An Instant Pot is one of the most convenient kitchen appliances you can have. It allows you to make wonderful soups, stews, and many other dishes in no time at all. Its “Keep Warm” feature is also great as your food can be kept warm until you’re ready to serve it.
But how long can you hold it at this temperature? Is there a point where the food will spoil? Keep reading and we’ll answer your questions.
How Long Can I Keep the Keep Warm Setting on a Instant Pot
When Would You Use “Keep Warm” Mode?
This is useful for easy entertaining or busy families when everyone comes home for dinner at a different time. How often have you dished up supper for the rest of the family but kept some aside for a family member who is working late?
It’s also great for holidays when you just want the food to be available and ready for anyone who pops by.
How to Use the “Keep Warm” Setting
As with anything on an Instant Pot, utilizing the “Keep Warm” mode is very simple. All you have to do is press the “Keep Warm” button before you set your pressure cooker to cook. After the pot has finished cooking, it will switch itself over to the “Keep Warm” mode.
You can also set the pot to keep warm if it is already off. Simply press the “Keep Warm” button and the function will be activated.
This Setting Will Not Cook the Food
It’s good to remember that the “Keep Warm” mode is not a cooking mode. The food must be thoroughly done before switching to this mode. It also cannot be used to reheat cold food. With this mode, the food will be held between 140 and 172˚F (60-78˚C).
Some Instant Pots have three temperature options on the Keep Warm setting – low, medium, and high. “Low” holds the food at about 158˚F (70˚C) while “High” keeps it at about 184˚F (84˚C).
This is considered a safe temperature to hold foods at in terms of bacterial growth as the safe limit is 140˚F or higher.
How Long Can I Keep Food Warm For?
There’s no “one size fits all” answer to the question, “How long can I keep food warm?” It depends on the type of food you have in there. Most Instant Pots have a setting to keep the food warm from between ten minutes to ten hours.
The timer can be set with the lid open or closed. However, many experienced chefs suggest that you don’t hold the food in the “Keep Warm” setting for more than five hours.
After this (and sometimes even before) the food will begin to deteriorate, the flavors will change, and you may even start to get bacterial growth.
Can I keep the Keep Warm Setting Overnight?
Theoretically yes, but we suggest not doing it. It is never a good idea to keep your Instant Pot on overnight. This may become dangerous in terms of food spoilage and bacterial growth. Plus, it’s a waste of electricity!
Also, the food begins to change after this long – the food thickens and loses flavor and texture. However, if you’re making Instant Pot yogurt, this would be an exception.
Can I Keep Food in a Dish Warm in My Instant Pot?
You can with a few conditions:
- The dish must fit easily inside the Instant Pot
- The dish must be heatproof
- The food in the dish must already be hot
- You should first put the trivet inside the pot then put the dish of food on top of that
- If it is food that you fear may dry out while it’s keeping warm, you can put a little boiling water at the bottom of the pot before lowering the dish in
Here Are Some Foods That Work Well With Extended Keeping Warm
- Casseroles with gravy
Here Are Some Foods We Don’t Recommend Keeping Warm For An Extended Time
While the Instant Pot manual says that food can be kept warm for up to ten hours in the appliance, we do not recommend using “Keep Warm” mode for longer than five. This will ensure optimal food flavor, texture, and safety.