Instant Pot Terms

Pressure Cooker Lingo

PIP, NPR and burn notice… just a few of the terms that are common amongst pressure cooker websites and recipes. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with them, that’s what this page is for 🙂

The ABC’S of the electric pressure cooker


Anti-Block Shield:  This is a round metal part with 5 holes that’s found on the underside of the lid. It’s purpose is to keep food particles from getting into the steam release valve. For optimal results, it should be removed and cleaned after each use. Especially when you’ve cooked something that may have splattered. To remove it, use your thumb to push the side of the shield towards the outside of the lid and lift up.

Base:  This is the outside part of the pressure cooker, which contains the processor and heating element. It’s paramount that you never add anything in the base without the stainless inner pot in place. Also, keep the base away from any heat source, like a stovetop.

Burn: This will show up on the display when there may be not enough liquid in the pot, OR, food may be too close or stuck to the bottom of the inner pot.

Condensation Collector:  Not all pressure cookers in the Instant Pot line have this. It’s the cup located in the back of your pressure cooker. It is used to collect any condensation that occurs during cooking.

Float Valve (also called the pin):  Located by the steam valve, the red pin (sometimes it’s silver) indicates when your pot is pressurized. When the pin is up, it’s pressurized. When it drops, it’s not pressurized and you can open the lid.

HP: High Pressure

Inner Pot: The stainless steel pot that is inside the cooker base, where all the food and liquid are added.

LP: Low Pressure

Manual or Pressure Cook:  Select this button to set a custom pressure cooking time. Can also be used to set the pressure level in some models.

Natural Pressure Release (NR or NPR):  This is allowing the pressure cooker to slowly release it’s pressure on it’s own, until the pin drops down. Depending on how much food and/or liquid you have in the pot, it could take up to 30-40 minutes, although it usually takes about 10-15.

PIP:  Referred to as the Pot-in-Pot method, it involves adding another pot inside the inner pot of the pressure cooker to cook a dish.

Quick Pressure Release (QR or QPR):   This is turning the steam release valve to release the pressure inside the pot manually until the pin drops. Typically, QR isn’t used in high starch recipes (like oatmeal, beans, etc), or when there’s a lot of liquid, since it can cause a lot of spatter.

Sealing Ring:  This is the silicone ring that’s underneath the lid. For the pot to pressurize, it must have the sealing ring in place. It will absorb the flavors of what you’re cooking, so I highly recommend having 2 rings, one for savory, and one for sweet.

Steam Rack (Trivet):  This is generally an accessory that comes with an electric pressure cooker. It’s a rack that is added inside the inner pot.  It’s used to elevate food above the liquid in the bottom of the inner pot while you cook.

Steam Release Valve:  This is the valve that either seals in, or releases steam when you pressure cook. The valve must be in the “sealing” position. If it’s in “venting” it won’t pressurize and your food won’t cook. It’s totally normal for small amounts of steam to escape while your pot is building pressure. When turning the valve to “venting” take care to make sure your hand or arm isn’t above the valve, as the steam will be hot and can burn you.