Instant Pot Initial Water Test Run
It is very important to do a first water test with a brand new Instant Pot. Follow these steps and tips to get to know your Instant Pot before you use it for cooking.What is an instant pot water testThe water test is recommended by the Instant Pot Company to everyone before using their new […]

It is very important to do a first water test with a brand new Instant Pot. Follow these steps and tips to get to know your Instant Pot before you use it for cooking.

Instant Pot water test photos

What is an instant pot water test

The water test is recommended by the Instant Pot Company to everyone before using their new pressure cooker on a recipe.

This is an initial test using only water to ensure your device is performing as expected.

It's also a great way to familiarize yourself with Instant Pot terminology before cooking.

How to do an instant pot water test

Here's how to do your own water test. I also have a video at the bottom of this article that you can watch, showing you how to do all of these steps. I use the 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo in photos and video.

Step 1: Plug in your instant pot

A brand new Instant Pot will come with the cord detached in the box. Plug it into the Instant Pot and attach it to a 120V outlet. Attach the condensate collector cup to the back of the Instant Pot.

Plug in the power cord and install the condensation cup

Step 2: Insert the pot and add water

Next, place the inner pot in the base of the pressure cooker. Remember that the inner pot should be used for cooking. Never pour food or liquids into the base of the range without the inner pot in place. Then add 2 cups of water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.

add water to the main insert

Step 3: Double check the sealing ring

Before you start, make sure that the seal ring is correctly installed on the seal ring holder. When it's in place, you shouldn't be able to remove it easily.

secure sealing ring

Step 4: Close the cover

Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Turn it clockwise until it is completely closed. The cooker will ring when the lid is opened and closed.

Step 6: Set the Steam version

On the Instant Pot, set the steam trigger to the “Seal” position. The Ultra Instant Pot automatically adjusts the steam output to the “seal” position when you close the lid.

Then select the steam option.

Step 7: Adjust the cooking time

Use the +/- keys or the dial to set the cooking time to 2 minutes. The display will show “2” on some models and “00:02” on others.

steam for 2 min

At this point, the range will begin the preheat cycle after approximately 10 seconds. During this time, the display will show “on” as it heats up.

Step 8: Keep Warm

When the cooking cycle is complete, the pressure cooker will beep and switch to keep warm if it is on.

Step 9: Purge the pressure cooker

Finally, use the Quick Release (QR) ventilation method to release the pressure.

quick release of the instant pot

Ventilation water test methods

There are two different ways to ventilate an Instant Pot. Here is some information on what they are and how they work.

Natural release (NR) or natural relaxation (NPR)

With NR, you do nothing. You let the stove cool naturally and release heat and pressure over time. You will know the range is off pressure when the float valve drops into the lid.

It can take between 10 and 40 minutes. Depressurization times vary depending on the volume of liquid and food.

Quick release (QR)

To do a QR, you turn the steam release handle from the “seal” position to the “ventilation” position. If the machine splashes, return the steam release handle to the “seal” position and try again after a few minutes.

The float valve falls into the cover when the Instant Pot is depressurized.


Here's a quick video showing how to set up the Instant Pot and perform the initial water test:

Three stages of the water test

The reason you do a water test is to know your Instant Pot and how it works before you use it for cooking.

Every time you cook with an Instant Pot, your pressure cooker goes through three stages.

Heating and pressurization

The very first thing your pressure cooker does is preheat. This creates the vapor necessary for the pressure build-up.

Once sufficient steam pressure has built up, the float valve opens and pressurizes the range.

During the water test, this step may take 5 to 15 minutes. Do not press on the cover. The float valve will lift when there is sufficient steam pressure.

Until the range is pressurized and the float valve has popped out, the cover will be removable. Once under pressure, the cover locks.

Cooking cycle

The Instant Pot will not start the countdown right away. You have to put pressure first. Within 5 minutes of pressurizing, it will beep and the countdown will appear on the screen.

When the timer reaches "00:00", the pressure cooker beeps 10 times to signal that cooking is complete.

Smart programs allow you to change the time, temperature and pressure levels.

Depressurization and keeping warm

This is the last step. After pressure cooking is complete, follow your recipe instructions when selecting a vent method.

Its very important. You should always make sure that the float valve has dropped completely before attempting to open the cover. Incase the cover will not turn, do not try to force it to open.

If “keep warm” is activated after the cook cycle is complete, the timer will count down and if not activated, it will return to standby mode.

Final thoughts

It is very important that you perform this initial test, even if you think you already know how to use a pressure cooker. This way, if there are any missing parts or your pressure cooker isn't working properly, you can catch that before you cook your first recipe.

Easy instant recipes

After performing the initial water test, you are ready to start using it to prepare your favorite recipes.

I have compiled all of my favorite recipes in my cookbook, The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. There are 75 recipes here for each meal of the day. I share everything from contemporary recipes to my Indian favorites.

Here are some of my family's favorite recipes that you can find here on my blog.

Author: Archana

Hey! I am a technician turned recipe developer, cooking instructor and food blogger. I love food and love to develop easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.

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