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8 Foods That We, non–Instant Pot Obsessives, Cook In Our Instant Pots Regularly [Updated]

I try not to use the term "cult" lightly, but I'll say this: Instant Pot's most enthusiastic users display a devotion to the combination slow-cooker/pressure-cooker that borders on religious zeal. After receiving mine at Christmas, I joined a couple Instant Pot groups on Facebook, thinking I'd pick up easy recipe ideas. Instead, I was bombarded with a constant stream of posts from "Instant Pot heads" confessing Instant Pot addictions. Exhibit A:

I mean, people, it's a kitchen appliance.

So, I abandoned those groups, and have been using my Instant Pot like I'd use any other new kitchen appliance—regularly, but without any kind of emotional attachment. That perspective seems to be sorely lacking in write-ups of the Instant Pot, which read like descriptions of a religious conversion and/or contain multiple uses of the word "obsession."

Here's what we at The Takeout (a couple of well-adjusted and not fanatical users of this kitchen device) think of the Instant Pot: It's good! It does the work, as promised, of both a slow-cooker and a pressure-cooker. If you don't intend to use it for pressure-cooking, then save yourself the expense and stick with your Crock-Pot, but if you'd like to speed up some tedious kitchen tasks, it's worth a look. Here are the most practical uses we of sound mind have found for the Instant Pot. —Kate Bernot

Hard-boiling eggs

From Melissa Clark's fantastic Dinner In An Instant cookbook, I learned I could be hard-boiling eggs in my Instant Pot. Well, really, you're steaming them, but I find that the eight minutes it requires is not only faster than the stovetop method, but somehow the shells are easier to peel. Go figure. —Kate Bernot


Making yogurt

I've made yogurt in both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot. It might sound complicated if you haven't tried it, but with an Instant Pot, it's literally accomplished at the push of a button (handily labeled 'yogurt'). A real bonus of the Instant Pot is that you don't have to strain your yogurt with a cheese cloth as you do with the slow-cooker version. It takes hours to make, but the yogurt is really delicious. I've stopped buying the store-bought stuff. —Kate Bernot


Steaming beets (or potatoes)

I love beets and have grown a bunch in my garden this year, but sometimes the hour or so it will take to roast them in the oven (not to mention turning on the oven in the summer heat) discourages me from eating them as often as I'd like to. With the Instant Pot, though, when I want to make a beet-goat-cheese-walnut salad for dinner, the beets can be done in less than 20 minutes. They don't get that caramelized edge that an oven would produce, but to me, the savings in time (and sweat) make up for it. This method also works for potatoes; again, you lose the crispy skin, but depending on what you're using those potatoes for, that textural detail might not matter. —Kate Bernot



I'm aware that a noodle dish that is not fried in a wok on the stove is not technically a stir-fry, but let's not be pedantic. When I want to make a quick noodle-based dinner with whatever is left in my fridge, I now go straight to the Instant Pot. I use this as my base recipe and throw in whatever veggies and protein I have on hand. You are reading that recipe correctly: It cooks the noodles and raw chicken and sauce all in 3 minutes. Three minutes, people. Tell me we're not living in the future. —Kate Bernot


Cooking rice

I never mastered rice. I tend to forget it's on my stove as I prep other items, and am rewarded with a layer of stuck-on rice goo that takes hours of soaking to remove. The Instant Pot makes foolproof rice because you set it and forget it. It put the classic, unitasking rice cooker to shame. —Kate Bernot


Making stock

Using the bones of a rotisserie chicken, I made some stock and, next to my regular stovetop version, it is next-level. Cooking it for just 40 minutes on high pressure pulverized the chicken bones, releasing their collagen or marrow or whatever it is that gives homemade stock that silky, rich texture. As I strained out the crumbled, decimated bones, I knew all their goodness was now deliciously flavoring what became a truly exceptional bowl of chicken noodle soup. —Allison Robicelli


Caramelizing onions

The Instant Pot is a kitchen's fast forward button, allowing you to zoom ahead at certain points in the cooking process instead of standing and stirring for a long, long time. Caramelized onions are one of those foods that I would eat all the time if it weren't for the laborious process of making them, and thanks to a clever Instant Pot hack, there's now always a jar of them in my fridge to use on salads, bowls, hot dogs, and sandwiches. The Instant Pot also makes it possible to make an ultra-comforting French onion lentil soup without hovering over the stove, and it gets it done in less time than it takes to watch two episodes of The Office. —Allison Robicelli


Braising meats

There's no shortage of Instant Pot recipes for classic, fully composed braised dishes like pot roasts and butter chicken, but you can also cook meat in the Instant Pot to use as a component in other dishes, allowing you to use cheaper and, let's be honest, more flavorful cuts of meat while shaving hours off your cooking time. Take, for example, this beef Wellington pot pie, which exchanges the traditional lean tenderloin for succulent succulent short ribs, and helps put the normally special-occasion-only dish on your kitchen table in less than two hours. —Allison Robicelli


So if you're on the fence about the Instant Pot, it's worthwhile if you want to combine a slow cooker with the option of speeding up certain weeknight tasks. Of course if I'm making beets for a Thanksgiving side, I'm still going to roast them in the oven. But on a weeknight when I've worked late and the dog wants to be walked and the laundry needs washing and I told myself I'd make it to the gym, too—yeah, I'll go for the 15-minute version.


Does this convenience inspire me to declare myself "addicted" to the device or scream its praises on the internet? Well, I guess it did the latter. —Kate Bernot