Important Instant Pot Cooking Times for You to Be Aware Of

An Instant Pot, which refers to a specific, popular brand of pressure cooker with models available in a range of sizes and styles, has become a go-to kitchen gadget in many households today. The primary key to cooking food perfectly in an Instant Pot is to cook each item for the right amount of time at the optimal setting for that item. It is essential to be aware of the recommended Instant Pot cooking times for various meats, eggs, vegetables, and sides such as rice, pasta, and more. Having a guide to Instant Pot cooking times on hand will help you fix complete, properly cooked meals for your family in minutes.

An Instant Pot is very fast and efficient because of the high heat generated and maintained inside it throughout the rapid cooking process. Unlike cooking on the stovetop, cooking in an Instant Pot does not require continuous monitoring or frequent stirring. However, there are many buttons, settings, and modes available that can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re new to pressure cooking. As you experiment and use your Instant Pot more and more, cooking this way gradually becomes a breeze.

Instant Pot Controls & Settings

instant pot button settings

Source: Amazon

Before we move on to list actual Instant Pot cooking times for various foods, let’s examine and discuss the most important control buttons and settings available on this hot-selling food preparation device.

The Two Most Important, Frequently Used Buttons

Manual/Pressure Cook Button

This button is used to select high or low pressure in accordance with recommendations and preferred cooking style for various foods. High pressure is the most commonly used setting. With this setting, you can adjust the instant pot cooking times using the [+] or [-] buttons. After your cook time is set, you can turn the pin sideways to keep it in the sealed position or leave it open, in the venting position, which allows steam to escape. Most recipes call for the pin to be set in its sealed position.

After cooking is done, you can let the food rest in the residual steam and wait for the pressure to release naturally. This process is referred to as natural pressure release, or NPR. The food continues to cook in the steam and heat. If you want the pressure to be released quickly, you will simply open the vent. This is called quick release (or QR); it stops food from continuing to cook and allows it to start cooling.

Sauté Button

The Saute setting on an Instant Pot doesn’t require you to lock the lid. This mode is useful mainly for sauteing vegetables in butter or oil, browning or searing meats, and boiling or simmering liquids. You can adjust the intensity to one of the three available settings: More, Normal or Less. Sautéing in the pot’s normal mode is mostly useful for veggies whereas the More mode is used for searing meat and the Less mode is best for simmering soup or broth.

Furthermore, the Sauté and Manual/Pressure controls can be used in combination. For example, you can press the Sauté button to brown meat, cancel that operation, and then engage the Manual button and set the time for your pressure-cooking phase. Add water or broth, seal the pin, and cook the meat further to your desired level of doneness.

Additional Buttons

Using the preset buttons on an Instant Pot can be challenging for a beginner. These settings are designed to ease the cooking process for specific types of food. Keep in mind, however, that the Instant Pot itself does not detect the type of food being cooked, the quantity or volume in the pot, whether the food is fresh or frozen, or whether the food is cooked sufficiently at the end of a cycle. Therefore, it often makes sense to use the Manual button instead of the presets and set your own cooking times.

Here is a somewhat more detailed explanation of the various preset buttons and settings included on most Instant Pot models.

  1. The Soup/Broth button cooks food at high pressure for 30 minutes in normal mode. When adjusted to More, the pot cooks for 40 minutes, and when adjusted to Less, it cooks for 20 minutes.
  2. The Meat/Stew button cooks your dish at high pressure for 35 minutes in its Normal mode, and either 45 minutes or 20 minutes in the other two modes.
  3. The Poultry button cooks for 15 minutes at high pressure. When set to More, it cooks for 30 minutes, and in Less, it cooks for just 5 minutes.
  4. The Bean/Chili button cooks these foods or others at high pressure for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, or 25 minutes, depending on the other settings.
  5. The button labeled Rice engages a fully automatic process, and it works at low pressure. This button is mainly for cooking white rice and allows programming to adjust cooking time based on the specific amounts of water and rice in the pot.
  6. The Multigrain button cooks food at high pressure for either 40 minutes, 60 minutes, or 20 minutes.
  7. The Porridge button cooks food at high pressure for 20 minutes in Normal mode, 30 minutes when set to More, and  15 minutes when the Less setting is engaged..
  8. The Steam button cooks food at high pressure for 10, 15, or only 3 minutes, depending on the other setting you use. For proper steaming, food should be placed on a rack or in a steamer basket.

Less, Normal, and More Settings

You can toggle among the Less | Normal | More settings by pressing one of the above buttons repetitively until you reach the desired setting. On some older models, this button is simply labeled Adjust, and it allows the same type of toggling between these settings. Also, you have access to “+” and “-” settings for making finer adjustments to cooking times.

Factors to Consider Before Setting Cook Times

Slightly more time is required to cook frozen food than fresh food, Generally, you should add an extra of 2 -3 minutes on the timer if your fare is frozen, but not more than that. This is because, when frozen food is inserted the Instant Pot will take more time than usual to reach full pressure even before the timer starts.

The ideal cooking time for a certain item also depends on the size, volume, and consistency of the food you are cooking. If you’re cooking an item whole, for example, it will take more time than food that is already sectioned or chopped.

Often-Used Instant Pot Cooking Times

Here are many of the instant pot cooking times you will need to know for different food groups. All times listed assume you will set the Manual/Pressure cook button to its High mode.

Instant Pot Cooking Times For Vegetables

casserole dish vegetable tomato

Source: Pexels

You can steam most vegetables in one-to-three minutes in the manual mode and then open the vent for QR. Times do vary depending upon the size of the cut veggies, how dense they are, and how crunchy or soft you want your veggies to be when you serve them. After steaming, veggies that are not too soft can be seared in Saute mode within your Instant Pot to get a roasted effect. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • 3 minutes for green beans, beetroot, potato chunks, cubed sweet potatoes, and asparagus
  • 2 minutes for carrots, cauliflower, cut celery, shredded cabbage, and Brussels sprouts
  • 1 minute for corn kernels, spinach, peas, eggplant, zucchini, squash, and broccoli
  • About 9-10 minutes for a whole artichoke or small whole beetroot
  • 13 to 15 minutes for a whole potato on a trivet or steamer
  • 4 minutes for corn on the cob, collard greens, or mixed vegetables

Instant Pot Cooking Times For Grains And Beans

vegetable string green bean food

Source: Pexels

  • Quick oats take 1 minute with a 1:2 oats-to-water ratio
  • Steel-cut oats take 10 minutes with a 1:3 ratio
  • Pasta with water just enough to cover them takes 4 minutes
  • Brown rice takes 25 minutes, white rice 4 minutes, and wild rice 20 minutes with rice-to-water ratios of 1:1
  • Dry beans take more time, while beans soaked overnight take less time to cook
  • Dry black-eyed peas take 15 to 20 minutes, whereas soaked beans take 5 minutes
  • Dry chickpeas take 35-to-40 minutes or 10-to-15 if they’ve been soaked
  • Dry black beans take 20-25 minutes (or 6-8 if soaked)
  • Dry pinto beans take 25-20 minutes (or 7-9 if soaked)

Instant Pot Cooking Times For Meat And Eggs

instant pot cooking times: person peeling the egg

Source: Pexels

  • Eggs cooked on a trivet or a steamer take 4 minutes
  • A beef roast takes approximately 15 minutes per pound, and boneless ribs cook in 25 minutes with NPR engaged
  • A pork shoulder roast takes 15 minutes per 1 pound, followed by NPR
  • Pork chops take 5 minutes if boneless or 7-to-8 minutes if they are bone-in style, followed by NPR
  • Two average-sized chicken breasts take 6 minutes with a quick release after 10 to 12 minutes
  • Plan 10 minutes for chicken thighs with bones or 8 minutes for boneless ones, engaging QR after 10 to 12 minutes for either style
  • A whole chicken takes 6 minutes per pound, followed by NPR
  • Fish fillets take 2 to 3 minutes with QR engaged at that point
  • Meatballs take 6 minutes with QR after 10 to 12 minutes


vegetable string green bean food

Source: Amazon

An Instant Pot pressure cooker will deliver the best possible results if you use the right cooking times based on the type and amount of food you’re cooking. Although the instant pot has many buttons, the Manual/Pressure button is the primary button used to cook any food item. This button allows you to set your cooking time manually. It is very helpful to keep the recommended Instant Pot cooking times for various foods handy and easily accessible, and the information included here makes that ultra-simple to do.

The Kitchen Advisor

TheKitchenAdvisor is a team of energetic and enthusiastic food bloggers and collaborators with a unifying passion for great food and cooking. We’re committed to bringing you only the best and most accurate info on food and kitchen gear through our in-house reviews, interviews, blog posts, and editorials. You’ll also find food trivia, cooking hacks, and many, many beginner-friendly recipes here, as we constantly strive to infuse our readers with enough confidence to become a bit more experimental in their home kitchens.

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