Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker?

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I am having trouble using the Slow Cooker mode on the Instant Pot. I tried a recipe at low, and it was not even remotely cooked…am I doing something wrong?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions like this recently. And I don’t have an answer.

In all my years of using the Instant Pot1, I can count on one hand the times I’ve used it as a slow cooker. And, well… I wasn’t really slow cooking. I was reheating chili I pressure cooked the night before. I need to heat it for my annual chili potluck at work. I know that low heat is not enough – I need high heat to be ready by lunchtime. I start at “Slow Cook – High” for an hour or two, and then, once everything is bubbling, I turn the cooker down to “keep warm” until it is time to serve.

For all the things my Instant Pot can do – “It’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker…”2 I really only ask it to do two things. First, pressure cook – “manual” mode and set the time to cook. Second, use “Sauté” mode to brown meat before pressure cooking. (Or, occasionally, to simmer food after it is pressure cooked.) And…that’s it, I’m done. The Instant Pot is my favorite cooking tool because of how well it does on those two functions.3

One of the first comments on my Instant Pot FAQ asked about slow cooking mode. Like I said, I never use it, so I looked up the information. According to the Instant Pot manual, the Slow Cooker settings are: Normal mode: 9096°C/194205°F. More mode: 9399°C/199210°F. Less mode: 88–94°C/190201°F. That looks like “Low” mode lines up with a Slow Cooker set to low, and “High” mode with a slow cooker set to high. So, that’s what I put in the FAQ.

But over the last few months, the volume of Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker questions has jumped. More and more, I’m asked: “I set my Instant Pot to Slow Cook – Low mode, came back ten hours later, and the results were not good. Am I doing something wrong?”

I don’t know how to answer, yet. I’m going to test out slow cooker mode on the Instant Pot, and I will follow up on this in the New Year, but testing is going to take a while. (Ten hour slow cooks aren’t a quick answer.) But, before I start testing, I want to throw the question to my readers:

Questions about Instant Pot Slow Cooking:

  • Are you using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker?
  • Is it working?
  • What settings do you use? (I saw a Reddit thread that said “Slow cook – medium on an IP is a slow cooker at low. Slow cook – high on the IP is a slow cooker at high. Slow cook – low is a ”keep warm” mode. Does that work for you?)

Please answer in the comments below – what are your experiences? (Or, reply by email, on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever social media platform you can find me on. Frankly, I’d prefer blog comments – I can barely keep up with Twitter as it is, and I’ve declared Facebook bankruptcy and only check it once in a blue moon.) Thanks!

 

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  1. According to Amazon order history, I bought my first IP-LUX60 in October 2012

  2. It slices! It dices! In Japan, the hand is used as a knife! But can it cut through this tomato?

  3. I have a separate rant about not trusting program modes…what is the difference between “Soup”, “Meat/Stew” and “Bean/Chili”, anyhow? What is the pot doing? Should I trust it? But, that’s a rant for another day. Back to slow cooking.

10 Comments

  1. I’ve used the IP Duo for slow cooking quite a bit and find that the medium setting works about like low mode on a traditional crockpot. Just last week needed to make kalua pork for a crowd of students and used my older slow cooker and my IP in slow cook mode; both batches turned out excellent. Beans, etc. work great on IP’s medium setting.

    Love the blog, congratulations from another Dad who cooks for his family.

  2. Susanne L /

    I tried a recipe from the Asian Slow Cooker for Sriracha Chili Chicken wings. The recipe called for 4 hrs on low but in the IP on medium slow cook it was done in 2 hours and they were just about falling apart.
    I think if you are using the IP as a slow cooker the times need to be adjusted… I’d feel uncomfortable setting it in the morning and coming back late in the day unless its a very forgiving meat.
    I regularly make congee in the IP and as I like mine very smooth. I start it manually for about a half hour and after I release the pressure I switch it to slow cook medium and let it go all night. Gets that Chinese restaurant texture that used to elude me.

  3. I’ve used the slow cook function many times. I always use the higher setting and the time that I’d use for my other slow cookers (I have at least 6). I’ve been happy with the slow cooker modeon the IP, although I’ll keep my others because I have various sizes for various uses.

  4. Bev Gagnon /

    I just used my Instant Pot as a slow cooker for the first time two days ago. I made a Mississippi Pot Roast with a 3 lb. Chuck roast, used the slow cooker function on “normal” for 6 hours. The meat was soft, tender, and flavorful. The original slow cooker directions called for cooking on “low” for 6 to 8 hours, so the IP is probably a little hotter on normal than a traditional slow cooker on low? I’ll be watching for your test results!

  5. Aaron Friedman /

    I use it quite often to cook tomato meat sauce for pasta. I’ve used Low and Medium and they’ve worked fine.

  6. Mike –
    I have not at this point ever used my LUX60 as a “slow cooker” but I soon plan to. So this topic is of great interest to me. Am looking forward to seeing what the conclusions are.

    – augustwest

  7. I tried using my 6 quart duo to slow cook some split pea soup, and the peas were still hard when I got home from work 9 hours later. I used low, and I only tried it because I was curious. Next time I’ll try it on medium.