15 Favorite Instant Pot Uses

There are so many Instant Pot uses, it’s hard to know where to start! Here’s a list of the BEST ways to use a pressure cooker, from soup to oatmeal.

Instant Pot chili

There are so many ways to use an Instant Pot! This tool is the very definition of the word multi-tasker. You can make soups, quinoa, oatmeal, eggs, spaghetti squash: you name it! All with this handy and relatively inexpensive tool. Move over, rice cookers! The Instant Pot has got you beat.

Here’s a list of the best Instant Pot uses we’ve discovered, from pasta to sweet potatoes to quinoa! All of the recipes below we tested with our Instant Pot 6 Qt Pressure Cooker. Scroll below the recipes to find a bit more on how to use an Instant Pot, including important notes on the sealing ring. Now, let’s get started!

And now…our best Instant Pot uses! (In no particular order.)

Instant Pot cook times

If you’re new to using an Instant Pot, read this! Or at least, skim it. When you first look at Instant Pot recipes, you’ll be amazed. 1 minute cook time? This is impossibly quick! And you’re right. It actually is impossible. That’s because you have to factor in two cook times:

  1. “Preheat” time. After you put on the lid and press Cook, the Instant Pot has to “preheat,” meaning that it has to gradually get up to pressure. This can add anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes before it starts to pressure cook! The exact time that it adds is based on how many ingredients are in the pot. In our recipes, we always label how much time the Preheat took because we want you to understand the real cook time.
  2. Natural release time. Some Instant Pot recipes call for a “natural release,” meaning a natural release of pressure after cooking. So you’ll need to add that time to the cook time to understand the full timing.

It takes a little getting used to. But after you use your Instant Pot for a few recipes, you’ll be able to accurately predict how long it will take TOTAL.

Caring for the Instant Pot sealing ring

Inside the lid of the Instant Pot is a plastic ring called the sealing ring. This ring helps to make the seal that lets the pot get up to high pressure. The sealing ring can take on flavors that were cooked in the pot, especially if they are very strong (like cumin). Here’s how to care for your sealing ring so that it won’t transfer those flavors to other food:

  • Clean it: Remove the sealing ring after cooking and fully clean it with soapy water.
  • Store it exposed to air: When storing the Instant Pot, store the lid upside down so the ring is exposed to air. This allows the sealing ring to air out between uses.
  • Deep clean if necessary: If your sealing ring has a strong odor, soak it in vinegar for a few hours.
  • Buy extra sealing rings: If you use your Instant Pot often, consider purchasing extra sealing rings. We have 3 extra Instant Pot sealing rings and use 2 for savory recipes and 1 for sweet recipes.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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