How To Prevent Food From Sticking To Instant Pot

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Food sticking to the inside of your Instant Pot can get frustrating fast. Especially when you’re baffled as to how it happens.

Luckily, there are some basic solutions to fixing this issue for once and for all regardless of what meal you’re cooking or how long you’re cooking for.

Coating the inside of your Instant Pot with oil, warming the oil prior to adding it to the pot or adding sauce to the pot prior to the protein or carbs will prevent food sticking to the inside of your Instant Pot.

Of course, not all Instant Pot recipes require a sauce. That said you can add the oil to anything, although it’s highly likely your ingredients will absorb some of the oil and you’ll therefore need to consider this if you’re tracking your calorie intake.

You can use frylight or a low-fat cooking spray as an alternative just ensure that the inside of the pan is well coated.

How To Prevent Food From Sticking To Instant Pot

Here are the three techniques I’ve found work great in preventing the food from sticking to the inside of your Instant Pot.

The right technique is likely to depend on;

  • The quantity of food you’re cooking
  • How long you’re cooking for
  • The actual ingredients themselves

So keep in mind that you may have to experiment to find what works best for you.

#1 Add Sauce First

First things first, adding your sauce or any cooking liquid into your instant pot should be done before you add any pasta, rice, or any other dry ingredients.

When you add in the tomato sauce, stock, or cooking wine, you’re introducing a liquid barrier to the bottom of the pot which will mean that your dry ingredients are less likely to get stuck.

This is one of the reasons why, when cooking in a traditional pan, you add the oil first: having the oil be a barrier will help make sure your ingredients don’t stick.

For example, say you’re planning to cook a dish that involves meat, sauce, and pasta. You can add the sauce to your pot first, followed by the meat, and then the pasta.

The sauce will stop the meat from sticking, plus any juices that the meat releases will also help.

In this example, the pasta is the only thing that might stick to your pot. The starch in the pasta contains sugars, and these sugars will stick to your pot if they’re overheated.

Therefore, if you put the uncooked pasta on top of your other ingredients, it is much less likely to stick.

#2 Add Oil To The Inside Of The Pot

Another way is to coat the inside of your instant pot with oil.

Of course, do this when your instant pot is cold and then allow the oil to heat with your pot, as otherwise, you may burn yourself.

Since the vast majority of recipes have a water-based sauce (tomato juice, cooking wine), and because oil and water won’t mix, the sauce will not be able to touch the sides of the pot, meaning the ingredients that you’re cooking simply won’t stick.

When cooking in a more traditional pan, you always pre-heat the pan and then add your oil. This gives the oil that you’re cooking with time to heat, which means that when you add your ingredients, they won’t stick.

#3 Warm The Oil Before Adding Ingredients

A lot of people might make the mistake, when using an instant pot, of adding the oil when the pot’s cold, and then allowing the pot and the oil to heat together.

This, simply, won’t work. You need to add these important ingredients to your instant pot in sequence and allow them to heat up independently.

The reason for this is that when using an instant pot, you’ll often be agitating the ingredients in the pot a lot less than if you were using a more traditional pot.

Because of this, ingredients can sink to the bottom and stick, so you need to make sure that you can adequately coat ingredients with oil by adding them in the right order.

How To Remove Food Stuck To Inside Of Instant Pot

If you’ve already cooked with your instant pot and you’ve scorched food onto the bottom, there is a way to fix it.

Rather than taking some steel wool to your pot and scrubbing, as you might with a saucepan, you can instead use some of the inbuilt features of the pot to do the work for you.

The fix is this, pressure cook a mixture of vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. After that, let the instant pot cool naturally, ideally overnight, and your problem should be solved.

The acidity of the solution that you made in your instant pot will mean that you can scrape most of the gunk right off the bottom.

The brilliant thing about this solution is that you’re using only food-safe products to clean your pot. This means that as soon as you’ve cleaned your instant pot, you can cook in it again after a quick rinse.

This is hugely preferable to using store-bought chemicals to clean your pot, as chemicals while being generally safe, may not be truly food safe.

This means that even after the initial process of allowing your instant pot to clean, you may need to go through another cleaning cycle.