How To Simmer In An Instant Pot | The Ultimate Guide

To simmer in an instant pot,  place your food in the pot, add ½ cup of water or broth, and set your instant pot to heat at a low temperature using the sauté function. Next, add all your ingredients and set the timer according to your recipe.

If you are a fan of soft and tender meat like me, then you know simmering is the one cooking technique we cannot do without. It’s a perfect cooking method for cooking soups, stews, and meat. And many cooking specialists employ this technique when combining seasonings and ingredients. 

While simmering is golden, using an instant pot helps achieve an even better result. I never really understood how fantastic simmering in an instant pot was until I decided to try it myself.

The small magical pot is an essential appliance and a must-have for every kitchen. It’s easy to use and brings out the best in your dishes.

However, you must know how to use the instant pot for every cooking style to achieve the best result. I sure cannot go into the details for all its uses. But in this article, you’ll learn how to perfectly simmer in your instant pot.

how to simmer in instant pot

Is It Safe to Use an Instant Pot To Simmer? 

Instant Pot is a well-designed cooker with safety mechanisms. And anyway, when used for simmering, It is not going to explode on you because this cooking method requires low temperatures and pressure. 

However,  if you are using the instant pot for the first time, here are 8 safety tips that will reassure your safety:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Don’t put metal pots or pans into the instant pot.
  • Always keep the pressure valve set to SEALING.
  • Pay attention to the pot to avoid burning.
  • After cooking, always let the pressure release naturally.
  • Be careful when removing the inner pot from the outer pot.
  • Keep all parts clean and dry after use.
  • If something goes wrong, turn off the power immediately

Now that we’ve gotten your doubts out of the way let’s begin!

How To Simmer In An Instant Pot

Simmering is simply a food preparation technique that involves cooking foods in hot liquids kept at a temperature just below that of boiling water. This method can be pretty easy and effective if you follow the simple steps below. 

Step 1: Add Food to Your Instant Pot

  • Chop your meat, vegetable, or any other food item you want to simmer.
  • Place them in the instant pot and add a moderate amount of water. If you are simmering meat and chicken, keep things simple by adding ½ cup of water or broth. 

Step 2: Select The Appropriate Setting

The instant pot generally has a lot of functions, but the one employed when starting a simmer is the saute function. The process is designed to reduce pressure build-up within the pot, making it perfect for simmering.

  • Simply press the sauté button and adjust the temperature to low when you want to simmer. The low setting keeps the temperature of the liquid to be at about 95°C.
  • You may notice the timer is set to a default 30 minutes. Don’t bother about changing the time settings for now. We will get to that later.

Note: While creating a simmer with the saute function, it’s normal to see tiny bubbles leaving the water’s surface with little or no steam given off.

Step 3: Add The Ingredients

Simmering in an instant pot is perfect for adding flavor to your food because it allows your ingredients to properly soak in.

  • After adjusting the sauté settings correctly, add all the ingredients into the instant pot to cook.
  • Add your oil at this stage as well. (Follow the recommended quantity on your recipe) 

Step 4: Set the timer

  • Finally, set the timer on the instant pot based on how thoroughly you want to cook your food. Generally, you need 2-3 hours to simmer vegetables and 4 hours for larger, tougher cuts like meats. 
  • Once simmering is done, press the cancel button to turn off the saute mode   

Simmering in an instant pot doesn’t get easier than that. If the steps above are followed carefully, you can be sure to get an amazing meal out of your instant pot.  

However, to improve your expertise in simmering in an instant pot, you need to understand temperature settings that best fit your recipe.

The Appropriate Temperature For Simmering

The best simmers are done at a relatively low-temperature range (Boiling temperatures between 84°C and 95°C. So, you should always be sure of your recipe and understand the heat range required for your meal to turn out well.

Slow Simmer:  This is when you cook on low heat with very little activity in the pot. However, you should notice some steam and a few bubbles. I would recommend using this technique for stocks and braises.

Medium Simmer: Medium temperatures are a good range for most foods you want to cook slowly, such as stews, soups, and sauces. You should notice a little bubble if you simmer at this temperature range.

Rapid Simmer: Rapid simmer produces more bubbles in the instant pot and is more suitable for reducing the excess liquid in sauces.

Benefits of Simmering in an Instant Pot

Easy to Make

Simmered foods are easier to make than boiled ones. This means you don’t have to spend hours standing over a stove waiting for water to boil. Instead, you can simply add ingredients to an instant pot and let them cook slowly until they reach the desired temperature.

Taste Better

When you simmer food, the flavors come out better. Boiled foods tend to taste bland and uninteresting. On the other hand, simmered foods can absorb a lot of your seasoning and are full of aroma.

They’re Healthier

Simmered foods do not produce as many fats as other methods of cooking. it also helps maintain the nutritional value of your food because they are not subjected to high heat

So next time you want to try simmering foods, give it a shot at doing it in an instant pot. It’s an excellent method of cooking that can benefit your health and time.

FAQs On How To Simmer In An Instant Pot

Is It Better To Simmer With The Lid On Or Off?

Based on my experience, simmering foods in the saute mode while covering the lid makes them lose fluids slower than when they are not covered. Therefore, you can decide whether or not to cover the pot based on your tastes and preferences.

Does Simmer Have Any Advantage Over Boiling?

Knowing the differences between the two terms is necessary to apply both techniques appropriately. Although boiling is perfect for foods that require high temperatures like pasta, simmering in an instant pot should be your first choice if you prefer soft and tender food. It prevents food like meat from getting tough and keeps your nutrients

Does Simmering Thicken Sauce?

Simmering can create a thick sauce because its low temperatures do not boil the liquid down to anything. Instead, it allows little moisture to evaporate. Many sauces, such as tomato sauce and gravy, are achieved through simmering.

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