How To Use Each Instant Pot Button
The Instant Pot buttons are simply pre-sets for cooking times and pressure. All of the settings default to high pressure except for the rice setting, which defaults to low pressure. You can adjust the time on any of these settings by pressing the Adjust button and then using the +/- buttons.
When you press a button, it will give you 10 seconds and then automatically beep and turn on. But dont panic, you can always press Cancel and choose a new setting.
Oh, and I have the DUO 6-quart 7-in-1 model. The LUX model is slightly different, but the buttons work the same, so most information here should still apply.
What Do All Those Instant Pot Buttons Do Anyhow
All the buttons except the sauté, yogurt , and slow cooker settings are actually pressure cooker shortcuts. Even steam is a special version of a pressure cooker setting. Ill explain in more detail below, but each button has a preset time and cooking level that you can still adjust manually if you like.
Instant Pot Steam Setting
The Steam setting on the Instant Pot is perfect for cooking vegetables, fish and seafood, tofu and any other food that is suitable to steaming. This function uses Low pressure, which helps to avoid overcooking the food and means that the Instant Pot will come to pressure quicker. You need to use the trivet/steam rack provided to elevate food from cooking liquid. Always use QR to prevent food from overcooking. Below is how to use the Steam setting on Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add a cup of water to the inner pot and place the trivet on top. You can place the vegetables or a piece of fish or thinly sliced chicken on top of the trivet OR you can use an additional steam basket or a round pan with holes that fits inside the pot. A steamer basket might be useful for smaller-sized vegetables or cut-up vegetables to prevent them from falling into the water.
- Secure and lock the lid. Press the Steam button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at Low pressure for 10 minutes. If you press the Steam button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More.
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Programs Settings Buttons And How To Use Them
The programs settings buttons allow you to adjust the smart programs.
+ and keys
This allows you to increase/decrease the cooking time and also, used to set the time when using the Delay timer.
Once you select a pressure cooking program, press this Pressure Level button to select high or low pressure.
Add all the ingredients to your Instant Pot and use this button to set a later time for the cooking to begin. For example you could add rice to the Instant Pot along with water and set the timer to begin after 30 minutes allowing for 30-minute soak time. The cooking can be delayed for up to 24 hours.
Talk about convenience! If you arent ready to eat right when the Instant Pot is done, it can help keep the food warm at three different serving temperatures based on Less, Normal, and More. The cooker will keep warm up to 99:50 hours.
This button is also used to cancel the current cooking cycle.
The older models have this button and it allows you to select the Less, Normal and More settings for each smart function. With the newer models, pressing the smart program buttons twice allows you to change through the default Normal setting to More. Press it again to move to Less.
Now you know understand what the buttons do, lets walk through a few scenarios for you
Every Instant Pot Button Explained
Soup/Broth. This button cooks at High Pressure for 30 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 40 minutes. Adjusted to less cooks for 20 minutes.
Meat/Stew. This button cooks at High Pressure for 35 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 45 minutes. Adjusted to less cooks for 20 minutes.
Bean/Chili. This button cooks at High Pressure for 30 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 40 minutes. Adjusted to less cooks for 25 minutes.
Poultry. This button cooks at High Pressure for 15 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 30 minutes. Adjusted to less cooks for 5 minutes.
Rice. This button cooks at Low Pressure and is the only fully automatic program. It is for cooking white rice and will adjust the cooking time depending on the amount of water and rice in the cooking pot.
Multigrain. This button cooks at High Pressure for 40 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 45 minutes of warm water soaking time and 60 minutes pressure cooking time. Adjusted to less cooks for 20 minutes.
Porridge. This button cooks at High Pressure for 20 minutes. Adjusted to more cooks for 30 minutes. Adjusted to less cooks for 15 minutes.
Less | Normal | More. Adjust between the Less | Normal | More settings by pressing the same cooking function button repeatedly until you get to the desired setting.
and Buttons. Adjust the cook time up or down .
Slow Cook. Adjust to slow cook on low , normal , or high . Use and to increase or decrease the cook time.
Cancel. End a cooking program at any time.
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How To Use An Instant Pot: What You Need To Know To Get Started With Instant Pot Cooking
There are a few basic things that you need to know when using an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Once you use yours a few times, these will be like second nature. Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the buttons may be labeled slightly differently. Consult the manual that came with your Instant Pot.
Minimum Liquid Required: As a general rule, you want to use at least 1 cup of liquid in your Instant Pot every time you cook with it. The Instant Pot uses steam and pressure to cook food, and you need liquid to create the steam and pressure. Some recipes may call for more or less liquid. I recommend following recipes from a trusted source while you are learning to use your Instant Pot.
Fill Level: Inside the Instant Pot inner pot, you will see a 1/2 and a 2/3 line marked. Never fill the Instant Pot higher than the 2/3 line with food or liquid . If you are cooking food that will expand during the cook time such as rice, quinoa or beans, do not fill the Instant Pot higher than the 1/2 line.
Pressure Cook or Manual Button: Depending on which Instant Pot model you own, the Pressure Cook button is sometimes labeled Manual and sometimes Pressure Cook. This is the button that you will press to start a pressure cooking cycle. Its your basic pressure cooking button.
+/- Buttons: Use these buttons to adjust the cook time.
Keep Warm/Cancel Button: Use this button to end a cooking program or turn on/off the keep warm function.
My Instant Pot Doesnt Have A Manual Button
If your new Instant Pot is missing the manual button, it probably means that you have bought a new and updated version of an Instant Pot.
In this newer version, you will notice that you have a pressure cooker button in place of the manual button.
This button is actually a newer function, or you can say that its a modified form of the old Manual button.
It does virtually the same thing as the old Manual button, except this one has a different name. Therefore, you dont have to worry.
If your Instant Pot is missing the manual button, dont fret. Because with the help of the new pressure-cooking button, you can easily perform the manual functions on your Instant Pot and so much more.
This obviously includes pressure cooking. This new feature is basically to help people and provide them with more benefits within a single product.
The Instant Pot is capable of performing more than one action. It is a product that comes equipped with all the necessary features convenient for a regular person.
If you are in the market for a reliable multicooker that is not only efficient but also suitable enough for use in a variety of situations, the Instant Pot is a worthwhile investment.
Many people swear by it, and even celebrity chefs love to use it all the time. It is by far one of the best investments you will make, especially if you like cooking.
This is a pressure cooker, so if someone is selling one with a compromised structure, its best to stay away.
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This Sounds Too Good To Be True
I wouldnt lie to you. Instant Pot is a misnomer. Its not a miracle, and it does not cook food in an instant. Nothing does, unless you live on Cup Noodles.
Here’s the catch: It takes time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
Typically, the time it takes the cooker to get to pressure is not part of that cooking time. For instance, if a pot roast cooks for 30 minutes at pressure, the total time from start to finish for a recipe like this might be more like 45 minutes or more. An Instant Pots heating element has less juice than the burners on your range, so it takes longer to heat food enough to get to pressure.
BUT! The ease of use frees you up to do other things. With most recipes, Instant Pots truly are set it and forget it. Lets say youre making a stir-fry, and youd like brown rice to go with it. Before you start prepping the stir-fry, put the rice and water in the Instant Pot, program it to cook for 22 minutes at pressure, then go about your business.
Want More Practice Bring It Back To Pressure
Try it again with the same hot water. This time, press Manual and then adjust the 30 minute default time by pressing the button, then press the + button to go up. Lets do 10 minutes.
You may notice how, if you press Manual and take too long before pressing the other buttons, the cooker will just beep on its own and proceed for 30 a minute pressure cooking time. If you need to re-start, just press Cancel/Keep Warm and start over.
Since the water is in your cooker is already almost boiling to begin with, the cooker will come to pressure a lot faster than it did the first timewithin a minute or so. Itll hiss, then the hissing will abruptly stop as the pressure indicator button goes up. If the hissing just keeps on going, its probably because you left the valve in the venting position instead of sealed. Just use your spoon handle to nudge it back.
What next? Same as before: the cooker beeps, the readout will say 10, and then it will switch to LO:00. You can do quick or natural release, whichever floats your boat.
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Instant Pot Saute Setting
The Sauté is another 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.
Timer / Delay Start Button*
- Use the Timer or Delay Start button to delay the cooking start time for the Instant Pot. This works for both pressure cooking and slow cook options.
- To activate the delayed start feature, just press the Timer button with 10 seconds of pressing either the Pressure / Manual button or Slow Cook button. Then Use +/- buttons to adjust the delayed hours, then wait a second and press Timer again to set delayed minutes.
- You can cancel the Timer anytime by pressing the Keep Warm / Cancel button.
*New models of the Instant Pot have the Delay Start button and old models use the Timer Button
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When To Use High Or Low Pressure On The Instant Pot
Electric pressure cookers can be surprisingly difficult to understand, thanks to the abundance of multifunction buttons and not a lot of explanation about what those buttons do.
Take the pressure settings. On some models, high pressure is the only option. Others offer both a high and low pressure setting. And one in particular even allows you to select a specific psi .
So whats a cook to do?
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Instant Pot Yogurt Setting
The Yogurt button is a non-pressure cooking Smart Program made for easily fermented dairy and non-dairy recipes. The setting modes Less, Normal and More are used for different times of fermentation or for boiling the milk. Below are some basic steps and setting options for making yogurt using the Yogurt setting button.
- Add milk to the inner pot. A minimum of 4 cups of milk is recommended for a 6-quart Instant Pot . Secure and close the lid. Make sure to press the quick-release button down until it clicks and locks into the Vent position. On Duo Classic, turn the steam release hand to point to Venting. Do this before you select the settings and make any adjustments.
- Select Yogurt setting. The default mode is Normal. Press Yogurt again to cycle to the More option. The display indicates boiL. After 10 seconds the cooker begins heating. This setting mode can be used to pasteurize the milk but is also there for heating the milk before adding in the starter culture. When pasteurization/heating completes, the display indicates End.
ADDING STARTER CULTURE
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The Instant Pots Function Buttons
Im going to start this section of my Instant Pot how-to guide off with the manual button. Its not technically classified as a function button, but I think it should be. I like it because its the one that gives you the most control. With this button you get to choose whether you cook your food at high or low pressure, and you can set your own cook time. If any of the preset buttons dont work as youd like, just go with the manual button! Once you become more used to working with your Instant Pot, you may decide to use this button most of the time.
The soup button is for cooking liquids like soup and also broth. Whats great about this function is that it makes the Instant Pot hot enough to get your liquid simmering, but not scalding hot. This way your soup ingredients dont get too broken down.
This preset meat button is for non-poultry meats like beef and pork. Its also for cooking thick stew-type meals. Use the Adjust button to change the final texture of the meat. Set your Instant Pot to the More setting if you want the meat to be very tender and more broken down.
Did you know that you can cook dry beans in your Instant Pot? Its a great way to save money, compared with buying canned beans . You can use this setting to cook your raw beans, or you could use it to cook bean-based dishes . Id suggest using the Adjust button to set your Instant Pot to the More setting for thoroughly cooked, tender beans.
Instant Pot Multigrain Setting
This setting is best suited to cooking tougher, whole grains like brown and wild rice, farro, millet and steel-cut oats it can also be used to cook dry beans and a mixture of grains and legumes. We find that this is one of the most confusing functions for people because some of the recommended manual cooking times for grains dont match the pre-programmed setting times, so its hard to know when to use this function. Below is how to use the Multigrain setting on the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot on, it will say OFF to indicate the Stand-By mode. Add the grains, liquid and seasoning if you wish. Secure and lock the lid. Press the Multigrain button. The default setting is pre-programmed to set the pot to cook at High pressure for 40 minutes. If you press the Multigrain button again, you can adjust the mode from Normal to Less or More.
If desired, use the / + buttons to further customize the time. The cooking time may be adjusted at any time during pressure cooking.
If cooking dry beans, ensure they are completely submerged in water the same if youre making a mixture of grains and beans.
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Lets Take A Look At Each Model Of The Instant Pot And Their Buttons
Next up is the .
The Viva! Is a beautiful model. It comes in an array of colors including cinnamon, cobalt, eggplant, and black. I couldnt seem to find any of these on Amazon
Ultra, the first instant pot with a dial.
- This newest model apparently has an automatic stirrer! What? So an automatic stirrer can be used to make something like risotto.
- Another great feature of the new model is that it cooks food faster!
- The MAX has touch screen technology!
- This newest model is around $200. It is said that with this newest model coming out, the older model will decrease in price.
Okay, I think that wraps it up for now. If I missing any buttons let me know! I currently only own one instant pot, so other newer models I might miss out on new buttons or modes.
Are you still struggling? Check out my complete walk-through on How to Use the Instant Pot.