If you're new to using an Instant Pot, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the number of buttons and presets there are to choose from. Don't let your Instant Pot intimidate you. Use my guide on the 6 most important Instant Pot buttons to make cooking with your Instant Pot a breeze.
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Why You Should Trust My Guide On Instant Pot Buttons
- Cookbook Author: I've written 5 Instant Pot Cookbooks that have been authorized by Instant Pot.
- Efficient: That's the only way I know how to do things in the kitchen. Who has time to waste when you're trying to get food on the table? I'm known for my ruthless efficiency and use the pot in pot cooking method every chance I get.
- Gadget geek!: I'm a self-proclaimed food tech enthusiast and have been known to purchase (and review) just about any kitchen appliance I can get my hands on.
How Do Instant Pot Buttons Differ?
It can be a misconception that the Instant Pot functions only differ in the temperature and cook time that they are set to. There are actually three different things that make each Instant Pot button unique. They are:
- Temperature Ranges
Depending on how things should be cooked to produce the best results are how Instant Pot formulated the cooking time, temperature, and level of pressure each button is set to.
Instant Pot Buttons
The Saute function has three different settings. They are:
Think of using the saute function as you would cooking something on the stovetop. If you would normally saute or brown something on high heat on your stovetop, you will want to use the High saute function. The same goes for medium and low.
The saute function defaults to 30 minutes. If you don't want to saute for the full 30 minutes, you simply press the cancel button, and the heating element turns off.
The Manual Pressure button defaults to High Pressure. Once you select the Manual/Pressure Cook button, you will then select two things to begin your custom cooking settings. They are:
If you have a recipe you love or something you don't think would be a good fit for another one of the preset buttons on your Instant Pot, this will be the setting you will want to choose.
The perk of using the Soup Function on your Instant Pot is that the temperature starts out slow and gradually increases to prevent the contents of the pot from coming to a rolling boil.
You may be asking yourself, "Why would I need this?" Well here are a few reasons you might:
- You're making broth and you don't want it to be cloudy.
- Prevents any dairy you may have in your soup from curdling.
The pressure inside of the Instant Pot with the steam function comes up fast and stays high through the duration of the cooking cycle. Since the temperature is raised so quickly, it also cooks food really quickly. Here are a few things that are cooked perfectly with the steam function:
- Tender vegetables
One thing you should know is that for the steam function, you will need to use the trivet. You will place the food on top of the trivet with the water to help it steam in the Instant Pot liner. If you place all of the food inside of the water in the liner you will get overcooked boiled food.
The yogurt function actually doesn't use pressure at all. It is solely used to boil and incubate your yogurt. Not a yogurt fan? That's not the only good thing this function is used for. You can also use it to:
- Sprout beans
- Proof Bread
6. Slow Cook
I have heard several people say that the slow cook function on the Instant Pot doesn't work well. In my opinion, if you educate yourself on how the slow cooker function works on your Instant Pot and use it correctly, the Instant Pot doubles as a slow cooker quite well.
Here's the most important thing you should know before you use the Slow Cook Function:
It has three different slow cook settings. They are:
- Low- Keep warm
- Medium- Low temperature cook
- High- High temperature cook
If you try to use these presets the same as you would on a traditional slow cooker, you will be rather disappointed in the results, and quite possibly end up wasting food. So make sure you're using the settings the way Instant Pot intended them to work, not what you've always done with a different kitchen gadget in the past.
What Can You Cook With Instant Pot Buttons?
Depending on the Instant Pot model you choose, the food that you can make with the help of your Instant Pot buttons is quite impressive. Here are a few of my favorite things to make in my Instant Pot:
- Butter Chicken
And if you need even more inspiration and easy to follow recipes, pick up a copy of one of my FIVE Instant Pot Cookbooks:
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Originally Published August 27, 2020