Can You Boil Water Using an Instant Pot?

Can You Boil Water Using an Instant Pot lg

There’s a crazy viral video that shows someone using an Instant Pot to boil water. Now why that video went viral, I don’t know. Was the video faked or can you boil water using an Instant Pot?

As a general rule, you can boil 1-2 cups of water in an Instant Pot using the sauté function in approximately 3 minutes. Larger volumes of water can be boiled in an Instant Pot using pressure cooking for 5 minutes and then doing the quick release method.

An electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot is really useful and is great for cooking food super quickly. And stuff like dried beans or pulled pork, which used to take hours, can be done in under 1 hour.

But I’ve honestly never thought of using one to boil water!

So in this article, we’ll explore both how to boil water in an Instant Pot, whether it’s faster than just using a regular pot on the stove, and WHY you might want to do that.

But we’ll also cover which program to use to boil water, and how long to set the timer to.

Let’s get into it!

How to boil water in an Instant Pot

Here are the steps to boil water in an Instant Pot:

  1. Place 1 cup of water in the removable liner of the Instant Pot
  2. Put the lid on the Instant Pot normally and seal it shut
  3. On the manual setting, set the timer for 5 minutes
  4. If your Instant Pot allows for high and low pressure, set it to high
  5. Allow it to run for 5 minutes
  6. The timer will start counting down once the full pressure is reached inside
  7. It will automatically switch the settings to the keep warm function when done
  8. Once it has switched to the keep warm function, open the quick-release valve on the lid
  9. You can let it sit for a natural release, but the water temperature will drop during the time
  10. Remove the lid when ready to access the boiled water

All of that being said, for a small amount of water, you can actually leave the lid off and just use the sauté function. More on this below.

What program should I use to boil water in an Instant Pot?

Use the saute function on an Instant Pot when boiling 1-2 cups of water, leaving the lid off. When boiling more than 2 cups of water, use the high-pressure setting for 5 minutes with the lid tightly sealed.

Instant Pots, especially the fancier more expensive ones, come with a ton of different program options. Those can include, depending on your model:

  • PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL – This is the most commonly used setting on all Instant Pots for traditional pressure cooking. Older models allow you to adjust the pressure level and then just use the +/- keys to change the cooking time.
  • SAUTÉ – This mode allows you to brown food in oil just as you would in a skillet. It heats up the insert quickly, so make sure to add oil and stir frequently. This mode always is used with the lid off.
    The maximum sauté time is 30-minute intervals just as a safety precaution
  • KEEP WARM – A low heat setting to hold food in the temperature safety zone once it’s been cooked using one of the other programs. Most Instant Pot cooking programs will automatically switch to keep warm once they have cooked for their set amount of time.

Other functions that are less used include:

  • CAKE
  • EGG
  • RICE

How long does it take to boil water in an Instant Pot?

It takes 4-8 minutes on average to bring water to a rolling boil in an Instant Pot. Large amounts of water cooked using pressure will take 5 minutes, whereas it will take a little longer using the sauté function. The sauté function works best when boiling 1-2 cups of water.

So ultimately, it depends on how much water you need.

As I’ve covered above, the pressure cooking method works better when you need to boil anywhere from 2-10 or more cups of hot water. That requires the lid being on and waiting for the Instant Pot to reach full pressure before the 5-minute timer starts to count down.

But with the lid off, the sauté function works great for small amounts of water, say for maybe a bowl of oatmeal. And because you’re just boiling water, there’s virtually no clean-up!

Can you boil water in an Instant Pot without a lid?

Yes. You can boil 1-2 cups of water in an Instant Pot using the sauté function with the lid off. Larger amounts of water will boil faster using the lid on and utilizing the pressure cooking function.

But with the lid off, the sauté function works great for small amounts of water. And it will take about 3 minutes to boil water this way. And obviously, this will not use high pressure.

But how does that compare to other methods of boiling water?

It takes 8-10 minutes to boil 1 quart of water on a stovetop in a pot. Using an electric tea kettle, 1 quart of water will boil in 4-5 minutes, and in the microwave, 1 quart of water will boil in 3-4 minutes.

So as you can see, for small amounts of water, the Instant Pot is the clear winner. But even for large amounts of water, the Instant Pot still beats the stovetop.

Water boiling times by heating method

Water Boiling Method Time to Boil
Instant Pot 4-8 minutes
Stove Top Pot of Water 4 minutes
Electric Kettle 4 1/2 minutes
Rice Cooker 20-25 minutes
Keurig 3 minutes, but only reaches 192° F

Of course, atmospheric pressure and sea level do affect the boiling point of water and how long it will take to get there.

After all, in many places like Colorado, when you’re at or above 8000 feet above sea level, water’s boiling point drops to 198 °F rather than the normal 212 °F where I live in Texas.

So the boiling process can vary depending on where you live.

Can you boil water in an Instant Pot on sauté?

The saute mode on an Instant Pot will work to boil 1-2 cups of water. It can take between 4 and 8 minutes depending on the desired amount of water.

Water boils at 212° F and tap water is often between 65 and 75° F.

But the higher temperature of the sauté function can easily get those bubbles on the surface of the water in just a few minutes. Also bear in mind a slow boil temperature is just 205° F compared to the full boil temperature of 212° F.

5 Things Not To Do With Your Instant Pot


Boiling water feels like one of the most basic things you can do in the kitchen, but if you have an Instant Pot sitting around, it’s probably not something you do all that often.

Instant pots are very useful appliances.

Having an Instant Pot pressure cooker inside your kitchen can help you cook a variety of food and help you as a substitute for many appliances such as a rice cooker or slow cooker.

They are multi-functional and come with a variety of preset pressure settings that allows you to cook food conveniently.

You can use an Instant Pot for boiling water by just knowing a little bit about them.

Follow the steps to do it right. In this article today we explored how to use an instant pot for boiling water and the steps to follow.

Image which requires attribution:

Still video frame is taken from video – DO THIS FIRST! How to Use and Instant Pot – Instant Pot 101 by Six Sisters’ Stuff is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped and had a text overlay added.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with 3 daughters, practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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