How to convert slow cooker recipes into Instant Pot recipes

Move over slow cooker. Instant Pot is stealing your gig.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
3 min read
Alina Bradford/CNET

There are two ways you can use an Instant Pot to replace a basic slow cooker. You can either put it in Slow Cook mode or you can pump up the speed and make the recipe using Pressure Cook mode. Here are some tips for doing both.

Read more: Here's what all the buttons on your Instant Pot do

How to use an Instant Pot as a slow cooker

You can cook just about anything you make in a slow cooker in your Instant Pot. It just takes a little tinkering and understanding of the button functions.

Most slow cookers have three settings: warming, low and high. These temperature levels can be achieved with your Instant Pot by pressing the Slow Cook button, and then by putting it in Less mode for warming temperatures, Normal mode for low temperatures and More for high temperatures.

You can also use the Instant Pot glass lid instead of the pressure cooking lid. If you are using the pressure cooking lid, make sure the steam release valve is turned to the venting position.

Read more on Chowhound: What's the difference between an Instant Pot and Crock-Pot?

How to make slow cooker recipes in a pressure cooker 

If you want to crank up the speed your recipes cook, you can turn a regular slow cooker recipe into a pressure cooking recipe. For example, 4 hours on high in a slow cooker converts to 25 to 30 minutes in a pressure cooker. When you add the time it takes to build and release pressure, these recipes take about an hour total. Pretty much a win for weeknights.


Instant Pot valve needs to be turned to Venting when you're making a slow cooker recipe in Pressure Cook mode.

Josh Miller/CNET

There are a few guidelines, though.

  • When slow cooking, set the valve settings from sealing to venting. Don't forget this like I tended to do in the beginning. Otherwise, your food will end up undercooked.
  • Also, always add a cup of water -- or semi-clear liquid like broth, sauce or juice -- to any recipe you are cooking. The cooker will need the moisture to get up to pressure. If you don't want your meat to touch the liquid, put it up on the trivet that comes with the cooker. 
  • Be sure to only fill the Instant Pot two-thirds full, or just half full if you're cooking foods that expand, like rice and beans. You can have an explosive mess on your hands if you fill it all the way. Remember, this is pressure cooking, not slow cooking.
  • Use the programming buttons for the type of food you're cooking. For example, use the Poultry button when cooking chicken. Here's what each program button on your Instant Pot means.
  • Wait to add any dairy products -- like cheese, milk or cream-of-soups -- to the recipe until after the pressure cooking ends or you may end up with curdled goo.
  • Sometimes pressure cooker recipes can lack thickness. If that's the case for your dish, add thickeners like flour or cornstarch after the pressure cooking is done in Saute mode.

Need more help? Exact cooking times can be found at the Instant Pot timing page or you can use the official recipe app to get exact instructions for each dish.

How to make tasty pots of rice in your new Instant Pot

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Here are some other ways you may be using the Instant Pot wrong.

Also, be sure to check out some of CNET's favorite Instant Pot recipes.