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Using Your Instant Pot When You’re Not Under “Pressure”

For many of us, the Instant Pot is the ultimate in pressure cooking. We are all familiar with the “Manual/Pressure Cook” button. Some even use the “Saute” button as a way to seer a pot roast or brown ground beef prior to pressure cooking our next masterpiece.
The buttons labeled “Slow Cook”, “Yogurt”, “Saute” and “Keep Warm” are not pressure cooking buttons. You can leave the pressure cooking lid off and use a glass lid for those settings. A glass lid will help keep the temperature stable while still allowing you to see the progress of what you are preparing. Please note, your Instant Pot model may label the buttons differently. Here are a few tips to using those buttons and a brief explanation of each.
The “Slow Cook” button is similar to cooking with your slow cooker with some slight differences. A slow cooker cooks on the bottom and sides of your pot while the Instant Pot will cook just from the bottom. It will take longer in the Instant Pot so you will have to adjust the timer depending upon what you are cooking. Make sure to adjust your heat settings to Warm, Low or High accordingly. Another thing to consider is that the Instant Pot liner pot is designed with heat dispersing layers on the bottom of the pot. Better quality liners will have this feature. It truly makes a difference.
The “Yogurt” button knows just what to do. Whether you prefer the cold start or boil method, it will not be necessary to use the Instant Pot pressure cooker lid. You can substitute a tempered glass lid with a vent hole either especially made for your Instant Pot or one that fits from another pan. During the cooling process it is useful to be able to cover your Instant Pot liner with an air tight silicone lid to prevent spills and pop into the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight is fine as well.
The “Saute” button is a versatile work horse for IP cooking. This button is used for browning/simmering and is the beginning steps in many recipes. Don’t forget you can adjust the temperature by either cycling through by pressing the Saute button or using the Adjust button in older Instant Pot models. While cooking, you can place a tempered glass lid on the pot to keep splatter under control while still being able to see your cooking progress.
The “Keep Warm” button actually can be activated automatically after you have used the pressure cooker mode. This button can also be activated by pressing the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button. The temperature can be maintained from 140F to 172F and for up to 10 hours. Placing a tempered glass lid over the food allows you to keep the food at ready-to-eat temperature without having to reheat and this is all in one pot!
So, that’s the Pressure-Free story of your Instant Pot. Have fun experimenting and don’t be limited to just 2 of the many buttons you have available. Some additional lids that will come in handy are a tempered glass lid with a vent and a silicone lid that fits securely on the liner pot. The particular set I recommend is from KOYSAS. They can be seen by clicking here
Hopefully, this will help you expand the usefulness of your Instant Pot. The possibilities are endless!