How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes for the Instant Pot

Learn how to convert slow cooker recipes for the Instant Pot with our simple tips and tricks. Get your favorite recipes on the table faster by making a few easy adjustments. 

Slow Cooker and Instant Pot with label that reads, "How to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes for the Instant Pot" between them

We all love the convenience of our slow cookers. You just pop your food into the crockpot and then wait while it does all the work. Sometimes life happens, and we forget to start cooking dinner 6-8 hours ahead of time.

Now it’s dinnertime and your meal plan has fallen through! With a few simple tricks, you can easily convert any of your slow cooker favorites into Instant Pot recipes!

While I should note that the Instant Pot can function like your crock pot, sometimes you just want the ability to put dinner on the table faster using the pressure cooking method.

You won’t find some sort of magic formula in this post for magically turning your slow cooker recipes into pressure cooker recipes, but if you have experience using a pressure cooker, converting these recipes shouldn’t take long!

Tips to Convert Slow Cooker Recipes for the Instant Pot

1. Be Aware of the Water

Your Instant Pot relies on water to achieve the needed pressure to cook. This means you need to add the right amount of of water, no matter what recipe you will be making. This requirement is usually somewhere along the lines of one cup.

When converting your crockpot recipe into a pressure cooker recipe, you may need to change the amount of water if your recipe doesn’t use much. All Instant Pot recipes should have an absolute minimum of 1/2 cup of water, and some will need more.

2. Don’t Overfill Your Instant Pot

Oftentimes, pressure cookers are not the same size as slow cookers, so it may be necessary to reduce how much you add to your Instant Pot.

You should never fill your pressure cooker more than ⅔ full or past the full line! When cooking food that expands or creates foam (like beans) when cooking, you need to make sure your pressure cooker is no more than ½ full.

3. Skip the Liquor or Wine

Some recipes may call for liquor or wine. If yours does, you may need to adjust your recipe. When using wine, you should only use half the amount, and choose the saute button when cooking.

Wine and liquor have high alcohol content, and it has a difficult time evaporating in an Instant Pot. If possible, avoid cooking with booze. If you do, you may want to let it simmer (on saute mode) for a bit after you remove the lid to make sure all of the alcohol evaporates.

4. Hold the Dairy During Pressure Cooking

If your recipe calls for dairy based ingredients like milk, sour cream or cheese, you’ll usually want to wait to add those ingredients until after the pressure cooking has completed. Dairy will often cause the “Burn” warning we talked about in our Instant Pot mistakes article.

Instead, add the other ingredients (making sure you have enough liquid), pressure cook and release pressure. Open then lid, then add your dairy based ingredients.

5. Adjust Your Cooking Times

Slow cookers don’t cook food as fast as a pressure cooker. This means you must adjust the time on your Instant Pot significantly.

When deciding on a time, you also need to take into account how long it takes for your Instant Pot to achieve the necessary pressure. This should be accounted for in your start time when making your recipe. When there’s more liquid, things will take longer to come to pressure.

Depending both on how full your Instant Pot is, as well as its temperature, will change how much time is needed. For most soups that cook in a slow cooker over an 8-10 hours, you can usually cook the same recipe in your Instant Pot in under an hour! If it’s a vegetable based recipe, it will take even less time.

I always recommend doing a little search on Google or Pinterest to look for similar recipes made in the Instant Pot. That way, you can get an idea of how much time people are cooking similar recipes for, and you can determine from there how long to cook your recipe for.

Converting your favorite slow cooking recipes to pressure cooker recipes can save you time when you’re in a pinch. Follow the above tips to make your favorite slow cooker recipes in a flash!

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