Multifunction Cookers, common brand Instant Pot®, are a new tool that many cooks have in their kitchen! Multifunction cookers can be a great way to provide quick and nutritious meals with a “hands off” cooking approach so that you can be free to spend your time on other things. Below are some tips to help your multifunction cooker experience go smoothly and safely! You should always make sure to follow the guidance of your multifunction cooker’s user manual and read it thoroughly before beginning to cook.
About Multifunction Cookers
Natural Release (NR): No action is taken. Allow the cooker to cool naturally, release heat and pressure over time. You will know that the cooker is no longer pressurized when the float valve drops into the lid.
Note: May take 10 – 40+ minutes. Depressurization time will vary based upon volume of food and liquid.
Quick Release (QR): Turn the steam release handle from the “Sealing” position to the “Venting” position. If spatter occurs, turn steam release handle back to “Sealing” position, and try again after a few minutes. The float valve will drop into the lid when the cooker has depressurized.
Stages of Cooking:
- Heating & Pressurization
The cooker will preheat, creating the steam required to build pressure. Once enough steam pressure has accumulated, the float valve will pop up and “pressurize” the cooker. During the Water Test, this may take 5 – 15 minutes.Do not press down on the lid; the float valve will rise when sufficient steam pressure has built up. Until the cooker pressurizes and the float valve has popped up, the lid will be removable. Once pressurized, the lid will lock.Note: The time it takes your cooker to pressurize is determined by a variety of factors, including food and liquid volume.It is normal to see steam exit the float valve hole until the float valve pops up and the cooker pressurizes. If you see steam escaping from around the sides of the lid, stop the test to ensure that your sealing ring is properly installed
- Cook Cycle
The cooker will not start the countdown right away. First, the cooker must come to pressure. Within 5 minutes of pressurization, the cooker will beep once and the countdown will appear on the display. When the timer reaches “00:00”, the cooker will beep 10 times to signal that cooking has completed.Note: Smart Programs allow you to make changes to time, temperature, and pressure levels during the cook cycle.
- Depressurization & Keep Warm
When pressure cooking has completed, follow your recipe’s directions when selecting a venting method.
Always ensure that the float valve has dropped completely before attempting to open the lid. If the lid will not turn, do not attempt to force the lid open.
If Keep Warm is turned ON after the cook cycle completes, the timer will count up. If Keep Warm is not turned ON, cooker will return to Standby. Note: The cooker will cool sufficiently to NR over time, but it will cool faster if Keep Warm is turned OFF
Safety with Multifunction Cookers
- Use a food thermometer – When food is done cooking, no matter what method, you should always use a food thermometer to ensure that meat has been cooked to the proper safe minimum internal temperature. If it has not been cooked to the minimum internal temperature then you will need to continue cooking, whether that be via the multifunction cooker or other method such as oven, stove top, grill, etc.
Product Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb
Steaks, chops, roasts
145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes Ground meats 160 °F (71.1 °C) Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes Fully Cooked Ham
Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C). Product Minimum Internal Temperature All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing) 165 °F (73.9 °C) Eggs 160 °F (71.1 °C) Fish & Shellfish 145 °F (62.8 °C) Leftovers 165 °F (73.9 °C) Casseroles 165 °F (73.9 °C)
- Placement of Multifunction Cooker – Multifunction cookers are intended for countertop use, it is recommended that you use your multifunction cooker in your kitchen on a kitchen counter. Be sure to keep cookers away from any external heat sources such as heated ovens, stove tops and gas ranges.
- De-pressurizing – see above for safe de-pressurizing methods.
- Read the User Manual – the best way to ensure the safe operation of your multifunction cooker is to read your cooker’s user manual so that you are familiar with its functions, parts, and best practices.
- Initial Test – if this is your first time using your multifunction cooker, do an initial test with water to ensure that you are familiar with the process and your cooker is functioning properly.
Disclaimer: Dinner Tonight and/or Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service does not promote or support purchasing a single brand, such as the Instant Pot ®.