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7 Instant Pot Recipes To Simplify Weeknight Cooking

These recipes make use of the most versatile appliance in your kitchen.

We recently covered the news that the parent company Instant Pot filed for bankruptcy—but in an odd way, the story only underlined the incredible usefulness of this Swiss army knife of a kitchen appliance. After all, if the company is having a hard time pushing additional units, it's because everyone who wanted one long ago went ahead and purchased one (they're relatively affordable), and most people who bought one are still happy with the model they have (though upgrades are available).

To say the Instant Pot is useful is an understatement: A combination pressure cooker and slow cooker, the countertop appliance can cook a much wider range of foods than you might think, and just because the air fryer trend dulled the Instant Pot conversation doesn't mean the latter isn't still incredibly useful in the kitchen.

The following recipes demonstrate just how versatile the Instant Pot can be at all stages of the cooking process. Let us know which recipes you use your Instant Pot for most often.

Vegetable Sambar

A good kitchen appliance will help you out, but only where it counts—as home cooks, we still want to feel like we're contributing to the meal in some way. That's why this Instant Pot Vegetable Sambar is essential: It lets you play around with spices to layer flavor, and it also demonstrates the full range of the appliance's labor-saving capabilities: pressure cooking, rice cooking, and saute mode are all deployed to make this comforting lentil stew. Get the recipe. 


Baby Back Ribs

When you see the smooth, round little chamber of an Instant Pot, your first thought probably isn't, "I should put a rack of ribs in here." Still, the cooking method produces tender and juicy results, which you can then finish under the broiler or on the grill for a succulent final product. It won't taste like true barbecue, but it doesn't have to—the fall-off-the-bone texture is satisfying no matter what. Get the recipe here.


French Onion Lentil Soup

That's not a typo—this Instant Pot mashup is a delicious combination of two classic soups, with a concentrated flavor created via pressure cooking. If the Instant Pot has one weakness, it's that caramelizing onions in it can often leave you with a lot of residual liquid. So, this soup takes that liquid and turns it into a brothy foundation upon which to layer spices and starches. Best of all, if you skip the yogurt-topped bread garnish, it's a completely vegan dish. Get the recipe here.


Indian Butter Chicken

This recipe for Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken comes courtesy of chef Chandra Ram, author of The Complete Indian Instant Pot Cookbook (available for purchase here). Chicken, rice, tomato, cream, butter—not only is butter chicken full of comforting flavor, but its ingredients are all well served by the Instant Pot, which can handle the job efficiently. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by swapping the chicken for firm tofu or paneer. Get the recipe here.


Pork Chile Verde

Pork Chile Verde is a Mexican-influenced dish served throughout the Southwest, and while many versions include potatoes, tomatoes, spices, and lots of salsa, this Instant Pot version strips the dish down to its essentials. In fact, this recipe is two recipes—a more intensive one that builds the salsa verde from scratch, and a weeknight version that uses jarred salsa verde. Both are delicious, and both should be attempted. Get the recipe(s) here.



Whereas a traditional cheesecake baked in a standard oven requires 50-90 minutes of cooking time (depending on the method), this Instant Pot Cheesecake takes only 30 minutes. Its texture isn't quite the same as a traditional cheesecake, either; it's less dense, more like a mousse, and serves as a nice update to a well-known and well-loved dessert. Get the recipe here.


Beef Stroganoff

Meat. Mushrooms. Noodles. Sour Cream. Instant Pot. It's all right there, ready to transform into dinner. Beef Stroganoff benefits from the Instant Pot because the appliance tenderizes the meat to fork-tenderness in 20 minutes while also concentrating the sauce, resulting in a speedy weeknight dish that will taste like you labored over it for hours. Get the recipe here.