WHICH BUTTON DO I USE?
I see this question ALL the time. It is a huge source of frustration, especially for new users looking for instructions on their Instant Pot buttons, or those entirely new to pressure cookers altogether who may not yet understand what Pressure Cooking is.
This guide will help to simplify and explain the cooking time equivalents & purpose of each button on your Instant Pot.
This guide is based on the DUO model – I have the IP-DUO60 6 qt 7-in-1. To the best of my knowledge via research, here are 3 main differences I am aware of between Instant Pot’s DUO and LUX versions of the Instant Pot.
- LUX does NOT have the Yogurt button, DUO does have this option
- LUX has a single pressure option, High Pressure at 10.2-11.6psi; DUO allows for double pressure options, Low Pressure at 5.8-7.2psi or High Pressure at 10.2-11.6psi
- Keep warm option: can be set for up to 10 hours on LUX, while up to 99 hours 50 minutes on DUO models
*Having clarified these differences, to the best of my knowledge, the buttons work the same otherwise.
Let’s start with a few FACTS:
For Pressure Cooking, you must ALWAYS have about 1 cup (or more) liquid in the inner pot – ALWAYS. This allows the pot to come to pressure and actually work!
All Pressure Cooking function buttons default to HIGH PRESSURE, except Rice – Rice defaults to LOW PRESSURE
- HIGH PRESSURE = 10.2 – 11.6 psi, Temperature of 239°F – 244°F (115°C – 118°C)
- LOW PRESSURE = 5.8-7.2 psi, Temperature of 229°F – 233°F (110°C – 112°C)
Preset Pressure Cooking buttons are 1-4, 9-12 as pictured below
- Notice how they are all within the outline surrounding the digital display
- Manual (7) is a pressure cooking function button as well, but has no preset time
Buttons I use most frequently
- NO preset cook time, defaults to High Pressure
- Pressure adjustable: use Pressure button (13)
- Cook time adjustable: use “+/-“ buttons (17)
- CONFESSION: I use Manual on high pressure 99% of the time, at a cook time I have deemed most appropriate for what I am cooking – honestly, if I ONLY had that button, A-OK!
- Appropriate for sautéing, browning, searing or simmering
- Temperature adjustable: Press Adjust (14) for Less (lower temperature for simmering) or More (higher temperature for browning/searing)
- Digital Display:
- shows as “ON” while Sauté setting is preheating
- shows as “HOT” when Sauté setting has preheated
KEEP WARM/CANCEL (16)
- Keep Warm:
- Pot automatically changes to Keep Warm after set cook time has completed (up to 10 hours)
- You can manually turn the DUO Instant Pot to Keep Warm for up to 99 hours, 50 minutes
- You can manually turn the LUX Instant Pot to Keep Warm for up to 10 hours
- Keep Warm Digital Display:
- starts at LO:OO – meaning HourHour:MinuteMinute – HH:MM
- time counts up so you can keep track of how long Keep Warm has been on
- Time display also allows you to keep track of how long pressure has been releasing naturally after a cook time has commenced – learn more about Natural Pressure Release (NPR)
- Press to turn Instant Pot off
- Cancel Digital display:
- OFF: no cooking is taking place – Instant Pot is OFF or in Standby mode and will not heat up or create pressure
Pre-set Pressure Cooking Instant Pot buttons:
Don’t be intimidated by these Instant Pot buttons – they very SIMPLY have preset cook times associated with them. They don’t perform miracles. The cook times are not set in stone – they can be adjusted as described below, or using “+/-“ (17).
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 30 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (20 min) or More (40 min) cooking time
- The pot will automatically adjust the pressure and temperature during cooking with this setting so the broth “never goes into the heavy boiling state”, per manual
- Because of this, you do NOT want to use Soup setting if your goal is to boil heavily in order to create rich broth or stock from bones/shells
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 35 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (20 min cook time) or More (45 min cook time)
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 30 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (25 min) or More (40 min) cooking time
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 15 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (5 min) or More (30 min) cooking time
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 10 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (3 min) or More (15 min) cooking time
- “Unlike other pressure cooking functions, Steam heats at full power continuously” while heating to come to pressure
- Because of this continual high temperature heating, you really MUST use a trivet, cooking rack or steamer basket, or oven safe container or your food will likely burn to the bottom of the inner pot.
- GREAT for cooking heat sensitive vegetables – continual high temperature heating allows Instant Pot to come to pressure quicker, thus prevents overcooking of something like broccoli or fish
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 20 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (15 min) or More (30 min)
- Normal Default presetting: High Pressure, 40 minute cook time
- Press Adjust (14) to change to Less (20 min) cook time.
- Press Adjust (14) for More – 45 minute warm water soaking time followed by 60 minute cooking time
- ideal for “harder grains such as dry split corn”
- Normal Default presetting: Low pressure, automatic cook time
- “Fully automated smart program…adjusted automatically depending on the amount of food content”
- IMPORTANT! In order to successfully use this preset cook setting, rely on the rice:water ratios in the “Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes” book you got with your Instant Pot on page 32
- Note: I do not use this option for cooking rice – I use manual. Why? It’s faster.
- Interesting fact: in the “Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes” book you got with your Instant Pot, the recipes for rice on page 10 even suggest using Manual…
- So…why does this button exist?
Dear Instant Pot, lots of Fancy pants options are not always a good thing.
Additional Cooking option buttons:
SLOW COOK (5)
- Default: Normal, 4 hour slow cook time
- Press Adjust to set Slow Cook to Less (Low, 190°F-201°F) Normal (194°F-205°F) or More (High, 199°F-210°F)
- Use “+/-“ buttons (17) to adjust cook time
- 3 programs: making yogurt, pasteurizing milk, making Jiu Niang (aka fermented glutinous rice —> aka “sticky rice” per manual)
- see pages 16-17 in the manual for more on using Yogurt function
- Allows you to toggle from Low Pressure to High Pressure pressure cooking
- Does not work on “non-pressure cooking functions: Slow Cook, Sauté, and Yogurt”
- Use for the following:
- Adjust preset pressure cooking times. Applies to preset pressure cooking buttons 1-4, 9-12 only
- Adjust temperature of Slow Cook and Sauté
- Selecting programs when using Yogurt
- Use to delay cooking start time
- You MUST select a pressure cooking option or the Slow Cook option FIRST
- WITHIN 10 SECONDS, press Timer, then use “+/-“ buttons (17) to set delayed hours; wait a second or 2 after hours are set, then press Timer again to set delayed minutes using “+/-“ buttons (17)
- Cancel delayed cooking start time by pressing “Keep Warm/Cancel”
- NOT RECOMMENDED FOR:
- “perishable foods such as meat and fish”
- “porridge, oatmeal or other foamy and sticky foods”