The Instant Pot is a new appliance that has hit the market. It has a combination of features that makes cooking so much easier. Because it has so many features, it can sometimes become confusing to which setting has which requirements. This can lead to the question, can you cook in an Instant Pot without a lid?

You can cook in an Instant Pot without a lid. It is important to understand that this is only possible in specific settings and cooking modes. If the Instant Pot is in a cooking mode that requires pressure to work, the lid is required for safety reasons.

Once you know you can use the Instant Pot without a lid, read on to find out which settings are safe to cook without and which are not. In addition, we’ll cover why certain settings allow for the removal of the lid while others do not.

Under Pressure

Before taking the lid off and cooking everything in sight with your Instant Pot, it is important to get familiar with the settings. The lid is required if you plan to cook with any settings that require pressure. This is because the lid has a special safety valve to ensure the pressure does not build up and send the lid flying. Below is a table to help you decide.

Instant Pot SettingDoes it Use Pressure?Does It Need A Lid?
Slow CookNoNo
Keep WarmNoNo

The three options on the Instant Pot can be used without a lid now that you know which ones require pressure and a lid and which ones don’t. There is no doubt that most people are just unaware of the fact that this is a safe practice.

Slow Cook

Because slow cooking does not require pressure, it does not require a lid either. Although it is not mandatory to use a lid when using the Instant Pot in this mode, it is highly recommended that you do so. 

There does not have to be a heavy-duty crockpot lid with the pressure valve attached; it can be a regular crockpot lid or a similar glass-type lid.

The lid is helpful because it keeps the temperature inside the pot level during the cooking period. 

This ensures the food is cooked evenly and to the proper temperature per safety standards. If the lid is left off for an extended amount of time, then it is possible that the food will not cook correctly and turn out terrible. So while you can avoid the lid, it is not recommended.


If you use an Instant Pot to prepare a meal, you are removing the need for a stove top from the equation. 

This process occurs within the instant pot’s inner pot, so it is unnecessary to use the pressure release valve when sautéing. This is because when you saute food, the pressure does not need to be applied. There are some other settings you can use without the pressure release valve.

Just think, the last time you made a stir fry on the stovetop, did you use a cover when prepping the vegetables? Probably not. The same principle can be applied when using saute mode to sear meat. 

This function is open air and creates enough heat at the bottom of the inner pot to provide color and lock in flavor. You might even get an alert saying “burn” on your Instant Pot screen if you use sautee with the lid on. Skip the lid, and saute away.

Keep Warm

This is another function of the Instant Pot that does not require a lid, although it may be a good idea to use one if you have one available. In this way, the inner pot is warmed just enough to keep the food contained within it warm after it is cooked. 

There is no better way to make a party, a BBQ, or another event memorable than to use this feature. For it to function properly and keep the food warm, it does not require pressure to function.

It is still recommended that a cover be used. This is because it prevents the cold, drafty air from the room from entering the food. The lid will help the heat from the keep warm setting envelope the food. This is important if you like food heated all over instead of in one spot.

Off With The Lid

Because of the extreme versatility of the Instant Pot, it is really easy and convenient to use during everyday cooking. It is even better to use the Instant Pot without the actual lid. This is because it prevents the need for a hot stovetop or more dishes from the stove in the summer. Cooking with the Instant Pot without a lid can be safe and fun.