10 Instant Pot Hacks That Will Make You Love Your New Gadget Even More

Ad failed to load

Most families are in a rush to get out the door in the mornings and don't have time to throw a meal into a crockpot for dinner to be ready when everyone gets home — because who feels like cooking after a long busy day? To fix both dilemmas, the concept of Instant Pot was born in 2010. Did you recently get one and feel like you're just not using your new appliance to its ultimate potential? Here are 10 Instant Pot hacks from Instant Pot fans who also have busy lifestyles and families to boot so you can optimize your new gadget.

According to the Instant Pot website, the company was founded by Canadian "technology veterans" who were looking to enhance food preparation based on their own lives. "Their objective was to find solutions that would enable busy families and professionals to prepare quality food in less time, promoting better eating and reducing the consumption of fast food," the website noted. In 2010, after a ton of research, they created the first Instant Pot and "incorporated the functions of five cooking appliances in one." These appliances included a rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, and warmer, according to the website.

Since 2014, Instant Pot is now the most advanced pressure cooker system in the market, and is a bestseller across all categories on Amazon. I myself do not have an Instant Pot, but after reading some of these hacks and recipes from these folks below, I might have to put one on my wishlist.

Ad failed to load

1Using The Sauté Feature To Brown Meat & Apple Juice For BBQ

Giphy

Nicole Murray tells Romper that she loves being able to cook dinner, even if you forget to thaw the meat. (Which I do every. single. day.) You can just throw it in and cook. She also says that she uses the sauté feature often to brown meat, leaving one less dirty dish on the stovetop. If you're looking for a crowd favorite, Murray says her hack includes using apple juice instead of water in the Instant Pot to make barbecue. "I make barbecue a lot. Just take whatever meat you'd normally make barbecue with — I use pork tenderloin — and add some apple juice instead of water and barbecue sauce."

2Put Ingredients For Steel Cut Oats In Overnight

Giphy

Angelyn Vaughan has had her Instant Pot for a little over a year, she tells Romper, and uses it for oatmeal several times a week and occasionally for roasts or frozen chicken. "My hack is to put the ingredients for steel cut oats in the pot at night and set on delay for the morning," Vaughan says. This can make your mornings even more efficient.

3Always Add A Half Cup Of Water In Addition To What The Recipe Calls For

Giphy

"I think no matter what the recipe says, always add at least a half cup of water to whatever you're cooking," Liz Campbell tells Romper. "Also you can cook hard boiled eggs that peel really easily if you place them in one layer in the bottom (I use the steamer rack so I can put my 1 cup of water in the bottom). You can usually get about a dozen to fit. I set it for six minutes and they are perfect."

Ad failed to load

4Cook Pasta In The Instant Pot

Giphy

Yes, even pasta is doable in the Instant Pot — no more waiting on the water to boil. You can do traditional pastas, like pasta with meat sauce from The Green Bean, or even a carbonara from Adventures of a Nurse or alfredo from Heather Likes Food. And, you can do fun recipes, like "pizza pasta" thanks to Family Fresh Meals. Check out these 41 Instant Pot pasta recipes from Food. Life. DIY. — you'll be drooling in minutes.

5Use The Warming Function To Keep Food You've Cooked In Your Oven Warm

Giphy

Even if you're not cooking dinner in the Instant Pot, you can still make it work for you. "A hack is to use the warming function to keep food I’ve cooked in the oven or on the stove warm," Cassandra Tan tells Romper.

6Use It To Pop Fresh Popcorn

Giphy

No more microwaves and super greasy and drippy bags when you have a hankering for popcorn. The Instant Pot can even make fresh, hot, popcorn from three ingredients — kernels, coconut oil, and butter, according to this Copy Me That recipe.  

Ad failed to load

7Make Your Own Stock From Bones & Veggies In Minutes

Giphy

Rebecca Merchant, whom her friends call the neighborhood Instant Pot Guru, tells Romper that she loves her Instant Pot because it gives her a new way to cook and the cleanup is relatively easy. "I originally bought a 6-quart, but I upgraded to an 8-quart, mainly so I could have more room for PIP: pot-in-pot cooking (cheesecakes, casseroles, egg bites, etc)." She says that her hack is pretty general — she just converts her favorite slow cooker recipes to Instant Pot — but she also uses it to make stock and broths. "I make my own in the Instant Pot about once a week with a chicken carcass and whatever veggies I have left over in my fridge. Also, a lot of new people don't realize you can rest the lid in the handles, which saves a ton of counter space."

8Make Non-Edible Things, Too, Like Body Lotion Bars

Giphy

You can make your own hand lotion bars by throwing ingredients into a mason jar, and using the "sauté" feature in the Instant Pot to liquefy everything before pouring it into a mold and tossing it in your freezer to set. Once set, you can rub it on elbows, knees, hands, or wherever you're feeling dry. This recipe from Awe Filled Homemaker is really easy and super cute, with dinosaur-shaped lotion bars.  

9Easily Clean The Silicone Rings Of The Pot

Giphy

Ralph Cullen loves his Instant Pot for its versatility, but his hack has everything to do with keeping that one appliance clean. Cullen tells Romper, "The one part of the Instant Pot that's prone to picking up strong cooking smells is the silicone ring inside the lid." He says there are two easy fixes. You can either buy new rings online and replace your old ones, or you can put a "couple of cups of water or white vinegar and the rind of half of a lemon into the pot and set it to steam for three minutes." He says you should let the whole cycle complete and depressurize on its own and it comes out smelling like new. Genius.

Ad failed to load

10DIY Cough Syrup

Giphy

That's right. Cough syrup. With cold and flu season being extremely hardcore this year, this Instant Pot Cough Syrup recipe from Traditional Cooking School By Gnowfglins needs to be at the ready for your family. With just thyme, ginger, raw honey, cayenne pepper, lemon, and water, you'll be burning the germs and phlegm right out of your family.

Whether it's adjusting the settings exactly right, making lotion or cough syrup, or even cleaning out the pot so it doesn't smell like last night's stroganoff a week later, these Instant Pot hacks are pretty handy. And not only are you enjoying healthy, fresh, home-cooked meals and reducing waste and clean up time, but using the Instant Pot seems pretty easy. Now excuse me while I add one to my Amazon wish list.  

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.  

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack