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Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker?

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I am having trouble using the Slow Cooker mode on the Instant Pot. I tried a recipe at low, and it was not even remotely cooked…am I doing something wrong?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions like this recently. And I don’t have an answer.

In all my years of using the Instant Pot1, I can count on one hand the times I’ve used it as a slow cooker. And, well… those times weren’t really slow cooking. I was reheating chili I pressure cooked the night before, for my annual chili potluck at work. Low heat is not enough – I need high heat to be ready by lunchtime. I start at “Slow Cook – High” for an hour or two, and then, once everything is bubbling, I turn the cooker down to “keep warm” until it is time to serve.

For all the things my Instant Pot can do – “It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker…”2 I really only ask it to do two things. First and foremost, it is my pressure cooker. I use the “Manual” (now “Pressure Cook”) mode. I also use “Sauté” mode to saute onions and/or brown meat before turning on pressure cook mode. (And, occasionally, to simmer food after it is pressure cooked.) That’s it, I’m done. The Instant Pot is my favorite cooking tool because of how well it does those two functions. 9 modes? 11 modes? Doesn’t matter to me, all I want are those two.3

One of the first comments on my Instant Pot FAQ asked about slow cooking mode. (Like I said, I never use it, so I had to look it up in the manual.) According to the Instant Pot manual, the Slow Cooker settings are:

  • Normal mode: 90 to 96°C/194 to 205°F.
  • More mode: 93 to 99°C/199 to 210°F.
  • Less mode: 88 to 94°C/190 to 201°F.

That looked like like “Low” mode lines up with a Slow Cooker set to low, and “High” mode with a slow cooker set to high. But over the last few months, the volume of Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker questions has jumped. More and more, I’m asked: “I set my Instant Pot to Slow Cook – Low mode, came back ten hours later, and the results were not good. Am I doing something wrong?”

Turns out:

  • Slow Cook – Normal means “Low” in a traditional slow cooker
  • Slow Cook – More means “High” in a traditional slow cooker
  • Slow Cook – Less means “Keep Warm” in a traditional slow cooker

I don’t know how to answer, yet. I’m going to test out slow cooker mode on the Instant Pot, and I will follow up on this in the New Year, but testing is going to take a while. (Ten hour slow cooks aren’t a quick answer.) But, before I start testing,

Updated: Also, the Instant Pot has some limitations as a slow cooker. For more details, see my Update on Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker post. Or the comments on this post, or the Update post.

I want to throw the question to my readers:

Questions about Instant Pot Slow Cooking:

  • Are you using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker?
  • Is it working?
  • What settings do you use? (I saw a Reddit thread that said “Slow cook – medium on an IP is a slow cooker at low. Slow cook – high on the IP is a slow cooker at high. Slow cook – low is a ”keep warm” mode. Does that work for you?)

Please answer in the comments below – what are your experiences? (Or, reply by email, on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever social media platform you can find me on. Frankly, I’d prefer blog comments – I can barely keep up with Twitter as it is, and I’ve declared Facebook bankruptcy and only check it once in a blue moon.) Thanks!


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  1. Lori says

    this was super helpful for me to convert instant pot recipes to use in my fagor lux

  2. Dean says

    I must say I’m glad I found this form. I too just tried making beef stew the other day and what I did was use high heat for 5 hours and medium heat for 5 hours. I have the glass lid so I didn’t bother with the regular lid that comes with it. After the 10 hours there is still a bone in the center of my carrots the potatoes were done and the meat was cooked but not as tender as the results in a slow cooker. I had to use two cups of water as well. I think what I will do next time is just keep it on high heat for 10 hours as I like to cook my stew a long time. The other thought after reading all this is maybe using the normal Hood with the steam release valve closed to help with the process. It can’t hurt I don’t think. But I’m still struggling with trying to make the perfect rice. It seems so simple but yet I made it the other day and it came out sticky. I use jasmine rice 1 to 1 ratio and I did two cups this last time and it came out sticky. I’ve had my 8 quart IP since last fall and I do really enjoy it there’s just some Kinks that need to be worked out. Any suggestions for the rice? Thanks

    • mhmoore says

      Hi Dean, I had problems at first with rice too. I have cooked several different kinds. What works best for me. I almost always rinse my rice really well. For my husband and myself I usually use 1/2c rice, 1/2 c water. I have the 6 qt instant pot. I use a steel mixing bowl or the inside pot of an old rice pot. I cover it tightly with foil, set it on the rack with about 2 cups of water in pot, lock the lid, close the steam, and hit “RICE” I just use the normal setting which on my pot is 12 minutes. Perfect rice every time. Hope this helps.

  3. Todd says

    I had similar problem. I tried a lamb stew with lentils on high with the glass lid. The sauté function worked fine to brown the meat with onions. The soup on high for 5 hours never got to bubbling and everything was barely cooked I measure the temperature and it was 175 deg.. I had to finish on the stove. After clean up I filled up with water to max line and left on high for 4 hours. I measured the temperature and it was only around 195 to 197deg. The other thing is the IP kept clicking about 5 times a minute like turning on and off. Since it heats from the bottom the meat, lentils and veggies. must block the heat. The IP just does not get hot enough for use as a slow cooker. I thought it was my unit but seems not after reading these comments. This was the first time I had ever used the IP for anything. Need to keep my slow cooker

  4. Karen says

    I recently tried my IP as a slow cooker for the first time to cook a 4 lb. chicken. The recipe called for 8 hours on low but my IP deferred to NORMAL and I just left it there because I couldn’t adjust the temp. range. Well, after 5 hours there was condensation on my IP glass lid but raw looking chicken. After 7 hours, the same so I had to bake it for 2 hours more in the oven as not to waste it. What a disappointment.

    I emailed my experience to IP and, although customer service acknowledged my inquiry, no forthcoming advice was received.

    I have no confidence in this feature of the IP but will try it again and increase the temp and time and see what happens.

  5. Linda Lin says

    What model of IP are you using? I had a Lux60 6 Qt instant pot and the slow cook function worked well as a regular slow cooker setting on high. It only took 30 minute to boiling and continue bubbling. I gave it to my parents and am considering buying a newer model, such as Duo plus 60 6Qt 9 in one. However, it seems that the slow cook function in the newer model does”t work as well anymore.

  6. Jackie says

    I have the IP Duo 6qt. This was trial and error since we just got this a couple days ago. I put a 4lb pork roast, baby carrots and chopped potatoes on slow cooker setting and it automatically set to normal. I set the timer for 8 hours and thought it was strange that after 4 hours it was barely warm on the outside. I let it do it’s thing but when the 8 hours were up, the veggies are hard and the outside of the roast is rubbery and inside is bloody. So disappointed! I know I set it right, i even watched a few videos before. What am I doing wrong?

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