Did you know you can use an Instant Pot for slow cooking besides pressure cooking? Your answer would probably be negative.
Most people only use Instant pots for pressure cooking because they don’t know the use of other features it offers. Now you may want to know how to use Instant Pot as slow cooker. Let’s get to know this in this article.
Using an Instant Pot as a slow cooker is simple and easy if you know the required liquid levels, the temperature conversions, and the extra equipment you may need. In all types of models of Instant Pots, there is the slow cooker function (a function of non-pressure).
But slow cooking in Instant Pots is not as simple as pressing the “Slow Cook” button. You must monitor the process thoroughly and use the minimum amount of water.
An Instant Pot can be an alternative to a slow cooker, but the outcome may differ. They have different shapes; slow cookers are longer and broader than Instant Pots. It also has more surface area for larger roasts that Instant Pot lacks.
They also have different temperature settings for slow cooking. You’ll find terms like “Keep Warm” in a regular slow cooker. On the other hand, “Less,” “Normal,” and “More” are the terms used on the face plate of Instant Pot for temperature settings of a slow cooker.
Slow cooking in an Instant Pot is possible, but it’s not as easy as a slow cooker. Unlike slow cookers, you can’t just walk away after selecting the slow cook function in an Instant Pot. If so, you may accidentally set the Instant Pot to “keep warm.” And this setting is not a suitable condition for slow cooking.
Versatility is the main thing that makes an instant pot and a slow difference. Instant Pot offers versatile functions, which slow cookers lack. So, the choice between these two depends on your cooking needs. Now let’s get into their detailed differences-
Instant Pots take less time to cook; on the other hand, slow cookers have a slower cooking time (4-10 minutes).
Instant pots are made of stainless steel, whereas ceramic or porcelain is used in slow cooker pots. That’s why they conduct heat differently. Slow cookers have slow and even heat distribution, and Instant Pots distribute heat fast and evenly.
Slow cookers are longer and broader than Instant Pots. But in the case of portability, Instant Pots are ahead of slow cookers. They are also more compact than slow cookers.
Instant Pots are more programmable with different settings, whereas slow cookers have limited functions and are less programmable.
The Instant Pot’s lids are typically sealed, locking lead. On the other hand, slow cookers have removable lids.
Slow cookers are handy for various things, including party dips, barbecue recipes, and desserts. This cooking appliance boils ingredients gently in a pot at a low temperature for a long time. If you don’t have a slow cooker at home, you can use an Instant Pot to do the same thing! You can use your Instant Pot to slow-cook tender cuts of meat. Let’s know the process-
All slow cookers have almost similar functionalities and can do the work of a slow cooker. But the slow cooking settings of an Instant Pot are slightly different from a slow cooker. Also, their heat distribution differs.
To adjust the Instant Pot in slow cooker settings, it’s essential to set a suitable temperature. As a slow cooker and an Instant Pot have different terms in temperature settings, you may get confused while setting the slow cooking temperature.
To make it easy for you, here is a table of differences in their temperature settings-
Slow Cook Less
170° F -190° F
Slow Cook Normal
195°F- 205° F
More (Sometimes listed as Slow Cook High)
200°F- 210° F
If you want to know how to use instant pot as slow cooker, follow these things to get the best result-
You can use the slow cooker recipe while slow cooking in an Instant Pot. As the ingredients are also the same, prepare the ingredients like a traditional cooker recipe.
For slow cooking, select the slow cooker function. To do that, press the “Slow Cook” button. These temperature settings may differ in various models. So, follow your Instant Pot’s manual to set the correct settings.
Slow cooking in instant pots requires a minimum amount of liquid to power up and cook appropriately if you want a delicious outcome. On your first few attempts, you may be unable to determine the minimum liquid amount required to cook. So the dishes may get a bit watery.
However, slow cookers don’t make watery dishes, so why are Instant Pots different in that case?
The most accepted answer is that Instant Pots cannot evaporate at the same water level as a traditional slow cooker. The reason behind this is the tightly sealed lid of Instant Pots.
That’s why you should always use less water than the mentioned water in slow cooker recipes. Here is a table of the minimum liquid amount required in the slow-cooking setting of Instant Pots-
Measurement of Instant Pot
Amount of Liquid
One cupful of water
One cupful of water
Two cups water
Always be careful about the food and water not exceeding the maximum level of the inner pot. In an Instant Pot pressure cooker, this maximum limit is around 65% full. However, if you want to cook veggies or beans by setting the slow cooker, you should fill the pot only halfway.
If you put the Instant Pot in “Slow Cook Normal” mode, the time of the cooking will be the same as a slow cooker. It usually takes 4-5 hours to cook slowly in this mode. However, consider using the “More” if you prefer to cook faster. It’ll cut the time by 1 hour so you can complete your cooking in less than 3 hours.
Always place the instant pot lid securely while slow cooking in an Instant Pot. But you won’t have to worry about pressure release even if it’s a tight seal, which you must do while pressure cooking.
As the slow cook function in Instant Pots is slightly different from a traditional slow cooker, it is wise to monitor the progress of the food. It’s necessary because otherwise, it may get watery or stiff.
So, observe the food occasionally by opening the lid or stirring it if necessary. But one thing to keep in mind is that opening the lid results in releasing heat. So, try not to open the lid unless necessary.
If you want your slow-cooked meal to taste better, you can adjust the seasoning of your dish when the end of the cooking time is near. Many recipes require thickened sauce or gravy; in that case, switch to the “Saute” function after slow cooking.
In this process of slow cooking in an Instant Pot, you should always keep these things in mind-
Yes, it’s safe to use Instant Pot as a slow cooker because it’s one of the multi-purposes that Instant Pot possesses. Even though the Instant Pot’s primary purpose is to pressure cook, it also comes with a slow and safe cooker setting. Tips for slow cooker safety.
The outcome of slow cooking in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker is almost the same, but a slow cooker is better because it keeps the meat extra soft.
If you slow-cook meat, it will be more silky and tender than pressure-cooking meat because pressure-cooking can make it lose its little bit of tenderness.
However, Instant Pot slow cooker pulled pork can be tender using the proper slow-cooking method. Always use a pork butt or pork shoulder instead of pork loin if you use an Instant Pot to slow cook.
With the many facilities an Instant Pot provides, it has some downsides. One of these downsides is the dishes get soggy and watery. If you make a mistake in determining the lowest amount of liquid in the recipe, the dishes will become watery in the slow-cook setting.
Also, when you pressure cook in Instant Pots, it can take more than the recipe’s mentioned time. It’s because you must wait at least 10 minutes for the pot to build up pressure.
When the Instant Pot is in “Slow Cook” and “Keep-warm” functions, it’s better to seal it. It can also operate in these two functions if you don’t seal it with the lid. But you must not seal the Instant Pot if it’s in the “Saute” function.
Preheating is the most essential thing about slow cooking in an Instant Pot. Usually, this preheating takes 10-15 minutes, and then the actual slow cook begins. If the preheating process takes more time, hit cancel and try again.
If your sole intention is only slow cooking, then buying a slow cooker is better for you. But if you are interested in multi-cooking, Instant Pots are the better option because they include slow cooking, pressure cooking, rice cooking, steaming, searing, fermenting, and more.
After selecting a slow cook in an Instant Pot, sometimes it fails to hit up. It can happen because of a failed solder connection on the circuit board’s bottom side. Because of this connection failure, the main electrical switch fails to send electricity to the heating element.
If you leave the chicken to get cooked in a slow cooker overnight, it can get soggy or pulpy. Any kind of recipe instructs about a specific time to cook. So if you keep the chicken in the slow cooker longer than the required time, it will get messed up.
We hope that now you know all about how to use instant pot as slow cooker. You don’t need to get all fussed about the process because it’s easy once you read the article.
But always remember that using Instant Pots as slow cookers require a slightly different process than traditional slow cookers. So, be careful in adjusting the settings and cooking time.
Also, use a moderate glass lid for a better cooking experience in the pot. If you don’t have it, keep the regular lid’s steam release handle in the discharging position.
We expect that you enjoyed reading the article. Happy cooking!