How To Pressure Release: Natural Release vs. Quick Release

So you just bought a new Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot. Reading all these pressure cooker recipes, you are now confused. What is a Pressure Cooker Natural Pressure Release and Quick Pressure Release?

NO ONE told us a Quick Release looks like a steam volcano!?

What is a 12-minute Natural Release? Why not 11 minutes?

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How? When? What does it all mean?!

If you want to:

  • Avoid making a big mess in your kitchen…
  • Cook your meal to perfection…
  • Know when and how to pressure release: Quick Release or Natural Release?
  • Persuade your dear wife or husband to buy another Instant Pot…

then read on 🙂

Here’s the Deal:

Quick Pressure Release (QPR or QR) & Natural Pressure Release (NPR or NR) are 2 methods to release pressure of your Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot.

It is super easy to master these 2 pressure release methods.

First, let’s learn a few basics of your pressure cooker’s lid:

Pressure Release Methods: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Lid - venting knob & floating valve

Look closely at your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker’s lid. There’s a Floating Valve (metal pin) and a Venting Knob.

Noticed the Sealing Position and Venting Position on the lid?

Pressure Release Methods: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Venting Knob Positions

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How to do a Pressure Cooker Quick Release?


After the cooking cycle finished, carefully move the venting knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to quickly release the pressure inside the pressure cooker.

Usually takes a few minutes to release all the pressure. Wait until the Floating Valve (metal pin) completely drops before opening the lid.

Pressure Release Methods: how to do a Pressure Cooker Quick Release.

The steam shooting out maybe intimidating at first. Using a wooden spoon or wear oven mitt/silicone glove to move the Venting Knob may help. You will get used to it 🙂

What’s the advantage?

Quick Pressure Release is great for quickly stopping the cooking process to prevent overcooking. It’s ideal for food such as quick-cooking vegetables (e.g broccoli, bok choy, corn, etc.) and delicate seafood (e.g salmon, crab, lobster, etc.)

What’s the catch?

  • Not suitable for food with large liquid volume or high starch content (e.g. porridge, congee, soup, etc.). Food content may splatter out from the Pressure Release Valve.
  • Foamy food may clog the Pressure Release Valve.
  • Food, especially beans may break apart due to the sudden change in pressure/temperature.
  • If the recipe is designed for Natural Pressure Release, the food may come out undercooked.

How to do a Pressure Cooker Natural Release?


After the cooking cycle finished, wait until the Floating Valve (metal pin) completely drops before opening the lid.

Always turn the Venting Knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to ensure all the pressure is released before opening the lid.

This pressure release method usually takes 10 – 25 minutes (depending on the amount of food in the pressure cooker).

Pressure Release Methods: how to do a Pressure Cooker Natural Release

What’s the advantage?

If you are cooking foamy food, food with large liquid volume or high starch content (e.g porridge, congee, soup, etc.), Natural Pressure Release is great for keeping your kitchen nice and clean.

Why?

Since the pressure is released gradually, there is less movement in the pressure cooker. Your stock and soup come out cleaner and food are more likely to stay intact.

What’s the catch?

  • A pot full of stock or soup takes very long to release pressure naturally.
  • If the recipe is designed for Quick Pressure Release, the food may overcook, as the cooking process continues during the natural release process.

– The Hybrid of Quick Release and Natural Release –

How to do a 10 – 15 Minutes Natural Pressure Release?


After the cooking cycle finished, wait 10 – 15 minutes before moving the Venting Knob from Sealing Position to Venting Position to release the remaining pressure.

Always make sure the Floating Valve (metal pin) completely drops before opening the lid.

The Hybrid 10 Minutes Natural Release

What’s the advantage?
  • Compare to Quick Release: Significantly reduces the chance of food splattering out from the Pressure Release Valve.
  • Compare to Natural Release: Faster release method when the pressure cooker is full of food with high liquid volume.

Watch: How To Pressure Release – Natural vs. Quick Release Video

Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

See more:


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Check out these Easy Instant Pot Recipes to get you started.33+ Easy Recipes for New Instant Pot Users

Pressure Release Methods: Learn how to do a Pressure Cooker Natural Release & Quick Release.

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