Top 10Common Newbie Mistakes
Not all pressure cookers are the same. The user manual is your guide and friend. It will provide everything you need to confidently cook with your Instant Pot—read it cover to cover!
Placing the cooker on a stovetop… and turning it on
Of course accidents happen, but some accidents are totally preventable! The Instant Pot is designed for countertop use only, so where you choose to position your cooker is important. To prevent damage to your cooker, keep it away from external heat sources such as heated ovens, stovetops and gas ranges.
Not checking the detachable power cord
Has your display ever gone dark?
You may be experiencing a loose connection! Check to see if the power cord on your Instant Pot is detachable. If it is, detach the power cord from the cooker base socket and then reattach it, ensuring the connection to the base is
Forgetting the sealing ring
The silicone sealing ring is a key player in pressure cooking. Forgetting the sealing ring may result in a ruined meal and a wet countertop, so it’s important to make sure it’s installed and well seated before cooking!
Expecting “instant” results
While pressure cooking is the fastest way to get delicious, nutrient rich food from fridge (or freezer) to table, the Instant Pot must go through 3 cooking stages: pre-heating, the cook cycle, and depressurization.
The biggest difference between traditional cooking and cooking Instant Pot style is that the automated cooker does not need your constant attention, and the quality of that time saved is immeasurable.
Go ahead and hang out with your kids, do some gardening—start that book you’ve been thinking about. You’ll find that dinner is ready sooner than you think!
Choosing the wrong cuts for pressure cooking
Pressure cookers operate at higher-than-boiling temperatures, quickly breaking down tough muscle fibers and intramuscular fats. To get the juiciest, most tender results, it’s important to choose the right cut.
Since the Instant Pot really flexes its muscle with tough cuts, try a flank, shank or chuck roast as your main ingredient. Craving chicken tenders or a T-bone steak? No problem—save tender, quick-cooking cuts for the Sauté Program.
Adding too much liquid
As there is minimal evaporation when pressure cooking, too much liquid in the cooker can turn your dish from scrumptious to soggy. We highly recommend following your recipe’s suggested liquid levels. As a general rule, using the minimum
amount required is the best way to get flavorful results.
Pressure cookers cook fast, so if you’re not used to the timing it’s easy to overdo it. If you don’t want to end up with hot mush, follow your recipe’s cooking instructions, or use our helpful Cooking Time Tables to establish a cook time based on the main ingredient in your dish.
Wrong pressure release method
Do I QR or NR?
Using the right venting method can have just as much impact on your meal as the cooking itself. Ideally you will be able to follow your recipe’s venting instructions, however as not all recipes are created equal, refer to this “How To” on venting methods.
Adding thickeners too early
With the colder months upon us, the aroma from hearty stews and rich chilies will soon be filling the air. Most stew recipes use thickening agents like flour or cornstarch to fill out the dish. Because thickeners are inclined to sink to the bottom of the inner pot, they tend to block heat dissipation and can even cause scorching. To get around this, add thickening agents after pressure cooking—if they need heat to incorporate, turn Sauté on for a few minutes!