If there were an MVP of kitchen appliances, the Instant Pot definitely wins the title. Since its debut in 2016, the Instant Pot has quickly garnered a huge fan following both among consumers and the food blogging community. So what makes the Instant Pot so special you might ask? The name of the Instant Pot game is speed and efficiency. This all-in-one device does the job of seven different kitchen appliances including: a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté pan, and warming pot. With its pressurized cooking capabilities, dishes that used to take hours or even days to cook can now be prepared in a fraction of the time. Plus, the best part, all of the dish’s components can be cooked in the same vessel — no extra pots or pans required. So whether you have an Instant Pot at the ready but don’t know what to cook with it, or are considering getting one and want to see just what it can do, check out these recipes for a major dose of culinary (or purchasing!) inspiration.
Instant Pot Beef Stew
It’s hard to beat a savory bowl of beef stew. In the past, recipes have instructed you to begin the stew on the stove and finish cooking in the oven to help the meat become fork-tender. Thanks to Pinch of Yum’s ingenious Instant Pot recipe, you can now prepare beef stew with only six ingredients and have dinner ready in less than an hour. The secret to this recipe is the use of small tapioca in the braising liquid, which helps thicken up the gravy and gives the whole stew a rich, velvety texture. Get the recipe on Pinch of Yum.
Instant Pot Fried Rice
In the past, making fried rice has required both foresight and planning. Most recipes tend to call for day-old rice as the dryness helps create that signature crispiness and keeps the rice from clumping together. The Instant Pot now makes it easy to indulge your rice craving without a thought. Cooking With Curls’ fried rice recipe takes uncooked rice from raw to ready in only 20 minutes. The rice is first cooked on the pressure cooker setting and set off to the side once fluffy. Then all of the vegetables and egg are stir fried on the sauté setting and tossed together with the cooked rice and a bit of soy sauce. Now you can make at-home take out in less time than it would take to get food delivered. Get the recipe on Cooking With Curls.
Instant Pot Short Ribs
I adore short ribs, but I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made them as they normally take at least three to four hours to cook. Girl and the Kitchen has developed an Instant Pot recipe that delivers tender, decadent short ribs in a quarter of the time — yes please. In addition to the traditional carrot, onion, and garlic medley, these short ribs take on extra depth from the addition of red wine, balsamic vinegar, and fresh rosemary in the braise. A fancy, restaurant-quality dish that you can now whip up for a casual weeknight meal or a stunning dinner party centerpiece. Get the recipe on Girl and the Kitchen.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans
Cooking a hearty pot of beans seems simple enough, but it is traditionally a very time-consuming process. From soaking, to boiling, to getting the beans on the table, you’re looking at anywhere from half a day to two days worth of time. Enter the Instant Pot, which omits the soaking process entirely and cooks the beans in a mere 45 minutes. You heard me right! This recipe for hardy pinto beans from A Pinch of Healthy serves as an excellent guide for Instant Pot bean cookery. Feel free to sub out pinto beans for your favorite variety. Get the recipe on A Pinch of Healthy.
Instant Pot Roast Chicken
Ask any chef and they’ll tell you, a good roast chicken recipe is a must in any personal recipe canon. Thanks to the Instant Pot, this dinner staple can now reach golden, juicy perfection in only 45 minutes by following the The Recipe Critic’s recipe. Her technique starts by rubbing down the bird in a dry spice mixture of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. The chicken then gets sautéed in the Instant Pot to get some nice caramelization. Once browned all over, chicken stock is added and the whole dish is pressure-cooked for 25 minutes. That’s it. Now find yourself a great quality chicken and get cooking. Get the recipe on The Recipe Critic.
Instant Pot Seafood Gumbo
Gumbo isn’t too common a dish here in Chicago, but it’s one of those stick-to-your-rib, soul-nourishing meals that is really hard to beat. The Instant Pot makes it a cinch to prepare and delivers deep flavor without any of the work. The Movement Menu anchors her gumbo with chunks of fresh sea bass and shrimp plus the holy trinity of Cajun cooking — bell pepper, onion, and celery. Cajun seasoning and diced tomatoes help round out the stew and give it that signature ruby hue. Serve with a heaping portion of rice and you’ll feel transported straight to New Orleans. Get the recipe on The Movement Menu.
Instant Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Remember overnight oats? Well now you can prepare breakfast oatmeal that’s ready to go in 15 minutes. No soaking required. Peas and Crayons’ Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal starts by sautéing chunks of honey crisp apples in a bit of butter and cinnamon until tender. The apples are then combined with the oats and pressure cooked in a combination of apple juice and water or almond milk for 10 minutes. Don’t fret if your oats look a bit too watery, they’ll thicken up as the mixture cools. Top with chopped pecans and more cinnamon for a power-packed breakfast that’ll keep you fueled until lunch. Get the recipe on Peas and Crayons.
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Maddie LaKind is a Chicago-born personal chef, caterer and writer. Her love of gastronomy began with an introduction to the Food Network as a teenager and has since blossomed into a deep-rooted passion. She spent her early career in the food world working at the famed Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before moving on to other notable spots including Detroit’s Sister Pie bakery, and Floriole Bakery, Read It and Eat bookstore and The Social Table in Chicago. In her spare time, she can be found practicing yoga, hosting dinner parties for friends and sifting through her ever-growing cookbook collection. Maddie is also a supporter of PAWS Chicago. Since adopting her two cats from the shelter, she has served as a volunteer and donated her cooking services as an auction item at fundraisers.