What Does the L Symbol Mean On the Instant Pot?

what does L mean on instant pot

Amidst a list of advantages and shortcomings of an instant pot, different types of brands offer several high-tech features and programming. One such programming functionality involves the display of symbols on the appliance for different cooking modes or in case of errors. The letter L on instant pot is one of such symbols. 

Even if the symbol helps in alerting the user in the event of a problem or detecting an issue, it won’t matter if the meaning is not known. So, if you are someone who has just started using an instant pot or are looking to by one but have no idea regarding the symbol L on instant pot, you have come to the correct place. In this blog we will be doing an in-depth analysis of the letter L on instant pot and what does L on instant pot mean.

What Does L Mean On Instant Pot?

Based on research and studies, the L on instant pot can be related to 2 things i.e., “Low heat” as well as “Keep Warm”. Let us dive deeper into the interpretation of what does L on instant pot mean in further sections.

-Low Heat

Basically, the letter L on an Instant Pot stands for “low heat”. It appears once the food in your Instant Pot has finished cooking. Once this time has passed, you can utilize L and adjust your time frame for keeping your food warm without having to cook it further. Low heat here signifies that your food is ready and currently it’s on low heat.

It serves the purpose of alerting you once it’s done cooking. You don’t have to touch any buttons to see this symbol. An L symbol appears once the pre-set time for the dish has passed.  

-Keep Warm 

The L on instant pot in this case indicates the duration for which the instant pot has been on the “KEEP WARM” function. For example L0:05. It means that the instant pot has been in low heat for the past 5 minutes. The L sign adjusts the temperature to 60°C when you aren’t ready to consume the prepared dish instantly. 

This keeps the food safe and prevents bacteria from forming. The L on instant pot comes up once your meal is ready and it continues to count for about 10 hours, keeping the food warm. It also does not display when the “keep warm” button is pressed. It’s simply a symbol that appears on its own, which is why some instant pot users believe it’s an error code.

Another explanation of the L symbol on an instant pot is that it prepares it for natural pressure release. You can use the L symbol to release the pressure 5-10 minutes after the food is ready if a recipe calls for it.

For example, if the food manual states that the pressure should naturally release for six minutes, start the timer when the L symbol appears on the pot. This means at the point when it shows “L0:06,” you can quick-release the pressure.

Related: Why Does My Instant Pot Say Burn?

Does the L Symbol Mean the Same on All Instant Pots? 

Despite the fact that not all instant pot models are designed with the same characteristics, several features are consistent across all models. After testing two distinct versions (Instant Pot Duo Nova, 6-Quart, and Instant Pot Smart WiFi), we thoroughly investigated the other seven types as well. Here’s what we found out:

  • The L symbol appears on all instant pot types, and it has the same meaning.
  • The L symbol, on the other hand, implies different things to different people.
  • Although some of the definitions are not defined in their guidebook, you may find the shared knowledge valuable.

The above-mentioned meanings are the most common interpretations that are recognized for the L symbol, however, the most prevalent one is that the instant pot is set to ‘low heat.’ All of the instant pot models have this low-heat option.

When the L symbol appears on any instant pot model, it indicates that the food is ready and has been switched to a “keep warm” setting. It appears near the timer on its own. You may need to set a timer for the keep-warm time frame for some models.

All manufacturers of instant pots employ similar and identical symbols across all of their models, but the newest ones include new programming features. Even though the symbols like- Bluetooth, error codes, wifi, etc- is different in different models, yet the meaning of the symbol L on instant pot remains the same.

This is because the instant pot automatically switches to low heat mode whenever a cooking cycle is completed. It tends to go off once you turn it off.  However, if you leave it on, it can stay in that same mode for around 10 hours if not adjusted.

What Modes Will Show the L Symbol on An Instant Pot?

-When You Don’t Consume Food Right After (Keep Warm) 

In this mode, the L on the instant pot denotes how long the instant pot has been on the “KEEP WARM” mode. With the “KEEP WARM” setting, you can keep your food warm if you do not wish to consume food right after. This function helps in maintaining an adequate warm temperature within the instant pot.

The “KEEP WARM” mode is automatically turned on once the cooking cycle of some meal gets over, keeping your food warm until you’re ready to consume it. The Keep Warm option can also be programmed. To activate it, simply push the Keep Warm/Cancel button, when the pot is either on standby mode or off mode.

-Indication for Safe Quick Release 

It’s risky to open an instant pot as soon as your food item is ready. Follow the timer count as soon as the L symbol lights up for recipes that require a quick release of pressure. It is recommended that you set it at least for 5 minutes. It is usually recommended that leave your instant pot on the L sign when your food is ready and you want a quick pressure release.

While the L symbol is lit up, you can put recipes in the instant pot that need you to start on high heat and end on low heat. Low heat will provide the slow cooking mode required for complimenting the recipe guide. If you’re into slow cooking, refer our guide on how to use the instant pot as a slow cooker.


We believe that by now you must have gotten an overall idea of the letter L on the instant pot along with its meaning and uses. To sum it up, it basically denotes “low heat” and “keep warm” once your instant pot has finished cooking.

It implies that once the cooking cycle is over, you may utilize the “L” to warm up meals without having to re-cook your food items. Recipes requiring a high heat in the beginning and low heat in the end go well with an instant pot while the L symbol is lit up. 

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