cooking is complete.

        • Chris Wrinn
          Chris Wrinn says:

          Hi Mala,

          Depending on the version and model of your Instant Pot, “Keep Warm” can be turned off two different ways.
          1. Double press the cooking program you are choosing.
          2. While setting up your cooking program, press keep warm to turn on or off before program begins.

          Reply
  17. Natalya
    Natalya says:

    Is it true that it takes almost twice as long as Instant Pot’s previous models for the IP ULTRA to release pressure (equivalent to what the “Slow Normal” release)?

    Reply
    • Sorley O
      Sorley O says:

      Hello Natayla,

      Thank you for reaching out, I’ll be happy to answer!

      All Instant Models of the same quart size de-pressurize at the same rate, given that the food contents are the same.

      This is true for both the Slow Normal Release, also known as the Natural Release (NR) method and the Quick Release (QR) method. If you find that your Instant Pot requires a long time to de-pressurize during the NR method, ensure that the “Keep Warm” function is deactivated, you can also lay a cold damp cloth over the silver area on the top of your lid. This is the opposite side from the steam release valve.

      If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out at any time!

      Kind Regards,
      Sorley O

      Reply
  18. Tina
    Tina says:

    I can’t get the lid off to start cooking who ever used last put lid on wrong how do I get the lid off so I cam start cooking

    Reply
    • Sorley O
      Sorley O says:

      Hello Tina, sorry to hear about the difficulty with your lid. Please attempt the following;

      Can you please check if the float valve is in the raised position? If so, can you try using a pen and gently try to push it down? If the float valve is raised, this will lock the lid.

      If the float valve is down and you are still experiencing difficulty with the lid, this may be caused by the locking pin blade that is located at the back of the lid. The pin needs to come out of the small hole in the back of the lid and then retract back into the hole at the end when you are putting on the lid. Sometimes the pin gets stuck on the side of the hole and can’t come out. You can try using anything pointy like perhaps a chopstick, toothpick or pin and try pushing the locking pin blade towards the middle of the hole while you are trying to turn the lid clockwise to put it on.

      Please let me know if this solves the issue, looking forward to your response!

      Reply
  19. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    The instructions say “always add at least 18 fl oz. of water or other liquids so enough steam can be generated to cook under pressure”. So when a recipe only calls for example 4 fl. oz., does that mean I need to add 14 more fl. oz. of water?

    Reply
    • Sorley Oneil
      Sorley Oneil says:

      Hello Cliff,

      Great question, I’ll be happy to help answer. You are correct, at least 18 fl oz/2 cups of water are required for the 6Quart Instant Pot to function correctly, 8Quart sizes require 3 cups of water.

      The excess water is evaporated into steam in order to build the necessary pressure, of course any liquid with a watery consistency will suffice. Such as a broth or thin sauce.

      If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reach out!

      Kind Regards,
      Sorley O

      Reply
  20. Michael C.
    Michael C. says:

    I’m new to the Instant Pot world. I bought an Ultra 60, and one of the recipes calls for a “10 minute Natural Release”, which I don’t understand. Can somebody please explain to me in simple terms, how to do a “10 minute Natural Release”. Thx!

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Michael, Here is an overview video for the Ultra, at time 2:21 it goes over natural release https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJgHAWQML5M
      Natural release means you let the Instant Pot pressure release on its own (you do not release the pressure), if your instructions say to wait 10 minutes, you wait 10 minutes then press the quick release button to release the pressure.

      Reply
  21. Gail
    Gail says:

    My recipe for a whole chicken is done by poaching. It says to set pressure cook for 0 minutes and natural release for 20 minutes. How do I set the time for the natural release?

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Gail, It will beep when it’s done and the keep warm function, if it’s set to automatic, will turn on. From that the time will show up, so you can check the length of time it’s been in “keep warm” mode.

      Reply
  22. Donna
    Donna says:

    I’ve tried to do a NR but I admit I get inpatient. Partly because I don’t understand why the digital display looks like it is ADDING minutes. Why does it do that? Do they mean anything?

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Donna,
      When the cooking is complete for the set time, it goes to automatic “keep warm” mode. From there it starts counting up the minutes it’s been in “keep warm” mode. If you have a specific amount of time you need to do a Natural Release, you can keep tabs by seeing how long it’s been.

      Reply
        • mjun
          mjun says:

          Hi Corrine,
          It depends on your recipe. So some recipes call for a specific amount of time to do the Natural Release and then do Quick Release (to fully release all pressure), and some recipes will indicate to just let it be at Natural Release the whole time until the float valve drops down (so it releases pressure by itself).

          Reply
  23. Bec
    Bec says:

    I just did my test run with water. When I went to do the QR, it wouldn’t stay open. I had to put on a glove and hold it open. Now there’s no steam from the valve, but my pressure button is still up. Is my valve wrong, is there no water/steam to release, why hasn’t the pressure gone down then? Ahhhhh!

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Sharon,
      It’s up to you if you’d like to keep it on keep warm or not. [Keep Warm] will keep the food warm during the NPR process.

      Reply
      • Cecilia Galinato
        Cecilia Galinato says:

        Will it still complete the NPR process if the unit turns off after cooking vs in the keep warm mode? My screen on the ultra goes dark right after the timer goes off if I don’t have keep warm on.

        Reply
        • Instant Pot
          Instant Pot says:

          Hi Cecilia,

          NPR means Natural Pressure Release. The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker will naturally release pressure over time after cooking is complete. It does not require power to naturally release pressure, it happens naturally, even if the unit is unplugged.

          Having “Keep Warm” on will actually prolong NPR as it will take longer for the heat and pressure to drop.

          Reply
  24. Amanda Cartier
    Amanda Cartier says:

    When I followed a recipe for Mac and cheese, there was still a ton of liquid and steam released when I attempted quick release. Can someone advise on how to avoid a starchy shower in my kitchen?

    Thanks

    Reply
  25. Janine
    Janine says:

    My valve never goes down after the time has expired on my manual or programmed setting. I have left it on keep warm for as long as 35 minutes and the valve was still up so I have to use the quick release. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply
    • KathyZ
      KathyZ says:

      Hi Janine –
      Unless the recipe says to allow the warming function to start at the end of the natural release, I turn the Instant Pot off. Some of my recipes have still taken up to 35 minutes to release naturally. But the pin will drop! I just have to be patient.

      Reply
  26. Lim
    Lim says:

    How about meat eg beef, chicken and pork for instant pot? Is quick release or natural release better? Eg stew meat, BBQ pork ribs

    Reply
  27. Bill
    Bill says:

    When doing natural release (or QR or combo Qr/NR, do you turn the IP off or do leave the warming mode on? This fact is not disclosed in what I’ve researched. Thanks

    Reply

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