Want to know how to cook your favorite crockpot recipes in your Instant Pot? This slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion guide is for you!
- Slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion requires a few changes like including at least 1 cup of water and significantly cutting cook time.
- You can cook most slow cooker recipes in the Instant Pot with a few changes.
- Unlike a crock pot, the Instant Pot can safely cook frozen meat.
- For best results in slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion check the Instant Pot cook time for your specific cut of meat (check Instant Pot conversion chart below!)
We include a lot of slow cooker recipes on our Prep Dish meal plans, particularly in the colder months. Our subscribers are busy and the slow cooker makes dinner time SO easy!
We've had a lot of requests lately though for guidance on slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion. While we do sometimes include Instant Pot instructions alongside our crockpot recipes, we do not usually include Instant Pot-specific recipes.
Why? It's not that I hate the Instant Pot – I have one and use it regularly! I just really try to make sure our meal plans require only basic kitchen gear. I try to avoid recipes that require a lot of specialty equipment to keep the menus accessible to everyone.
This is why I've decided to put together this Crock Pot to Instant Pot conversion guide! Now you can easily convert any of our crockpot recipes to the Instant Pot, no frantic Googling required.
I hope you find this helpful!
Instant Pot Basics – How The Instant Pot is Different from a Slow Cooker
Before we get into the details of times and temperatures, there are a few basics you should know about how a slow cooker and Instant Pot differ. This will give you the foundational knowledge to easily adapt recipes between these two appliances. If you're brand new to the Instant Pot, make sure to read your manual as well.
- Instant Pot is faster: This is probably the reason you got the instant pot in the first place. What the slow cooker can do in 8 hours, the Instant Pot can often do in 45 minutes. The thing to note here is that an Instant Pot recipe might not be quite as fast as it seems at first glance. Make sure to build in some extra time for your Instant Pot to come to pressure, especially for high-volume recipes like soups and stews. The Instant Pot will also take longer to come to pressure if you're using frozen meat.
- Instant Pot can sauté: Another huge benefit is that your Instant Pot has a sauté function. This is great for searing meat before pressure cooking, but also for thickening sauces after cooking. Some slow cookers have a sauté function too!
- Instant Pot requires liquid: This is one of the most important differences to understand for slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion. While you can simply put some chicken and spices in the slow cooker and let it do its thing, that is not the case with pressure cookers. You have to include enough liquid or your Instant Pot will shut off and give you a “burn” error. Recipes vary, but you always need at least 1 cup of liquid in the Instant Pot. We've included 1 cup liquid in the below instructions but the 8-quart model requires 2 cups of liquid, so adjust as necessary. You should add the liquid first and avoid stirring after adding the additional ingredients.
- Instant Pot can cook from frozen: Okay, this is probably my favorite thing about the Instant Pot. You should not cook meat from frozen in a slow cooker because, due to the slow heating, the meat will be in an unsafe temperature range for too long. This isn't true for the Instant Pot! Because it cooks food so quickly, it's safe and effective to cook meat from frozen. This can be a lifesaver if you've forgotten to thaw your meat!
One last note before we dive into the recipes: All conversions listed are high pressure, natural release. This is the best method for most foods, and certainly for meat. You'll need to use quick release if you cook things like veggies in your instant pot which might turn to mush with the extra cooking time involved in natural release, but it works well for meat and soups / stews, which is mostly what we use the Instant Pot for. If you're low on time, you can generally get away with 10-15 minutes of natural release, before doing a quick release to finish.
Slow Cooker to Instant Pot Conversion for Chicken
Remember that sizes and cuts of meat vary. Always check your chicken to ensure the internal temperature has reached 165 F. When cooking chicken, you may want to place it on the trivet insert to keep the chicken out of the water you have to add to the Instant Pot.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Slow Cooker: Low for 6-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. High pressure for 10 minutes (or 14 minutes for frozen thighs), natural release
- Try it out: Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken – To convert to the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. For frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cook on high pressure for 14 minutes. Do a natural pressure release.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- Slow Cooker: Low for 6-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. High pressure for 10-12 minutes (15 minutes for large breasts or frozen chicken breasts), natural release
- Try it out: Slow Cooker Chicken Verde – To convert to the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water, add all ingredients and do not stir, cook on high pressure for 10-12 minutes.
- Slow Cooker: Low for 7-8 hours or High for 3-4 hours
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. Place chicken on trivet insert and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes per pound with a natural release. I don't recommend you cook a frozen whole chicken in your Instant Pot, as there's a risk that the core won't fully cook.
Crockpot to Instant Pot Conversion for Beef
When cooking a large piece of meat like a roast in the Instant Pot, consider cutting it into 3-4 pieces for a shorter cook time and to ensure super tender meat.
Chuck Roast / Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker: Low 8-10 hours (recommended) or High for 5-6 hours
- Instant Pot: Brown roast in 1 T olive oil. Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 45-60 minutes (about 20 minutes per pound) with a natural release. For frozen, cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, or about 35 minutes per pound.
- Try it out: Green Chili Beef Burritos – Cut roast into 3 pieces. Sear seasoned roast in Instant Pot, browning on all sides, and remove from Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water. Add roast, onions, diced tomatoes & chiles and diced green chiles to Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes, allowing natural pressure release. Remove beef to shred. Option to simmer sauce on sauté function to thicken before mixing with beef.
- Slow Cooker: Low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 40-45 minutes with a natural release (45-50 minutes for frozen)
- Try it out: 5 Spice Slow Cooker Short Ribs – Make the sauce. Brown meat in Instant Pot. Add sauce to Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 40-45 minutes with a natural release.
- Slow Cooker: Low for 8-10 hours or High for 4-6 hours
- Instant Pot: Sear meat and add all other ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes with a natural pressure release. You do not need to add additional time for frozen stew meat but the Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure. If you like your vegetables more firm, do a quick release after 25-30 minutes of cooking, add vegetables and cook on high pressure for the last 5-10 minutes.
- Try it out: Beef and Vegetable Stew – Sear meat and add all other ingredients to your Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes with a natural pressure release. Note: This recipe calls for red wine. The alcohol does not cook off in the same way in the Instant Pot. Either substitute broth for wine or add the wine on the sautee function and boil for a couple of minutes before pressure cooking.
Slow Cooker to Instant Pot Conversion for Pork
Sizes and cuts of meat vary. You should always cook pork to an internal temperature of at least 145 F, measured in the thickest part of the meat.
Pork Roast / Boneless Pork Shoulder / Pork Butt
- Slow Cooker: Low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours
- Instant Pot: Cut roast into 3-4 pieces and sear on all sides using sauté function. Remove pork and turn off sauté function. Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant pot. Add pork and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, using natural pressure release. For a frozen pork roast that isn't cut in pieces, cook on high pressure for about 1 hour, 45 minutes. Note: If you don't cut your pork shoulder into smaller pieces before cooking, you may need to cook at high pressure for up to 90 minutes for tender, shreddable meat.
- Try it out: Carnitas – Cut seasoned pork shoulder into 3-4 pieces and sear seasoned pork shoulder on all sides using sauté function and remove from pan. Add chicken broth and orange juice to Instant Pot, followed by all remaining ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, using natural release.
Bone-in Pork Shoulder
- Slow Cooker: Low for 8-10 hours (recommended) or high for 5-6 hours
- Instant Pot: Sear on all sides using sauté function and remove pork from Instant Pot. Add 1 cup water or broth. Return pork to the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 60 minutes, using a natural pressure release.
Cheat Sheet – Slow Cooker to Instant Pot Conversion Chart
If you're fairly comfortable with your Instant Pot and just need a quick reference guide for how to convert your favorite crockpot recipes, use the below slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion guide. Remember to always add at least 1 cup of liquid to your Instant Pot (2 cups for the 8-quart model) and to check the internal temp of meat for doneness.
FAQ – Everything You Need to Know for Slow Cooker to Instant Pot Conversion
How to convert slow cooker time to Instant Pot time?
While you will find some formulas for converting slow cooker time to Instant Pot time, I recommend looking up the proper Instant Pot time for the specific cut of meat you're using for best results.
Can crock pot be substituted for instant pot?
Yes! For most recipes, the Crock Pot can be substituted for the Instant Pot. The exception is frozen meat. While you can cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot, you cannot do this in the slow cooker as it keeps the meat in an unsafe temperature zone for too long.
Can you put raw meat in a pressure cooker?
Yes, you can put raw meat, and even frozen raw meat, in a pressure cooker.
Do you cover meat with liquid in pressure cooker?
No. While you do need liquid to cook with a pressure cooker (generally 1 cup for most Instant Pot models), you do not need to completely cover meat with liquid in a pressure cooker.