Can You Use Instant Pot as a Slow Cooker: The Ultimate Guide

If you love cooking and trying out new recipes, you must have surely come across the popular kitchen gadget, Instant Pot. It is a multifunctional appliance that can pressure cook, sauté, steam, warm, and even slow cook your food. But the question is, can you use an Instant Pot as a slow cooker? In this ultimate guide, we will dive deep into the features and settings of an Instant Pot and whether it can replace a slow cooker.

Understanding Slow Cooking

Slow cooking is a method of cooking that requires low heat over a long period. This technique is perfect for making stews, soups, and roasts as it helps to break down the tougher meat fibers and tenderizes them. The traditional slow cookers come with a stoneware or ceramic pot that sits within a heating element, and you can set the temperature to low or high based on the recipe.

But how does an Instant Pot fit into this scenario? Can it truly replace a slow cooker? Let’s find out.

The Slow Cook Function on Instant Pot

All Instant Pots come with a slow cook function along with several other cooking settings. To use the slow cook function, you need to select the desired heat setting – low, medium, or high – based on your recipe’s requirements. Instant Pots have a maximum slow cook time of 20 hours. You can set the timer and leave the Instant Pot to cook the recipe to perfection!

But Is an Instant Pot Really as Good as a Slow Cooker?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, Instant Pots can slow cook pretty well, and they offer several advantages over traditional slow cookers:

  • Instant Pots come with multiple cooking settings, meaning that you can use the appliance for multiple cooking styles, including slow cooking
  • Instant Pots are versatile and can be used as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, and even to make yogurt – this means you can save up on valuable kitchen space
  • Instant Pots come with a timer and automatic shut-off feature, reducing the risk of overcooking or burning your food
  • Slow cooking with an Instant Pot is faster than traditional slow cookers as it heats up faster than ceramic slow cookers. You can also sauté and brown the ingredients within the same pot, eliminating the need for extra cookware.
  • Unlike traditional slow cookers that don’t work well for smaller portions, Instant Pots allow you to cook smaller batches for meals.

However, on the flip side, slow cooking with an Instant Pot has its drawbacks too. The biggest disadvantage is that Instant Pots have a much thinner bottom than traditional slow cookers. This means that the heat is not evenly distributed, and you may end up with hot spots where the food gets overcooked or burned. Additionally, the Instant Pot’s size could be too big, and the pot’s shape may not be suitable for some recipes.

Tips for Slow Cooking with an Instant Pot

Now that you have a basic understanding of slow cooking with an Instant Pot let’s look at some tips that will help you get the best results:

Select the Right Cut of Meat

When it comes to slow cooking with an Instant Pot, choosing the right cut of meat is very important. You need to select tough cuts of meat such as chuck roast, brisket, or pork shoulder as they have more connective tissues than other cuts. This makes them perfect for slow cooking as the long cooking time, and the low heat breaks down the tissues, making the meat tender and juicy.

Adjust the Cooking Time and Temperature

As mentioned earlier, Instant Pots have a much thinner bottom than traditional slow cookers, and this means that the heat is not distributed evenly. To combat this, you can add more liquid to your recipe or ensure that the ingredients are spread evenly across the pot. You should also adjust the cooking time and temperature according to your specific recipe to ensure the best results.

Avoid Overcrowding the Pot

Instant Pots have a maximum fill line, which should not be crossed to ensure optimal cooking results. Ensure that you do not overcrowd the pot as this can prevent the ingredients from cooking evenly. It is best to cook in smaller batches if you have a large quantity of ingredients.

Use the Sauté Function

Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot allows you to brown the meat and vegetables first to enhance the flavors. This is especially important when making stews and soups. You can then use the slow cook function to cook the ingredients further.

Let the Food Rest

After slow cooking your recipe, it is essential to let the food rest for about 10 minutes before opening the lid. This allows the meat to become more tender and reduces the risk of getting injured from the steam that gets released.


Instant Pots are amazing appliances that can replace several kitchen gadgets, including slow cookers. However, it is essential to keep in mind that there are some things to consider before using your Instant Pot as your go-to slow cooker. With proper usage and taking care of the tips mentioned above, you can definitely slow cook flavorful recipes using an Instant Pot.


Here are some common questions that people ask about using Instant Pots as slow cookers:

  • Can I use my Instant Pot for slow cooking?
    Yes, all Instant Pots come with a slow cook function that allows you to slow cook your favorite dishes.
  • What is the maximum time for slow cooking in Instant Pot?
    The maximum time for slow cooking in an Instant Pot is 20 hours.
  • Can Instant Pot work as a pressure cooker and a slow cooker?
    Yes, an instant pot can pressure cook and slow cook, and even sauté, steam, and warm up food.
  • Do Instant Pots cook faster than slow cookers?
    Yes, Instant Pots can slow cook faster than slow cookers as they have a thinner bottom, which allows for faster heating.
  • What is the ideal cut of meat for slow cooking?
    The ideal cut of meat for slow cooking includes chuck roast, brisket, or pork shoulder.


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