How To Pressure Release: Natural Release vs. Quick Release

Instant Pot Release Method

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!?

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

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

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:


Looking for Easy Starter Recipes?

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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Leave a Reply

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Mahnoor

Hey Amy and Jack, I bought instant pot yesterday and tried rice pudding. The recipe calls for natural release. I had more liquid in it so I waited for an hour but floating valve didn’t dropped. I tried quick release but no steam came out. I pushed the pin and it dropped. I am scared to use it again. What should I do if it happens again?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 80
Kathy

Why natural release for meat? First understand what happens INSIDE the pot. When cooking, the pressure happens when the air is exhausted, but this means that the temp goes higher. 15# of pressure inside means about 245 degrees for cooking. When done, a quick release releases this pressure/heat, but as the pressure is let out, a Venturi effect results in a vacuum inside the pot. This vacuum sucks the moisture out of your roast, chicken, etc. leaving it drier & tough. Natural release slows this process down & allows for a more gradual change inside the pot. It lets things… Read more »

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Kenya bows

Do the pressure cooker shut off it self after cooking or do i have to shut it off

Ruth Forsey

After my 6 qt instant pot floating valve pops up while I am cooking a whole chicken in 8 cups of water, @ 0 min cooking time, what should I press to begin the NR?
Thank you for your reply!

Ruth Forsey

Thanks for taking my question! I emersed my ing for the whole chicken pouching recipe into my pot. Pressed pressure. And as per instructions I do now enter any time. Now that the valve is popped up, what do I press to stop cooking and enable pressure to NR.
Looking forward to a quick reply!

Fanny

I followed the recipe for Chicken Congee, Chinese Chicken and Rice, and Pork Shank Carrot Soup. My natural release for all of them has been at least 1 hour.? What am I doing wrong?

Kunnida

I would like to know this answer too because I made chicken congee in an instant pot for the first time yesterday and it was taking forever in the NR.

Kunnida

Happy New Year! When I QR it after 25 mins NPR, it was spurting starch everywhere making a big mess. Is that normal? I’m still an IP newbie.

Kunnida

Yes. I had filled the full pot bc I have a big family. The full natural release would have been forever then bc it was already over 25 mins.

Kunnida

Hi! Yes, thank you. After that last mess, I made sure to turn the knob slowly spurts at a time until it’s all released. It was less of a mess that way. Was hoping for an easier method. Love your videos!

Chris

Is it normal for the valve on top is wobbly? I turn it to steam and it seems like it does not ingage as it does for venting. I thought at first it was broke but it seems to do what it is suppose to do. Thanks in advance. Cooking a Chuck roast tonight so need an answer as I want to make sure all is good with valve

Marie McConaghy

I have an instant pot duo 6 quart but the release valve doesn’t seem to go all the way to the seal position. The is the vent position and some squiggly lines before the seal position. That is as far as the release valve goes. Just to the squiggly lines; it won’t go all the way to the words “seal”.

Lynne

Thanks for your response! That is a tricky little piece of plastic, lol. I found I had not turned it counterclockwise far enough and that if I lifted it a bit while turning, then it moved into the proper position.
Thanks for your cheerful help!

Lynne

Hi, I just completed my water test. My old pot had a slide opening for the vent, so this wobbly thing is new to me, LOL. When I went to release pressure, steam came out as expected for a couple of seconds, then stopped. The only way I was able to get it to continue to release steam quickly was to manually pull it forward using a wooden spoon. It wasn’t far back in the locked position, it was forward, but it wanted to be completely forward and didn’t stay there itself. Any hints? Thanks for your helpful site! Happy… Read more »

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