Power Went Out While Using Instant Pot
If you’re in the middle of cooking up something in your instant pot, only to have the time cut short by a power outage, don’t fret! You can still finish what you started as long as you make some calculations and power back up later.
If your power went out while using your instant pot, you can wait for the pot to cool entirely and depressurize before finishing the cooking cycle. Otherwise, you can repressurize the pot immediately as soon as your power comes back on.
So, let’s talk about what you can do to save your food and finish cooking, even when the power goes out. I’ll tell you what you can expect from your instant pot when the electricity isn’t complying and teach you what you should do in the event of a power outage.
What Happens If the Power Goes Out While Using an Instant Pot?
Whether you’re making rice, cooking up some homemade chili, or sterilizing jars in your instant pot, a power outage can be time-consuming and inconvenient.
Instant pots rely on electricity to work, and without a constant flow of power, you won’t be able to use yours.
If the power is lost while using an instant pot, the pot will turn off completely. When the power comes back on, your instant pot won’t remember that it was cooking something, so you’ll have to reset it and turn your favored cooking cycle back on.
So, if the power does interfere with your cooking, your instant pot will reset itself. Nothing bad will happen, but your instant pot will turn off until it has more power.
Then, you’ll have to manually turn it back on and start it up again when your electricity is back on.
Since instant pots won’t resume the cooking cycle on their own, you should note the time when you start cooking in an instant pot. That way, you’ll know how undercooked your food is, and you’ll also be able to finish cooking it for the right amount of time when you have electricity again. This will apply even when Instant Pot is accidentally unplugged.
If you can, also note the amount of time left on your food’s cook cycle when the electricity goes out so that you can finish it up later without overcooking it.
Can You Restart an Instant Pot?
If you’re anything like me, I’m always a bit nervous about restarting my instant pot since I don’t want to over-pressurize the chamber and cause a catastrophic explosion in my kitchen. However, this fear is almost entirely irrational since these pots are intelligent and safe.
You can restart an instant pot, whether it’s already pressurized or has lost pressure. Restarting the pot won’t affect your food much, and as long as the steam valve is clean and functioning, you won’t have to worry about explosions or a damaged Instant Pot.
Instant pots aren’t just handy–they’re incredibly safe. Each instant pot comes with tons of built-in safety features that keep the device in good condition and protect you from explosions.
If the pressure in your instant pot gets too high, it’ll automatically release some of the steam from the cooking chamber. It also has a pressure gauge that prevents overpressurizing in the first place.
As long as these mechanisms are clean and don’t get plugged up by food, they’ll protect you from explosions and allow you to repressurize the pot in the same cooking cycle.
So, when you restart an instant pot after or during a power outage, you won’t need to worry about anything bad happening. Your instant pot has got your back!
Will Instant Pot Release Pressure When the Power Goes Out?
If the power stays out for a while, you may have to repressurize your instant pot before you resume your cooking.
An instant pot will naturally release pressure when the power goes out. Usually, it takes anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes for an instant pot to release tension naturally. You can tell that the pressure is gone when the float valve releases and the lid opens.
If you let the instant pot sit and naturally release pressure, whatever you’re cooking will still be warm when the power comes back on. However, in the case of a prolonged power outage, your food may get cold before you can finish it.
What To Do When the Power Goes Out While Using Instant Pot
If the lost power and your instant pot isn’t done cooking your food, there are two things you can do depending on how long the power outage lasts.
When the power goes out while using an instant pot, unplug it and wait to resume cooking. If the outage lasts less than an hour, you can continue cooking as soon as the electricity is back, but if it lasts longer, you may need to remove your food from the pot and refrigerate it.
So, let’s go through the steps together.
Short Power Outages
If your power outage lasts under an hour, you can restart your instant pot when the electricity is back.
Since instant pots are pressurized vessels, they’ll do some cooking independently, even without power. That’s because the pot traps steam, which can function a bit like a convection oven to keep your food warm. Once the pot is pressurized, it’ll keep your food from spoiling as long as it stays pressurized.
However, as I mentioned, the pot will naturally release the pressure over time, so you can’t expect your food to stay warm for too long.
If your power outage lasts an hour or less, you can:
- Turn your instant pot back on as soon as the electricity comes back.
- Restart the same cooking cycle you were using before the pot turned off.
- Adjust the cooking time by subtracting the time you cooked the food before the power went out.
- Allow the pot to repressurize and cook your food.
Longer Power Outages
If your power is out for longer than an hour and a half, you should remove your food from the pot and store it so that you can finish cooking it later.
One important thing to note: if you’re not at home when the power goes out, and your food isn’t finished cooking, you may want to consider throwing it out.
Foods like meat and eggs won’t last long in an instant pot when undercooked. In contrast, other ingredients such as beans, veggies, potatoes, and mushrooms will be fine when left at room temperature for around two hours.
Still, as a general rule, when the electricity has been out for more than an hour and a half, it’s time to put the food away and store it in your refrigerator to ensure that it doesn’t spoil before the electricity is back on. You should probably throw away the unfinished dish if you fail to do so.
To store your food during a prolonged power outage:
- Take the stainless steel insert out of your instant pot.
- Cover the insert with a plate, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap.
- Put the insert into your refrigerator to keep it cool.
- When the power comes back on, resume cooking, leaving the food in the pot for the amount of time that was cut short from the power outage.
Alternative Ways To Cook Your Food
If you’re experiencing a prolonged power outage, you might want to consider alternative ways of cooking your meal.
Here’s a list of alternatives:
- Gas or charcoal BBQ
- Gas stove
Please keep in mind the alternative cooking method listed above should be used as a last resort. You will not achieve a pressured cooked meal, but you will have a cooked meal that will not go to waste.
Instant pots are easy to use. Even if a power outage interferes with your cooking cycles, restarting the pot and finishing up your culinary creation is safe and straightforward.
Still, keep in mind the spoiling time of your food, and try an alternative cooking method or store it for later cooking if the power outage lasts longer than an hour.