The Initial Test Run helps one become familiar with how the Instant Pot® works and to ensure the cooker is working properly before you start preparing those amazing dishes.
Is it normal for the steam release handle to be so loose?
Yes. Otherwise it may not function properly. Please see the next question for further explanation.
Why is there steam coming out of the float valve during the start up procedure?
When you first start your Instant Pot pressure cooker it is normal to see “On” in the display until the cooker gets to the proper temperature and pressure. Before the working pressure is reached you should see steam come out of the float valve for maybe 40 -70 seconds and then it will stop once the float valve seals itself. Soon the timer countdown will start on the display. There should be very little steam leakage after the countdown begins.
You may also expect to wait 10 to 20 minutes once it is finished cooking to let the pressure go down, however if you’re in a hurry you can use the steam release handle to let the steam out so you can open the cooker faster. Please note, this is not recommended if you’re cooking food with high starch content, e.g. porridge, which may cause spillage.
Why does the steam release handle leak steam?
Instant Pot’s steam release handle is a safety device. Just like conventional pressure cookers, the steam release handle works simply by weight pressing on the steam release pipe. Since the contact between the steam release handle and the pipe is not fully sealed, traceable steam may sometimes be seen during normal working conditions.
Instant Pot’s steam release handle has a pressure rating of 105kpa or 15.22psi. The steam release handle keeps the working pressure always under the specified pressure rating.
Illustration of Instant Pot working pressure curve
Instant Pot’s pressure sensor is at the bottom under the heating element. The pressure sensor works by measuring the force pressing down on it, including the weight of food. When there’s small amount of food (under the 2 mark on the inner pot), the pressure sensor is slower at turning off the heat. Because of that, the momentum of the heat can push the pressure over the specified pressure rating, which causes a small amount of leaking from the steam release handle. Once the heating momentum is over, the pressure will be kept at the working pressure well under the 105kpa (15.22psi), and only minimal steam will come out of the steam release handle. This is still perfectly safe. Please see the illustration of Instant Pot working pressure diagram to understand the pressure changes over a cooking cycle.
Normally, if the food is over the “3” mark in the inner pot, there’s only minor traceable amounts of steam coming out of the steam release handle.
Where can I get more recipes designed for Instant Pot?
How does Instant Pot depressurize when it has finished cooking without releasing the steam? And, how long does this process take?
Instant Pot depressurizes by dissipating heat from the cover (specifically the metal parts). Depending on the volume of liquid in the cooking pot, it takes 8~25 minutes to depressurize naturally. The more liquid content, the longer it takes. You can also place a towel soaked with cold water on the metal part of the lid to cool the cooker down. This is referred as Natural Release in pressure cooking recipes.
Quick release is to turn the steam release handle manually to “Venting” position to let out steam for fast cooling. Quick release takes 60~90 seconds to depressurize. Please note, quick release is not recommended if you’re cooking food with high starch content, e.g. porridge. This may cause food to spill out from the steam release handle.
Why does the stainless steel inner pot have rainbow like stain after wash?
The discoloration on stainless steel cooking pot is called “rainbowing” which can be caused by exposure to high heat, cooking starchy food (e.g. rice, pasta) or even detergent staining after hand or machine wash. This is common in all stainless steel cookware. It’s normal and harmless. To clean the rainbow discoloration, please follow the instructions on eHow. More cleaning suggestions from the British Stainless Steel Association.
Why is there water on the groove of the cooker housing top?
It’s normal to have some condensation of water in the groove on the top of the cooker housing, especially during the cooling down period. This is common in all electric pressure cooker and the groove is designed to prevent water dripping down to the counter.
If you have excessive amount of water in the groove, there are two possibilities:
The sealing ring is not positioned properly.
The sealing ring is deformed.
Please inspect your seal ring to see if it’s deformed. If so, You’ll need to replace the sealing ring.
After cooking, I notice the lid sucks and lifts up the inner pot. What should I do the avoid that?
After cooking and cooling down, the air condenses inside the Instant Pot and creates a vacuum between the lid and the inner pot. To break the vacuum, please turn the steam release handle to “Venting” to let in air.
Why is there occasional clicking sound when using my Instant Pot?
The clicking/cracking sounds in the Instant Pot come from the following possible sources.
Water or moisture at the bottom of the inner pot.
Instant Pot power switch turning on and off during operation.
Frictions between the lid and the housing created by expansion and contraction due to changing internal pressure and temperature.
The flat flexible pressure board under the heating element bending under pressure (the board is designed to last over 100,000 uses).
Food such as dry beans popping open during cooking.
In the case of number 1, please wipe the inner pot dry before placing it into the housing. Regarding other cases, please rest assured that there is no safety or functional concerns. Your Instant Pot is working properly.
The sealing ring is loose when I open the lid. Is this a problem?
The sealing ring is made of durable silicon compound. It can function well in regular for 2 or 3 years. The sealing ring expands at high temperature which seals the gap between the lid and the inner pot. When the lid is opened after cooking, the sealing ring is noticeably loose. After it cools down or is washed, it’ll fit snugly again. However, the silicone compound is porous and may absorb smells and become discolored. You may change the sealing ring 6 ~ 12 month to avoid the discoloration and smell.
How do I remove the food smell from the sealing ring?
The Instant Pot® sealing ring is made from food grade silicone. Silicone may pick up food odors during cooking. To remove the odor, try the following:
Steam Clean: add 2 cups of water or white vinegar and cut-up lemon rind, run the Steam program for 2 minutes with the sealing ring in position. Then, allow the sealing ring to air dry.
Place the sealing ring in the dishwasher. High temperature and strong detergent will usually remove the majority of smells.
Soak the sealing ring overnight in white vinegar, lemon juice, tomato juice, or bleach. Then, run it through the dishwasher.
Store the sealing ring in a plastic bag with ground coffee or baking soda.
Or, you may wish to have one sealing ring for savory and another for sweet foods.
How do I clean the Instant Pot lid?
If you allow Instant Pot to cool naturally, the lid is normally rather clean, with condensation water only. You don’t need to unscrew anything to wash it, just simply wipe dry with a dry cloth.
If you use quick release (letting steam out from steam release handle) or cooking sticky foods, you may need to remove the anti-block shield (not the whole steam release assembly) for cleaning. After cleaning, simply hand tighten the anti-block shield back on. You may also want to pull the steam release handle out and the sealing ring for cleaning.
Please always inspect the float valve to make sure it can move up and down easily without obstruction. You can remove the float valve by taking out the small silicone rubber ring for cleaning.
How to use the chord rack on Duo?
The Duo comes with a chord rack and a silicone cord tie to help organizing the power chord. The power chord can be tied up with the silicone cord tie and place on the chord rack, see image on right.
Why does Instant Pot control panel look cloudy?
There is a thin protective film on the control panel which is to be peeled off during first use. When you peel the thin film off, the panel will becomes shinny and clear.
How do you convert 15psi based recipes to Instant Pot?
Instant Pot operates at 11.6psi. How fast food cooks depends on the temperature of cooking. The cooking temperature of 15psi pressure cookers is 121ºC (250ºF), whereas the operating temperature of a 11.6psi Instant Pot is 117°C (242°F). This is a difference of 3.4%. We find that in most cases, recipes for 15psi pressure cookers can be adapted to Instant Pot by increasing the cooking time by 7~15%.
How do I know when I should replace the inner pot or the sealing ring?
The Instant Pot inner pot is made from solid stainless steel with fused-on 3-ply bottom. We don’t expect any defect to be developed with the inner pot over its life time under normal use.
The sealing ring is made from silicone rubber, which is more durable than rubber. It should work 2~3` years under normal condition. If you notice cracks, leaking or deformation of the sealing ring, you should replace it. You can find replacement sealing rings in our store.
Does Instant Pot burn food?
The short answer is No, not likely. Most Instant Pot cooking functions, (e.g. Soup, Congee, Rice, Meat, Poultry, Bean/Chili and Slow Cook) have temperature monitoring to avoid burning food. This mechanism is called “burn-protection”. When a high temperature (140C or 284F) is detected at the bottom of the inner pot, the burn-protection mechanism suspends heating to avoid burning food. On Instant Pot Duo Series, a warning message “ovHt” is flashed on the display.
This “burn-protection” mechanism works very well, except if the food has very high starch content. For example, if you add flour in your chili recipe, the flour sinks to the bottom, solidifies at low temperatures and can block heat dissipation. In this particular case, we suggest you add flour to the chili after initial cooking and perhaps cooking it for another one to five to allow thickening of the chili.
Because the “Saute” function operates at a much higher temperature than other settings we do not recommend operating unattended, just like you wouldn’t leave a pan on the stove unattended.
Can I do canning with Instant Pot?
There are two types of canning: boiling-water canning at 100°C/212°F (for acid fruits, tomatoes, pickles and jellied products) and pressure canning at 115~121°C/240~250°F (for low acid vegetables, meat and poultry). Please refer to “USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning” for more details.
Instant Pot can be used for boiling-water canning. However, Instant Pot has not been tested for food safety in pressure canning by USDA. Due to the fact that programs in Instant Pot are regulated by a pressure sensor instead of a thermometer, the elevation of your location may affect the actual cooking temperature. We recommend to not use Instant Pot for pressure canning purpose.
Is Instant Pot dishwasher safe?
The inner pot, steam rack, soup spoon & rice paddle that come with your Instant Pot are dishwasher safe. The lid will not be cleaned well with dishwasher, because there are loose units (e.g. the steam release handle) and deep gaps (e.g. the gasket/sealing ring). It is recommended to hand-wash the lid.
The housing has electronic components and should never be immerse in water.Doing so will damage Instant Pot permanently. The housing can only be wiped clean.
Where can I get another copy of the manual and time tables booklet?
Time tables can be downloaded on that same page above or you can click on the link called “Cooking Time” at the top of this page.
What do I do if I have a question or if there’s something wrong with my Instant Pot and I want to make a warranty claim?
If there’s something wrong with your Instant Pot, want to make a warranty claim or simply have a question, please click on the “Support” link. Make sure to describe the problem in as much detail as possible and include your purchase order number and an image of your receipt.
Our warranty service is for a period of one year from the date of purchase. If your Instant Pot is beyond the warranty period, please feel free to contact us. We will try our best to resolve the issue for you.