Have you been following Instant Pot recipes exactly, but never get a good result? Is the food undercooked? Altitude may be the culprit! With this Instant Pot High Altitude Cooking Guide, you’ll finally be able to make food in your Instant Pot that comes out perfect every time!
How Does Altitude Affect Cooking in the Instant Pot?
Altitude is the height of a point in relation to sea level or ground level. If you live in an area that is 2,000 feet above sea level or higher, you live in an area that is considered high altitude. If you live in a high altitude area, you may have to adjust your cooking times so that your food cooks completely in your Instant Pot.
Altitude affects the cooking time because air pressure is lower at higher altitudes. Your Instant Pot works by elevating the temperature inside the pot and trapping the steam that is produced from boiling the liquid. Because the air pressure is lower at those higher altitudes, the boiling point of the water is lowered.
For example, water boils at 212℉ at sea level, but at 7500 feet it boils at 198℉. So, the higher you are above sea level, the longer it takes for the water to reach its boiling point. Thus, food will cook at a lower temperature and take longer to cook.
How Do I Determine My Altitude?
If you are continuously following recipes to the T, but food isn’t done, you probably live at a higher altitude. However, to accurately accommodate for that higher altitude, you’ll need to know how high above sea level that you actually are.
Typically, you can find your altitude at your local planning commission or zoning office. Additionally, there are many online tools that you can use to find your altitude. You can simply search “What’s my elevation” in the google search bar to find your altitude.
Instant Pot High Altitude Cooking Guide
Once you’ve determined your altitude, you’ll know if it is affecting your cooking time for your Instant Pot. If you live in a high altitude area, you’ll have to increase your pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1000 feet above 2000 feet elevation.
For example, if you live in Denver, CO, the elevation is 5280 feet. If you had a recipe that called for 20-minutes, you would need to multiply the time by 15% (20 x 1.15) which would be 23-minutes.
For quicker calculations, use my Instant Pot High Altitude chart below and multiply the time:
|Elevation||% to Increase||Multiply Time by|
Instant Pot High Altitude Models
If you live in a high altitude area, it may be worth it to you to buy an Instant Pot that adjusts your cooking times automatically. Both the Instant Pot Ultra and Instant Pot Max models have an altitude setting which allows you to enter your altitude and your Instant Pot will automatically adjust the cooking times for you! All you have to do is enter the cooking time for the recipe (sea level time) and the Instant Pot will adjust the time according to your elevation.
If you have one of these Instant Pots, follow the steps below to set your altitude:
- First, put the Instant Pot in “Standby” by hitting the cancel button.
- Press and hold your central dial until you hear a beep. Then, go into the system-level settings change mode.
- Rotate your dial to “alt” and press select and choose if you will enter the numbers in feet or meters.
- After you’ve selected feet or meters, press the central dial and enter altitude adjustment mode, rotate the dial to make adjustments, and then press the start key to save the changes.
- That’s it! Now, your Instant Pot will apply this to all preset buttons and adjust your cook time automatically.
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