The Instant Pot is a brand of multicooker that combines a pressure cooker and a slow cooker into one easy-to-use machine. Pressure cookers use an air-tight sealed pot that builds up pressure while cooking. The Instant Pot offers a controlled and natural steam release at the end of cooking, but does the Instant Pot release steam while pressure cooking?
The Instant Pot releases steam from the edges of the lid while building up pressure. It takes about 30 minutes to build up pressure in an Instant Pot. Once the pressure is built up, the steam should only come out of the steam release float valve on the top of the lid.
If you find that your Instant Pot is releasing steam from the edges of your lid after 30 minutes of building up the pressure, you may have a leak that needs to be adjusted or repaired. Once the pressure is built up, the steam should steadily be released from the steam release float valve throughout the cooking process. If it didn’t release steam, it would eventually explode.
Does the Instant Pot Release Steam While Pressure Cooking?
Pressure cooking is a quick way to impart many flavors and cook food to a finished result that would normally take many hours. Pressure cookers can be dangerous if not used correctly, though. If it needs the pressure to cook, why does the Instant Pot release steam while pressure cooking?
The Instant Pot needs to release steam while cooking so that it doesn’t build up too much pressure and malfunction or possibly explode. Your Instant Pot should start releasing steam around 30 minutes into the cooking process once it builds up pressure.
You also want to release the steam once the cooking process is completed. You can release the steam manually, stopping the cooking process immediately, and spew hot steam out of the lid.
You can let the steam release naturally by letting your Instant Pot cool down naturally, but this will continue cooking the food for the duration, and it takes up to 40 minutes in some cases.
Keep in mind that the Instant Pot has a safety feature that prevents you from opening the lid while there is a lot of pressure.
There are also some modes you can use on your Instant Pot without using the steam release valve.
When Does Instant Pot Release Steam?
About 30 minutes into the pressure cooking process, your Instant Pot should start to release steam from the steam release float valve on the top of the lid.
The steam release float valve is a small weighted knob that sits on a tube on the lid of your Instant Pot. The float valve may jiggle or rattle as the steam releases during the cooking process. This is completely normal.
Once the cooking process is finished, the steam needs to be released. There are two ways to release the steam after the Instant Pot pressure cooker is done cooking. The natural release and the quick release. Each method has its upsides and downsides. Be careful when releasing steam using either method with your Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Natural Release vs. Quick Release
There are two methods of releasing steam from an Instant Pot. The quick release is a small lever on the top of the lid that will release the steam manually when flipped. The other method is a natural release. This is just letting the pressure come down naturally as the Instant Pot cools.
The natural release method is safer but takes longer. Some recipes require you to do a quick or natural release.
The way to naturally release the steam from your Instant Pot is to leave it alone and let it cool down on its own. Over about 45 minutes, your Instant Pot will release the steam slowly and cool down in the process. After 45 minutes, your Instant Pot should have cooled to the point that you can remove the pressure cooker lid.
All Instant Pots are also equipped with a quick release valve, usually located behind the steam release float valve. The quick release valve is a small lever that can be flipped to expel the built-up steam.
The upside to using the quick release is it is much quicker, taking only a minute or so to expel all the steam. The quick release also stops the food cooking process.
The downside to using the quick release is that extremely hot steam spews out the top of the Instant Pot lid. If there is a lot of liquid, you can make a mess as this steam could stain whatever it touches as it spews out.
It is normal for the Instant Pot to release steam during the pressure cooking process. If the Instant Pot pressure cooker didn’t release steam, it would eventually fail or explode. You want to ensure that your Instant Pot releases steam while cooking.