As impressive as the Instant Pot is, it does not always work perfectly as you may want.
Sometimes you may wait hours only to find that your dish is nowhere near done, or even worse, cold as you put it.
Your Instant Pot is not designed to work like a traditional slow cooker. It’s a pressure cooker with basic slow cooking functionality. The heat of the Instant Pot is distributed from the bottom and not all over like a slow cooker.
Another reason for insufficient heating could be due to failed connection. The switch at the output relay normally sends electric signals to heat the heating element. When the heating element fails to receive the signals, it does not heat up.
In this article, we will help you understand where the problem may lie in your Instant Pot if it does not get hot enough.
This will be helpful for you if you don’t have a slow cooker and rely on the Instant Pot as your slow cooker.
Of course, it does work well when you know how to address the mentioned problems. Read on to find the solutions that will help you overcome these issues.
Instant Pot and Slow Cooking
The best slow cooker is always the traditional slow cooker. However, sometimes you want to use an Instant Pot since it has a slow cooking function as part of its settings.
This, however, does not normally work as expected.
As we have mentioned, Instant Pots and slow cookers work differently when it comes to heating food. With the Instant Pot, the heat is not distributed the same way as in a slow cooker.
The heating element is fitted at the bottom of the Instant Pot. This is because instant pots are designed to work more as pressure cookers than as slow cookers.
How to Make Instant Pot Hotter
Since this is a common problem that impacts all those who want to use the instant Pot for slow cooking, many have asked, “how do I make my instant pot hotter in a slow cooker?”
According to the company, there are three solutions to this problem.
Instant Pot manufacturers have advised users who want to use the slow cooking function and faced the problem of not getting hot enough to add a significant amount of water.
Adding 1 ½ to 2 cups of water to the pot will help solve the problem.
This is because water will help to distribute the heat so that it can heat the entire cooking pot.
The disadvantage of this method is that it does not work with all the recipes. Not all dishes need a lot of water to cook, and this may not work.
With this, it is crucial to understand that the low mode of a slow cooker may not achieve the desired heating temperature.
Observations from different users have tested and found out that the instant pot low mode function or setting is like the keep warm mode of the slow cooker.
Also, different users have found that the medium mode of the Instant Pot is equivalent to the low mode setting of the slow cooker.
Therefore, to make your Instant Pot hotter, you need to set it on a medium temperature setting.
This is where the heating element fails to receive the signal due to the solder connection problem on the bottom side.
When this is the case, you need to flip the Instant Pot and remove the plastic cover, then check the covered thermal cutoff, usually white at the bottom left, disconnect all the wires, and look out for the cracked solder joint. Fix this with fresh solder, and the Instant Pot will begin to work.
Note: I only recommend this if your Instant Pot is out of warranty.
Instant Pot Not Slow Cooking Like Expected
Why is my Instant Pot not slow cooking? This is a question that many would ask as it is a common problem with instant pots when used as slow cookers.
As we have already addressed, there can be two reasons why Instant Pot is not slow cooking.
One of the reasons could be due to the solder connection problem where the electric signals fail to be transmitted to the heater. With solution 3 above, you can fix this problem.
The other reason, as we have also mentioned, is that the low heat setting of the Instant Pot works as a keep-warm function of the slow cooker.
That means it does not get hot enough to cook your dishes. You can use the medium heat setting other than the low mode setting.
Slow Cook Option Instant Pot
Another question that many have asked is, “How hot is the slow cook option on instant pot?” Perhaps you have an idea from what we have talked about.
We mentioned that the slow cooker’s low setting is equivalent to the medium heat setting on the Instant Pot.
To make it clear, the slow cook option on the Instant Pot is approximately 170 degrees F. This is lower than that of a crockpot slow cooker, which is about 190-200 degrees F.
That explains why you should keep the Instant Pot on medium, that is 200 degrees F, and equivalent to the low setting of the crockpot.
Is an Instant Pot Suitable for Slow Cooking?
Instant Pot is a versatile cooker and can serve multiple cooking functions. Among the functions of the Instant Pot is slow cooking.
However, there are several issues that many users have reported regarding the temperature of the slow cooker when used as a slow cooker, as we have discussed.
While the issues are there, knowing how to use and address the problems will get you to enjoy using the Instant Pot for slow cooking.
We cannot say per se that the Instant Pot is suitable for slow cooking, but yes, it does slow cooking just like any other slow cooker.
However, you need to know the correct settings that would be equivalent to that of the slow cooker to achieve your desired results.
In addition to that, if you are cooking food that needs a lot of water to cook, then you may not experience problems when using an instant pot.
With about 2 cups of water filled, the heat will be spread well, and hence the food can cook more slowly than when there is only a little water in the Pot.
Instant Pot vs. Traditional Slow Cookers
Here, we want to understand the differences and similarities between the Instant Pot and traditional slow cookers, and which one is better for slow cooking.
Of course, we have discussed in detail the Instant Pot and the problems that many users come across when slow cooking.
These problems are not the case with the traditional slow cookers since they are naturally made for the same function, to slow cook.
The slow cooker has been used since ancient times and is also called a Crock-Pot. The only function of a slow cooker is to cook food at low heat for an extended number of hours.
Since the food is not cooked at high temperatures, the benefit of slow cooking or using a slow cooker is that more nutrients are retained.
With a slow cooker, you can cook different types of meals that require long hours of cooking. It can take about 4 to 8 hours to have your dishes cooked to perfection on slow heat, but this depends on the type of food you are cooking.
An Instant Pot is a versatile cooker or a multicooker that comes with different cooking modes, including pressure cooking, searing, steaming, warm, sauté, and slow cooking, among other functions.
It is a good appliance when used as a pressure cooker but may not be good as a slow cooker. Instant Pot cooks food faster with pressure cook mode.
Therefore, when comparing Instant Pot and traditional slow cookers, you need to note that traditional slow cookers are efficient for slow cooking since they are made for that. Instant Pots are multifunctional, and as we have seen, some problems have been reported with not getting too hot.
However, if you are to use an instant pot for slow cooking, you need to read the solutions above to get over the problems that perhaps you might be facing.
I don’t want to go into too much detail because I already wrote a comprehensive guide about Instant Pot that can be found here.
Quantity of the Liquid
With an instant pot, you may need much more liquid than the traditional slow cooker. This is because the liquid is needed for better heat distribution from the bottom and spreads to all the food contents.
This also leads to the build-up of steam, and where the valve is opened, the steam escapes but not as much as it evaporates when using a slow cooker.
More of the liquid evaporates over a long period in the slow cooker, hence leaving the cooked food with less moisture.
Why Do People Prefer Traditional Slow Cookers?
Due to the nature of the Instant Pot and what it is made for, many people prefer using traditional slow cookers for slow cooking compared to an Instant Pot low heat setting.
This is because Instant Pots works amazingly as a pressure cooker and may not be suitable for slow cooking.
Some of the reasons why you may not want to use the Instant Pot for slow cooking include the fact that there is less evaporation. This is because the lid in the instant pot seals and locks since that is necessary for slow cooking.
When on slow cooking mode, the valve is opened, and this lets the steam escape so that you don’t cook with steam pressure.
Though the valve is opened, it does not allow much of the moisture to escape as in the traditional slow cooker.
That means the food will end up cooked but with much liquid in it, unlike when using a traditional slow cooker. This may not be good for some dishes that do not need much liquid.
Tips to Slow Cook With Instant Pot
As we have seen above, it is possible to use an Instant Pot as a slow cooker, but when the settings are done right.
It is not usually the case to keep the low-temperature settings since most users have found that problematic in most cases. Therefore, when using an instant pot as a slow cooker, you need to keep up with these tips:
- Adjust the heat settings of the Instant Pot to normal so that you can achieve a slow cooking temperature. This is because the low heat settings may not produce enough heat and may act as a keep-warm function.
- Add some good quantity of water, about 1 ½ to about 2 cups, into the pot for the Instant Pot to heat up properly. This is because the heater is located at the bottom, and the heat may not spread well without enough water.
Summing up, we have found that an instant pot works for slow cooking but is not as good as the traditional slow cooker. This is because of the problems that we have addressed.
However, if you use it the right way, as we have mentioned, then you will achieve your desired results after overcoming the problem of not getting enough heat to cook your dishes on slow cooking.
In addition to that, if the connection is faulty, solution 3 above will help you fix the connection problem and have your Instant Pot generate enough heat for slow cooking.