How to Use Instant Pot: Natural Release & 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


34 replies
  1. 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!

    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Michael, Here is an overview video for the Ultra, at time 2:21 it goes over natural release
      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.

  2. 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?

    • 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.

  3. 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?

    • 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.

        • 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).

  4. 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!

    • 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.

  5. 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?


  6. 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?

    • 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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


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