Q. How do the Instant Pot® Smart programs work?
- Instant Pot achieves the best cooking results with a set of smart cooking programs that are controlled by an advanced microprocessor. The programs are a result of extensive testing in our lab with various food contents and recipes. The smart cooking programs monitor and control the cooking process with four parameters: heating intensity, overall temperature, pressure, and duration.
- Heating intensity: Refers to the amount of heat generated by the heating element. The main reason to control heating intensity is to manage the temperature at the bottom of the cooking pot, primarily to avoid burning food content on the base. For instance, heating is slower and more gradual in the “Soup” function whereas it is fast and more powerful in the “Steam” setting (knowing there’s no food in contact to the cooking pot base).
- Overall temperature: Is the temperature in the pot throughout the cooking process. The peak working temperature of Instant Pot is 115°C~118°C. However, the smart cooking programs don’t always maintain at the peak temperature. In the “Multigrain” program, to soften the grains, the food content is heated to 60°C for warm soaking for 50 minutes before cooking starts.
- Pressure: Increases when the liquid content in the cooking pot reaches the natural boiling point and generates steam. The pressure is directly related to the temperature of the liquid content. The working pressure of Instant Pot® is 10.15~11.6 psi.
- Cooking duration: Is the time the food content is cooked. The cooking duration depends on the volume of food content. The default timing has been tested in our lab which works well in most cases. During the automatic rice program, the Instant Pot® estimates the amount of rice and water by measuring the pre-heating time. The pressure cooking duration is then varied based on this measurement. However, in situations when food needs to be well-done or less-cooked, the cooking duration can still be adjusted as necessary.
Q. How safe is the Instant Pot®?
Instant Pot® is designed with the most safety features in its class to ensure user peace of mind.
- Lid Close Detection – If the lid is missing or not closed properly, Instant Pot will not activate pressurised cooking.
- Leaky Lid Protection – In the case that the cooker lid has a leak, the cooker will not reach the pre-set pressure level and will be switched to Keep-warm mode to avoid burning the food.
- Lid Lock under Pressure – if the cooker is still pressurised the lid will be locked to prevent accidental opening.
- Anti-blockage Vent – during cooking, food particles could block the steam release vent. Instant Pot® has a specially structured vent shield to prevent blocking of the steam release.
- Automatic Temperature Control – the thermostat under the inner pot regulates the temperature of the inner pot to be within a safe range, based on the type of food being cooked.
- High-Temperature Warning – Instant Pot® will stop heating if the cooker is operating without enough moisture or if there is a heat dissipation problem (e.g. burnt starch/flour at the bottom of the inner pot).
- Extreme Temperature & Power Protection – Instant Pot is equipped with a special fuse which disconnects power at excessively high temperature or extremely high electrical current.
- Automatic Pressure Control – the patented pressure sensor mechanism keeps the operating pressure between 70kPa-80kPa.
- Pressure Regulator Protection – if the pressure exceeds 105kPa, the steam release will be pushed up to allow the steam to be released to bring down the pressure inside the pot.
- Excess Pressure Protection – if the pressure becomes too high and the pressure regulator protection malfunctions, Instant Pot’s internal protection mechanism will activate, shifting the inner pot downwards to create a gap between the lid and the inner pot. Steam will be released from the gap into the internal chamber and the heating stopped.
Q. Instant Pot® vs slow cookers?
- Slow cookers cook at a relatively low temperature (at approximately 79°C–93°C) over a long period of time. Meanwhile, electric pressure cookers run at a much higher temperature (over the boiling point at 115°C~118°C).
- This difference in cooking mechanism results in drastically different cooking times. Typically an electric pressure cooker makes a dish under an hour, whereas the minimum cooking time for a slow cooker is 4 hours. An Electric pressure cooker saves over 70% electricity compared to a slow cooker making a similar dish.
- One disadvantage often cited against slow cookers is that vitamins and other trace nutrients are lost, particularly from vegetables, partially by enzyme action during cooking. When vegetables are cooked at higher temperatures those enzymes are rapidly denatured and have less time in which to act during cooking.
- Another disadvantage of slow cookers is that they don’t heat the food at a temperature high enough to remove common toxins (for example in raw kidney beans, and some other beans). On the other hand, electric pressure cookers are very good at detoxifying food, owning to its higher than boiling point operating temperature.
- Of course, if you still want to slow cook then you can do this with Instant Pot as well!
Q. Instant Pot® vs stovetop pressure cookers?
Both conventional and electric pressure cookers operate based on pressure cooking principles. However, Instant Pot’s electronic controls and built-in smart programs make it much more user friendly and convenient – producing the best and most consistent cooking results. There is no need to watch over it, plus it’s safer and more energy-efficient.
Q. Instant Pot® vs rice cooker?
- Cooking rice with an ordinary pot requires a lot of attention. Temperature adjustment has to be done at the right moment to avoid spills and burning. This was why rice cookers were invented.
- The Instant Pot® comes with pre-programmed buttons for cooking rice, congee, multi-grains, and porridge. Compared with rice cookers, Instant Pot has three key advantages. Rice, if not stored properly, may carry fungal poisons called aflatoxins, a potent trigger of liver cancer. Instant Pot cooks at a higher temperature that is capable of reducing aflatoxin concentrations to safe levels. The higher temperature also ensures that rice is softer, tastier, and more tender. Instant Pot is also faster and more efficient with a time and energy saving of about 30%.
Q. Instant Pot® vs steamers?
- The Instant Pot has a couple of advantages over traditional food steamers. Under high pressure, steam penetrates the food very evenly, deeply, and quickly – cooking faster than an ordinary steamer. Electric pressure cookers are especially good for tough or hard pieces of food, such as potatoes, some fish or meat.
- Instant Pot’s fully sealed cooking environment ensures that no steam escapes the cooker. You only need a small amount of water (e.g. a cup of water) to steam vegetables (corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) fresh or frozen. And it takes just a minute or two. This makes an electric pressure cooker more energy-efficient, leaving your kitchen cooler and free from excessive humidity.
Q. Is the stainless steel inner pot safe for the dishwasher and oven?
- Yes, the Instant Pot’s inner pot is dishwasher safe and can be used in an oven or on a stovetop. It is made from 18/8 stainless steel (food grade 304), with no harmful chemical or metal coatings that can peel off. It is designed to last as long as any other top-quality stainless steel cooking pots.
- In the user manual, we request users to clean the inner pot and the inside of the lid with warm soapy water thoroughly before first use. Running a 10-minute steam cycle with half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of water is an easy way to remove any residual stains.
Q. How long will the Instant Pot® keep food warm?
- After cooking, Instant Pot automatically starts the keep-warm function, which lasts for up to 10 hours.
- Q. Are the sauté and slow cook temperatures adjustable?
- Yes, the sophisticated temperature control allows you to adjust the temperature to Low, Medium, or High for both the Sauté and the Slow Cook programs. For Slow Cook, this corresponds to the Low, Medium, and High programs in common slow cookers. The operating temperature is at 88-99°C and it can be set to cook for 1~10 hours. You need to set the steam release handle to the “venting” position during the slow cook function.
- For Sauté the Low temp is for simmering to reduce liquids (sauces), Medium is for sautéing and High is for browning ingredients. When using the “Sauté ” function, the lid needs to remain in the “open” position.
Q. What is the occasional clicking sound when using the Instant Pot®?
- The clicking/cracking sounds in the Instant Pot are usually from the power switch turning on and off during operation, or friction between the lid and the housing created by expansion and contraction due to changing internal pressure and temperature. This is normal. Water or moisture on the bottom of the inner pot can also cause sounds. It is important to ensure the bottom of the inner pot is dry before inserting it into the power base to avoid any damage to the base.
Q. Burn protection – what does that mean?
- Most Instant Pot® cooking functions, (e.g. Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Poultry, Bean/Chili, Rice, and Slow Cook) have temperature monitoring to avoid burning food. This mechanism is referred to as “burn-protection”. When a high temperature (140°C) is detected at the bottom of the inner pot, the burn-protection mechanism suspends heating to avoid burning food. On the Instant Pot Duo Series, a warning message “Burn” is flashed on the display.
- This mechanism works very well, except if the food has very high starch content (i.e. tomatoes). For example, if you add flour or another thickener in your recipe, the flour sinks to the bottom, solidifies at low temperatures, and can block heat dissipation. In this particular case, we suggest you add thickeners after initial cooking. Also, ensure you have enough liquid in the pot when cooking ingredients with high starch content.
Q. How does delayed cooking work?
- The Instant Pot delay start feature lets you delay the start of a cooking program. You can set the hours and minutes that the start of the cooking program must be delayed for. Once the delay timer runs down, the set program will start as normal.
Q. Where can I find the recipe book & cooking time tables?
Numerous other recipes can be found on the internet. Just search for what you are looking for and add Instant Pot
- Other factors may affect the cooking time. For example, different cuts of meat (or different sizes of the same cut) will likely require different cooking times to yield the same tenderness or texture. As with conventional cooking, cooking with Instant Pot is full of personal choice, creativity, and a little science and experimentation. No two individuals have exactly the same taste, texture or preference of tenderness of food. The ‘Cooking Time Tables’ provide a general guideline on the length of time various foods are cooked under pressure. We encourage you to experiment to find the results that suit your preferences.
- When cooking frozen food, there is no need to defrost the food in the microwave prior to preparing. However, frozen food will prolong the pre-heating time, and may affect the cooking time depending on the size or amount of food. To have your meal ready on time, it is important to plan accordingly.
- The ‘Cooking Time Tables’ are based on cooking pressure within the range of 10.15 – 11.6 psi.
The Cooking Time Tables are meant to be used as guidelines.
Q. What are the different pressure release methods?
- Quick Pressure Release (QPR or QR) & Natural Pressure Release (NPR or NR) are the 2 methods for releasing pressure in your Instant Pot. QPR is when you turn the steam release knob to vent as soon as the program is complete. NPR is when you wait for the pressure to release on its own and only open the lid once the float valve has dropped (i.e. leave the steam release sealed).
Quick Pressure Release is great for quickly stopping the cooking process to prevent overcooking.
- Ideal for food such as fast-cooking vegetables (e.g Broccoli, Corn on the Cob, Bok Choy) and delicate seafood (e.g Salmon, Crab, Lobster).
- Natural Pressure Release is great if you want to avoid the steam releasing into your kitchen. 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. Also, it’s better for meat dishes as more moisture is retained in the meat. Also ideal for food with large liquid volume or high starch content (e.g Porridge, Congee, Soup).
- Recipes may also state a 5 or 10-minute natural pressure release. This means wait for 5 or 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob.
Q. Are Instant Pot® components dishwasher safe?
Instant Pot® inner pots, pressure cooker lids, glass lids, and accessories (steam rack, soup spoon, and rice paddle) are dishwasher safe. The housing has electronic components and should never be immersed in water. The housing can only be wiped clean.
Q. 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 odours during cooking.
To remove the odour, 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 savoury and another for sweet foods.
Q. Why does the stainless steel inner pot have a rainbow-like stain after washing?
The discolouration on a 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 can easily be removed by adding half a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of water to the inner pot and then running a 2-minute steam cycle.