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!
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.
Therefore, 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 a crockpot would.
While I briefly cover using the slow cooker function on my post covering Instant Pot Settings, this delves into the topic a bit more deeply, giving you the recipe for success when using an Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker.
How to Use Your Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker
To be perfectly honest with you, this is my least favorite setting on the Instant Pot. In fact, it is so finicky and takes longer to cook, that I have kept my crockpot to use when I want to slow cook something.
However, if you only have space for one appliance, I would still recommend purchasing the Instant Pot and with this guide, you CAN slow cook using your Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Slow Cooker Temperatures
- Low on the Instant Pot Slow Cooker Function is like keep warm on a traditional slow cooker.
- Medium on the Instant Pot Slow Cooker Function is like low on a traditional slow cooker.
- High on the Instant Pot Function is more like medium-high on a traditional slow cooker.
To further explain:
- The low setting on a crockpot is about 190-200 degrees Fand the high setting on a crockpot is between 225-275 degrees F.
- For the slow cooker function on your instant pot, the low is about 170 degrees F, normal is 200 degrees F, and the high is 210 degrees F.
Tips for Using Your Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker
- You still need 1 cup of water when slow cooking--this will help the Instant Pot to heat up properly.
- Hit your Slow Cooker Function on your Instant Pot and then hit the adjust button to change the setting to "normal" or "high."
- If you want to cook a recipe like you would on low in a slow cooker, adjust your slow cooker to "normal" on the slow cooker function and cook for as the recipe calls to cook on low.
- If you want to cook a recipe like you would on high in a slow cooker, adjust your slow cooker to "high" on the slow cooker function and cook for as long as the recipe states PLUS an additional 15 minutes for every hour.
- You can use a glass lid or the Instant Pot lid when using the slow cooker function. A glass lid will allow some of the liquid to evaporate, as a traditional slow cooker lid does.
- Because no pressure is reached, you do not need to worry about the position your vent knob is in. However, leave it on the venting position if you want some liquid to evaporate.
- The lid will not lock into place, as no pressure is reached and the temperature inside the inner pot is much lower than when under pressure.
- You can open your Instant Pot to stir during the cooking process, because again, no pressure is reached.
- Your Instant Pot will preheat for 10-15 minutes before it begins to actual slow cook anything. If it takes longer than that, hit cancel and try again.
Recipes adapted from Slow Cooker to Instant Pot
While this post was designed to teach you how to use your pressure cooker as a slow cooker, the whole purpose of the Instant Pot is to SPEED up cooking.
Here are some of my favorite Slow Cooker Recipes adapted for Pressure Cooking:
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas to Instant Pot Pork Tacos
- Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas to Instant Pot Steak Fajitas
- Slow Cooker Baked Ziti to Instant Pot Creamy Pasta
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork to Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Instant Pot Slow Cooker Conversions
Click on Picture to access the DOWNLOAD and print.
Do you know how Many watt the instantpot uses in the slow cook function? The normal slow cockers use Max 200 watt.
Thank you. Lily
That is a great question Lily, and I honestly don't know. The IP uses about 1000 watts for pressure cooking, so it would be significantly less for the slow cooker function, but I can't find an answer directly from Instant Pot. Sorry not to be able to help more.
Thank you very much Kirsten. I think I will use my traditional slow cooker. It is a pity that instant pot does not know this important issue of how many watt it uses in different functions. I try to save energie and it is important for the customer to know specially with the slow cooker which you use for many hours. Thank you any way.Lily
My question is about adding a cup of water to the IP when using it as a slow cooker.
Is adding water required for every recipe?
Won't that dilute the ingredients?
If a recipe calls for a liquid, do I still need to add water?
As long as it has thin liquid, no need to add additional water. For the instant pot to hold the heat evenly on slow cooker mode, it needs some thin liquid in my experience.
Dear Kristen, maybe I've over read it, but could you kindly add if the steam vent should be sealed or leave open in the slow cooking mode? I've read about both options, and now I'm confused. Thanks in advance and happy holidays
Hi Luna! It makes no difference if your vent knob is opened or closed, as no pressure will be reached.
Thanks a lot, Kristen, and enjoy a beautiful Christmastime!
My wife and I have a frozen bag of cheddar broccoli soup we would like to slow cook in our instant pot while we are at work and have it ready when we get home. I think we should use the normal setting on the slow cooker, what length of time do you recommend. Thank you for your help.
Hi Ron! You would cook the soup at normal temperature for however long you normally cook the soup on low in the slow cooker.
Thank you! I almost set my boyfriend's birthday roast to low thinking it was equivalent to a crock pot low. You saved me a whole day of cooking on "warm" I'm so grateful!!
I am going to attempt cooking a roast recipe using the slow cook method on my Instant Pot. After reading your instructions and all the resent comments I have decided to use a glass cover instead of my regular pressure cooker cover. I am hoping it will be a success. Thank you for sharing your tips.
I am glad you found these tips helpful, but you may want to try my recipe for Instant Pot Pot Roast...super fast and fabulous reviews.
Thank you I will next time. My roast didn’t cook all the way using the glass cover I had to finish by using the regular pressure cooking option. Now I now next time just use the regular cover instead of glass. It came out delicious it was worth the wait an extra 1 1/2 hour. 😂
Hi There! I am making a cinnamon roll casserole for breakfast and would like to use my instant pot with the slow cooker function. Do I still add the cup of water in the bottom of the pot before adding all of the ingredients? It is a 2-21/2hr low slow cooker meal. Thank you!
Hi Kat! First of all, adding water would make this casserole really gummy and watered down--so I wouldn't do that. As for cooking in the instant pot using the slow cooker function, I don't think this is one recipe that would work well. A crockpot is a lot wider, while the IP is narrow and tall. A baked casserole like this one would need to be spread out closer to the heating element to cook evenly. Sorry to disappoint!
When using slow cook setting for a roast do you place the roast directly into bottom of pot or use the wire trivet?
Hi Becky, you can place your roast directly in the bottom of the pot. I would still recommend adding liquid, as that will help keep the roast moist.
Hi, Kristen, I am using my Instant Pot Duo Plus for the first time right now. I am using it as a slow cooker, and have had the machine on for over 2 hours. The "preheating" light has been blinking non-stop and will not progress to "cooking" It is not set to delay time and it did beep 3 times when I hit start. It just won't go past "preheating" to cook.
Can you let me know the model you have so I can further troubleshoot?
Your explanation is spot on. It’s all I need. I just checked my Instapot and now I can understand the buttons I need to use for slow cooking. I will stay on the “normal” mode and its showing 7 hours. Which is = to the “slow” of the conventional slow cooker. Thank you so much. I will be cooking our popular Asian adobo for the first time on Instapot. I will fry the chicken and pork pieces first on the stove just to make them golden brown. The Instapot can do that but its more convenient on the stove top if you have more meat to cook. Thanks a bunch! I’m sure in 7 hours its going to be smoking yum time.
I used the slow cooker function on high and when lifting the lid a few hours later it was boiling gently. Boiling in my view is not slow cooking!
I turned it of and allowed it to cool a bit the reset it to Low restarted on slow cooking but put in a digital thermometer probe with a long thin metal-mesh covered lead that allowed me to place the lid on in the unlock position.
Over the next 20 mns or so the temperature climbed backup to 98C. I switched off then as we needed to eat the meal. Again 98C is not slow cooking.
Instant Pot should correct this or remove the program - its basically mis-selling.
Other than that I think its great so they are letting themselves down on this issue.
If you do not have a glass lid and you’re using the instant pot as a slow cooker do you put the lid on venting or sealing
Either is fine. No pressure will be reached, so the lid never seals.
That's exactly my question.thank you! My question has been answered, now for steel cut oatmeal practice.
Happy to help! You can also use my recipe for Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats
"Bioling" at sea level is 212f (100c) and is, indeed, slow cooking. Just keep your food out of the water ("boiled" food is different from "slow cooked" food).
Hi Simon, thanks for your useful observation! I'm looking into Instant Pot to replace my slow cooker and my yogurt maker. You are right about the temperature, proper "slow cooking" should be between 165°-185°F (74-85°C), rather than nearly boiling. The old Crock Pots from the 70s were able to operate at this temperature. But the newer ones seem electrically unable to operate that low. In my slow cooker, Low was still bubbling. So my husband has added an in-line dimmer switch to the cable, and that works a treat! Full temperature control. However, not sure you'd want to do that to something as sophisticated as an Instant Pot. Get hold of an old copy of "Leave It To Cook" by Stella Atterbury, and slow cook in your oven in a casserole dish.
Hi, Kristen, I am using my Instant Pot Duo Plus for the first time right now. I am using it as a slow cooker, and have had the machine on for over 2 hours. The "preheating" light has been blinking non-stop and will not progress to "cooking". Is this normal for slow-cook method? It's so hard to tell as I don't feel any heat on top if I remove the lid even though I do have it set on "High".
Hi Kimberly! That is NOT Normal. For this model, after you hit slow cook and select the time and setting, after 10 seconds the cooking should start and you should hear 3 beeps to let you know it has begun. I would check to be sure you have not set the delay start on accident.
Mine is currently doing the exact same thing! It's been preheating for an hour.
What model do you have? That may help me further troubleshoot.
Us too, Ma'am. It is sitting on preheat for 3 hours now.
Hey Kevin! So frustrating. Can you share the model you have? This seems to be an issue with a handful of people so I would love to know if model specific. It would help me troubleshoot.
Me as well!, driving me nuts!
Try moving it to high heat and see if that works. And again, if you can let me know the model that would help me troubleshoot. I have several models to test 🙂
Did anyone figure out what the model was on this? I am using the "Duo Crisp AF 8," which only has "Hi" and "Low" options for the slow cook function. I put my things in, chose slow cook, chose a time of 20 hours, toggled "keep warm" off, and then pressed start. It beeped at me a few times and then seemed to begin, but it is barely warm. I've waited about an hour so far. Any help would be appreciated!
Hi Mattea! Try turning to saute for a couple of minutes then slow cook. That may help in the heating up process. Let me know if that works.
Yes, I saw the same thing, keep on warming up for a long time, and not heating up. I gave up on the "Slow cook", and switched it to "Sous vide" mode and set it at 200 degrees. It went to "Cooking" quite fast.