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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.

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Instant potKen McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

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.

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Taste of Home

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.

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Taste of Home

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.

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Taste of Home

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.

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Taste of Home

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.

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Very vanilla slow cooker cheesecakeTaste of Home

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.

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Potluck fried chickenTaste of Home

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.

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Macaroni and Cheese SoupTaste of Home

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.

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Peach raspberry jamTaste of Home

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.

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No-Knead Harvest BreadTaste of Home

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.

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Honey chicken stir-fryTaste of Home

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.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Amanda Tarlton
As both a freelance lifestyle writer and editor for a national teen magazine, Amanda spends most of her time creating #content. In those (rare) moments when she's not at her desk typing furiously, she's likely teaching a hot yoga class, reading the latest chick-lit or baking a batch of her famous scones.
Nicole Doster
Nicole is the Content Director of TMB's Strategy and Performance team. She oversees the brand's shopping and trend editorial teams and assists with content planning across Taste of Home, Family Handyman, Reader's Digest, The Healthy and Birds & Blooms. With over seven years of experience writing and editing in the food and home space, she enjoys sharing cooking tips, recipe picks and product recommendations that make life a little easier. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's either practicing latte art or fixating on her latest DIY home renovation.