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.

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 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.”


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.

And this is one function you won’t want to skip! Our Test Kitchen’s Instant Pot expect explains why the saute button on the Instant Pot is really useful.

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.


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.


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 a few steps to follow before you even hit the pot. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot.


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 feature can prepare a delicious chili in just 25 minutes. Some of the best instant pot recipes use this function.


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).

These soup recipes were specially created for the Instant Pot.


Use this button for cooking brown or wild rice. It starts 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 “Normal” for 35 minutes (230 degrees), “More” for 45 minutes, or “Less” for 20 minutes. But do you have to defrost meat first? Learn if you can cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot.


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 “More” for 30 minutes or “Less” for 15.


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


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!


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.

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

Check out our best-loved Instant Pot recipes.
1 / 100