Instant Pots have taken the home cook world by storm in recent years. The name basically says it all as it makes time-consuming and difficult recipes easy and, well, instant.
This pressure/slow cooker hybrid is quickly becoming one of the most straightforward recommendations for amateur cooks in a time crunch.
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Now, if you decided to pull the trigger on one of these appliances, you might be confused with the content of the packaging, especially with that extra red sealing ring in the box. Don’t worry as we are here to tell you all about instant pot red sealing ring vs clear.
Let’s make things clear
What Does The Sealing Ring On An Instant Pot Do?
Red, blue, or clear, the sealing ring of an instant pot is one of the most crucial parts. If you so much as misalign it by a couple of centimeters, your food will not cook properly.
An instant pot works by increasing the pressure inside and thus cooking the food much quicker. The sealing ring is what enables the pot to reach the needed pressure. When the instant pot is turned on and heated up, it, in turn, heats up this sealing ring.
Some basic elementary level science will tell you that under this heat, the silicone ring expands and fills in all the little nooks and crannies in the lid so that the temperature-controlled inside of the instant pot is fully isolated from the outside and your produces get the ideal environment to become a delicious dish.
Since this ring is what holds the pressure inside and obviously it needs to be made from food-grade silicone, whatever you cook, a lot of the food vapor will be soaked in by this sealing ring and it will reek of the dish. That is why it is strictly recommended to be washed thoroughly after every single cooking session.
Instant Pot Red Sealing Ring vs Clear – What Goes With What
Now, finally, coming to that extra red ring and how it differs from the already installed clear one: It might sound weird but there is virtually no difference between the Red and the clear sealing ring included with your Instant Pot. Both are made with identical materials and both are equipped to do the same exact job.
Then why are there multiple included with an instant pot and what does the color code mean? Well, the manufacturer is basically doing you a favor by including an extra freebie in the box and the color is to help you keep track. Let’s elaborate:
As we explained earlier, due to the very nature of pressure sealing a lot of food particles in the disguise of food vapor will soak into the silicone and hold the odor.
Even when you thoroughly wash these sealing rings, it can be very difficult to get the odor out. Especially with repeated use, even when that stew you cooked a couple of months ago has no traces left in your system, your instant pot sealing ring will hold a signature.
Now multiply that by how many times you use the instant pot, you really start getting a rough idea of what is stuck inside the sealing rings.
Yeah, this sounds a bit gross but we promise it is mostly harmless. You won’t even have any residual taste or flavor. Of course, given that you do wash the ring properly.
However, due to the versatility of an instant pot, it is very common to use them for savory and then sweet dishes and everything in between.
This is where the other included ring comes in. While one savory dish will have little to no effect on another savory, sometimes a sweet dessert can very easily be contaminated with all the spice from the savory dish.
And this is precisely why instant pot makers include an extra. So that you can have separate rings for mains and desserts.
Additionally, the red coloring is just so that you can keep track of which is which. It is always best to separate rings depending on whether the dish is sweet or savory and some users are even known to use a third sealing ring for dishes primarily based on grains.
If you take a quick look at the market, you will also realize that you can buy blue, orange, and other colors of instant pot sealing rings.
Well, don’t worry as there are virtually no differences between them, and the color is only used for keeping track of which ring you associate with what type of dish.
Does Instant Pot Come With An Extra Sealing Ring
So this question is a bit complicated. Instant Pot does not advertise an extra sealing ring and so they do not really need to put an extra in the box. Even then, most buyers around the world report receiving an extra red ring that is made exactly to spec.
However, it is not uncommon for users to not receive this extra at all. So there is really no saying that you will receive an extra sealing ring with your instant pot.
Upon further inspection, we are confident that there is around a 75% chance that your instant pot will come with an extra sealing ring but do not count on it.
Either way, replacement rings are pretty easy to come by and are selling for pretty cheap on the market. You can pick a couple up as it is a good idea to replace rings from time to time. Just ensure that you buy the one that corresponds to your instant pot size and spec.
How To Clean an Instant Pot Sealing Ring
Obviously, it is not viable to throw away a sealing ring after just one dish. No matter how much disposable income you have, it is incredibly bad for the environment and very wasteful.
So it is best you learn how to clean these rings properly. Here are the three methods that work the best for us:
- Throw it in the Dishwasher
This method is recommended after every use of the instant pot as it is not much effort and gets the job done just fine. Put your dishwasher in the regular settings and put the ring(s) on the top rack. It will come out squeaky clean.
Alternatively, you can also use dishwashing soap and wash the rings by hand. Take extra care to get all the food residue out of every single edge of the ring and keep at it until it looks relatively clean without any significant food odor.
- Deep Cleaning inside the Instant Pot
This method is a much more unique and interesting one. You will notice that over time your clear sealing ring will turn a bit opaque and look yellowish.
Even the red or blue will take on a much warmer color tone. If you notice that happening, this is the method you should follow.
Take the sealing ring off the instant pot lead and throw a couple of cups of white vinegar along with the ring inside the pot and close it completely. You do not need to worry about sealing the pot at this point.
Turn the pot on and put it on steam and let it go for 3-5 mins. After that time is over, take the ring out and dry it completely.
If you are in a hurry, throwing the wet ring in a freezer for it to dry works as well.
- Baking the Rings in an Oven
For whatever reason, if you can not use the instant pot method, this will be your best bet. It will clean a worn-out ring just as well.
All you need to do is preheat your oven to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, remember not to let the temperature exceed this amount, and put your rings in a baking tray lined with a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
This way, you might not get the original color back, but no food particle or odor will be left at all and your cooking experience will be as good as new.
When To Replace Instant Pot Sealing Ring?
If you are an eagle-eyed reader, you might have noticed that we said that the sealing rings are best replaced after a long period of use. But when do you change these crucial parts of your instant pot?
In most cases, you will be able to tell that the sealing ring on your Instant Pot needs to be replaced when you observe that the appliance is not achieving the desired level of pressure.
You may also notice that steam is pouring out of the edges of your lid as you are cooking. But, because the sealing ring on your Instant Pot could function one day and then stop working for no apparent reason the next, it can be difficult to determine when it is time to replace it.
There are 4 things that you need to look out for. If you notice one or multiple of them, it is a clear sign that it is time to invest in a new set of sealing rings. In no particular order these things are:
- Too much discoloration
- Microtears or other damage
- Debris stuck inside the silicone
- Shape deformity like stretching
If your instant pot is not performing like new, replacing the sealing ring is a quick and easy troubleshooting method. So if you notice any one of these four, replace the ring today.
Also Read: Instant Pot Lid Cracked (Reason & Solution)
How Often To Replace Instant Pot Sealing Rings?
Even without any damage or wear and tear, food-grade silicone is known to deform over time. So it is in your best interest to replace the ring anyway after a while of use. How often you ask?
Well, Instant Pot recommends you replace the rings every 6 months to 1 year. However, in our experience, if you are a light user, you can go up to 18 months without replacing the sealing ring.
Then again, for a regular user, it is best to go with the manufacturer’s specification and replace it every 6 to 12 months.
How To Keep Instant Pot Sealing Rings In The Best Shape?
For the longest lifetime possible, you need to take good care of the sealing rings. And that doesn’t just include cleaning them every time you use them. Here are a few other things that can boost the longevity of these things:
- Proper Storing Method: The lid of the Instant Pot may be stored in the pot if you have limited counter space in your kitchen. But, do not do this if you can since it will assist the scents to cling even more strongly to the ring.
- The lid of the Instant Pot is leaning on the edge of a cabinet in our kitchen. We do this so that the lid can breathe, there are no scents trapped in the container itself.
- Let the Silicone Soak in Sunlight: From time to time, letting your sealing rings be out in the sun might help with discoloration. The UV in the sunray will help in eating out the impurities and keeping your rings looking fresh.
- Have Extras: Even aside from using different rings for different types of food, it is a good idea to keep a few extra rings in hand and use them interchangeably.
Sealing rings for any instant pot are pretty inexpensive and you can buy packs of them to keep in your storage locker. Just remember not to fold or bend them too much as that can cause deformities in shape.
When To Use Instant Pot Red Sealing Ring
Whenever you use an instant pot, you must have the sealing ring inserted properly. If not, your pot will not be able to achieve the required pressure and your food will be severely undercooked. So always remember to use the sealing ring.
Coming to the red ring specifically, most people use the red for sweet dishes or desserts. The recent trend of homemade instant pot yogurt has also seen a lot of use of the red ring.
For the right person, an instant pot can be the difference between eating out every other day and cooking delicious and healthy home-cooked meals to impress the entire family. So if you are one of them, hopefully, this article helped you in knowing the use of the sealing ring and the difference between the clear and the red variant!!