The Instant Pot is a kitchen appliance that seems like it’s magical, from another dimension … put food in, press a button, and let a rip! That’s how it works, right?
The Instant Pot (hereafter referred to as the IP), is “instant” in that you can set it and forget it. There are settings for different foods, and adjustments can be made to most of them.
Now that we’ve defined “instant” in the context of this appliance, let’s look at how it works.
To Bluetooth or not to Bluetooth… you know the rest.
There are 2 models of the IP: The Duo and the LUX. The LUX does not have these 2 settings: low pressure and yogurt. This article will focus on the IP Duo.
When the IP has been on sale, many have snagged the model that comes with Bluetooth functionality. You connect it to your mobile device, download an app, and away you go. However, since it doesn’t go on sale often, when it does, you can take comfort in all that you’re getting. A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, food warmer, and so much more!
It doesn’t even need Bluetooth to make it awesome; it is all on its own. The non-Bluetooth-enabled unit works great! It is accessible out of the box, and with a little help from your friend, (the internet), you’ll be pressure cooking in no time!
Ok, if I’m going old-school with no Bluetooth, what are all these buttons?
A great question. Looking at the IP for the first time, the amount of buttons can be a bit staggering. Fortunately, a layout has been put together, and will be described below, along with explanations for what each button does.
The unit has 4 rows with varying columns of buttons on each. We’ll start from the top left and go down from there.
Note: all pressure is on high unless otherwise stated.
Default setting: 30 minutes.
Default setting: 35 minutes.
Default setting: 30 minutes.
Default setting: 15 minutes.
Default setting: 4 hours.
Default setting: 30 minutes at “normal temperature”..
This will decrease cooking time by 1 minute, or if on slow cook, it will decrease by 30 minutes.
this will switch from high to low pressure.
Default setting: 30 minutes high pressure..
this button will increase cooking time by 1 minute, or by 30 minutes if IP is on slow cook.
A button to change times on presets.
Default setting: normal.
Press this if you want to change modes: you begin on normal, then go to more, then less.
Think of these settings as a row across the bottom of a screen. Normal is in the middle, going right will land on more, (high if using the IP as a slow cooker), then wrapping around, you will be put on the less setting which is low if using the IP as a slow cooker.
To delay cooking for a set amount of time
Default setting: 6 hours.
Example: if you have a slow cooker meal that only needs 4 hours on medium, you can press the timer button to delay the start of the slow cooking process for 6 hours. This also applies to any presets except for sauté or yogurt.
To change this: press timer, then plus or minus button which will increase or decrease time by hours.
Press timer button again: plus and minus buttons increase/decrease by 10 minute increments.
If pressing Plus to go up, the time will double beep at 50 minutes, and then again at 0 to indicate you’ve reached the bottom.
Default setting: 12 minutes low pressure.
Put 2 cups liquid in for 1 cup rice. It is stated that this works when cooking white or parboiled rice.
You are not able to adjust time or pressure with this setting; the IP will sense the liquid to rice ratio and adjust itself to ensure all rice is cooked.
this button will cook wild rice and harder types of grains.
Default setting: 40 minutes.
default setting: 20 minutes.
Default setting: 10 minutes.
Default setting: 8 hours at the “incubate temperature”. (100-115 degrees F)
Default setting: 10 hours on low. (145-172 degrees F)
This button is also used to turn off the IP or you can unplug it.
Starting with a Clean Slate
Each time you choose a preset and adjust the time on it, the IP remembers this. It’s a good idea to reset it to defaults each time you plug it in.
To reset all settings to default: hold the adjust button for 2 seconds. The machine will beep twice, indicating the reset has been successful.
If you wish for the unit to shut off after you have chosen a preset and it has cooked for the desired time, do the following:
Press the preset button twice. This will allow the IP to cook for the preset time, and then have the unit shut off once the cook time has finished.
The Care And Cleaning of Your IP
Before you select a preset and begin cooking, ensure the sealing vent is closed. Once the lid is on, move this to the right towards the back of the pot. It usually will do this by default on its own, but it’s always good to check. This way, you are ensured you don’t begin cooking with the vent open, as you would end up with steamed to death chili when you meant to cook on high pressure. The sealing vent looks like a large soap dispenser pump handle.
When the IP comes to pressure, you will hear a louder click than the subtle clicks you hear while it’s building up pressure inside. This louder click is the pressure valve reaching the top, and thus, the cooking can begin.
When the IP is done cooking, it will beep several times to indicate it has finished. You can then either quick release, (moving the sealing lever to the left), or leave it as is and allow a natural release. There is a rubber sealing ring that goes around the inside of the IP.
And with that, my Instant Pot aficionados, I bid you farewell. May you be happy and healthy as you cook with confidence.
If you wish to cook via the Pot within Pot (PIP) method, these accessories will help:
As always, there are so many of these, but here are a couple to get you started.
I wish to sincerely thank Frank Ibarra for answering all my questions about timing, buttons, resetting, and giving comments and feedback to make this as informative as possible.