Instant pots are now a common feature in a lot of kitchen countertops. It is great for making meals quickly in small spaces. Also, it allows for a lot of cooking activities, including steaming, sauté, and even making yoghurts.
One topic that comes up frequently when talking about instant pots is sealing. Typically, you seal the pot before setting your instant pot to cook and pressurize. Not sealing the pot could keep it from functioning properly. So how do you know if your instant pot is sealed?
The best way to know if your instant pot is sealed is by checking if steam comes out from the pot or any openings. If moisture is hissing out, then it is probably not sealed. To adjust this make sure the lid is clicked into place and the steam release knob is set to close.
Some people still don’t understand why sealing is crucial in handling instant pots. This guide covers how to check if an instant pot is sealed, how to close it, and how to find out if sealing gets it to work in the first place.
How to Know If Your Instant Pot Is Sealed?
The sealing of an instant pot is directly related to the device getting pressurized. It can be common to notice the instant pot does not pressurize, especially if you’re new to such equipment.
Firstly, it is essential to check the sealing ring before cooking every time. It is usually made of silicone located on the lid of the instant pot. If the sealing ring isn’t in place, the instant pot will not seal the pressure.
While checking, ensure the silicone ring is correctly positioned along the metal ring in the lid. It is vital to check it before cooking because exposure to heat could cause it to stick or shift out of place.
Usually, while your instant pot is pressurizing, you should see steam coming out of it through the float valve and steam release valve. After you set your instant pot to cook a meal and the display shows “On,” steam should come out of the float valve or the pressure release, which is to be expected.
After this, your instant pot might make a hissing sound and continue steaming up until it reaches the appropriate temperature. When this happens, the float valve should have risen to the “Up” position to show that your instant pot is sealed.
Keep your eye on the display, and after a couple of minutes, this should start a countdown according to the number of minutes you set the instant pot to pressure cook.
At this point, steam should no longer come out from the float valve because it is sealed. If you notice steam coming out of your instant pot, then chances are it is not sealed, and the float valve is not in the “Up” position.
However, the instant pot might also show a slight steaming periodically, but this shouldn’t last long, and it doesn’t indicate the instant pot isn’t sealed. This usually occurs with foods that have a lot of liquids, like soup.
What Can I Do to Make Sure It Is Sealed?
There are many reasons why your instant pot will not seal. Usually, making sure it is sealed is by addressing the issue on a case-by-case basis. However, here are some general ways to make sure your instant pot is sealed.
Set the Pressure Release Handle in Position
In many Instant pot models, you can change the release handle from the Sealing position to Venting. You should do this if you’re having difficulties in closing the lid. Since the pot’s contents should be warm, you should be able to close the pot tightly without any issues. Once the pot is closed, set the steam release handle in the Sealing position.
Add More Liquid to the Instant Pot
Before trying to close the instant pot to cook, you should have enough liquid in the pot. If too much liquid had already left the pot, it wouldn’t pressurize, so it might be necessary to add more liquid.
Depending on the dish you’re cooking, add more broth or water. If you mistakenly add too much water in, use the Sauté function so the liquid will reduce and get thicker.
Check the Sealing Ring
One of the things you have to check in an instant pot before cooking is the sealing ring. Open up your instant pot and push the sealing ring through the ring rack until it is seated properly. To confirm if it is in position, try turning the ring rack.
If it rotates or moves around the ring rack, then you know it is sealed. In the rare case that your sealing ring is misplaced or missing, your pot might start leaking steam by the sides, and it becomes necessary to replace the sealing ring.
Another possibility is that your sealing ring has overextended because of the heat, and it doesn’t return to its natural state. Consider putting the sealing ring in a freezer or run cold water on it so it can contract and get back in shape. Check for food debris in the sealing ring that might not let it stay in position so you can remove it with soap and water.
Remove the Debris in the Anti-Block Shield or the Float Valve
Debris is a recurring factor that prevents your instant pot from sealing no matter where the debris is located. This is especially true in the anti-block shield and the float valve. Remove the float valve and the anti-block shield to clean with a pipe cleaner or brush.
Carefully clean every part of the lid, dry it correctly and put them back in position.
Replacing the Steam Release Handle
There is a metal safety clip inside older models of instant pots to prevent these pots from over-pressurizing. Over time, this ring could get bent and make the steam release handle bend in the sealing position as it would be when set to Venting, making steam escape from the instant pot.
You can buy a new steam release handle and replace it to effectively solve this problem if you notice your instant pot is one of these old models. Alternatively, you can remove the metal ring from the instant pot straighten it with a pliers pair to get it back in position before placing it back into the instant pot.
Does It Need to Be Sealed to Work?
Yes, your instant pot needs to be sealed before it can work properly. Technically, you can still switch it on and set it to cook, but it won’t work correctly because of the process it uses. Instant pots, just like other pressure cookers, use intense heat and pressure for cooking meals. That is why it is far faster than regular cookers or stoves.
If the instant pot isn’t sealed when you set it to cook your food, pressure will escape, and it will take a far longer time to cook your food or sometimes not at all. The sealing of your instant pot ensures the heat and pressure stays inside long enough for the food to be tenderized and cooked.
A common mistake with newcomers to instant pots is forgetting to set the valve in a sealing position. Before long, air will escape from the sealing ring area after the pot has gotten to pressure. An easy way to take care of this cancelling the cooking time and setting the valve in a sealing position instead of a vented setting.