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The First 16 Things You Should Cook in Your Instant Pot

We knew it could do so much more than a regular pressure cooker, but who knew quick meals could be this fun? Here are 16 ways to use your Instant Pot.

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Your Instant Pot is packed with possibilities, so it can be overwhelming to choose what to whip up first! This multi-cooker combines the functions of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice maker and more so you can make comforting dishes without the hassle. Don’t know where to start with buying an Instant Pot? Check out our guide and then get to cooking these dishes below!

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Soup

No matter the season, there’s something very satisfying about coming home to a warm bowl of soup. This hearty potato soup is perfect for a cold night in, and this Italian sausage and kale soup will definitely impress your guests. You can’t go wrong with soup no matter how you cook it, but something about doing these in the Instant Pot makes them just right.

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Chowder

You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. You say soup, I say chowder. Well, that’s not really how it goes, but all quips aside, chowders and soups are different, so if you’re tired of soup, try a chowder in your Instant Pot. The creamy base of this clam chowder or a bacon-studded corn chowder could be just what you need on a chilly evening.

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Roast Chicken

You can throw a whole chicken into your Instant Pot to keep you and your loved ones fed and full all week long. Or, try chicken thighs (we love this apple-balsamic dish) and other cuts that typically take a long time to roast. This dish will definitely impress guests, especially when you tell them you made this hands-off version in your Instant Pot—no oven roasting required. And did you know you can even cook frozen chicken in your Instant Pot when you’re really crunched for time? Believe it!

Get more Instant Pot chicken recipes.

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Oatmeal

Oatmeal is so easy to dress up with healthy add-ons like chia seeds and fruit, and couldn’t be easier to pop into your Instant Pot. (We especially love these carrot cake and pumpkin spice varieties!) You can finish getting ready in the morning without fear of anything boiling over on your stovetop while your pressure cooker works its magic. Want to go all-in with your Instant Pot? See what it’s like to cook with only a pressure cooker for a week.

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Desserts

Cheesecakecobbler and pudding are just a few dishes sure to satisfy your sweet tooth after time in an Instant Pot. Especially for large gatherings and parties, you’ll want to free up space in the oven for other dishes, so throwing your dessert in this appliance will have your whole kitchen smelling delicious. There are so many different dessert recipes we bet you didn’t know you could make in an Instant Pot.

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Egg Dishes

Who doesn’t love waking up to the smell of fresh breakfast in the morning? Making Instant Pot breakfasts couldn’t be easier. Prepare a delicious ham and cheddar breakfast casserole or beefy breakfast hash for your family and friends who love eggy breakfasts. Use the recipe as a base, then throw in whatever veggies, meats and cheese you’d like. Find out if you can put frozen meat in a crockpot.

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Condiments

Yes, your Instant Pot can do that, too! This pressure cooker can make a fruit compote if you’re feeling something sweet, and salsa if you’re feeling a little spicy. Not only will homemade condiments taste better, but they’ll also be far fresher than anything you can get in the store. Plus, you can jar these foods to make great gifts for family and friends.

Become a pressure cooker pro with Instant Pot secrets your owner’s manual won’t tell you.

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Rice Dishes

This one might seem obvious, but there are so many versatile possibilities you can do with rice. Make cajun pork and rice or a chicken bog for an easy dinner that can last through the week. Instant Pots double as pressure cookers and rice makers, so these rice-based dishes really make use of this multi-function cooker.

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Bean Dishes

You can’t have beans without rice! Well, you can, but the more the merrier, right? After cooking up your favorite rice dishes, try some bean dishes in your instant pot. Spicy cowboy beans would be perfect with a barbecue and Instant Pot black beans are a tasty side for taco nights at home.

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Yogurt

OK, hear us out: There are dozens of Instant Pot recipes to try, so you might as well have fun with it and try some new recipes from time to time. This sweet vanilla yogurt is a thrifty way to start a new batch of yogurt when you’re almost out. The best part is that you can dress up the yogurt with any fruits and spices you like.

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Pot Roast

Cutting out hours of cooking? We’ll take it! There are so many variations of a juicy pot roast you can make in your Instant Pot. Try a zesty, spiced Caribbean pot roast or a super tender mushroom pot roast. If you have a bag of egg noodles in your pantry, go for a spice-braised pot roast to serve over the noodles.

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Potatoes

You can cook quite a few vegetables in your pressure cooker, but potatoes might just be our favorite comfort food. Whether you like potato salad or creamy mashed potatoes, you can do it all in your Instant Pot. This is an ideal time saver when your oven is filled with other dishes for big holidays or family parties.

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Ground Beef

Ground beef dinners are usually easy as-is, but when you add a pressure cooker to the mix, those dinners get a whole lot quicker. Try Mexican stuffed peppers or a filling meat loaf when you need a cozy homemade meal that won’t take forever to prepare. Instant Pot ground beef recipes are also a great way to meal prep for the week without taking up a bunch of kitchen space.

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Pork

When it comes to Instant Pot recipes that take less than 30 minutes, there are quite a few options, but the juicy pork dishes are some of our favorites. Try a balsamic pork tenderloin and plate it over a bed of golden mashed potatoes or go for a pork and apple curry when you need something new in your typical dinner rotation.

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Vegetables

When your oven or stove is full with main courses, your pressure cooker can come through and save the night. Add your veggies to the chamber and cook until soft and steamed. Here’s an easy guide to cooking vegetables in your Instant Pot.

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Pasta

Yep, you can also cook pasta in your Instant Pot! From smaller noodles like this Mediterranean chicken orzo to smoked salmon pasta to a fun mashup like taco pasta with shells, the noodle possibilities are endless for pressure-cooker dinners.

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What Not to Cook in an Instant Pot

We certainly covered a lot of foods that cook really well in a pressure cooker, but there are a few recipes that don’t translate well to this method of cooking. Fried foods are one of the things that are going to be hard to recreate in your Instant Pot. Fried foods need really hot oil to get that classic (and necessary!) crispy coating; because of this, pressure cooking works well for pan frying and sauteing, but not frying.

If you like to knock on your bread loaves when they’ve cooled to test the strength of the crust, you might be disappointed if you try baking bread in your pressure cooker. The appliance won’t crisp up the outside of the dough the way an even oven bake will.

Lastly, you might want to hold off on cooking stir-fry recipes in your Instant Pot and save those for your wok. The appliance isn’t large enough to get that quick-flash fry and texture that is necessary for a stir-fry.

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
Rosemary Siefert
Rosemary is an editor at Taste of Home where she can combine her love of writing with her love of all things food. When she's not working, Rosie can be found curled up with a coffee and a book, testing a new recipe for dinner or trying a new dish at a local restaurant.