Welcome to Part 4 of Pressure Cooker Basics. This is the final post in this series. Now that we’ve talked about several of the fun and delicious things you can make in your Instant Pot, it’s time to be sure you know how to clean and care for it. There’s nothing complicated about caring for your pressure cooker, but I have tried a few different techniques and have a few tips to share so that you can keep your pot bright and shiny.
Before first use: Prior to cooking in your new pressure cooker, it is recommended to complete a test run. This ensures that your unit is working properly, and also gives you a chance to try it out and get more comfortable with your new toy.
Test Run/Water Test– (According to the IP Duo Manual)
- “Make sure the pressure release handle and float valve are unobstructed and clean, and that the sealing ring is properly inserted.
- Place the inner pot in the cooker base and add 3 cups of water into the inner pot. (Filling to the 3 line marked on the inside of the pot is not 3 cups.)
- Close the lid. Make sure that the pressure release handle is pointing to the “Sealing” mark on the lid.
- Press the “Steam” button, and press the “-“ button to change the time to 2 minutes.
- In 10 seconds, your Instant Pot® will go into the preheating cycle (display showing “On”). Within a few minutes, steam will release for a minute or two until the Float Valve pops up to seal the cooker. Once working pressure is reached, which may take a few minutes or up to 10 -13 minutes, the countdown timer will begin. When the countdown is finished, the Instant Pot® will beep and automatically switch into the “Keep Warm” mode. The test is now complete.
Press the “Keep-Warm/Cancel” button and/or unplug the unit. Once the pot cools down, you can open it and are ready to try your favorite recipes.”
To Clean Burnt/Stuck-on Foods: I generally don’t have too many issues with my pot being difficult to clean. Most foods clean off really well, however there will be times where you’ll feel like you’re going to run out of elbow grease before that pot is bright and shiny. Here are a few ways that I have found to work really well.
- Place dirty pot into pressure cooker and add water to the pot enough to cover the burnt food. Turn on ‘Saute’ button and let water come to a simmer. Use a wooden spatula to scrape off burnt bits while water is simmering. Turn off ‘saute’ function and carefully remove pot. Wash with hot soapy water.
- Use Bar Keepers’ Friend (the powder, not the liquid). This is my go-to for all of my cookware scrubbing needs. If there’s a bit of a crust in the pressure cooker pot, dampen a sponge, and sprinkle some Bar Keepers’ Friend onto the sponge to make a paste. Scrub until clean, then rinse and wash as usual. You can find this near the other cleansers at the grocery store.
To Restore Shine: Sometimes you might find that your pot looks cloudy, even after being cleaned really well. This is likely from the minerals in your water. Not to worry, it is an easy fix. Simply dampen a paper towel with distilled vinegar and wipe the entire inner surface of the pot. Rinse and admire your brand-new-looking pot!
To Clean the Lid: This made me a little nervous for the first several times I washed my Instant pot after cooking in it. I was afraid of submerging the lid into dishwater, so I gave it some really elaborate sponge baths. Don’t be silly like me. It is perfectly safe to submerge the lid in a sink of soapy water, and I highly recommend it. Remove the silicone ring first, and be sure to soak and clean that too. Just don’t forget to re-install it before you use it next time!
Cleaning the Silicone Ring: This can be a bit of a head-scratcher. No matter how well you clean your silicone ring after every use, it will eventually begin retaining smells from really aromatic ingredients. (Curry, Taco seasoning, Chili, etc.) I have yet to notice any flavor carrying over into other foods, but it is a bit frustrating.
Soaking the ring for a few minutes in vinegar helps a bit, but doesn’t remove the odor completely. I have also soaked mine in hot water with a few denture tablets, which also helped, but didn’t eliminate the odor completely either. I even tried diluting bleach in water. It is just the nature of the material to absorb smells. What many people choose to do is to purchase an additional silicone ring to use for really mild foods, such as yogurt or cheesecake, and save the original one for the more aromatic recipes. I still use only one ring, because I truly know that it is very clean and have had no issues with any flavor carrying over. Mine smells faintly of taco seasoning, and I’m okay with it.
Replacing the Silicone Ring: The manufacturer recommends replacing the silicone ring every 18-24 months, or when ring seems not to fit properly anymore. Please do keep an eye on yours and make sure it isn’t stretching out and fitting too loosely in the lid. This could result in loss of pressure or failure to reach pressure, or steam to leak out the side of the lid. It is very inexpensive and easy to replace.
Thanks so much for joining me for my Pressure Cooker Basics series! I hope you have a wonderful time creating delicious recipes in your Instant Pot. Have fun and be fearless!
You can see the rest of my Pressure Cooker Basics series here: