7 Surprising Tricks You Probably Didn't Know Your Instant Pot Can Do

Instant Pot popcorn is just one of the wonders on our list!

Proud Instant Pot owners probably already know about a lot of the things this wonderful countertop appliance can do. Making yogurt, hard-cooking eggs, and cooking tender, juicy ribs in minutes are just a few of our favorites. But there are a few other tricks your Instant Pot can perform that you might not know about yet, so to help you take full advantage of it, here are a few of our favorites.

Popped popcorn inside an Instant Pot
Image courtesy of The Typical Mom. Image courtesy of The Typical Mom

1. Instant Pot Popcorn

You won’t find a popcorn button on your Instant Pot, but it can still be done! The Typical Mom has a recipe on her blog for homemade popcorn in under 10 minutes, and it looks even better than movie theater-style. While it’s not faster than popping a bag in the microwave, it does let you control which ingredients you’re using and eliminates the need for an air popper or other fancy popcorn-popping tools. It looks like this method works best for a glass lid for your Instant Pot, along with a bunch of other great Instant Pot accessories that will be a major lifesaver.

Get the recipe from The Typical Mom.

Pressure Cooker Smoky Habanero Hot Sauce

2. Instant Pot Hot Sauce

Spicy food fans will love this Instant Pot trick. With this recipe, you can finally make hot sauce at home that will really set your mouth on fire, and it’ll only take 10 minutes under pressure to do it. Once you make a big batch, it’ll keep in the fridge for up to 6 months, so you’ll never be without ultra-hot, smoky habanero sauce.

Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Smoky Habanero Hot Sauce

honey-almond breakfast cereal with berries
Andy Lyons

3. Instant Pot Oatmeal (And Other Grains)

Your Instant Pot can help give you a head-start on breakfast on busy mornings, too. Steel cut oats, which could take up to 20 minutes on the stove, pressure cook in just 10 minutes. And this recipe pressure cooks a blend of grains (including barley, corn grits, and millet) in 14 minutes, making it a super-fast way to work multigrain into your day. And you’ve probably guessed it from the “rice” button, but you can cook rice and other grains in your Instant Pot too (including pressure cooker quinoa in just 1 minute!).

Leftovers in glass bowl
Image courtesy of Margin Making Mom.

4. Heat Up Leftovers

Your Instant Pot is good for more than just making dinner—as it turns out, it’s also great for reheating leftovers the next day. A lot of different bloggers swear by this trick, and Margin Making Mom recommends using the steam function if you want to reheat food faster than the “slow cook” or “keep warm” buttons will. Just put your trivet inside the inner pot, add at least a cup of water, and make sure you’re using a heat-proof container. Cover your container with foil, and set the steam time. Your leftovers will be ready to eat in no time, and it’s much easier to reheat them this way than using the oven or stove, especially if you don’t have a microwave.

Visit Margin Making Mom for full instructions.

Piece of cheesecake with cherries and chocolate drizzle on top

5. Instant Pot Cheesecake

If you’ve mainly been using your Instant Pot to get dinner on the table fast, you’re probably missing out an entire category of delicious recipes: Dessert! With the help of an Instant Pot-sized springform pan, you can make a tender, creamy cheesecake right in your Instant Pot. Naturally, cheesecake isn’t your only option—you can also make lava cakes, bread puddings, pots de crème, and more!

6. Instant Pot Jam

This one is huge for anyone who likes making homemade jam. Rather than spending an hour stirring at the stove, you can let your Instant Pot do the hard work of cooking for you. This delicious caramelized onion jam pressure cooks in just 20 minutes, then keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you can your jams, you can also use your Instant Pot for boiling water canning (just don’t use it for pressure-canning, because Instant Pots don’t generate quite as much pressure as stovetop pressure canners).

Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Caramelized Onion Jam

Bottles of homemade vanilla extract and vanilla beans
Image courtesy of Tidbits.

7. Homemade Vanilla Extract

Bakers, here’s another way you can put your Instant Pot to work. The blog Tidbits came up with a great way to make a big batch of vanilla extra all at once, and it involves cooking vanilla beans in Mason jars in your Instant Pot with vodka. In the long run, it’s probably more budget-friendly than buying a tiny, expensive bottle of vanilla every time you run out, and just think of how delicious your house will smell after cooking a batch.

Learn how to do it over at Tidbits.

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