How to Use Instant Pot: Natural Release & Quick Release

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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

 

44 replies
    • Sorley Oneil
      Sorley Oneil 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
  1. 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 Oneil
      Sorley Oneil 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
  2. 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 Oneil
      Sorley Oneil 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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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