How To Use Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

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Wanna learn how to use the Instant Pot slow cooker setting? Need to convert slow cooker recipes to Instant Pot? You have come to the right place 🙂

I have to admit that using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker was a bit of a dilemma for me. The first thing that started my loving relationship with this device was the pressure cooking setting.

I was mesmerized by how quickly it can bring beans, beef, chicken and other foods to their perfect texture and taste in half the time it usually takes!

So, yes, it felt anticlimactic to use a pot that’s intended for fast cooking as a slow cooker. Nonetheless, the feature is there, so I thought I’d give it a chance. 

Long story short, it works, and you can use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker!

But, there are a few tweaks and adjustments you need to make. These are important if you want to get the same flavor and tenderness as you would with a standard slow cooker (like a Crock Pot). 

Don’t get me wrong, Instant Pot is a good slow cooker, but you have to follow these Instant Pot slow cooker instructions in order to get the perfect result. 

The Settings

Slow Cooker

A dedicated slow cooker has three settings that take care of everything: Low, High, and Warm.

Low setting –  For those meals cooked thoroughly for up to 9+ hours. It takes forever but the result is Oh! So Yummy!
Reach 209 °F.

High setting – Will get almost everything done in about 4 hours, so you don’t have to start your cooking the day before.
Reach 209 °F.

Warm setting – just keep the food warm until everyone is ready (similar to the “keep warm” function in the Instant Pot).

Instant Pot

If you look at your Instant Pot pressure cooker, you’ll see there also are three settings: Less, Normal, and More.

So, the logical conclusion is that, if you want the best results, you should set the pot on Less, the equivalent of Low in your old slow cooker, right? 

Wrong! The Less setting only gets the temperature up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit which is too low for cooking food regardless of the time length. 

Slow cooker setting + Less – Cook at low heat. Reach 190 °F only.

Slow cooker setting + Normal – Cook medium heat. Similar to the “Low” setting on the slow cooker. Reach 195-205 °F

Slow cooker setting +More – Cook at high heat, similar to the “High” setting on the slow cooker. Reach 200-210 °F.

So you can ignore the “less” setting and use only “normal” or “more” modes.

Cooking time

If you are using the slow cooker function + normal (=low temperature in a regular slow cooker) :
Cooking time stays the same.

If you are using the slow cooker function + more (=high temperature in a classic slow cooker):
Add 15 minutes for every hour on the original recipe. So for example:
1 hour on slow cooker = 1:15 hour on Instant Pot
4 hours on slow cooker= 5 hours on Instant Pot
8 hours on slow cooker= 10 hours on Instant Pot

 

Heat Distribution

The reason why slow cookers produce such impressive results is heat distribution. If you’ve ever owned such a pot, you know that the bowl is heavy and ceramic.

So, even if the main heat source is only at the bottom (Unless you have a Crock Pot or a similar model), the walls of the bowl also heat up and radiate energy from all sides. As a result, the food is heated evenly, which is why the texture is extremely tender.  

Slow cooker vs Crock Pot

A Crock Pot is a type of slow cooker. If you want, it’s an improved version of a slow cooker.

Regular slow cooker have only one heating source in the bottom, while the Crock Pot have several heating elements around the pot.

Please note that in this article, when I’m mentioning Crock Pot or slow cooker, I’m talking about the classic slow cooker, and not the Crock Pot Programmable Pressure Cooker.

Instant Pot vs Slow cooker

The Instant Pot also has one heat source at the bottom. However, the inner pot (even if it’s ceramic) is too thin to retain heat in its walls for long. Also, the heat is generated by the steam that’s trapped in the pot, which is fantastic for quick cooking, but not so great for slow cooking. 

The uneven heat distribution will have an effect on the final texture of the food and a slight impact on it’s taste. So professional chefs and foodies may know you cheated and used an Instant Pot instead of a traditional slow cooker.

But you and me, probably won’t be able to understand the difference. So for us, Instant Pot is a great option for slow cooker recipes :]

The Quantity of Liquid

We all know that IP needs some type of liquid to get to pressure. This is how it works and there is no way around this. The liquid is used to power up the pot and delivers amazingly with regular and steamed recipes

However, when you want something with a thick texture cooked slowly you need a traditional slow cooker. With a Crock Pot, even if the dish starts with more liquid, it will evaporate during cooking.

With an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot , this isn’t possible because the lid is tightly sealed. Sure, the steam release valve is open, so some steam is released, but the result just isn’t the same.

I made a few recipes using the slow cooker function in my Instant Pot. Some were great and some were tasty but a little watery.

Your first try

If you are cooking a recipe for the first time, use the same amount of water \ liquid as in the original slow cooker recipe. It may work and it would be tasty anyway.

Your second try

If the final dish on the first try was too watery, you have 2 options:

1. Use less liquid than in the original recipe.
2. Use another lid that isn’t as tight.

Minimum amount of liquid

Anyway, make sure you follow this important rule:

3-quart Instant Pot – At least 1 cup of water or other liquid.

6-quart Instant Pot – At least 1 cup of water or other liquid.

8-quart Instant Pot – At least 2 cups of water or other liquid.

Which Lid should I use for slow cooking?

The best option is to get the Instant Pot glass lid. This lid has a steam vent and stainless steel rim, and it’s a great option when you slow cooking with the Instant Pot.

And since it’s clear, it give you the option to peak in, which is always nice :]

Can you slow cook in Instant Pot without glass lid?

If you are doing it for the first time and you don’t have time to by a new lid, you can use the regular lid that came with the Instant Pot.

But again, from my experience, the Instant Pot slow cooker lid is better.

Can I use any glass lid on instant pot?

Yes, for slow cooking you can use any tempered glass lid you already have, as long as it fits your Instant Pot size.

Can I use food thermometer?

With my regular slow cooker,  I like probing the temperature from time to time, using a food thermometer, but unfortunately this is not possible in the Instant Pot. 

True, it’s not the end of the world, but if you are really particular about your slow cooking, the IP won’t do it. 

Does Instant Pot use pressure for the slow cooker function?

No. For the slow cook function the Instant Pot doesn’t create any pressure. That’s the reason you can use a different lid

Do you seal the Instant Pot when slow cooking?

No. There is no need to seal the Instant Pot completely when you use your Instant Pot slow cooker function.

When slow cooking in the Instant Pot, you can cover the pot using a tempered glass lid or the regular Instant Pot lid.

If you are using the Instant Pot lid, you need to move the steam release valve to the “venting” position.

How To Use Instant Pot As Slow Cooker?

Here are the steps you need to follow when you want to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker:

  1. Prepare the food for slow cooking and place it in the inner pot.
  2. Close the lid (Glass lid is better but you can use the regular lid as well).
  3. Press the Slow Cook button.
  4. Hit the Adjust button and make the setting to Normal or High (Normal = Low and High = High as specified above).
  5. Set the time.
  6. Enjoy the magic :]

 

As you can see, it’s not complicated. Still, it may take a few tries before you discover the perfect settings for your preferences. Also, I recommend trying various recipes, to understand the differences between types of foods and cooking times. To start with, you can try this Instant Pot venison roast. You can make the recipe both ways, using slow cooking or pressure cooking.

Video Guide

Is an Instant pot Better than a slow cooker?

Instant Pot is a good slow cooker, but not as good as a dedicated slow cooker.

In the end, I have to admit that I kept my old Crock Pot. I don’t use it as often, but when nostalgia hits, I fire it up and let it do its job. The Instant Pot is a fantastic kitchen appliance and I don’t think I can live without it (I don’t even want to think about it), but it’s not perfect.

How to Make Slow Cooker Recipes in Instant Pot

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33 thoughts on “How To Use Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

  1. I am trying to avoid too many appliances in my kitchen its not a large kitchen that’s why I purchased the multi Tasker IP will experiment

    1. I only have low and high temp on my IP. I want to slow cook beef stew. How long should I cook on low and should the vent be open or closed

  2. 180 degrees, too.low to cook anything, no.mater how long? I’m sure you heard of Sou Vide. This week I did country style ribs–158degrees for 20 hours. The Best

    1. Better skip the smoker as well as the low setting on your mom’s classic croc-pot, the one that didn’t boil food to death 😉

  3. Thanks for this very useful information about temperature etc. My main problem trying to slow cook in my Insta Pot was related to that. I would point out that Insta Pot does sell a separate lid for slow cooking so that solves the issues you mentioned . Thanks again!

    1. It’s not recommended. I guess you could water bath a jar or three at a time with the sauté / high slow setting s as long as you can quickly obtain and then maintain a slow rolling boil. It is not rated for pressure canning.

  4. You don’t have to use the native IP Kid when using the slow cooker settings. Replace with a regular glass lis that you’d use for a pot or pan that fits and you’ll get more evaporation.

  5. Why does my keep warm light come on when I use the slow cooker? Also, what do I do this the button on to
    That you seal when pressure cooking?

    1. Like many electronic slow cookers, and when using the IP pressure feature, it shifts to warm when cook time expires.

      Slow cooking means no pressure, set to release, not seal.

  6. When I make sauce on Sunday, I usually set it to sauté on (More) and let it reach a slow boil.Then to Slow Cook on (More )for 6-8 hours.

  7. The instant pot is not under pressure when slow cooking. So all your comments about the lid being tightly sealed, not being able to check food, needing extra water- are incorrect.
    You can just place another clear glass lid on the pot if you want to be able to peak in- but it’s really not necessary.
    The advantage to using your instant pot for slow cooking is if you need to brown the meat first you can do it right in the instant pot on sauté and not need to dirty another pan.

  8. I have the instant pot duo with air fryer lid. When I use the slow cooker setting I have a choice between high and low, nothing in between. According to the manual, the low setting is the same as low on a regular slow cooker.

  9. Aren’t your instructions on adding cooking time backward? Shouldn’t you add time for the lower temperature Normal setting and keep the same time for the higher temperature of the Normal+More setting?

    1. I was wondering this same thing! The last two times I’ve set my IP slow cooker to “normal” (low) for the instructed 7.5 hours, the meats came out tough and the dish more warm than hot. It really needed to cook way longer or on high, so… I wonder if there is something to your question?

  10. I don’t understand the problem with venting, or the thermometer.
    My instant pot duo I can take the pressure valve off. Just remove he little silicon “button” off the bottom and pull it out. Now the lid is vented like a crock pot, and you can stick a thermometer through the hole. this is what i do for Souvide because the instant pot is horrible at keeping the temperature i set it to. ( I have to set it to 128 to get 135, and 140 to get 160)
    Or just don’t turn and seal the lid and remove the lid when you want to check the temperature.
    I also have another aluminum lid for a pot that fits perfect if i want a simple lid

  11. I have a question. There are a number of recipes that are baked in a slow cooker. Can I use these recipes on the slow cooker setting in the instant pot, perhaps using the pot in pot method. For example, if the recipe calls for a baking dish to be used in the slow cooker (crockpot), can I use the oven safe baking dish in the instant pot with adjusted timing. I want to make apple cake. The heating is different but if time is adjusted , can it be done. What do you suggest?

  12. I discovered sort of a work around for when the instant pot doesn’t finish a slow cooker recipe as quickly as expected. If you check on something and it isn’t quite finished, you can switch over to the pressure cooker function and finish it quickly. I did this with a chuck roast today and it came out great. Cooked for 5 hours on the more setting and was still very tough, so I added 20 minutes on high pressure it came out perfect.

  13. My goodness! Thank you so much for explaining how to use the IP as a slow cooker. Totally confusing with the low-med-high setting. Confession, I was one of those who assumed that the “low” meant “low” and “high” is “high”. Ha!

  14. My IP actually cooks way too fast on the low slow cooker setting. I’ve always read that low on IP is like warm on. A regular crackpot, but not mine. I even use the special slow cook lid!

  15. My instant pot has temperature settings instead of high,low settings. What temperature should I use for high or low? It has a crock pot setting. Emeril’s pressure airfrier plus.

  16. These are the best detailed instructions on how to use your Instand Pot as a Slow Cooker! I read and watched so many that I just decided to use my slow cooker today to make goetta. One site did the best she could, but kept asking why would you want to use your Instand Pot as a Slow Cooker. I’ll probably hold onto my slow cooker until I get use to the conversions, but it would be nice to get rid of one large cooking instrument out of my kitchen. If the Instant Pot can do it, I say BRAVO!!!!!
    Thank you not only for the video, but putting it in writing to read and slowly absorb it.

  17. This is somewhat of a similar question to one above, but can you use the quick pot in a way that is the middle of slow and quick. For instance – use the quick pot on a low or medium pressure setting and then just cook for a bit longer. I want my chicken to be a bit closer to a slow cooker quality – but don’t have the timing to put it in just a slow cooker but have enough time to do an extended quick pot timing. I hope that makes sense!

    1. I see what you’re saying. Yes, I think you could just cook on low pressure for a bit longer than the recipe calls for and it will taste closer to a slow cooker recipe.

  18. Hello, I am using my Insta Pot Ultra 6 qt. It has a dial and not a touch control. I finally figured out the stew mode and the time etc. I pre seared my meat in a large skillet then added water, carrots, onions and turnip. Then realized I forgot the celery. I have read all the comments and now know I should use a glass lid next time so that adding veg or fluids would be easier. Meanwhile the lid seems sealed and I hear it bubbling away inside, but now cannot add the celery. I reduced time and I am hoping once pot cools down I can open and add the celery. I always put potatoes last and may par boil them before I put those in and then set the pot for another hour on stew with my glass lid. This is a great pot but takes lots of instruction to understand method.
    Ann

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