Which Instant Pot Buttons to Use?

A simple guide to learn which Instant Pot Buttons to use to start cooking with your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker!

Have you been staring at your brand new Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker with bazillion Instant Pot Buttons staring back at you? Ok, maybe I exaggerated a little bit. 😛 But, if you’re unsure what to do with your Instant Pot after taking it out of the box, this guide is for you!

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Where’s the Start Button? Where’s the Stop Button?

How do I make rice? Why is it not cooking?

ahhh…there are so many buttons on this thing!!

Keep Calm and Let Us Crack the IP Codes!

Don’t let it push your buttons. 😉


Which Instant Pot Buttons to Use Guide

*You can click on the links below to jump to a certain section.

6 Most Important Instant Pot Buttons


Not all buttons are created equal: 6 Buttons will take care of 90% of your cooking.

6 Most Important Instant Pot Buttons

Know these 6 Buttons!

Yes, there are 16 – 18 buttons on the Control Panel depending on which Instant Pot you have.

But most Instant Pot Recipes online are developed using these 6 Buttons (highlighted in above picture), because they give us control to cook precisely and accurately.

We also use the “Manual” Button (“Pressure Cook” Button for newer models) to develop recipes, so readers with other pressure cooker brands can enjoy the Pressure Cooker Recipes too. 🙂

Let’s take a look at what these Instant Pot Buttons do


1. Manual Button (“Pressure Cook” Button for newer models)

  • Use this to set your desired Pressure Cooking Time (Max: 240 mins)

2. “+” & “-” Buttons

  • Increase or decrease the cooking time or timer with these 2 buttons

3. Adjust Button

  • Press this to change from Normal Setting (default) to More Setting to Less Setting

*Note: for newer Instant Pot models with no “Adjust” Button – directly press the program buttons to scroll through the three functions (i.e. Press “Saute” button twice to go from Saute Normal to Saute More)

4. Saute Button

  • Use this button to saute, brown, or simmer directly in the pot with the lid open.
  • Press “Adjust” Button to Change Temperature:
    • Saute (default): 160 ~ 176°C (320 ~ 349°F) – regular saute or browning
    • Saute More Setting (press once): 175 ~ 210°C (347 ~ 410°F) – stir-frying or browning
    • Saute Less Setting (press twice): 135 ~ 150°C (275 ~ 302°F) – simmering, thickening sauce
  • *Note: for newer Instant Pot models with no “Adjust” Button – directly press “Saute” button to change settings
Pressure Cooker Pot Roast Recipe - Browning the chuck roast will greatly enhance the flavor of the end product.
The result of browning using the Saute More Setting. Read more: Pressure Cooker Pot Roast Experiment.

5. Keep Warm/Cancel Button

  • Press this to cancel the operations or turn off the Instant Pot
  • Press this to start the Keep Warm Function (up to 10 hours)
  • For IP-Smart: Press “Adjust” Button to Change Temperature Settings
    • Default Setting: ~63°C/145°F
    • More Setting (press once): 75°C/167°F
    • Less Setting (press twice) ~56°C/133°F

Don’t worry if all this sounds like mumble jumbo to you right now, you’ll get it in a minute.

Read on 🙂

Programmed Instant Pot Buttons


I am wondering why you didn’t use the chili button? I also noticed everyone uses the Manual button for all recipes. What are these buttons actually for?

-Readers

Great question! We actually get asked this question all the time!!

These 6 highlighted buttons below have the exact same cooking function (Let me rephrase that! They may not be exactly the same, but the temperature charts we got from the Instant Pot Smart show very similar results) as the Manual Button/Pressure Cook Button (except Multigrain Button’s More Setting), but default at a cooking time pre-set by the manufacturer (see below).

All they do is suggest a cooking time for the selected type of food. You can use the “Adjust” Button, “+” or “-“ “Pressure” Button to make adjustments.

But we like to use the “Manual” Button (or “Pressure Cook” Button for newer models) for more precise control of the cooking method and cooking time, depending on factors such as the cut of meat, the size of the food, or the container it is being cooked in.

6 Special Programmed Instant Pot Buttons

  • Bean/Chili Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 30 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 40 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 25 mins
  • Meat/Stew Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 35 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 45 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 20 mins
  • Multigrain Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 40 mins; More Setting: Warm water soaking for 45 mins, then High Pressure 60 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 20 mins
  • Porridge/Congee Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 20 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 30 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 15 mins
  • Poultry Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 15 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 30 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 5 mins
  • Soup Button – Normal Setting: High Pressure 30 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 40 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 20 mins

For Newer Models:

  • Egg Button – Normal Setting – High Pressure 4 mins; More Setting – High Pressure 5 mins; Less Setting – High Pressure 3 mins

*Note: we still think Low Pressure is still the best way to cook Pressure Cooker Eggs in the Instant Pot. 😉

  • Cake Button – Normal Setting – High Pressure 40 mins; More Setting – High Pressure 50 mins; Less Setting – High Pressure 25 mins

*Note: for cheesecake, try our beloved Instant Pot New York Cheesecake #17 Recipe

Other Programmed Buttons


  • Pressure/Pressure Level Button (For DUO, DUO Plus & Smart) – Switches between High Pressure & Low Pressure Cooking Methods
  • Timer Button/Delay Start Button – Sets timer to delay cooking (up to 24 hours)

Instant Pot Rice Button


Instant Pot Rice Button’s pre-set setting uses Low Pressure Cooking Method, and the Pressure Cooking Time will automatically adjust according to the amount of rice and water in the pot.

*Note: you cannot use the “Adjust”, “+” or “-” Buttons with this program.

For best results, we use the “Manual” Button (“Pressure Cook” Button for newer models) to control the cooking method and time according to the type of rice we cook.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Rice

Here Are Our Perfect Rice Recipes:

Slow Cook Button


The Preset Slow Cook Program defaults to 4-hour slow cook time.

Press “+” or “-“ Buttons to change the cooking time (Time Limit: 30 mins to 20 hours).

Press “Adjust” (“Slow Cook” for newer models) to change the Temperature Setting:

  • Normal Setting Temperature: 194-205°F
  • High Setting Temperature: 199-210°F
  • Low Setting Temperature: 190-201°F

Steam Button


The “Steam” function heats at full power continuously, so the Instant Pot Company recommends to use steamer rack to lift the food away from the bottom of the pot to prevent burning.

Press “Adjust” (“Steam” for newer models) to change the Settings: Normal Setting: High Pressure 10 mins; More Setting: High Pressure 15 mins; Less Setting: High Pressure 3 mins

Yogurt Button (For IP-DUO & IP-Smart)


Press “Adjust” (“Yogurt” for newer models) to change the Settings:

  • Normal Setting: Make yogurt
  • More Setting: Pasteurize milk
  • Less Setting: Make Jiu Niang (aka fermented glutinous rice)

Sterilize Button (For DUO Plus & Ultra)


*Note: This is straight from the Instant Pot Manual.

Less Mode – Pasteurization of dairy products (No pressure sterilization at ~83°C/181°F)

Normal Mode – Sterilization of utensils and canning of acidic fruits and vegetables. Not intended for meat canning. (Low Pressure at ~110°C/230°F)

More Mode – Sterilization of utensils and canning of acidic fruits and vegetables. Not intended for meat canning. (High Pressure at ~115°C/239°F)

*This program can open a can of worms if users try to use it to replace a pressure canner. We would recommend using this program to sterilize utensils only.


Whew! I know that was a lot to take in!!

So, we’ve created a list of step-by-step examples on the most commonly used functions below. This way, you’ll know exactly which button to press to do what! 😀

Examples: Which Instant Pot Button To Press


Example 1: When a recipe states “Cook at High Pressure for 10 minutes”

  1. Press the Manual Button (“Pressure Cook” Button for newer models)
  2. Press “-” button or “+” button to change the cooking time to 10 minutes

Example 2:

a) Sauteing

  1. Press “Saute” Button
  2. Wait until the indicator says HOT, then you can start sauteing

Instant Pot Saute

b) Saute More (Higher Temperature)

  1. Press “Saute” Button
  2. Press “Adjust” Button once to change to More Setting
  3. Wait until the indicator says HOT, then you can start sauteing

Example 3: Delay Cooking

  1. Press the Manual Button (“Pressure Cook” Button for newer models)
  2. Press “-” button or “+” button to change to your desired cooking time
  3. Press the “Timer” Button
  4. Press “+” or “-” buttons to set the delayed hours
  5. Press the “Timer” Button again to change the minutes

Example 4: Preset Program Cooking – Slow Cook

  1. Press “Slow Cook” Button
  2. Press “Adjust” Button to change the Temperature Setting (Normal, More, Less)
  3. Press “+” or “-” to change cooking time

That was easy, wasn’t it? 🙂

Be sure to Bookmark this page for future references.

Now that you’re an Instant Pot Buttons Expert, get cooking with these 33+ Easy & Yummy Instant Pot Recipes!33+ Easy Recipes for New Instant Pot Users

A simple guide to learn which Instant Pot Buttons to use to start cooking with your Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker!

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Leave a Reply

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Maja Andersen

I am confused by the timing functions. Does the timer count down start when the correct pressure is reached. If so, then when it is sitting there with the word “ON” showing does that mean it is still building up pressure? How will I know when the timer starts?
Is there a way to estimate how long the pressure build up will start, so I can plan the rest of the meal. Thanks for your effort for this site.

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Kaylene

I don’t have a cake button… which button do I use?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Nancy Hughes

This did not answer my question. I had already read everything about beginning and learning the buttons. My question is what is low pressure?? You say when making soft boiled eggs they are better cooked at low pressure. My Insignia does not have a low pressure button. What would I use instead? Manual (which is high pressure) for fewer minutes?

Pressure Cooker
Other Pressure Cooker, Please specify in comment.
Nancy Hughes

I have a 6 qt Insignia pot. It does not have a button that says low pressure. What other setting can I choose to get lower pressure-steam?

Pressure Cooker
Other Pressure Cooker, Please specify in comment.
Shirley Gipson

Hi y’all! I just used my IP for the first time (Evo Duo Plus -6qt). The recipe I used had me pressure cook, NR for 10 min., remove the solid food and then change mode to sate to thicken broth with a thickening agent. After I removed the lid, my IP still showed cooling down on the progress Bar and I couldn’t change it directly to sauté. I tried the cancel button…which appeared to do nothing. I went straight to the sauté button but it was ignored by the IP. It was necessary to unplug it and plug it back… Read more »

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS 60
Becky

I pressed pressure cook & time, I see the keep warm button too. Is that supposed to be correct?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
BOBBY ROSE

MY PRESSURE COOKER DOES NOT HAVE A MANUAL BUTTON

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Melissa O

I push pressure cook button and the keep warm light automatically turns on. Should it do this? Does that mean my cooker isn’t going to come to temperature to cook?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot Mini (3 Quart)
Arlene

Hi I am really stuck with the less normal and more I have a newer model so there is no adjust button how do I go from normal to more when pressure cooking
thanks

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
elizabeth a romel

where is the quick release button?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot Mini (3 Quart)

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