Which Instant Pot Button to Use

So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.

I know many of you took advantage of the great Black Friday Instant Pot Duo and Smart sales. So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.

So here’s a little primer that will help.

So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.

I’ll start with the buttons I use the most.

  • Sauté function – use the Sauté button to sauté in the pressure cooking pot with the lid off. You can also press Sauté and the Adjust button once (more) for browning. Press Sauté and the Adjust button twice (less) to simmer.
  • Keep Warm/Cancel Button – Use this button to cancel a function or turn off your pressure cooker. On the Smart, you can use the Adjust button to reduce or increase the keep warm temperature from 145° (normal) to 133° (less) and 167° (more).
  • Manual button is an all purpose button. Use the manual button if a recipe says to pressure cook on high pressure for a specific number of minutes. Use the “+” and “-” buttons to increase or decrease the cooking time.

Not all electric pressure cookers are multi-cookers like the Instant Pot Duo and Smart. My recipes are written so they can be made in any electric pressure cooker, so I rarely use the pre-set buttons.

So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.

If you prefer to use the pre-set buttons instead of the manual button, here’s a concise description of what the pressure cooking buttons/ functions do:

  • Soup – high pressure 30 minute cook time. Press soup and the Adjust button once (more) to cook for 40 minutes. Press soup and the Adjust button twice (less) to cook for 20.
  • Meat/Stew – high pressure 35 minute cook time. Adjusted to more – 45 minute cook time; adjusted to less  – 20 minute cook time.
  • Bean/Chili – high pressure 30 minute cook time. Adjusted to more – 40 minute cook time; adjusted to less – 25 minute cook time.
  • Poultry – high pressure 15 minute cook time. Adjusted to more – 30 minute cook time; adjusted to less – 5 minute cook time.
  • Rice – cooks on low pressure and is the only fully automatic program. It’s for cooking white rices and will adjust the cooking time depending on the amount of water and rice in the cooking pot. (I prefer to cook rice for a shorter time on high pressure.)
  • Multi-grain – high pressure 40 minute cook time. Adjusted to less – 20 minutes cook time. Adjusted to more – 45 minutes warm water soaking time and 60 minutes pressure cooking time.
  • Porridge – high pressure 20 minute cook time. Adjusted to more – 30 minute cook time; adjusted to less 15 – a minute cook time.
  • Steam – high pressure 10 minute cook time. Adjusted to more – 15 minute cook time; adjusted to less – 3 minute cook time. Use this function with a rack or steamer basket because it heats at full power continuously while it’s coming to pressure and you don’t want food in direct contact with the bottom of the pressure cooking pot. Once it reaches pressure, the steam button regulates pressure by cycling on and off similar to the other pressure buttons.

You can also adjust the cook time using pre-set buttons and the “+” and “-” buttons. You can also use the Pressure button to adjust the pre-sets to low pressure.

All of the Instant Pot Duo and Smart pressure cooking pre-sets use high pressure except the rice function, which uses low pressure.

In addition to those buttons, you also have

  • Slow Cooker  – defaults to a 4 hour slow cook time. Use the adjust button to slow cook on low (190-201°F), normal (194-205°F ) or high (199-210°F). Use the “+” and “-” buttons to increase or decrease the cooking time.
  • Pressure – switches between low and high pressure.
  • Yogurt – used for making yogurt in the pot or in individual jars.
  • Timer – is for delayed cooking. You need to select a cooking function first, make any adjustments, then press the timer button and adjust with the “+” and “-” buttons.

For more information on using your new Instant Pot, there’s a great Facebook community. Be sure and start by going through the information in their getting started file.

So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.

It may seem a little intimidating at first because of all the buttons, but really it’s easy. Before you know it you’ll be whipping up fabulous meals and desserts that will impressed your friends and family. Have fun!

Here’s a link to some easy recipes to get your started.

If you’d like to print this post to refer, I’ve created a Printable PDF file.

Pin for later:

So you’re just getting started, or will start using your Instant Pot soon, and your first question is which Instant Pot button to use, and why.