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How To Natural Release Instant Pot

Although Instant Pots are well-liked for their hands-free, speedy cooking, there is a slight learning curve for unfamiliar people with the appliance. The word “release” will frequently appear in Instant Pot recipes. This crucial stage, which occurs after the cooking has ended, is unique to pressure cookers. There are two options available — natural release and rapid (or manual) release — and the one you choose can significantly affect your dish. 

What Are Quick Release And Natural Release? 

Choosing the optimal release method for an Instant Pot is helpful to understand how the electric pressure cooker operates. 

In pressure cooker mode, the Instant Pot captures the steam generated by the food and liquid inside the pot. As pressure increases due to the accumulation of steam, the boiling point of water rises. This enables speedier cooking times. 

After each cooking cycle, the pressure must be released from the pot before the Instant Pot can be opened securely. 

With a release valve in the lid to let steam escape, Instant Pots automatically manage the pressure. Every multi-cooker on the market, including Instant Pots, is equipped with valves to regulate the type of release used. All of this is accounted for in quality Instant Pot recipes, resulting in properly cooked food. 

Two methods exist for releasing pressure from an Instant Pot: 

Natural release: The safest and most practical release method is a natural release. To do a natural release, allow the Instant Pot to sit until the pressure returns to normal. This is the most popular release method used in Instant Pot recipes, and it can take anywhere between five and thirty minutes. 

Quick-release: Also known as manual or steam release, a quick-release involves opening a valve on the top of the cooker to escape into a narrow, regulated stream. This release is more prevalent with delicate items that you want to avoid overcooking, and it can last between one and five minutes. 


The design of the release valve varies according to the Instant Pot model. Some valve and switch combinations indicate whether the valve is closed or open. Other models have a separate steam release button that you must click. In contrast, high-end versions allow you to program the sort of steam release, and the pot accomplishes it automatically after cooking. 

What Is The Distinction Between Quick Release And Natural Release? 

It makes a difference how you depressurize your pressure cooker. In addition to affecting the food inside, it can also compromise the pressure cooker’s safety. The method used to relieve pressure depends on the dish being prepared. 

Observe This Rule 

  • Utilize natural release while preparing meat, dried beans and legumes, rice, soup, and other liquid-rich foods. 
  • Use rapid release when adding additional ingredients to the pot (such as in a stew) or while cooking eggs, vegetables, delicate meals, or dishes that do not benefit from extra cooking time. 

How Much Time Does Natural Release Require? 

The time for Natural Release depends on: 

  • The capacity of your Instant Pot: 3, 6, or 8 quarts. 
  • What’s inside – what you are cooking. 

8 quarts Instant Pot features a larger pot (capacity), allowing more internal pressure to build up. If the recipe is for a dish with minimal liquid, such as Instant Pot chicken breast or Instant Pot teriyaki chicken, Natural Release will take around 10 minutes. For Instant Pot lentil soup, for example, pressure release could take up to 40 minutes due to the enormous size of the pot and the fact that the hot liquid keeps the steam running. 

6 quarts Instant Pot requires less time for Natural Release, between 5 and 20 minutes. This is a characteristic I appreciate about smaller pressure cookers. 

Wondering which size fits you best? Check out my article about which Instant Pot to purchase?! 

When And How To Use A Natural Release 

Because there is so much pressure inside the pot, a gradual release is gentler than a fast release, but it takes longer. This makes it great for dishes that require longer cooking durations, such as braises, stews, and broths. 

Also, it is better to utilize natural release while cooking oatmeal, polenta, and other porridge-like meals that “would otherwise splatter goop out of a quick-release valve, producing a mess and perhaps clogging the valve. 

Consider natural release, not when cooking ceases but when it proceeds more gently than when under pressure. As the heating element turns off, the food continues to cook slowly until the pressure is eventually released. 

If a recipe calls for a natural release, no action is required. There is more inaction than action. Leave it alone once the timer reaches zero and the pot beeps, indicating that cooking is complete. You will know that the pressure has been released when the float valve clicks down into the lid. The lid will then unlock and become accessible. 

Natural Release: Is it Safe? 

Yes, this procedure is secure. Natural release eliminates the need to manually adjust the steam valve, reducing the risk of coming into touch with hot steam. However, a natural release is not always the most effective strategy. During this procedure, food continues to cook, causing some items to become overcooked. It would be best if you used the rapid release option for these. 

One of the most common Instant Pot blunders is allowing steam to escape during the cooking process, regardless of the method employed. If you are curious about how an Instant Pot differs from a traditional pressure cooker, we compared the Instant Pot to a pressure cooker and determined which one was superior. 

When and how to use a quick release 

Instead of letting the food rest in the cooker while the pressure slowly releases, a fast (or manual) release requires immediate intervention. The valve is manually opened, releasing all the accumulated steam. Manual is useful for quick-cooking foods, such as tender greens or seafood, that might quickly overcook with the slower natural release method. 

Some one-pot dinners require rapid releases in addition to pasta dishes. Pay strict attention to a recipe’s instructions, as using the incorrect release might spoil a dish and create a significant mess in the kitchen. If the pot is full or if the dish inside has foamed, the valve will discharge steam and sputtering’s of hot liquid. 

Turn the steam handle release knob or push the steam release button on the Instant Pot lid to use the quick release option. As an added precaution against steam burns, Bir suggests using a long-handled spoon to push the valve from its closed to open position if the valve and steam release are a single device. The float valve will descend, and the lid will unlock once all pressure has been released. 


Keep in mind that steam is hotter than boiling water and can quickly cover a large area. “Steam burns stink,” Bir says. Keep your hands, face, and anything else away from the lid throughout the pressure release. 

Is Quick Release safe? 

Yes, if the proper precautions are taken. The steam that instantly escapes the Instant Pot is scorching. The Instant Pot User Manual advises against placing your hand or face over the pressure cooker while venting steam. Turning the valve with a tool such as kitchen tongs or a wooden spoon is advisable to prevent skin contact with hot steam. Other Instant Pot users wear silicone oven mitts or cover their hands with a kitchen towel. (Don’t miss these Instant Pot secrets not included in the user manual.) 

Quick Pressure Release security measures 

  • The steam jet produced by your Instant Pot is quite hot. Remove your face and hands from its vicinity. 
  • Also, keep the hot steam well out of the reach of your youngsters. 
  • Do not allow the pressured steam to touch your skin. Use kitchen tongs, a wooden spoon, a kitchen towel, or an oven mitt to handle a hot lid. 
  • Move the Instant Pot away from low cabinets, walls, and windows when the float valve drops, and steam is emitted. You should avoid damaging the finish or paint. 
  • The Quick Pressure Release method is safe so long as the necessary measures are taken. 

Tips For Releasing The Pressure In Your Instant Pot 

  • The Instant Pot has a lid that automatically locks when internal pressure is reached, preventing accidental opening. This prevents any errors, making the pressure cooker particularly safe. Once the pressure has been released, the lid will unlock automatically. 
  • Repeated exposure of kitchen cabinets to steam can erode paint and deform wood. Be sure to set the valve away from your cabinets when releasing steam. 
  • Some recipes call for a few minutes of natural release followed by a fast release. Allowing a dish to cool before releasing the pressure prevents hot liquid from spraying out the valve. 
  • How Instant Pot recipes calculate cooking durations varies greatly. Some estimations include pressure release time; some have both pressure build-up and release, while others do not fit either. Consider this while estimating the duration of a dish. 
  • Some Instant Pot models require a longer time to depressurize (whether by quick or natural release). The Ultra, for instance, is renowned for its exceptionally extended natural release. 
  • If you have waited 30 minutes for the pressure to release, you may do a fast release to allow any lingering steam to escape without significantly affecting the dish. 
  • Periodically inspect your release valve to ensure it is not clogged. It should be cleaned every few weeks to ensure its functionality. 

Maintaining Your Instant Pot 

Before using your pressure cooker, it is prudent to inspect it thoroughly. In this manner, you will know that it is in excellent condition before cooking. 

  • Remove the inside stainless-steel pot. Now, investigate the base. Before using a pot, ensure the heating element is clean, dry, and free of any dirt, food residue, or grease. 
  • After cleaning your inner pot using Barkeeper’s Friend and a non-scratch sponge, ensure it is scorched before cooking or storing it. 
  • Ensure that the silicone ring fits tightly on the lid. It must be devoid of tears, clean, and dry. 
  • Gently pull the steam release valve straight up to remove it. Ensure that it is free of grease and food particles. 
  • If it is soiled, clean it with warm running water. Then, reattach it to the Instant Pot’s top. 
  • Verify that the float valve is clean and free of grime, grease, and food residue. If necessary, use warm water to clean the object. 
  • If necessary, clean the lid with warm water. Ensure that the top is dry before cooking or storing. 
  • Cleanse the Instant Pot’s rim, including the lid and its threads. I find that food debris that has dried up is a significant cause of fire alerts. 
  • Finally, when storing your Instant Pot, I recommend leaving the lid off and inverted. So, if the silicone ring is damp or has lingering food odors, it has time to air out. 

By ensuring that your Instant Pot is in good condition and clean, you will achieve the most incredible cooking results. 

How To Natural Release Instant Pot - FAQs

To do a natural release, simply allow the Instant Pot to sit until the pressure returns to normal. This is the most popular release method used in Instant Pot recipes, and it can take anywhere between five and thirty minutes. 

The pressure cooker does not need to be turned off for a quick or natural pressure release. On the Keep Warm setting, pressure will be released. The clock will continue to count, determining how much time has passed since the pressure-cooking period ended. 

Depending on the quantity, density, and type of food, the natural release can take 10 to 40 minutes. It takes longer to perform a natural release the more food is consumed. The longer it takes to release pressure, the denser the food. Keep Warm is toggleable during natural release. 

How long it will take to release all the pressure in a pressure cooker depends on the contents and amount of liquid. It can take up to 30 minutes to release a particularly full pot pressure. The cooking time can be as short as 5 minutes for a smaller pot with less liquid. 

Let the rice release naturally for at least 10 minutes. Using natural release for rice yields fluffy results and less likelihood that the rice on the bottom of the pot will stick or burn. 

There must be a buildup of steam to create a high-pressure environment for speedier cooking. Without sufficient liquid, pressure will not increase, and the dreaded “burn” error will occur. 

To do a Quick Release, turn the venting knob carefully from Sealing to Venting while keeping the Instant Pot away from kitchen cabinets and your face. If you are nervous, use oven mitts or a big wooden spoon. Quick Release is accomplished when the pressure pinfalls and the lid open. 

Natural Pressure Release (also known as Natural Release or NPR) is when the pressure is allowed to decrease. As the temperature of an electric pressure cooker decreases, so does the pressure. The Quick Release method might take between 5 and 30 minutes, depending on the dish being prepared. 

Before opening the pot, it is best to let the pressure relax naturally for 10 minutes, regardless of the type of rice you are cooking. This allows the moisture to uniformly flow throughout the grains and helps them to detach from the pot’s bottom. 


When releasing steam from an Instant Pot, there are two primary options: natural release and rapid (or manual) release. Natural freedom is more prevalent and requires no action; simply allow the pressure to dissipate naturally. A quick release is performed for items that cook quickly by opening the steam release valve. Utilize a rapid release with prudence. 

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