When you get your instant pot, it can be a little intimidating! Especially with all the lingo surrounding it. Quick pressure release (also known as QPR or QR) and natural pressure release (NPR or NR) are among that lingo! What do those even mean and when do you use them when using your electric pressure cooker?
I hope to help you figure that out!
Natural Release vs. Quick Release
Natural Pressure Release (NPR or NR)
When your instant pot beeps and the cooking time is finished, you can choose to let it slowly lose its pressure. You don’t have to do anything for this to happen. Once the food cooks, your pressure cooker will automatically depressurize a little bit at a time on it’s own. As the pressure drops over time, the float valve will gradually drop.
Benefits of Natural Pressure Release
It’s not nearly as scary as the quick release. There is no loud sound of the steam escaping!! (However, trust me when I say the quick release won’t be scary if you do it once or twice.)
The natural pressure release is great for making meats. The meat won’t get tough. You’ve probably heard to let meats relax after cooking. The slow natural release does just that. By doing this, the meat should stay nice and tender.
Great for foamy foods, foods with a lot of liquid, or starchy foods. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to quick release those foods. You will have an explosion of the food everywhere if you do. So, use the natural pressure release if it’s foamy!
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Cons of the Natural Pressure Release
It’s slower. It can take 10-30 minutes for the pressure to dissipate. (It depends on the volume of food.)
There is no real way to know the pressure has been released. Sometimes, if you are nearby, you can hear the float valve drop down. However, there is no beep or alarm to let you know.
You could overcook food if the recipe is designed with the quick release in mind. So, pay attention to those recipes and use the release method suggested!
Quick Release (QPR or QR)
The quick release method is when you manually turn the pressure release valve from sealing to venting. This will cause a huge amount of steam to come out. First timers – this is loud and startling the first time! (Pro tip: Use a long spoon or tongs to flip the knob to venting so you won’t risk getting burned by the steam!)
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Benefits of the Quick Pressure Release
This can be super helpful if you are cooking delicate foods or foods you want to avoid overcooking. Vegetables definitely fall into this category.
It’s a quick way to release the pressure so you can start eating sooner!
Cons of the Quick Pressure Release
Remember, as mentioned before, you won’t want to quick release foamy or starchy foods or else it will spray everywhere!
Half and Half Method
I tend to do a little of both the NPR and QR. I’ll let it slow natural pressure release for a bit, then I’ll flip the pressure release valve knob and finish it out! I get the best of both worlds this way.
Do you feel a little better about the natural pressure release vs. quick pressure release with your instant pot? I hope this helped! May your new electric pressure cooker make your life a little bit easier and much tastier!!