Instant Pot High Altitude Cooking Time Adjustments- If you live at an elevation above 2000 ft. you will need to modify the cooking time for most Instant Pot recipes. See below for printable chart on how to calculate cook time for your specific altitude. Instant Pot Ultra and MAX models can be set for automatic altitude adjustments, see below for directions.
How does altitude affect cooking in the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker?
The Instant Pot (and other Pressure Cookers) work by elevating the temperature inside the pot and trapping the steam produced from boiling the cooking liquid.
Because the air pressure is lower at higher altitudes the boiling point of water is lowered (by just under 1 degree for each 500 feet of increased elevation) For example, the boiling point of water at sea level is 212 F and at 7500 feet it is 198 F.
Since foods will be cooking at a lower temperature they will take longer to cook. The higher the elevation the lower the boiling point and therefore the longer the cooking time.
Formula to adjust high-altitude cooking time in the Instant Pot (and other Pressure Cookers)
Increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1000 ft above 2000 ft elevation
For quick calculation of increased cooking time locate your altitude and multiply the recommended cooking time by the corresponding multiplier (see chart below) .
For example: The elevation in Denver, CO is 5280 ft. If you had a recipe that called for cooking for 20 minutes you would calculate the adjusted cooking times by looking at the 5000 ft column(15%) and using the “multiply by” of 1.15
20 (minutes) x 1.15 = 23 minutes (round to the nearest minute if you end up with a decimal number)
For a printable version of the Instant Pot High Altitude Adjustment Chart above click here
How to Set Instant Pot Ultra and MAX models for Automatic Altitude Adjustment
Instant Pot Ultra and MAX Models have an altitude setting which allow you to enter your altitude and the Instant Pot will automatically adjust cooking times. You simply enter the cook time specified in the recipe (for sea level) and the Instant Pot Ultra or MAX will automatically adjust according to your elevation.
To Set your Instant Pot Ultra or MAX
- Put the Instant Pot in ‘Standby’ by hitting the ‘Cancel’ button
- Press and hold the central dial until you hear the unit beep and enter into the system-level settings change mode
- Rotate the dial to ‘Alt’ and press select to rotate to the desired altitude. You’ll have the option to enter ‘feet’ or ‘meters’.
- When you’ve selected either ‘feet’ or ‘meters’, press the central dial and enter ‘Altitude ‘ adjustment mode, rotate the central dial to make the adjustments, then press the ‘Start’ key to save the changes and exit.
The altitude only needs to be set once and it will apply to all preset programs ( like soup/broth, meat/stew etc). There is no indication that the altitude has been adjusted, however, you will notice that the ‘cook time’ will automatically adjust after you enter the recipe time. For example: if you are at 5000 ft. (and you’ve adjusted your Instant Pot for your altitude) when you enter 20 minutes cook time for any of the preset program buttons (soup/broth, meat/stew etc) and press start, your Instant Pot will automatically adjust to 23 minutes. ( 20 (mins) x 1.15 multiplier (for 5000 ft.- see chart above) = 23 minutes. Please note that this adjustment only adjusts the preset program buttons (like soup/broth, meat/stew, bean/chili etc) and if you are using the Pressure Cook/Manual Mode you will still need to manually adjust the time (according to the chart above) as the Ultra and MAX will not make adjustments to that mode (which is the mode most frequently used).