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

The practical guide you’ve always wanted for those confusing Instant Pot buttons and settings.

Instapot; Instant Pot; Pressure CookerTaste of Home

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 it—we’ve got you covered. Here’s a full guide to all of your Instant Pot’s buttons. So make sure to bookmark this for later! And if you haven’t jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet, you can get one here. And don’t miss these 6 tips that will help you get the most out of your Instant Pot.


Don’t want to bother with any of the automatic settings? The Manual button keeps it simple by allowing you to punch in your desired 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 (for 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, like one of these surprising things you never knew you could make in a slow cooker.


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.”


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 are actually a ton of steps you need to follow in order to make the perfect cup of yogurt.


So this seems pretty self-explanatory, but there’s a small aspect 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. Timing is everything when it comes to certain foods. If you’re new to the Instant Pot, try out one of these 17 great Instant Pot recipes for beginners.


Cooking dry beans has never been this easy before. On the “Normal” setting, beans will take around 30 minutes to cook; 40 minutes on the “More” setting; and 25 minutes on the “Less.” Don’t have time to slow-cook a chili? This Instant Pot 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 which pressure you choose).


Best for cooking brown rice and wild rice. Starts off with a 50-minute soak at 140 degrees, then ramps up to 248 degrees for about nine minutes. If you want to add even more tools to your kitchen arsenal, check out some more kitchen products that people can’t stop buying from Amazon.


Love when your meat falls right off the bone? This feature will absolutely make that possible. You can cook meat on “Normal” for 35 minutes (230 degrees), “More” for 45 minutes, or “Less” for 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 to “More” for 30 minutes or “Less” for 15.


This can make your favorite chicken recipes in a simple 15 minutes! You can adjust to “More” for 30 minutes, or “Less” for five. This is actually great for when you need a quick batch of shredded chicken for a recipe. Before you get cooking, make sure you know about these things you should never cook in an Instant Pot.


It’s a slow cooker and rice cooker all in one! You can cook white rice in a simple four to eight 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 ten 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! Read on to find out all the great ways you can meal prep with your Instant Pot.

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