Multicooker Perfection

How To Troubleshoot In Your Multicooker

Multicookers, electric pressure cookers, Instant Pot—no matter what you call them, these versatile, multipurpose appliances can be challenging if you're new to multicooking. Here's how to solve for common problems.

By America's Test Kitchen | July 11, 2018

Multicookers are getting more popular by the day. That’s because, as the name implies, it’s one of the most versatile appliances you can own. While developing our newly released cookbook, Multicooker Perfection, it quickly became apparent to us why these machines have such a following—but that doesn’t change the fact that the learning curve can be a challenge if you’re new to multicooking.

How did we come up with these solutions to common problems? We conducted months of research before developing the dozens of recipes in Multicooker Perfection. That research revealed that all multicookers work slightly differently, and it led to our exhaustive recipe testing protocol: Not only did we test every recipe in our winning multicooker, the Fagor LUX LCD, we also tested every recipe in the Instant Pot. In the end all that hard work was worth it: We knew how to solve common multicooking challenges, and we had a book full of recipes that will work in any multicooker.

Cook It Fast or Slow—You Decide

Multicooker Perfection

Our new cookbook is the result of months of research and includes dozens of recipes that are perfectly engineered to cooking at the touch of a button, fast (using the pressure-cook setting) or slow (using the slow-cook setting), no matter which multicooker you own.

 

PROBLEM SOLUTION NOTES

Undercooked food when using the pressure cook setting

Continue to cook the food using the highest sauté or browning function.

Since it’s impossible to test the doneness of food as it cooks under pressure, sometimes food might be slightly underdone. Simply finish cooking by switching to the highest sauté or browning function, adding extra liquid as needed.

Undercooked food when using the slow cook setting

Extend the slow cook time, or switch to the highest sauté or browning function.

Some multicookers run hotter or cooler than others, so if food is not done cooking in the time range specified, replace the lid and continue to check the food periodically. If you’re short on time, you can try to speed up the process by switching to the highest sauté or browning function and simmering the food until it’s done, though this may require you to add liquid to the pot to prevent scorching.

Uneven cooking

Prep ingredients as directed.

Because the multicooker’s heating element is on the bottom of the pot, some foods can cook unevenly. There’s no going back on an unevenly cooked dish, but to ensure the best results next time, be sure that your ingredients are prepped properly: Buy the right-size roast or chicken, measure liquids accurately, and grab a ruler when prepping vegetables.

Sauce is too thick, or too thin

Add more liquid, or continue to simmer.

A lot of variables can affect the texture of a sauce, and these include your multicooker’s heat level and the freshness of the ingredients. Sauces that are too thin can simply be simmered uncovered on the highest sauté or browning function to thicken up before serving, and thick sauces can be thinned out with additional broth or water.

Scorching during pressure or slow cooking

Add additional liquid and scrape up the browned bits.

If you find that food is burning while you’re sautéing, try adding a small amount of liquid to slow down the cooking. Although you can’t fix food that has been burned during pressure or slow cooking, you can avoid the problem in the future by taking care to scrape up all the browned bits left in the pot after sautéing food and before closing the lid. In addition, be sure there is enough liquid in the pot (we made sure that the recipes in this book contain enough liquid to prevent scorching, but keep an eye out when using your own recipes).

Never reaching pressure

Check your silicone gasket and pressure regulating knob.

If your pot is not coming to pressure, it may not be sealed correctly. Check that the silicone gasket around the bottom lip of the lid is not cracked or improperly installed, and make sure that the pressure regulating knob (found on the kid) is in the closed position.

How do you use your multicooker? Have you run into any multicooking challenges you’ve had to overcome? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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