Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs

Wondering about the Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs and what those buttons do? Or not sure which model has which program? Check out the comparison below.

Smart Programs are designed by the Instant Pot team to help you cook better quality dishes in your Instant Pot. The IP team tested and created programs to control the pressure, heat intensity, temperature, and cooking length. To help you, I put together a listing of the Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs and what is available in each 3 quart Instant Pot.

Closeup of a 3 quart Instant Pot Duo to review Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs

What are the available Smart Programs in the Instant Pot 3 Quart Minis

Pressure Cook:

The program you will be using most of the time. The pressure level (high or low) and cooking time is can be controlled through buttons on the control panel.

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Note: In the Lux 3 Quart, you’ll only have high pressure. The other Instant Pot mini models have high and low pressure.

Soup/Broth

Designed to bring soups to a slow simmer for a clear broth. Always use a Natural Release (NR) because of the high liquid content in most soups.

  • Less Mode: meatless soups
  • Normal Mode: soups with meat
  • More Mode: Bone broth and other soups that require longer cook times

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Meat/Stew

Designed for cooking large cuts of meat at high pressure. And don’t forget to let the meat “rest” for 5-30 minutes, depending on size to reabsorb cooking juices prior to cutting.

  • Less Mode: soft texture
  • Normal Mode: very tender meat texture
  • More Mode: fall-off-the bone texture 

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Slow Cook:

Replicates the functionality of your slow cooker. Each of the modes corresponds to the following slow cooker setting.

  • Less Mode: low (8 hour)
  • Normal Mode: medium (6 hour)
  • More Mode: high (4 hour)

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Bean/Chili

For cooking beans to different levels of finished texture. Note: always use Natural Release (NR) when cooking beans or legumes

  • Less Mode: firmer beans
  • Normal Mode: softer beans
  • More Mode: very soft beans

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models except the 3 Quart Lux

Rice

Best for medium and long-grain white rice. This program cooks low pressure with each mode for a different rice texture. Use a 10-minute Natural Release (NR) after cooking.

  • Less Mode: firmer texture
  • Normal Mode: normal texture
  • More Mode: softer texture

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Porridge

A program for cooking oatmeal, congee (rice porridge), and other porridges. Always use a Natural Release (NR) to release pressure

  • Less Mode: Oatmeal
  • Normal Mode: Rice porridge (congee)
  • More Mode: porridge / congee that contains a mixture of beans or tougher grains

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Steam

A program for steaming foods. Always use a steam rack to elevate the food above the cooking liquid and use a Quick Release (QR) to prevent overcooking. This is also frequently recommended as the program for hard-boiling eggs.

  • Less Mode: Steaming vegetables
  • Normal Mode: Seafood and fish
  • More Mode: Meats

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Keep Warm

A program with 3 temperatures to keep your food at different temperatures for serving.

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Sauté

The sauté feature allows you to use one pan (or pot) for your dish. You may see this used frequently in recipes prior to pressure cooking, or possibly afterward to create a thickened sauce. Note, this program has a 30 minute maximum cooking time for safety.

  • Less mode:  Simmering, thickening, reducing liquids and for foods that burn easily;
  • Normal mode: Searing
  • More mode: Browning and stir-frying 

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models

Yogurt

Use your Instant Pot Mini to make yogurt!

  • Less Mode: Specifically designed Jiu Niang, a sweet fermented rice dish;
  • Normal Mode: Fermenting milk when making yogurt
  • More Mode: Pasteurizing milk

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models except the 3 Quart Lux

Sterilizer

This program is designed for sterilizing baby bottles, jars, and utensils.

  • Less Mode: pasteurize dairy products
  • Normal Mode: Low pressure sterilization
  • More mode: high pressure sterilization

Note: The Instant Pot website says the Normal and More modes can be used for types of canning. I’m not referencing that above as I’ve also seen notes the Instant Pot is not rated by the USDA for canning. Please do your own research to confirm. 

Availability: Instant Pot Mini Duo Plus and Instant Pot Mini Ultra

Egg Maker

Easy peel eggs are one of the loved features of the Instant Pot. This program is defined for cooking extra-large eggs. Adjust the cooking time if you’re using eggs of other sizes. Use an ice bath to prevent overcooking once the eggs are done.

  • Less Mode: Soft-cooked eggs
  • Normal Mode: Medium-cooked eggs
  • More mode: Hard-cooked eggs

Availability: All Instant Pot Mini Models except the 3 Quart Duo

Ultra

The Ultra Smart Program is unique to the Instant Pot Ultra models and is included in the 3 Quart Ultra. It allows for custom programming for pressure and non-pressure cooking including sous vide. Check the manual for more information.

Smart Programs Not Currently Available in the Instant Pot Minis

There are a few programs that are available in the larger models, but not included in smaller 3 quart Instant Pot models. Don’t worry. You can still cook these types of foods using the Pressure Cook (Manual) button. Check your recipe for suggestions on times and adjustments.

Cake: A smart program to cook cakes that are dense and moist or even cheesecakes.

Multigrain: A smart program that includes time for presoaking to cook brown, wild, and other tough whole grains

The Smart Programs for each Instant Pot Mini

Smart ProgramInstant Pot Mini LuxInstant Pot Mini DuoInstant Pot Mini Duo NovaInstant Pot Mini Duo PlusInstant Pot Mini Ultra
Built-In Smart Programs1011111314
Soup/BrothYesYesYesYesYes
Meat/StewYesYesYesYesYes
Slow CookYesYesYesYesYes
Bean/Chili YesYesYesYes
RiceYesYesYesYesYes
PorridgeYesYesYesYesYes
SteamYesYesYesYesYes
Keep WarmYesYesYesYesYes
Pressure CookYesYesYesYesYes
SautéYesYesYesYesYes
Yogurt YesYesYesYes
Sterilizer  YesYes
Egg MakerYes YesYes
Ultra   Yes

As noted above, none of the current Instant Pot Mini models have the Cake or Multigrain Smart Programs.

It’s always possible the combination may change in the future. We see changes in the program combinations when they release a new model version. That happened with the newer release of the Instant Pot Lux 6 quart.

What do you if your Instant Pot Mini doesn’t have a Smart Program

Don’t worry. You don’t have to miss out on the cooking fun.

You can use the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button to start your own. That’s the usual recommendation as an alternative.

Double-check the manual or the recipe you are using for specific pressure levels and the time needed to cook the dish.

What do you think about the Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs?

What are your favorites? Which ones would you like to see on the Instant Pot Minis? And which would you be ok without?

4 Instant Pot 3 Quart Minis to review review the Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs
Closeup of Instant Mini Duo control panel to review the  Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs
List of Instant Pot Mini Smart Programs

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