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The 20 Best Things to Cook with an Instant Pot or Multicooker


April 7, 2019 Home By Photo by Half Baked Harvest

Instant Pots can cook anything. But what are they truly great at? The answer, most of the time, is anything that usually takes a while but that you’d rather not take a while to make. Here are 20 of the absolute best things to cook when you get an Instant Pot or any other multicooker.

Pot Roast

Pot roast holds a place in the pantheon on Instant Pot miracles. Using rather poor quality meat (by the general standard that which we judge meats), the hallowed pot roast is traditionally cooked for a long time and left to turn spindly fat fibers into wonderful, gelatinous, melt in your mouth fat. The Instant Pot does this, and takes a fraction of the time to do it. It’s magic.

Photo: Food Network

Rice

There are thousands of recipes for rice scattered across the internet. Instead of starting with those, start with a recipe straight from the source. This recipe on the Instant Pot website highlights one very important truth about the machine — it does not allow much at all in the form of evaporation. This means water-rice ratios when making rice are virtually always one-to-one, no matter how much you’re making.

Photo: Instant Pot

Beans

What do you gain from making beans in a multicooker instead of any other method? You get to skip the “soak beans overnight” step. This means you can start with dry beans and have them ready to eat in an hour, and anybody whose made beans made fresh instead of out of a can knows there is no real comparison between the two.

Photo: Sweet C’s

Barbacoa Beef

Barbacoa-style beef is great for the exact same reasons pot roast is great — the turning of otherwise undesirable protein into something stellar. Though this recipe calls for beef, you can substitute it out for your preferred protein.

Photo: WATERBURY PUBLICATIONS, INC.

Flan

Get the mixture started in a saucepan, divide it into individual ramekins and pressurize. The result is flan that is both faster and less prone to overcooking and drying out, a common problem in oven flan recipes.

Photo: Taste of Home

Ramen

You’ll need to scroll passed a rather long intro to get to it, but this recipe underscores what makes pressure cooking, and the Instant Pot, great. Throw a bunch of powerful ingredients in the cooking chamber, allow the temperature and pressure buildup to force the flavors to meddle, then throw in some noodles and meat at the very in for another few minutes. It will be the fastest and simplest ramen you’ve made.

Photo: Half Baked Harvest

Mashed Potatoes

Not it does not mash the potatoes for you, but it does get them mash-ready in ten minutes or less. This option is far quicker than boiling, and far better for the potato than trying some crafty microwave trick.

Photo: Skinny Taste

Chicken Noodle Soup

Oh, yes. One of the best cozy meals of all time is made in an Instant Pot — start to finish — in 20 minutes or less. It allows the cooking and tenderizing of chicken thighs, veggies and noodles very quickly. Hot tip: keep the bones in the mix for a richer, more flavorful bowl.

Photo: Cooking Classy

Salmon

Cooking fish in an Instant Pot does not seem as natural as pot roast or heaping bowls of rice, but it ought to. Salmon filets cook through in all of 5 minutes on the steam setting (use the steam rack to keep it off the base of the pot).

Photo: Savory Tooth

Yogurt

Perhaps the strangest thing about making yogurt in an Instant Pot is that you’ll need some yogurt to make it in the first place (either yogurt or a packet of live cultures to whisk in). Yogurt is one of the few recipes in an Instant Pot that doesn’t receive a drastic decrease in cook and prep time, so plan accordingly.

Photo: CHRISTOPHER TESTANI/Epicurious

Beef Bourguignon

All told, this Dutch oven classic typically takes anywhere from three to five hours to come together. In an Instant Pot that number is more like half an hour (prep included). The most notable difference being the amount of liquid that will cook off in a Dutch oven versus the Instant Pot. To combat this (if you think it’s an issue) is to use slightly less liquid than you would normally with this dish.

Photo: Taste of Home

Pancake

Notice the singular “pancake.” The single, giant pancake is something of a cult Instant Pot recipe, and it’s not exactly practical. The giant pancake takes longer (much longer) than making your typical weekend pancake on a non-stick pan. But does your weekend pancake routine create an inches-thick Godzilla pancake? It doesn’t.

Photo: Delish

Boiled Eggs

Whether you’re on a protein-dense diet or making cobb salads, boiling eggs is a practice perhaps better served in an Instant Pot than anywhere else. Because the pot cooks with pressure instead of a single heat source, the eggs cook from all directions, meaning no more pockets of undercooked boiled egg. Also, the boiling eggs rest of the steam rack, meaning the chance of them cracking during cooking is slim to none. It also only takes five minutes to hard boil.

Photo: TED CAVANAUGH/Epicurious

Butter Chicken

This is not a traditional Indian butter chicken recipe. It is, however, close enough, given its 15-minute combined prep- and cook-time. Lots of curries and saucey dishes such as this are ideal Instant Pot fodder, as the lack of varied texture in the dish isn’t a glaring issue (texture uniformity can be solved with peanuts, chopped scallions, etc.).

Photo: The Typical Mom

Chili

Chili is an Instant Pot staple, as are most dishes where intense flavors are usually held back by long cook times. It’s doubly good because while the pressure cooking of the Instant Pot does abbreviate the cook-time, chili is also a dish that isn’t big on texture in the first place, meaning there’s not much missed from a stock pot made chili and an Instant Pot made chili.

Photo: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Stock

This is more a matter of ease and time saved than anything else. The Instant Pot isn’t going to do anything incredible to homemade chicken stock, it’s just going to make it faster.

Photo: Budget Bytes

Ribs

As classic as a steak in a skillet and burgers on a grill, ribs in the Instant Pot is one of the crowning recipes of the multicooker boom. And it isn’t without reason — racks of ribs brought to falling of the bone in under a half hour (finished off on broil in the oven) is close enough to traditional barbeque-smoked ribs to satisfy most cravings.

Photo: Damn Delicious

Mac and Cheese

This is very likely the simplest mac and cheese recipe possible. It comes down to putting water, noodles and salt in a pot, letting it run for four or five minutes, then stirring in the remaining ingredients. I don’t know what else to say — it’ll take you a grand total of half an hour, start to finish, and requires no babysitting.

Photo: Food Network

Cobbler

The Instant Pot’s ability to obliterate and deepen the flavor of dishes in no time is probably its greatest strength, and that’s exactly why this 20-minute peach cobbler is great. You can flip peaches for another fruit if you wish (I don’t know why you would) and top with vanilla ice cream.

Photo: Instant Pot

Whole Chicken

What you lose in texture from oven to Instant Pot you make up for in time and tenderness. Before you embark on making a whole bird in your Instant Pot, ensure the bird isn’t too big (this is when the larger sized Instant Pots are nice).

Photo: Lemon Blossoms
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