Here’s What Those Buttons on Your Instant Pot Actually Mean

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Your dreams have officially come true! You finally got that Instant Pot and it’s time to start whipping up a few delicious meals. But…how, exactly, do you work this thing?

People rave about how easy and quick it is to use, but looking at all the Instant Pot buttons, it seems that only a genius could actually figure out what all of them mean. Which button do I choose for what? What’s the difference between the “Normal” “More” and “Less” settings? And should I cook on Low Pressure or High Pressure?

These questions instantly come to mind, but don’t sweat, we got you covered. Here’s a full guide to all of your Instant Pot’s buttons. So make sure to bookmark this for later!


Don’t want to bother with any of the automatic settings? The manual button keeps it simple by allowing you to punch in your desire pressure cooking time. The maximum time to pressure cook is 240 minutes.

+/- buttons

These buttons simply increase or decrease the cooking time.


This button helps to sauté, brown or simmer anything in the pot—and with the lid open. It has three different temperature ranges. “Normal” is 320 to 349 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for regular sautéing or browning. “More” is 347 to 410 degrees, great for stir-frying or browning something even more. “Less” is great for simmering or thickening a sauce, typically at 275 to 302 degrees.

Slow Cook

No need to have a slow cooker when the Instant Pot also has the same slow cooking function. Typically a slow cooker temperature range is 190 degrees (for the low setting) to 300 degrees (to the high setting), depending on the type of slow cooker. The Slow Cook button has three different temperatures to work with: “Normal” which is 190 to 200 degrees, “less” which is 180 to 190, and “more” which is 200 to 210. Use the button when you want to slow-cook something on a low setting.


This button changes your cooking time by switching from low to high-level pressure-cooking.


Not sure how to change your settings from “Normal” to “Less” to “More”? This is the button that does it! If you plan on cooking something at a higher temperature, click on this button to switch the setting to “More.” Keep in mind that if you increase the temperature, you’ll need to set the timer for less time. Conversely, when you lower the temperature, and you will need to increase the cooking time.


Yes, that’s right, you can make yogurt in your Instant Pot. But it’s not as easy as dumping milk in and hitting this button. There’s actually a ton of steps you need to follow in order to make the perfect cup of yogurt. And it doesn’t look incredibly easy


So this seems pretty self-explanatory, but there’s a small part of the timer button that you may not be aware of. Trying to make sure all of the food for dinner is done at the same time? This timer button actually works as a delay button as well, letting you set how much time you want your item to take to cook so it will be done at your preferred time. “More” increases the time, and “Less” decreases it.


Cooking dry beans has never been this easy before. On the “Normal” setting beans will take around 30 minutes to cook; increase cooking time up to 40 minutes using the “More” button and as little as 25 minutes using the “Less” button. Don’t have time to slow cook a chili? This feature can prepare a delicious chili in just 25 minutes.


Ever make a soup that tends to heavily boil and spill all over your kitchen? Well, the Instant Pot can save you from the mess! It heats up to 230 degrees and will cook your soup between 20 to 50 minutes (depending on the amount of time you choose, based on the recipe).


Best for cooking brown rice and wild rice. Starts off with a 50-minute soak at 140 degrees, than ramps up to 248 degrees for about 9 minutes.


Love when your meat falls right off the bone? This feature will absolutely make that possible. You can cook meat on the “Normal” time setting for the default 35 minutes (230 degrees), “More” increasese the time for up to 45 minutes, or “Less” time for as few as 20 minutes.


This will make rice pudding or grains other than rice. To make rice porridge, it will default cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes (230 degrees). You can adjust the timer to “More” for up to 30 minutes or “Less” for as little as 15 minutes.


This can make your favorite chicken recipes in a simple 15 minutes! You can adjust the timer for “More” for up to 30 minutes, or “Less” for as little as 5. This is actually great for when you need a quick batch of shredded chicken for a recipe.


It’s a slow cooker and rice cooker all in one! You can cook white rice in a simple 4 to 8 minutes in this thing. However, you may want to take just a bit more time to ensure the rice is fully cooked. Some recommend around 10 to 12 minutes of total cooking time.


Have steamed vegetables ever been this easy before? Probably not! Reheat or steam your food with this simple feature. Make sure to add a steam rack so your food doesn’t stick and burn at the bottom!

Now that you understand all of the buttons, it’s time to get cooking! Here are 27 Instant Pot recipes that you are going to absolutely love.

6 Comments on "Here’s What Those Buttons on Your Instant Pot Actually Mean"

  1. Brenda  February 23, 2019

    Great information but your “More” and “Less” times are switched. It takes less time to cook on “More” pressure and more time to cook on “Less” pressure.

    • Chef Sallie  March 11, 2019

      Thanks for pointing that out. You are correct, the higher the pressure, the less time it takes to cook your recipe. I reworded the post to try to clarify things a bit. The “More” and “Less” buttons are strictly for setting the cooking time, unless you are cooking on the “Manual” setting, when you can use the same button to switch between “High” pressure and “Low” pressure. All of the pre-set programs, such as “Soup”, “Porridge”, etc. use High pressure and you use the “More” and “Less” buttons to increase or decrease the cooking time. Hope this helps!

  2. Kathy H  June 23, 2019

    What is the temperature on the ‘keep warm’ button?

    • Nichole Furlong  June 29, 2019

      This is a standard temperature that is set by the brand, we recommend checking your user/owners manual for specifics.

  3. Ronda  June 29, 2019

    I’ve been using the instant pot for hard cooked eggs with great success. Lately my egg shells are splitting. Anyone have suggestions?

    • Nichole Furlong  June 29, 2019

      Your eggs are possibly too cold so when they suddenly heat up they shells split. Try letting them warm at room temperature for a little bit (not too long) before cooking.


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