Sautéing is a method of cooking food with a small amount of oil or fat at relatively high heat. Food that is sautéed is browned while preserving its texture, moisture and flavor.  A typical use of sautéing is to brown the meat before pressure cooking.

The new Instant Pot IP-LUX60 is equipped with an advanced sautéing/browning function key.  3 levels of temperature can be chosen with the “Adjust” key for best results.

  • “Normal”: ~160°C (320°F) for regular browning,
  • “More”: ~170°C (338°F) for darker browning,  and
  • “Less”: ~105°C (221°F) for light browning.

The “Sauté” function can also be used to thicken the sauce after pressure cooking, by adding starch or simply evaporating liquid. In fact, it can be used for anything related with a sauce pan, e.g warming a canned soup, reheating porridge, etc.

During sautéing, the lid needs to be opened at all time to avoid pressure building up.  If the lid is closed, the display will show a flashing “Lid”.

The procedure of using “Sauté”.

  • Press the “Sauté” function key.
  • Select a temperature with the “Adjust” key for “Normal”, “More” or “Less”.
  • Sauté Temperature ReachedWhen Instant Pot reaches the given working temperature, it displays “Hot” and you can start sautéing/browning meat.
  • One full “Sauté” session will run for 30 minutes. You can cancel it at any time by pressing the “Cancel/Keep Warm” key and continue with a pressure cooking function.

A brief video demo of Instant Pot IP-LUX60 for browning (sautéing) in action.

92 replies
  1. Kenny
    Kenny says:

    I would like to know more about temperature control regarding homemade natto. I found this:
    http://athomeinpuertorico.com/how-to-make-natto-in-an-instant-pot/

    Here is a quote from that link:
    “Set the Instant Pot to the yogurt setting (“YOGT”) for 24 hours. The temperature should remain between 90 and 104 F (30 – 40 C). Even though the Instant Pot does a good job of maintaining the temperature, I like to keep the thermometer in the pot and check it every so often.”

    I am wondering what the manufacturers would say about this. Is the temperatures he suggested for the settings: yogurt, less accurate?, Or is the the temperature variations for that different? Also is there a way to manually control temperatures to what temperature I want exactly?, For instance natto’s Maximum culturing temperature is 115ºF and natto’s lowest temperature is say what? Maybe 100?, 90?, But do I have this kind of temperature control with Instant Pot Viva Series?, If not I still want to know what the low and high temp is for yogurt less is, please?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Kenny,

      THe Temperatures for each program are below:
      Normal” mode for making yogurt: 36 ~ 43°C (96.8 ~ 109.4°F); “Less” mode for making Jiu Niang (fermented glutinous rice): 30 ~ 34°C (86 ~ 93.2°F); “More” for pasteurizing milk: 71~83°C (160~180°F).

      The Viva Series doesn’t have precision temperature control. We appreciate your feedback for a variable temperature ferment.

      Reply
  2. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I am a vegerarian am regularly use Gardein and morning star products. Would you recommend using this setting for cooking those “meatless” meats?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Amanda,

      The Saute program works similar to stove stop sauteing. You could simply use saute to cook your whole meal but you won’t see the full benefits of using an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

      The best way would be browning the meat substitutes before pressure cooking.

      Reply
  3. Brandon
    Brandon says:

    Stupid question probably by I am a newbie to cooking…I assume you sauté like you do if you’re browning meat on stove? In instapot this is down with the lid off with spatula?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Brandon,

      Great question!

      Yes, you can sauté food in your Instant Pot® just as you would in a pan with a spatula.
      Use Less mode for simmering, thickening, reducing liquids and for foods that may burn easily;
      use Normal mode for searing;
      use More mode for browning and stir-frying.
      As a safety precaution, please saute with the lid off and there is a maximum saute time of 30-minute intervals.

      Reply
  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    After sautéing beef for a short period of time, I added the rest of my ingredients, closed the lid and pressure cooked for 10 mins. Because there was beef stuck to the bottom, steam didn’t produce and it did pressure cook properly. However, the rest of my ingredients (pasta) seemed cooked… would the beef have continued to cook as well even without the pressure cooking, to a point where it was safe to eat? I didn’t know if I should throw out the dish or if the meat would be safe. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Kate,

      When there is stuck on food after sauteing it can set off a safety feature which lowers the heat to prevent burning.

      The meat would have cooked from the heat from the steam like the other ingredients but the only way to know if it is safe to eat is to check the temperature with a meat thermometer.

      Reply
  5. Stacey Price
    Stacey Price says:

    Im trying to sauté hamburger meat but not sure if I use cooking oil or not? Hamburger meat makes it’s own grease so do I add or not?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Stacey,

      We recommend adding a little oil to start the saute process. This will ensure no sticking before the ground beef has a chance to release it’s grease. If you find there is a lot a grease released you can strain off the excess when you finish sauteing.

      Reply
  6. Joan Dredge
    Joan Dredge says:

    I just bought a stainless steel stacked pan set for PIP cooking. But what do I do if the recipe calls for Browning the meat first?
    I want to cook rice in the top pot.

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Joan,

      We suggest browning first in the inner pot then setting up your PIP pans for cooking. Please ensure to deglaze the inner pot after browning.

      Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Rico,

      There is no exact time but it does take a few minutes. We recommend waiting till the display shows “HOT” before adding oil than food. Depending on the temperature and amount you put in the inner pot the screen may switch back to “On”.

      Reply
  7. Tamara
    Tamara says:

    After I have sautéed, pressure cooked and then sautéed (simmer) a dish, can I put the lid on and press keep warm for later?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Tamara,

      Absolutely, since sautee doesn’t go into automatic keep warm, cancel the program and select ” Keep warm” program.

      Reply
  8. Samantha Avery
    Samantha Avery says:

    When I use the saute feature, we press Saute, it says ON (pre heating) then it will say HOT but turn OFF, is that normal? Should it finish pre heating then i add food and the count down starts then, or does the count down start right away?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Samantha,

      The unit will show “On” while it is preheating and will change to “Hot” when it reaches temperature. Ensure to only add oil and food once it has switched to “Hot”. If you are adding frozen or lots of food, it may drop the temperature and go back to displaying “ON”; that is normal.

      The countdown starts right away and is a safety feature. If you need more time to saute, select saute again and continue sauteing.

      Reply
  9. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I don’t really have a problem just can’t figure something out! When I sauté something then I’m ready to close and cook, I have to unplug unit like I’m starting all over again because the manual button won’t do anything unless I unplug! Am I doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • Chris Wrinn
      Chris Wrinn says:

      Hi Kathy,

      We are happy to help.

      If you have to switch to another smart cooking program, you must first cancel the program you are on. Once Saute has been canceled, select manual and it input your desired cooking time, and pressure level. If you still cannot select manual after canceling saute, please reach out to our Customer Care Team. https://support.instantpot.com/

      Chris W

      Reply
  10. Stephen Curtice
    Stephen Curtice says:

    I am waiting for the release of the MAX (when?). Will the fine temperature adjustment in sous vide mode also work in the slow cooking mode?

    Reply
    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Hi Stephan,

      The Max is now available for pre-order on Amazon. The slow cooker feature only has high and low temperature settings but the sous vide, saute and keep warm all have a custom temperature setting.

      Reply
  11. Annie
    Annie says:

    I started browning my meat after the screen said hot like instructed. As I’m browning the screen turned back to ON. Confused as to is this normal or did the temp come down cause I put too much meat in even though the amount was still a flat layer on the bottom. Please advise.

    Reply
    • Chris Wrinn
      Chris Wrinn says:

      Hi Annie,

      That is normal. When large amounts of food or liquid are added to the inner pot, it can lower the temperature and the unit will display “On” to indicate that it is heating. Once food is introduced, you may not see the “Hot” message again—but you can certainly keep sautéing!

      Reply
  12. Julie
    Julie says:

    I have a new Instant Pot and the Saute button will not work, every other button works but the screen continues to say off when I try to use saute

    Reply
  13. Sai
    Sai says:

    Hi, When I turn on IP, it is by default going to saute mode and turns On and vessel gets heated. but none of the other options are working. No buttons work except for Saute . Why does this happen. It worked previously fine the night before.

    Reply
  14. nicole
    nicole says:

    I am trying to saute now, I have the lid off and pressed saute “more” to make it hot. it has said “on” for nearly 10 mins now and isn’t heating up 🙁 What is wrong? I need it for an 8 day cross country trip starting on Monday.

    Reply
    • Sorley Oneil
      Sorley Oneil says:

      Hello Nicole,

      Thank you for reaching out! I’ll be happy to help with your Instant Pot’s Saute function. From your description we will need to assist you via our technical support team. Please visit the following link to create a support ticket and someone will contact yourself within 24-72 hours; https://support.instantpot.com/

      Kind Regards,
      Sorley O

      Reply
  15. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    FYI, the squash soup has the incorrect measurements in the recipe book that comes with the pot. You actually need 64 oz. squash…..The blogs confirm this mistake or you can call Instant Pot if you want and HOPE that you get a customer service representative that is aware of this HUGE discrepancy. It’s in the 4th edition…Otherwise if you go by the recipe, you need a straw to “drink” the soup….

    Reply
  16. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    When I saute on the stovetop, I use Medium High. I wonder if there is chart that suggest saute temperature per veggies, chicken, meat, etc. Thanks in advance. Sadra

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Sandra,
      At this moment we do not offer a chart, but I will send this recommendation over to our team. What we do have included in the Lux manual https://instantpot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Lux-Series-Manual-English-January-23-2018-web-1.pdf is the temperature range – Sauté function: Less mode: ~105°C (~221°F); Normal mode: ~169°C (~336°F); More mode: ~174°C
      (~345°F) (pg 11) and recommendations of what kinda of sauté you could do for each setting (pg 9).

      Reply
      • Sandra Lundgren
        Sandra Lundgren says:

        Do you recommend using the high temperature versus medium or low, when sauting red meats? Chicken? Fish? Veggies? The oil is splattering all over the place when I use “high” to brown or sear meats? I have to use the splatter screen, I don’t want to get burned again. Please, a little guidance..
        Thank you, Sandra

        Reply
        • Chris Wrinn
          Chris Wrinn says:

          Hello Sandra,

          Thank you for leaving a comment. To reduce oil splatter, reduce both the temperature from high to normal (medium) and the amount of oil used. Normal heat is great for pan searing or sautéing. If you are browning, use high temperature and reduce the amount of oil used.

          Reply
  17. Pat Vance
    Pat Vance says:

    Haven’t sautee’d yet, but would like to. When you add the liquid after sauteeing, does the liquid have to be hot or room temp?

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Pat, it depends on what recipe you are working with and what you are trying to achieve. It’s really up to you if you’d like the liquid hot or lukewarm.

      Reply
  18. Beej
    Beej says:

    I have Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1… I m not sure how to lower the temperature in Sauté mode. I would like to saute in low temperatures mode.

    Reply
  19. Eddie King
    Eddie King says:

    Do I always need to add a large amount of water, cooking a chicken breast in water is boiling it.
    I want it to be brown on the outside, my son told me I had to add at least 1/2 cup water. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Always add at least 18 fl oz. / 500 ml of water or other liquids so enough steam can be
      generated to cook under pressure. These include cooking sauces, wine, beer, stocks,
      juices of fruits and vegetables

      Reply
  20. Trina
    Trina says:

    I have used my instant pot twice. All of the sudden my saute and manual button have stopped working. Everything else is fine. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  21. Linda Kaufman
    Linda Kaufman says:

    I went to use my IP tonight and the pot would not heat up on the sauté. Please HELP! I’ve had my IP for about 3 years and it’s always worked.

    Reply
  22. mary vieira
    mary vieira says:

    When I plug in my pot and hit the saute button instead of turning on it has lid on the screen. No matter what I do the lid will not come off the screen and it will not saute. What is wrong.

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Carole,
      It depends on which model and what temp setting you have it on (low, medium or high) but in general it should warm up and be ready in several minutes. You need to leave the lid off, if you need to cover it when you sauté it’s recommended that you use a glass lid.

      Reply
  23. Cindy Hall
    Cindy Hall says:

    How do I know what function to use when a recipe calls for a specific button (function button) the IP LUX does not have?
    Cindy Hall

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Cindy, What function are you looking for specifically? You will need to use a manual setting if the function isn’t there.

      Reply
  24. Carol
    Carol says:

    my saute mode is a 40 min cycle it looks like. it worked fine ie 30 mins until today. now when i press saute i see 40 mins flash on the screen instead of 30 before it switches to ON. please help

    Reply
    • mjun
      mjun says:

      Hi Kim,
      It depends on the amount of oil. A little isn’t going to cause an issue. If it’s over a tablespoon I’d pour out the oil first.

      Reply
  25. Carrie H
    Carrie H says:

    If I need to adjust the saute temperature, I have to turn the pot off, then turn it on again, and then within a few seconds I can adjust the level by pressing the adjust button repeatedly until it gets to the correct setting. Once it is turned on to a setting, I’ve found I cant adjust the temp from there without turning the unit off again.

    Reply
  26. Joy Richey Svoboda
    Joy Richey Svoboda says:

    My Adjust button doesn’t seem to do anything. The sauté function just stays at normal. Is there something wrong with my pot? I tried the + & – buttons too, no change.

    Reply
  27. Elizabeth Delgado
    Elizabeth Delgado says:

    I have not purchased the Instant Pot yet but my confusion is what size should I purchase. I do not want to go small and then realize I need to purchase bigger. Would the 6 quart be enough for a family of 5?

    Thank you, Liz

    Reply
    • Donna
      Donna says:

      Can I do canning with Instant Pot?

      There are two types of canning: boiling-water canning at 100°C/212°F (for acid fruits, tomatoes, pickles and jellied products) and pressure canning at 115~121°C/240~250°F (for low acid vegetables, meat and poultry). Please refer to “USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning” for more details.

      Instant Pot can be used for boiling-water canning. However, Instant Pot has not been tested for food safety in pressure canning by USDA. Due to the fact that programs in Instant Pot IP-CSG, IP-LUX and IP-DUO series are regulated by a pressure sensor instead of a thermometer, the elevation of your location may affect the actual cooking temperature. For now, we wouldn’t recommend using Instant Pot for pressure canning purpose.

      See also: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-canning-faq-put-em-up/#epc

      Reply
  28. Irma
    Irma says:

    Can you adjust the saute after it starts? It would be nice to be able to turn it town. Do I have to turn it off and reset it? Seems silly.

    Reply
    • Instant Pot Staff
      Instant Pot Staff says:

      Hi Irma,

      You can press Cancel and press Saute to restart the program. The program will operate based on current sensor reading. So it doesn’t matter which temperature it’s at.

      Reply
    • MrSouderton
      MrSouderton says:

      Instant Pot has made a great pressure cooker. Sautéing in the pot and then starting high pressure cooking is really efficient and doesn’t require dirtying additional pots/pans. I especially like the button simplicity, it doesn’t limit any of the capabilities one bit.

      Reply

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