Food FAQs

  Food FAQs  

Terms & Terminologies

What do NPR and QPR mean?
  • NPR stands for Natural Pressure Release. QPR stands for Quick Pressure Release. Once the pot has finished cooking, it beeps to let you know that it has finished the cook cycle.  At this point, most recipes direct you to either release pressure naturally, quickly release pressure, or perhaps a combination of the two, such as allowing the pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes and then releasing all remaining pressure.
  • NPR: To release pressure naturally, simply allow the pot to rest undisturbed. As the pressure cooker cools, it will gradually release pressure, until the float valve drops, indicating that the pot is no longer under pressure.
  • QPR: To release pressure quickly, press down on the button on top of the lid and allow the pot to release steam and pressure.  Ensure that the pot is not directly under cabinets that may get damaged by steam, and be sure to keep hands and face away from the steam.
What does PIP or pot-in-pot cooking mean?
PIP or Pot-in-Pot refers to the practice of cooking multiple dishes at the same time in the cooker. This is accomplished by using the steam rack, and an additional heatproof pot that fits in the inner pot to cook two dishes at the same time.  Typically, one dish is cooked directly in the inner pot, while another dish is cooked in a smaller pot that rests on the steam rack. The ability to cook multiple items at the same time is yet another way Instant Pot® makes cooking fast and fun!

Food not cooked properly

Why is my food under/overcooked?
The most common reasons for under or overcooked food are:
  • Insufficient water in the recipe leading to undercooking
  • Pieces of food larger/smaller than what the recipe calls for
  • Doing a NPR when the recipe calls for QPR or a QPR when the recipe calls for a NPR as the food continues to cook during this time.
Why does my food keep burning?
The most common reasons for burning are:
  • Insufficient water in the recipe
  • Substituting ingredients that absorb water (e.g., potatoes, pasta, rice, grains, beans and legumes) for ingredients that release water (e.g., most meats and vegetables)
  • Food stuck to the bottom of the pot while Sautéing
  • Thick liquids being used to bring the pot to pressure, such as tomato sauces, thick cream soups etc.
  • Inadequately sealed causing the water from the recipe to evaporate.
I followed the recipe but the chicken is still pink inside. How can I tell if it is cooked?
Since pressure cooked food is often not browned, it may be difficult to gauge whether or not the food is cooked to your preference.  If in doubt, a meat thermometer can be very useful in gauging doneness.  Please follow USDA guidelines to establish safe internal temperatures for different types of meat.
I used my slow cook function but hours later my food is still raw, why?
Your Instant Pot® is a fully functional slow cooker that is capable of producing delicious, slow-cooked meals. The following may be helpful for you if you have used a traditional slow cooker:
  • The LOW/LESS setting on the Instant Pot® should be used to keep foods warm, not to cook foods.
  • The MEDIUM/NORMAL setting on the Instant Pot® functions much like the Low setting on a traditional slow cooker. Use the setting for slow cooking meat all day, (e.g., prepare roast in 8 hours).
  • The HIGH/MORE setting on the Instant Pot® functions much like the High setting on a traditional slow cooker. Use this setting for slightly faster slow cooking (e.g., prepare roast in 4 hours).

Cooking times

Why does it take so long for the pot to come to pressure?
The amount of time for a pot to come to pressure is influenced by the following factors:
  • The amount of food in the pot. A fuller pot will take longer to come to pressure
  • The type of food in the pot. Liquids take longer to come to pressure than more dense foods.
Once you set the pot to cook, you are able to walk away while your food continues to cook safely.
If I double the ingredients, do I double the cooking time?
No, you keep cooking time the same.   It may take the cooker a little longer to come to pressure, but once under pressure, cooking time is the same.
Can I cook food from frozen, without first defrosting?
Yes you can cook frozen food without first defrosting. It will take longer for the pot to come to pressure, but once under pressure, cooking time is the same.
  • Foods that have been frozen in a flat layer will defrost faster and better than those that have been frozen in large chunks.
  • If you plan to cook large, frozen roasts, consider cutting up the roast into smaller pieces before freezing.
Can I cook pasta in the Instant Pot?
How do you convert 15 psi 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 an 11.6psi Instant Pot is 117°C (242°F).  This is a difference of 3.4%.  We find in most cases recipes for 15psi pressure cookers can be adapted to Instant Pot by increasing the cooking time by 7~15%.

Yogurt

I left my yogurt in for longer than 8 hours, is it spoiled?

Yogurt can be left to incubate safely for up to 12-14 hours. Although it will not spoil, it may however, be tarter than you would prefer.  The longer it incubates, the more tart it will taste.

I followed all directions but my yogurt did not set.

The most common reasons for yogurt not setting are:

  • Yogurt starter needs to be replaced as it is either old or does not contain sufficient live cultures.
  • The milk temperature was too high when the starter was added, thereby killing the live cultures in the starter

Eggs

I followed all directions but my eggs are still under/overcooked or green around the yolks, why?
  • With just a little experimentation, the Instant Pot® is capable of giving you perfectly cooked eggs each time. Since people prefer their eggs at different consistencies, we suggest you experiment to find the time that is best for you.
  • Our recommended time for cooking eggs –
    • Soft, Low/Less mode, 4 minutes
    • Medium, Medium/Normal mode, 5 minutes
    • Hard, High/More mode, 6 minutes

Cake

Is the cake really being baked?

The pressure cooker is not an oven, so the cake is not technically being baked.  It is however being steamed, resulting in a well-prepared cake.

What is the texture of cakes baked in the Instant Pot®?
The texture is light and fluffy for a cake or quick bread from the Instant Pot® over an oven-baked one. Try it for yourself and see how you too can make delectable quick breads and cakes without turning on the oven!

What cannot be Prepared

Can I do Canning in the 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. The Instant Pot® product line is regulated by a pressure sensor instead of a thermometer; the altitude of your location may affect the actual cooking temperature. We recommend to not use Instant Pot for pressure canning.
Can I Deep Fry in the Instant Pot®?
One cannot deep fry or pressure fry in the cooker with oil.