People new to pressure cooking in Instant Pots sometimes find the act of releasing pressure slightly intimidating mostly because of the noise that sometimes accompanies the jet of steam released from the Instant Pot.
It would not be surprising if such people have no idea how long it will take for all the pressure to be naturally released from the Instant Pot since there might not be any major indication of that.
Regardless of how annoying the noise or the waiting time can be, it should not be enough to stop people from enjoying the benefits Instant Pots offer when being used to cook meals.
It takes anywhere between five to thirty minutes for pressure in Instant Pots to be naturally released and the food will still be warm during this process. The time for the pressure to be completely released naturally varies between different cooking scenarios because of the different volumes of liquid involved and the amount and type of ingredients used.
Instant Pots usually give off a beeping sound to indicate that the cooking cycle has ended and the automatic natural pressure process will start. When the natural release process is complete, one would hear or see the float valve drop down.
How to Let an Instant Pot Naturally Release?
Some people make the mistake of thinking that they have to turn off the Instant Pot for it to release pressure naturally but this is not the case. Instant Pots are designed to let this process take place automatically provided the pressure release switch is left in the “Sealed” position, hence the name “natural release”.
When the food is done cooking, the pressure would slowly get released and one would not be able to see a jet of steam escape from the pot. Sometimes, there is no clear way to know if the pressure has been fully released.
If you leave the “keep warm” feature enabled on the instant pot, it might make the natural release process last longer since the appliance would be trying to preserve the heat inside the cooker.
Natural Release of pressure in an Instant Pot is different from Quick Release, and the two regularly get mixed up. Natural Release is when nothing is done to the instant pot after the cooking process and it is allowed to cool down on its own while releasing heat and pressure are being released.
On the other hand, Quick Release is when the setting on the instant pot is changed from “sealing” to “venting” after cooking is complete so steam can be released much faster.
These labels may not have the same name on the different Instant Pots by various manufacturers but the underlying principle remains the same. For safety reasons, it is impossible to open to the instant pot without the pressure being released first.
So be prepared to wait between five and thirty minutes for your instant pot to naturally release its pressure before you can access your food. Stay away from the jet of steam as it is being released because it will be hot and can do some damage to your skin.
Keep the steam away from hanging cabinets or other appliances, as the moisture might be harmful to them.
Is It Better To Let An Instant Pot Naturally Release?
This is a question on the lips of people that have an interest in pressure cooking as they want to know if being patient and waiting for almost half an hour to access their food is worth it.
Natural Release is ideal for keeping a tidy kitchen because since the pressure in the pot is allowed to be released naturally and gradually, there would be less movement of the items inside. Fewer movements mean little chance of splashes, soups, and stocks staying intact and solid foods staying intact when the instant pot is opened.
Foods with high starchy content like porridge, foamy foods, or foods with high amounts of liquids like soups are the best candidates for natural pressure release.
Quick Release comes in handy when one wants to prevent overcooking or burning if the person cooking the food miscalculated the timing. One has to be careful when opening the instant pot during quick release so steam will not “jump out” at the person cooking and cause any burning incident.
Foods that are ideal for Quick Pressure Release are quick-cooking vegetables, corn on the cob, Broccoli, crabs, lobster, salmon, and other forms of seafood.
Natural Release is the better option when it comes to releasing pressure from instant pots because it gives the food being cooked its desired appearance and ensures it would not spill on the skin of the person that opens the appliance.
Quick Release might not offer you the same pleasant food appearance that Natural pressure release would so it should be used only when necessary.