5 Things You Can Make in an Instant Pot—and 5 You Should Avoid
The Instant Pot is our new kitchen hero, but there are a few guidelines for this multi-tasking tool. Learn why recipes like Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs are a do and jams are a don't.
It seems like every home cook has jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon—and for good reason. This multi-tasking appliance is a kitchen all-star. It pressure cooks, slow cooks, sautés and so much more (just check out all the reasons we love it!). With so many settings, it seems like you can make *almost* anything in this new device. We’ll guide you through the best things to make in the Instant Pot, plus, what to skip.
Haven’t purchased an Instant Pot yet? Check out this guide to see which model is right for you.
Works well: Eggs
While you may want to stick to the skillet when it comes to over-easy or sunny-side-up, pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are a genius way to cook hard-boiled eggs. Using the steamer rack (or one of these handy silicone racks) you can cook almost a dozen eggs at a time. Get the full how-to guide here or get the recipe for our Pressure Cooker Garlic-Dill Deviled Eggs.
Works well: Soup
The Instant Pot makes quick work of dishes you’d traditionally make in a slow cooker, so soup is a given. Its pressure cooker setting makes hearty dishes like this Pressure Cooker Mexican Beef Soup tender and flavorful. Find our favorite Instant Pot soup recipes here.
Works well: Rice dishes
Say so long to your rice cooker! Most Instant Pot models come with this setting built right in. We particularly like to use converted rice (read Uncle Ben’s) as a shortcut in recipes like Lora’s Pressure Cooker Rice and Beans to have dinner ready in a snap. Don’t miss our 17 easiest Instant Pot recipes for beginners.
Works well: Roasts
One of the greatest benefits of an Instant Pot is that you’re able to throw whole roasts—think chuck, pork, even chicken—into the pot for hands-free cooking. Try your hand at our Pressure-Cooker Beef Carnitas which traditionally take 8 hours in the slow cooker, but take less than an hour in the Instant Pot. Did you know that you can cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot, too? Here’s how.
Works well: Some desserts
You might be surprised to hear that sweet dishes like cobbler, pudding and even cheesecake are Instant Pot winners, too. Most Instant Pot can fit a springform pan, small baking dish or 2-3 ramekin, allowing for the pressure-cooker to become a compact water bath for these delicate desserts. Plus, it frees up valuable space in the oven for larger events. Check out all of our favorite Instant Pot desserts here.
Doesn’t work so well: Fried foods
The crispy chicken you crave—you know, like the kind you get from KFC—is not going to come from an Instant Pot. That’s because the key to successful frying is getting the oil hot enough, which your new pressure cooker isn’t able to do. The Instant Pot might be good for a quick pan fry or sauté, but it’s not a deep fryer. Try our best chicken recipes to make in an Instant Pot instead.
Doesn’t work so well: Dairy-heavy dishes
Anything that uses milk as a main ingredient (like cream soups or even macaroni and cheese) can be a struggle to make in your pressure cooker. The high heat can make the milk curdle which is not exactly appetizing. So approach these dishes with caution if you choose to proceed.
Doesn’t work so well: Jams, jellies and preserves
To successfully can those fresh raspberries for a delicious spread, you have to be able to closely monitor the temperature as you cook. Which is something that the Instant Pot can’t do (it measures the pressure). So stay away from any canning recipes with your Instant Pot—even pickles.
Doesn’t work so well: Bread
While you can make bread in an Instant Pot, due to the way the appliance cooks, you won’t get that nice, crispy crust on the outside—and isn’t that one of the best parts? So skip the Instant Pot on this one and give this easy no-knead bread a try instead. Soak it up with these saucy Instant Pot recipes.
Doesn’t work so well: Stir-fry
There’s a reason your favorite beef and broccoli stir-fry is typically made in a wok—the high heat and wide pan are essential to get the right texture and taste. While the Instant Pot can get hot, the pot’s surface area isn’t large enough to get the right sear.
If this list sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! While the Instant Pot shouldn’t be used for these six foods, there’s still plenty this appliance can do.
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