Instant Pot High Altitude Cooking: Easy Guide

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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!

high altitude cooking

What Is a High Altitude?

A High Altitude is an area that is more than 1000 meters above sea level. At higher altitudes, atmospheric pressure decreases and the boiling point of water also drops. This means that food takes longer to cook at High Altitudes than it does at sea level.

How Does High Altitude Affect Instant Pot Cooking?

At High Altitudes, the Instant Pot needs to be adjusted accordingly. The cooking time should be increased and more liquid may need to be added for the food to cook properly.

How to Adjust Your Instant Pot for High-Altitude Cooking:

Altitude affects the cooking time of your pressure cooker meals 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 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.

Therefore Intant Pot recipes will cook at a lower temperature and take longer to cook the higher you are.

What Is My Altitude?

So what is my current 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 you are. 

How to Find Your Altitude

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. 

The National Map from USGS or, are two places you can go to find the elevation where you live or where you are planning to visit. 

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.

Increase Pressure Cooking Time by 5%

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. 

High Altitude Cooking Chart

For quicker calculations, use my Instant Pot High Altitude chart below and multiply the time:

Elevation% to IncreaseMultiply Time by
3,000 feet5%1.05
4,000 feet10%1.10
5,000 feet15%1.15
6,000 feet20%1.20
7,000 feet25%1.25
8,000 feet30%1.30
9,000 feet35%1.35
10,000 feet40%1.40

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. 


How to Set the Altitude on Your Instant Pot

If you have one of these Instant Pots, follow the steps below to set your altitude:

  1. First, put the Instant Pot in “Standby” by hitting the cancel button. 
  2. Press and hold your central dial until you hear a beep. Then, go into the system-level settings change mode. 
  3. Rotate your dial to “alt” and press select and choose if you will enter the numbers in feet or meters.
  4. 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. 
  5. That’s it! Now, your Instant Pot will apply this to all preset buttons and adjust your cook time automatically. 

Cooking Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

If you’re cooking hard-cooked eggs in the Instant Pot then a high altitude will certainly affect the cooking times needed. At sea level, hard-boiled eggs generally take 5 minutes of high-pressure cooking in the Instant Pot.

However, for every 1000 feet above sea level you need to add an extra minute of cooking time.

So if you live at 3,000 feet above sea level then your cook time would be 7 minutes instead of 5 and at 5,000 feet above sea level the pressure cooking time would be 10 minutes.

Adjusting a Sea-Level Recipe

When cooking at a high altitude, it is essential to make adjustments to the sea-level recipes that you’re following.

In general, for every 1000 feet above 2000 feet elevation you should add 5% of the time to your pressure cooking times. Additionally, you may need to increase the liquid

High Altitude Baking

High Altitude affects not just pressure cooking, but all types of cooking including baking. For example, high-altitude baking will help delicate cakes, egg whites, yeast breads and desserts to rise faster.

With lower atmospheric pressure both baking soda and baking powder recipes will rise quicker. Baking at high altitudes whether oven cooking or Instant Pot cooking requires some minor adjustments.

You’ll see your baking time decrease when making baked goods at higher altitudes whether cooking in the Instant Pot or oven.

Boiling Point at High Altitude

The boiling point of water decreases with altitude. Water boils at a lower temperature the higher up you go, so it takes longer to cook foods in high-altitude areas than at sea level.

For every 1000 feet above 2000 feet elevation, reduce the pressure cooking time by 5%. This could be as simple as reducing your cooking time by

Instant Pot High Altitude Cooking

No matter what altitude your living at, be sure to check the cooking methods so the cooking temperature, oven temperature and boiling temperature cook your food correctly.

More Helpful Instant Pot Posts

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