Here is one Instant Pot myth worth exploring. I just read someone exclaiming in a Facebook group that the pot says ON but nothing is happening. The response she received is that once the pot comes to pressure it will start counting down.
Once the pot decides to count down it might already be at pressure for a minute or two. I haven’t actually timed how long ON stays on because that would only serve to irritate me. The lag between the pot reaching pressure and the timer counting down is one of the reasons that the Instant Pot cannot compare to the stove top pressure cooker as far as speed goes.
With a stove top cooker, when pressure is reached, you turn down the heat to maintain the pressure and start the timer right away. For some recipes the Instant Pot will take twice as long to cook (with pressure build up and release) as it would in the stove top cooker. Polenta is a great example of this – and there are many others.
Truth be told, though, if you are not home when the food is cooking, you likely do not care how long it takes before the pot responds and starts counting down. What you do likely care about it is, “How well did it cook my food?” And usually the answer is “very well” especially if you used tried and true recipes like those in my cookbooks The New Fast Food and Vegan Under Pressure.
The first time that someone told me that she made recipes from The New Fast Food in her electric pressure cooker, I was in disbelief. I emailed the woman a few recipes and asked her to try them out, as written. She told me that they worked. The reason for this is the same reason that I often find irritating- it takes longer for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and longer for it to come down.
So, irritating or not, the Instant Pot has a lag in time between when the pot reaches pressure and when it starts to count down. It is not immediate so have patience. Depending upon what and how much is in the pot, it can take up to 10 minutes to see the pot start to count down. If it starts counting down and you are sure that it’s not at pressure, watch for a BURN message. In that case, the pot did not come to pressure.
I tell you these things to educate you, not to scare you. Just keep on cooking great tasting food.