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Have you ever gotten confused about all the different buttons on your instant pot? I remember when I first saw the instant pot, it looked confusing and so intimidating. I want to explain what the Instant Pot Buttons mean and do. Let’s simplify the instant pot buttons.

First, let’s start with possibly the most confusing bit of all of these Instant Pot Buttons.

Preset buttons, like meat/stew, multigrain, soup, bean/chili, porridge, poultry, etc… These buttons are really just suggestions for cooking times and temperatures.

Your instant pot doesn’t know what kind of meat you’re cooking, how much meat you put in, or even if it’s frozen or not.

It definitely doesn’t know when the food is done. The preset buttons don’t tell the machine anything except time, temperature and pressure.

How to Set Cooking Times

  • Add your food to the pot.
  • If pressure cooking, make sure you have at least 1 cup of liquid (or however much your model calls for) in the pot.
  • Make sure the valve is set to sealing.
  • Push the button of your choosing. Meat/stew, soup, poultry, etc…
  • To adjust the time: Press the [+] and [-] buttons to select the correct time, if necessary.
  • To adjust the temperature: Press the adjust button or for older models press the preset button (such as meat/stew) to adjust the temperature to low, normal, or more, if necessary.
  • To adjust the pressure from low to high: To adjust the pressure level, press the pressure or (pressure level) button. You can choose from low pressure to high pressure.

Instant Pot Buttons | What They Do, and How to Use Them

Your instant pot may or may not have some of these buttons. It’s dependent on the model you have.

Manual Button/Pressure Cook

On older models, it was the “manual” button, on newer models you may see a “pressure cook” button instead.

I use this button the most. The manual button is for pressure cooking only. Not meant for slow cooking, making yogurt, or sautéing.

Sauté

The other button you might use the most. I love using my instant pot to sauté. Something I didn’t realize is that you can adjust the temperature when sautéing.

Use the adjust buttons [+] and [-] to change the unit to low, normal or more…

  • Press the sauté button.
  • Add oil or butter.
  • When it says hot, add ingredients to sauté.
  • Stir frequently…

Keep Warm/Cancel | Instant Pot Buttons

The keep warm function automatically turns on after pressure cooking. Press the button to turn off. Or turn it on to keep food warm, while you wait for guests to arrive!

Steam

This button is great for cooking hard boiled eggs, reheating food, heating up frozen meals, and even steaming veggies or seafood.

Cooks on high pressure.

  • Less 3 minutes | Perfect for cooking vegetables
  • Normal 10 minutes | Fish and seafood
  • More 15 minutes | Great for cooking meat

Rice

  • Cooks on low pressure
  • For white or par-boil rice only. This function is automatic. Cook rice at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Cook other rice using the manual button. For more information check out the instant pot website.
  • Less | Al dente white rice
  • Normal | Normal texture white rice
  • More | Softer texture white rice

Soup/Broth

Cook on high pressure.

  • Less 20 minutes | Recommended for soup without meat
  • Normal 30 minutes | Soup with meat
  • More 40 minutes |Rich bone broth

Bean Chili

  • Less 25 minutes | Less soft texture
  • Normal 30 minutes | Soft texture
  • More 40 minutes |Very soft texture

Cute Chicken and Flower Decal

Poultry

Not all models have this button. It’s sported on a couple older models like the Vivo.

Cooks on high pressure.

  • Less 5 minutes
  • Normal 15 minutes
  • More 30 minutes

Porridge

Cooks on high pressure

  • Less 15 minutes | Oatmeal
  • Normal 20 minutes |White rice porridge/congee
  • More 30 minutes | Rice porridge/congee with a mixture of various grains

Multigrain

Cooks on high pressure

  • Less 20 minutes | Wild rice, brown rice, mung beans, etc…
  • Normal 40 minutes | Wild rice, brown rice, mung beans, etc…
  • More 45 minutes | Tough grains or a mixture of grains and beans

Yogurt

You can make yogurt in the Instant Pot! Here’s my Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe!

Less | Jiu Niang, a sweet fermented rice
Normal | Fermenting milk when making yogurt
More |Pasteurizing milk when making yogurt

Egg

Cooks on high pressure.

  • Less 4 minutes | Soft Boiled Eggs
  • Normal 5 minutes | Medium Boiled Eggs
  • More 6 minutes | Hard Boiled Eggs

Cake

Cooks on high pressure

  • Low 25 minutes | Lighter moist cakes
  • Normal 30 minutes | Denser moist cakes
  • More 40 minutes | New York style cheesecakes

Delay Start Instant Pot Button

  • Choose your preset button such as meat/stew.
  • Then press delay.
  • Use the [+] [-] buttons to select the amount of time to delay.

Pressure/Pressure Level

The pressure/pressure level button lets you choose to cook on high or low pressure.

Dial

The dial is still fairly new as I’m writing this. Only two of the models actually have a dial so far. The Ultra, and the newest model to hit the market the MAX.

The dial lets you choose from different menu options. Pressing down on the dial will select the menu item.

Farmhouse style Cheatsheets

Let’s take a look at each model of the Instant Pot, and their buttons.

Here’s the IP LUX – It comes in a couple of different colors. A couple of these come in the pioneer woman blue or green. Or you can choose black, blue or red. You can also choose a Black LUX Mini.

Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |

Next up is the Nova Plus.

Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |

The Viva! Is a beautiful model. It comes in an array of colors including cinnamon, cobalt, eggplant, and black. I couldn’t seem to find any of these on Amazon…

Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |

Next up is the IP DUO. Also in this line is the DUO plus, and the DUO Mini.

Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |
Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |

Ultra, the first instant pot with a dial.

Learn how to use the button on the instant pot! What do those buttons do exactly? How and when to use the instant pot buttons | Homestead Wishing | Author, Kristi Wheeler | https://homesteadwishing.com/instant-pot-buttons | #instantpot, #instapot, #pressurecooker #pressurecooking |

Here’s the newest model of the Instant Pot! It’s called MAX

  • This newest model apparently has an automatic stirrer! What? So an automatic stirrer can be used to make something like risotto.
  • Another great feature of the new model is that it cooks food faster!
  • The MAX has touch screen technology!
  • This newest model is around $200. It is said that with this newest model coming out, the older model will decrease in price.

Okay, I think that wraps it up for now. If I missing any buttons let me know! I currently only own one instant pot, so other newer models I might miss out on new buttons or modes.

Are you still struggling? Check out my complete walk-through on How to Use the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Recipes You May Like

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Instant Pot buttons