How To Slow Cook In Instant Pot

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How To Convert Slow Cooker Recipes To Your Instant Pot

Slow Cook in the Instant Pot

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

The slow cooker plays an important role in the kitchen for busy families, but there are times when you need a meal in a hurry. The “Instant Pot” can produce a tender pot roast, a hearty beef stew, tender beans, and shredded pulled pork in a fraction of the time, and the pot can even handle many dishes a slow cooker can’t. There are even settings for rice and yogurt.

Another bonus, there’s no need to dirty another pan if you have to steam or sauté food before pressure cookingthe Instant Pot has settings for steaming and sautéing foods.

For dishes like scalloped potatoes, many casseroles, and desserts, you can use silicone muffin cups and pans, metal pans, ceramic baking dishes, and oven-safe glass containers. There are also many pans made for the Instant Pot, including cake pans, steamers, and nonstick pans. When using a pan in the Instant Pot pan, remember to add at least 1 cup of water to the Instant pot pan, place a trivet or steam rack in the pot, and place the pan on the trivet or rack.

If you have a favorite slow cooker recipe, but don’t have all day, make it in your Instant Pot! Here are some basic guidelines for converting slow cooker and crockpot recipes for the Instant Pot.

The Spruce / Julie Bang

What Are The Best Cuts Of Meat To Use

The best cuts of beef for pot roast are tougher cuts of meat like chuck, brisket, and round. Traditionally, the beef cooks at a low temperature for a long time. Its because of this that tougher cuts of beef work so well. When I say tougher cuts of meat, Im talking about the leaner cuts with lots of connective tissue.

Compare Slow Cooker To Instant Pot Time

The instant pot works well for me because I have a hard time planning ahead! It enables me to start dinner at 4 pm and still be fine. The slow cooker can be a problem when you dont even think about starting it until noon!

I do think the slow cooker does make meat more tender. So, while I generally will choose speed, when it comes to a roast, I prefer the slow cooker.

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Can I Use Frozen Beef

You might be wondering if you can use frozen beef for pot roast. Technically, the answer is yes, the cook time will just be longer .

That said, for the best results, we highly recommend following our method which calls for thawed beef thats seasoned with salt and been left on the counter long enough to take the chill off. This extra time creates the most flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth pot roast. Using thawed beef also allows us to brown the outside of the meat before braising it, which adds a lot of extra flavor to dish.

How Long Does It Take To Cook Pot Roast In A Pressure Cooker


The time it takes to cook pot roast in an Instant Pot will vary depending on how large your piece of meat is. For a 3-pound piece of beef, the total time required will be about 2 hours and 30 minutes. This includes the time to bring the beef to room temperature , searing time, and the cook time required inside the pressure cooker.

I know 2 hours and 30 minutes might seem like a long time, but for ultra-tender and juicy beef, we need all of it. The great news is that a pressure cooker makes much quicker work of pot roast compared to a slow cooker, oven, or when it is cooked on the stove-top.

Now, I mentioned there was extra time for bringing the beef to room temperature. After testing this pot roast recipe in our own kitchen, we found that if you start with beef straight out of the refrigerator, the roast doesnt become as tender as when you give the beef some time out of the fridge so that it comes up to room temperature before cooking it.

For a three pound roast, we found that leaving it on the counter for 1 hour was perfect. This extra time has another benefit, it gives us a chance to season the meat. Right after taking the beef out of the fridge, we season it liberally with salt, which means that as the beef sits, the salt has a chance to seep into the meat, making it extra tasty when cooked.

As a general rule, when cooking roasts in a pressure cooker, assume 20 minutes of cook time for every pound of meat.

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

A pot roast is such a wonderful dinner to make. You get delicious tender veggies along with some juicy chunks of shredded beef. This is fantastic for a Sunday dinner with the family. Many sides can go with this, because you are pairing this up with a delicious gravy. Doing this in the slow cooker or instant pot, really makes this recipe easy with little clean up.


2 – 3lb chuck roast or chuck tender roast

1lb Red potatoes whole

3 large carrots chopped in big portions

3 Celery stalks chopped in big portions

½ onion chopped

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

½ stick of unsalted butter

Cooking Instructions:

Take the beef roast and season with salt and pepper, and let sit in room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.

Set the instant pot on sear, sear both sides of the roast for 4 minutes each. Once you have a nice sear on both sides remove the roast.

Add in the chopped onions, and allow the onions to deglaze the bottom of the instant pot. Stir scraping the bottom occasionally.

Once the bottom is deglazed, turn off the instant pot.

Add in the beef broth, vegetables, garlic, thyme, and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.

Add in the roast, place the lid on the instant pot with the vent open.

Select slow cook, and set to high heat for 4 5 hours. Depending how thick your roast is, you may need an additional time. Chuck roasts should be ok for 4 hours.

In the instant pot on sauté with less heat or pan over medium low heat, add in your butter to start melting it.


How To Use Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

It is not as straightforward as you would think to use your Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker. This guide walks you through the modifications you need to know when using your pressure cooker as a slow cooker so that you can have Instant Pot success!

It is not as easy as hitting the slow cooker function on your Instant Pot and expecting the Instant Pot to cook the recipe just as the slow cooker would. I briefly cover using the slow cooker function on Instant Pot Functions, but this delves into the topic a bit more deeply, giving you the recipe for success when using an Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker.

The Instant Pot Slow Cooker function is not equivalent to the temperatures on a slow cooker, which can make using your instant pot like a slow cooker tricky.

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Things To Keep In Mind

I think food tastes better when its slow cooked in an actual slow cooker rather than an Instant Pot. There are a few other factors that play into why:

  • Slow cooker pots are usually made of ceramic or porcelain. Instant Pot pots are stainless steel.
  • Slow cookers cook from all sides and the bottom. Instant Pot heats from the bottom only.

Instant Pot

What Is Low Slow Cooker Setting On Instant Pot

How to Use the Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker | Instant Pot 101 For Beginners
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A slow cooker also known as the crockpot is a device that provides a digitally controlled environment that allows you to cook foods for a long period without major temperature fluctuations.

A slow cooker is good for a lot of things. Its convenient, easy-to-use, and you can leave it for hours without worrying about burning your food.

But, slow cookers are on the verge of being eliminated by a much more advanced machine called the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot is a multi-cooker, meaning it can perform several functions instead of just one. An Instant pot is mainly a pressure cooker that saves you a lot of time, but aside from that, it can sauté, make yogurt, make rice, steam cook, and can be used as a slow cooker.

Although the Instant Pot has the slow cooker functionality it was not built for slow cooking. Its made to speed up your cooking process whereas a crockpot slows it down.

So when using an Instant Pot as a slow cooker, a few things must be kept in mind:

  • An Instant pot only heats from the bottom whereas a slow cooker heats from all sides.
  • If you are transitioning from a crockpot, its worth noting that a crock pots internal temperature at a particular setting is always 20 to 30 percent higher than an instant pot. For example, the keep warm setting of a crockpot provides heat equivalent to the low setting of an instant pot.
  • You will not be able to use a thermometer as well.
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    The Slow Cooker Setting On The Ip

    Most electric pressure cookers have not only the slow cook function but and a whole suite of buttons on the interface. Were only going to dig into the slow cook button in this blog post. While this function is great, there are a few differences that will trip you up if youre not careful. With the Instant Pot, the slow cooker function has a set of temperatures ranging from low to high. These temperatures are NOT same as the ones which are on a typical slow cooker. Here are a couple of conversions to make a note of to ensure optimum cooking in an instant pot:

    Slow Cooker WARM setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook LOW settingSlow Cooker LOW setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook NORMAL settingSlow Cooker HIGH setting = Instant Pot Slow Cook HIGH+

    conversion chart

    *The Instant Pot HIGH setting never gets as hot as the slow cooker HIGH heating setting. If you are using a slow cooker recipe which calls for HIGH heat in a slow cooker, put your Instant Pot slow cooker function onto high and then add an extra 15 minutesof cooking time for every hour of that the recipe calls for. The longer cooking time is needed to compensate for the difference in temperature between the two appliances and make sure your food is fully cooked all the way through.

    Why You Should Not Use Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

    Yes, there’s a setting, but your slow-cooker recipes aren’t going to work as well in it.

    Editor’s Note: The Instant Pot is great for making a lot of amazing things, from perfect stuffed peppers, to delicious deviled eggs and more. But most of the time, we love it for its speedy pressure-cooking capabilities. So what about that other button, the one that says “slow cook” on it?

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    Prepare The Dry Rub And Pot Roast

    In a small bowl combine ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, white pepper, sweet Hungarian paprika , and ground thyme. Add a tablespoon of dried parsley and ¼ teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes.

    Pat the meat dry with paper towels. This will result in a better sear for the roast. Coat the beef in the rub, and set aside.

    This makes enough rub to cover a 2 1-2- to 4-pound pot roast. For each additional pound of meat increase each ingredient for the rub .

    Slice one onion, two stalks of celery, and two carrots. Next, open a bottle of red wine, and set aside to breathe.

    If you are not a wine drinker this step can be skipped, and it can be substituted with ¼ cup of additional beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the liner after the saute step.

    There Are 2 Things To Know About Using Your Instant Pot As A Slow Cooker

    What Is an Instant Pot?

    First, the Instant Pot only heats from the bottom surface, whereas typical slow cookers heat from the bottom and all of the sides.

    Second, setting the Instant Pot slow cook function isn’t the most intuitive.

    If you select slow cook function, set your time, and walk away, you may have accidentally set your Instant Pot to “keep warm”.

    Unfortunately the terms used on the Instant Pot face plate for slow cooker temperature settings are not awesome.

    With a regular slow cooker you are used to “Keep Warm”, “Low”, and “High”.

    But, on your Instant Pot, those settings are called “Less”, “Normal”, and “More”

    If you simply press slow cooker, set the time, and walk away, you may have your pot set to “Less” – which is essentially a keep warm function.

    So, here is the run down of how to set your Instant Pot for slow cooking:

  • Press slow cook
  • Press ADJUST to change the heat setting between Less, Normal, and More . Some models don’t have and adjust button. Simply press slow cook again to move through the less, normal, and more settings.
  • Set the time using the + and – buttons.
  • Walk away.
  • As for the lid. You can use the regular instant pot lid, and set it to vent. Or, you can get a clear instant pot lid, OR you can use a lid form your pots and pans set that fits!

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    How To Make Crockpot Carnitas

    • Cut the pork roast into 3 to 4-inch chunks and season all sides with salt and pepper.
    • In a large crockpot, mix together the beer, orange juice, and seasonings.
    • Place the seasoned pork into the mixture inside the crockpot.
    • Set the crockpot to low for 10-12 hours or on high 5-7 hours.
    • Once the meat has cooked, shred the pork with two forks and mix into the juices that were rendered while cooking.

    How To Saute In The Instant Pot

    Sauté is a non-pressure cooking program that can be used in place of a frying pan or flat-top grill. For recipes that call for browned onions or garlic, its important to sauté them before adding liquid to the pot as you will release a lot of flavor this way. Another reason to sauté first is for browning meat. Lastly, sautéeing before cooking is a great way to increase heat and reduce the amount of time your pot will take to come to pressure. Learn more about other smart program settings on Instant Pot here.

    Step 1. Star the Instant Pot. Insert the inner pot into the cooker base. Do not use the lid for the next step.

    Step 2. Press the Sauté button. After 10 seconds, the cooker displays ON to indicate that it has begun heating. When display switches from On to Hot, add ingredients you want to brown. Note: You can add ingredients before the Hot message appears if you do, it may not appear at all. This is normal.

    The control panel will display a 30-minute countdown timer as a maximum Sauté time, you can use it for reference if you like or disregard.

    The default temperature setting for Sauté function is Normal. Press Sauté again to cycle through for Less and More temperature options. Use Normal for general pan searing or sautéing, Less for simmering, thickening and reducing liquids and More for Stir-frying or browning meat.

    Step 4. Add any other ingredients and liquids. Stir if needed or leave layered and continue with the manual or program settings to pressure cook the food.

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    How To Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork

    • Cube the pork into 3-4 inch chunks. This allows your pork to become SUPER tender and shred easily after pressure cooking.
    • Mix together the spices in a small bowl and then and liberally rub them over the pork, coating each piece in the spice rub.
    • Add the pork to the instant pot, along with the apple juice and liquid smoke.
    • Set high pressure on your Instant Pot by hitting the manual button or pressure cook button on your pressure cooker until high pressure lights up. To adjust the time use the + and – buttons. Read more about this on Instant Pot Functions.
    • Cook on High Pressure for 40 minutes for a pork shoulder or pork butt or on High Pressure for 30 minutes for a pork loin roast.
    • Once cook time has elapsed, it is very important to allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes when cooking large cuts of meat in your instant pot. If you do a quick release or pressure, your pork can become tough, making it difficult to shred.
    • Place your pork loin into a large bowl and use 2 forks or a hand-held kitchen mixer to shred meat.
    • Mix with your favorite BBQ sauce, if desired. This meat is super flavorful without the need for added BBQ sauce.

    A Quick Recap Of Key Cooking Stages

    How to Use Instant Pot as SLOW COOKER

    As we discussed in this post, there are three key phases to cooking in the Instant Pot. Once you add all ingredients and liquids, secure and lock the lid and choose your setting and time, the following things happen:

  • Preheating & pressurizing stage the pot heats up creating steam and pressure inside. This takes 5-20 minutes depending on how much food and liquid you add. Note: food starts to cook during this stage, kind of like when you boil potatoes on the stove they start to cook even before the pot comes to a boil, although most of the cooking happens once the water is super hot.
  • Cooking stage the built-up pressure pushes all the heat and steam inside the pot into the food, cooking it rather quickly. This is when the time youve selected for cooking under pressure starts counting down.
  • Depressurizing stage once cooking under pressure is done , the pot stops heating allowing the steam and pressure inside to escape through the release pipe. If you leave the pot alone, the pressure will release naturally but this can take 10-20 minutes depending on the volume of food inside. During this time, the food continues to cook at a slower rate. If you want to stop the food from cooking right away or you want to eat asap, you can release the pressure manually, which is known as the quick release .
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