How to Sear in Pressure Cooker

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Wants to know how to brown meats in a pressure cooker? Searing is extremely tasty and easy if you have the right equipment. From the amateur home cook to the professional chef, everyone can experience the crunchy crust of seared meat, as long as you have the right electric pressure cooker.

Here we’ll show you how to sear in a pressure cooker. Check here for pressure cookers that sear meat.

Sear or Saute Function

Searing in a pressure cooker is easy if you have the right function. As you know, the majority of electric pressure cookers, like Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi, have multiple functions for slow cooking, making rice, fermenting yogurt, and so on. While the function will sometimes be labeled as “Sear,” the most common iterations are:

  • Sear
  • Saute
  • Brown
  • Sear/Saute

You might think that’s all to it, but don’t leave just yet. You want to ensure you know how to sear so you don’t damage your pressure cooker or incorrectly cook the meat.

seared meat
seared meat

Prep the Meat

While you could technically throw the meat in and wait for a seared crust, we want perfectly seared meat, not just OK seared meat. Leave your preferred meat out at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Pat it dry and add your seasoning of choice. Some people like a classic salt and pepper combo while others will prefer a Jamacian jerk or spicy Cajun blend. Feel free to get crazy and combine your spices, or use a trusty blend that you’ve used for years.

What’s the best meat to sear? Whole cuts like steak, pork, and poultry are best because they can withstand the high heats necessary for the crust to form. There are vegetarian searing options too with bell peppers, carrots, onions, and other hearty veggies.

Pressure Cooker Sear Instructions

You’ll want to check your pressure cooker manual for the exact instructions, but this will cover all the basics you need to know. Start by selecting the sear function (or whatever it’s labeled as) and let the pressure cooker heat up. You’ll often need to set the temperature to high if you have a temperature setting.

pressure cooker
pressure cooker

Searing requires some liquid on the bottom of the unit. Some people use water or stock, but a bit of oil works best. Oil with a high smoke point, like coconut oil, is preferred, but any will do. Only a tablespoon of oil is needed, so no reason to add any more.

Gently place the meat in and cook for 15 minutes with the lid off. Make sure that all sides are evenly browned.

After Searing

You can usually serve the meat as is (it should be cooked through) or you can move forward with the rest of your recipe. For example, seared meat tastes great in soups, salads, stews, and anything else.

You should consider deglazing the bottom and getting those tasty bits off the bottom. It makes for a wonderful sauce with unparalleled flavor. All it takes is a bit of water, stock, or cooking wine to remove these bits.

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing better than perfectly seared meat. It has a deep flavor and crunchy crust that works in almost any application. Plus, it’s so easy to make with your Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi that even beginners can get tasty results. Give this a try and see what you’ve been missing out on.