When You Should Use The Natural Release On Your Instant Pot

We all love an Instant Pot. It's essentially a magical kitchen gadget that allows us to not only slow cook or pressure cook in one, but also braise, sear, simmer, and sauté. With so many functions, it may seem a little overwhelming to use, but we assure you that with a little bit of time and practice you will master it in no time. Although you'll find guides about every aspect of the Instant Pot, we want to focus on the natural pressure release function.

Essentially, there are two ways to release the pressure from inside of an Instant Pot: natural pressure release and quick pressure release. During the natural release, there is no real action taken as the pressure and heat release once the cooking timer is up and the float valve drops, allowing you to open the lid. Quick pressure release, on the other hand, occurs when you turn the float valve from sealed to venting, allowing the pressure and heat to quickly flow from the valve. When all of the pressure is released, the float valve will drop, as it does during the natural pressure release, indicating you may open the lid (via Pressure Cooking Today). 

One might think faster is always better, but that's not always the case.

When to natural release

According to Insider, using the natural pressure release is the more natural way (as the name suggests) of releasing pressure and can take from five to 30 minutes. Insider goes on to mention that due to this longer release time, the natural pressure release is preferable for recipes that have longer cooking times, such as pot roasts, broths, and stews. This is because although the heating function on the machine stops, the food will continue to slowly and gently cook as the pressure releases.

Besides these recipes with longer cooking times, it's important to use the natural release function when cooking "foamy foods." These foods include grains and pastas and create foam when they are cooking. If the instant pressure release is used while cooking these foods, it can clog up, split out, and make a complete mess (via Paint The Kitchen Red) and let's be honest, no one wants that.

So, next time you're choosing between the natural and instant release, think about what you're cooking and remember the timing of the recipe and what's inside your Instant Pot is really important.