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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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Filed under: Ramblings


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  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.

    • Had same issue with overly sticky rice, then tried less water, and that solved the issue. A 1 to 1 ratio is open to some ambiguity between dry and liquid measure. I initially used a liquid measure cup for the water on my initial tries, and that did not work well. I tested and found a liquid cup of water is much more than if you measure a cup of water using a dry measure cup. So, I recommend using the same cup for your rice and water measure. Then, my rice was still too sticky, so I started to use less water. The actual amount of water needed will probably depend on the type of rice used, but try 1 cup rice + 3/4 cup water (measuring both water and rice using the same cup), and this should solve your issue. I now think that pressure cooking rice needs less water than the stove top’s 1 to 1 ratio because of faster cooking time and less evaporation.

  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?

  7. Chuck says

    I just did a 2 1/2 lb. buffalo roast in the instant cooker using the slow cooker mode. I browned the seasoned roast using saute and then used it just like I use my crock pot. No rack, onions, juniper berries and beef broth in the bottom, then the roast. Roast sitting in liquid which came about 1/3 up the side. Cooked on normal mode for four hours with the idea of checking it at that point. At the four hour check the internal temp was 170 degrees and immediately went to the keep warm mode. An hour later I pulled the roast, strained the liquid into a pot, put the roast back in the pot on keep warm and made gravy. The roast was tender and delicious. This was a test to see how my new Instant pot would do as a slow cooker and it did great.

  8. Brian says

    Before you slow cook anything invest in the glass lid for your Instant Pot. It is a necessity if you are going to use it as a slower cooker and is also great for saute recipes that require a cover and occasional stir. As noted above Normal=Low, More=High, Less=Keep Warm. Getting the lid helps keep the liquid ratio of your recipe at the proper balance and obviously understanding the heat settings will get you pretty close to the designated time on a traditional slow cooker recipe, usually within a half hour or so.

    • Andrea says

      Will you please give an example of a successful meal you made in the IP using it as a slow cooker? There are many more IP users giving testimony of slow cooking fails, and not enough users testifying to successes.

  9. My gal just got me an Instant-Pot for the express purpose of aiding me in slow cooking with reduced cooking smell in my very tiny place. You see I have a condition where I can Not eat carbs of almost any kind and so depend on raw fats for energy such as avacados, coconut oil based “coconaise” – when I cook lamb, pork, beef, chicken or turkey, I use my IP to slow cook over 12 to 24 hours depending on what I’m cooking. When its 3-5lb pork shoulder, lamb or heavy beef ribs I might even slow cook in mi IP for 48 hours! In the Slow Cook Low setting! With the right marinate design, the result is so tender and the fats, having NOT been over cooked are perfectly good for my purpose and my energy levels are excellent! – I’ve been on this careful, difficult diet now for a 8 months and have lost 50lbs, am far more muscular and have much higher, consistent energy levels then ever before in my life! The secret is simply keep cooking temps low so animal fats are great for me instead of destructive due to high temps. – The IP is perfect for think ribs when I want also bone broth – here I simply add heavy onion quantity mixed shitake mushrooms, mildly salted and low temp cooked for 48hrs – the result is a Very strengthening bone broth and meat combo which is also very tasty and satisfying. Also keep in mind that Grass Fed – No Hormones, organically fed creature is key along with organic additions to my IP recipes. It is difficult to keep sugar and especially corn syrup (all of which is GMO is deadly!) out of my recipes but I am finding creative options with a little experimentation and research – this also means NO grains of any kind as well… Difficult but doable with amazing results !

  10. Jim B. says

    I’ve been cooking a stew for 6 hours on the “more” slow cooker setting and the temperature has only now reached 194F inside the pot. That is more like what I get on my slow cooker on LOW in just about 3 hours. I guess I will have to start using the chili and Beans pressure cooking setting from now on. Worthless as a slow cooker for me.

  11. Patti LaValley says

    This product is Not a slow cooker, plain and simple. They need to stop advertising it as such or fix this issue. Works great as a pc however, don’t get rid of your crock pot!!

  12. The temp in slow cook on high is only 155 degrees after 3 1/2 hours of cooking chili. Not the 210degrees I have read that it should reach on more/high setting. Should I cancel and switch to a pressure mode for a short time to finish it off.

  13. I have the 9in1 6qt. Normal won’t cook anything, more (high) takes 10 hours to cook stew, never boils.

  14. leesuh says

    yes, my first instant pot slow cooker experience was a fail because I didn’t understand which was the high setting. It took 3x as long to cook beans in the slow cooker with the regular setting. I figured out that more = high and I also use a glass top from another pan instead of the instant pot lid. This works great for me.

  15. James says

    I share the issues with my Instant pot on slow cooker mode. I’m about to get my slow cooker I packed up in the basement to finish the beef stew I’ve tried to make. A big disappointment on a so called “all in one” cooking machine. PC is fine, but Instant Pot really needs to redo their slow cooker mode.

  16. James says

    Just to clarify how I was trying to use the slow cooker mode with my Instant Pot. I had the machine on “more” for several hours. It just kept the stew a little more than warm, not cooking at all.

  17. Valerie Solis says

    I tried to cook a green lentil and veg stew today. I soaked the lentils and cooked them in a pan until soft. I sauteed onion, tomato ,mushroom , veg etc in the IP which works great and added the lentils in their hot water to the mix and set to slow cook. Came back 5 hours later and it was only warm certainly not cooked and the veg were small pieces, It doesn’t come to the boil so I will definitely go back to my old slow cooker which is a real shame considering the high price for the IP.
    As a pressure cooker it is marvellous – I bought it for the stainless steel insert which is non toxic but I have to say disappointed indeed to have to resort to my old slow cooker which I nearly ditched.

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