By now, we're sure you know you can make rice, chicken, and plenty of other quick dinners in an Instant Pot. But we bet you didn't know you could make some of these things. Prepare to be amazed, you guys!
If you own an Instant Pot, then we bet you're as obsessed as we are. It's one of those miracle inventions we really wish we thought of. Either way, we're glad it exits, because it makes meal prep SO much easier!
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As much as you love your Instant Pot, though, we bet you've never used it to make some of the dishes we're about to share! We did all the research so you can have all the fun eating. Get ready for some creative twists on sides, breakfasts, desserts, meals, and more.
INSTANT POT ACCESSORIES TO BUY
You wouldn't wear a new outfit for a hot date night without the perfect accessories, right? Well, don't leave your new Instant Pot hanging, either! One of the keys to making the most of this magical appliance is having the right accessories. Here are a few things we suggest you stock up on:
- Silicone Sealing Ring – While your Instant Pot came with one, they do wear and tear over time, so it's good to have replacements!
- Extra Stainless Steel Inner Pot – Because sometimes you don't feel like doing dishes! Hey, we get it. It also comes in handy to have an extra for storing leftovers, too!
- Glass Lid – In case you want to use your Instant Pot like a slow cooker!
- Steamer Basket – It never hurts to have a few extras!
- Bakeware Sling – You can make your own using foil, but it's way easier to buy one!
- Tongs – It's good to have a nice pair of tongs on hand even if you don't have an instant pot. But if you grab a silicone pair, you'll be glad you have them as you try some of these recipes.
- Stackable Inserts – Maximize space and multi-task with a set of stackable instant pot inserts.
- Cheesecake Pan – If you plan on making desserts in your instant pot (which you should!), then you'll need to add a cheesecake pan to your shopping cart.
Pro Tip: You can save some cash by buying all your accessories in a bundle. Check out this 23-piece pressure cooker set on Amazon. And be sure to check out this post to learn how to use your Instant Pot to its full potential!
OUR FAVORITE HACK: BATCH COOKING PROTEIN IN THE INSTANT POT
If you're new here, then you might not know that we're big fans of cooking meat in batches, then freezing it for later! Our motto? Buy one for now and one to freeze! If you want to give batch cooking a try, here are some proteins that cook nicely in your favorite kitchen appliance:
- Ribs – When we asked members of our Shelf Cooking community to share their faves, here's what Pam W. had to say: “Use a meat rub, simple is fine, but it's important! Place 1.5 cups of water in the bottom, cut up onion, some sugar, a splash of liquid smoke, and a good pour of vinegar. Cook for 25 minutes for fall-off-the-bone ribs. Remove to foil-lined broiler pan, add BBQ sauce, and broil until done. You'll never look back!”
- Ground Beef – Whether you want to make tacos, Sloppy Joe's, lasagna, or spaghetti, it's never a bad idea to have some cooked ground beef ready to go! Make meal prep a breeze by cooking a big batch in your Instant Pot.
- Chicken – Make a big batch to use in quesadillas, soups, casseroles, and more! Find out how we cook shredded chicken in the Instant Pot. Spoiler alert: it's a huge time-saver!
- Pork Chops – Is there anything that doesn't taste good with a little ranch? We vote no! Try this delicious Instant Pot pork chop recipe from The Salty Marshmallow. You'll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!
- Hard-Boiled Eggs – We love this hack! Learn how to make hard-boiled eggs in your Instant Pot.
You'll be so glad you have these meats and proteins ready to grab for a quick dinner on a busy night! Now, looking for complete meals to make? We've got you covered!
INSTANT POT MEALS TO TRY
There's nothing we love more than a one-dish meal! These Instant Pot dinners are the epitome of convenience, and they're pretty dang delicious, too:
- Soup – Instant Pots were pretty much made for cooking soup! Learn how to build your own soup with ingredients you already have.
- Crack Chicken – Melissa M. told us on Facebook that her family loves making crack chicken in their Instant Pot. Grab her fave recipe in our Facebook group!
- Beef & Broccoli – Your favorite Asian takeout meal in the Instant Pot?! Yup!
- Spaghetti – You guys know how much we love a good pasta dinner! It's cheap; it's easy, it's filling. What's not to love?! Make it even better (and easier) by making a big batch of spaghetti in the Instant Pot.
- Beef Stew – A hearty beef stew is the perfect winter meal! You can toss in any produce you need to use up, and you're almost guaranteed to not have leftovers. Don't overthink it! Just convert your favorite crockpot recipe and whip up a big batch in no time.
- Lasagna – Have you tried our slow cooker lasagna recipe? This one is a breeze to make in the Instant Pot, too!
- Chicken Risotto – If you think risotto is time-consuming and complicated to make, think again! Jennie B. told us on Facebook that she loves making chicken risotto in her Instant Pot!
- Chicken Alfredo – Can you tell we like pasta?! Grab our Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo recipe.
Now the hardest decision you have to make is which one of these meals to cook first! For now, onward to breakfast items, you guys!
MAKE-AHEAD BREAKFAST IDEAS
Yes, that's right. You can use your Instant Pot to whip up a mean breakfast! We asked the Shelf Cooking Facebook community to spill the deets on a few of their faves, and here ya go:
- Banana Bread – Banana bread counts as breakfast, right? That's our theory, and we're sticking to it!
- Yogurt – Have you ever noticed that yogurt button on your Instant Pot? Put it to good use! You can make a big batch of plain yogurt to add to other recipes or experiment with different flavors for snacking. Brooklin D. said: “I've made coconut yogurt before. The recipes are trial and error, but it's really good!”
- Steel Cut Oats – Charene K. said she makes weeks' worth of steel-cut oats in just 5-minutes. Woah! Yes, please.
- Egg Cups – You guys know we love to make our breakfasts ahead of time, and egg cups are a fave. Well, you can make them in the Instant Pot, too! Just grab some silicone molds and watch the magic happen.
- Breakfast Casserole – Round up some potatoes, sausage, eggs, and cheese. Let your Instant Pot do all the hard work, and you'll have a filling breakfast in no time!
- French Toast – What?! French toast in the Instant Pot? Yup! Check out this French Toast recipe from Princess Pinky Girl.
Breakfast is served! Now, what the heck else can you make in the Instant Pot?! Oh, we still have plenty of ideas. On to the sides!
SAVORY SIDES YOU'VE GOTTA TRY
We all know how easy it is to cook a big batch of rice in the Instant Pot but some of these side dishes might surprise you:
- Beans – Lentils were made to be cooked in the Instant Pot! Try Limas, Pintos, Black beans, and Blackeyed Peas. You can even make refried beans!
- Macaroni and Cheese – Kristin B. had this to say about this Instant Pot mac ‘n cheese recipe from Lauren's Latest: “I substitute 9oz milk + 3oz half & half for the evaporated milk. It's creamy, delicious, and the pasta cooks perfectly.”
- Mashed Potatoes – Make ahead a big batch of mashed potatoes while you're meal prepping for the week! Fun fact: you can totally freeze mashed potatoes! Check out this Instant Pot mashed potatoes recipe from The Salty Marshmallow.
- Baked Potatoes – You can bake potatoes in the Instant Pot, too! They'll be ready in less than 30 minutes. Score!
- Brussels Sprouts – Have you tried our roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe?! It's amazing. Modify it for the Instant Pot and watch the magic happen.
- Corn on the Cobb – You could boil your corn on the cobb, or you can toss it in the Instant Pot. Folks on Pinterest swear by this hack!
- Cauliflower Mash – Looking to cut carbs? Make a dreamy, creamy cauliflower mash in your Instant Pot for a healthy side dish option.
- Quinoa – You can cook quinoa in ONE minute! Detoxinista has the deets!
Pro Tip: If you can cook it in the crockpot, you can cook it in the Instant Pot! Wondering how to convert a recipe? Check out this handy Instant Pot guide from Taste of Home.
MAKE THESE DESSERTS IN MINUTES
If you've got a sweet tooth, then you're our kind of people! Try one of these classics and cut down on the prep time by pressure cooking it:
- Cobbler – Take your pick of fruit! We like peach, blueberry, or blackberry. Cherry or apple will work, too. Try this peach cobbler recipe from The Wimpy Vegetarian.
- Cheesecake – We'd honestly buy an Instant Pot for the cheesecake alone! And the Shelf Cooking community seems to agree. Heather R. shared this cheesecake recipe from Amy + Jacky.
- Chocolate Lava Cake – Skip the restaurant and make a lava cake at home!
- Brownies – We'll never say no to fresh-baked brownies! You don't even need to make your own batter. Try using the boxed mix and wait and see how moist they come out. That steam is magical, you guys!
- Hot Cocoa – Add your favorite cocoa mix and water to your pot on sauté mode and allow it to simmer until it begins to bubble. Add some heavy cream and stir. Once it begins to bubble again, press “cancel” and then turn on the “warm” setting. This is a great hack for serving hot cocoa at a party!
- Apple Crisp – Try converting our slow cooker apple crisp recipe and cook this one up in the Instant Pot! It's delicious!
Want a homemade treat to serve alongside one of these desserts? You've got to try our ice cream recipe! It's so creamy and so dreamy, and it's begging for a brownie to top.
USE THAT POT TO MAKE GIFTS
Did you know that you can use your Instant Pot to make gifts and beauty products in addition to making delicious food? Yup! Here are five non-food items to try:
- Candles – Who isn't impressed by a homemade candle?! Experiment with scents and colors and have some fun! You can make candles in the slow cooker, too. Hello, new hobby!
- Potpourri – Fill up a few satchels of some homemade potpourri to give your home an extra cozy and inviting vibe. You can use oils and herbs you already have to make a big batch for pennies!
- Elderberry Syrup – Keep colds at bay without breaking the budget! You can buy elderberry syrup at the drugstore for $10 (or more), or you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost. Simply Happy Foodie has an elderberry syrup recipe you need to try!
- Soap – If soap-making is your jam, you need to check out our post all about homemade soaps! We have more than a dozen recipes for you to try. And, yup. You can make them in your Instant Pot!
- Face Cream – If you remember the slap bracelet trend, can recite every lyric from The Little Mermaid soundtrack, or had a crush on the Backstreet Boys growing up, then it might be time to invest in a good face cream. Sure, you could buy one, but doesn't it sound like fun to make some?! Wisebread has the deets you need to learn how to make beauty products at home.
If you're looking for more homemade gift ideas, we've got ya covered! See? You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on treating your friends to a heartfelt gift!
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Well, now you're ready to put that Instant Pot to good use! From dinners the whole family will love to gifts that are sure to impress, there really isn't much you can't do in an Instant Pot!
What's your favorite way to use yours?! Drop us a comment below! We can't wait to hear all about your favorite recipes, hacks, tips, and tricks.
Looking for more ways to make meal planning easy peasy?
- Shelf cook like a champ with these kitchen organization tips!
- Learn how to save a TON of money (and time) with these shelf cooking tips.
- Grab this list of dinner ideas for all the inspiration you need to come up with a killer meal plan!
Go hug your Instant Pot, then have some fun!