The instant pot has become something of a go-to for a lot of modern-day cooks and bakers for its multi-cooking ability. Is there really anything this nifty appliance cannot do? Knowing how to make bread in an instant pot is easy enough, but what shouldn’t you cook in it?
That’s something that isn’t too hard to discover, either. Here are some dishes you’d do well to exempt from your instant-pot cooking adventures.
Foods Best Cooked Outside the Pot
As flexible as the instant pot is, it can’t cook all your favorite foods safely. Plus, even if you insist on cooking these foods using the appliance, you’ll find the resulting dishes to be subpar at best.
To make sure you’re not breaking any culinary rules, avoid using the following ingredients or cooking the following meals in your classic instant pot.
1. Fried Chicken: Unless you have one of those specialty instant pots, yours isn’t suited to the high temperatures necessary for cooking fried food. That means the fried chicken is out of the picture. The atmosphere inside a classic model is ideal for cooking dishes that are moist and soggy and not for something best eaten crispy or crunchy.
2. Dairy: Similar to a slow cooker, an instant pot can cause dairy products and ingredients to curdle. No particular setting will keep this from happening, so best avoid whipping up anything with dairy using a classic instant pot altogether.
Of course, the yogurt feature on an instant pot means yogurt is one of two dairy by-products that can be made effectively with the appliance. Another dish you should be able to whip up without any trouble is cheesecake. Nonetheless, it’s preferable to still use instant-pot recipes for both food items.
3. Creamy Sauces: Formulating creamy sauces is not something an instant pot can do. This is due to these sauces’ dairy content. What happens is that it thickens and becomes unfit for consumption when cooked in this multicooker.
The high heat and pressure of the pot’s “pressure cooker” feature can cause cheese and other dairy ingredients to thicken and become clumpy. As a result, you get a creamy sauce that is better disposed of than paired with a meal.
4. Pasta: If you don’t mind pasta coming out unevenly cooked and gummy, then, by all means, use your instant pot. Then again, most wouldn’t want to go through the trouble of making an Italian dish just for it to turn out subpar.
Pasta and instant pots simply don’t go together. Everything about an instant pot is designed to create meals on the opposite side of the spectrum from pasta, and that has to tell you something.
5. Two Meals at Once: Yes, it is possible to whip up two dishes in one appliance—just not in an instant pot. Thinking about cooking carrots and potatoes with your roast chicken? Think again.
Combining main dishes and side dishes can be a bad move in an instant pot. That’s because each ingredient has a separate cooking time, so cooking them together because you want to save time is likely to result in a huge, soggy mess.
6. Cookies: Unlike cheesecakes, cookies can’t thrive in an instant-pot atmosphere. These desserts should have a slightly crisp exterior covering their moist interior, which is a combination you simply can’t achieve with an instant pot.
That said, should you not mind having cookies sans pillowy insides and chewy exteriors, then go ahead and whip up some in the appliance. Don’t expect to make a big batch, though, since the pot does not have an oven’s accommodation.
7. Cakes: Cheesecakes win this round for being the only variety of cake that actually turns out splendid in an instant pot. As for the other types of cake, you best steer clear of them when using this multicooker.
That’s because you won’t really be baking cakes in this contraption; you’ll be steaming them. Thus, what comes out is something akin to bread pudding, which works perfectly well for cheesecake styles of cake. The crust would have just the right crisp, and the edges would be perfectly chewy—a combination that doesn’t apply to typical cake desserts.
8. Steak: Some of you may ask why this dish is best left outside the pot. It has to do with the caramelized texture most people aim for when cooking steaks. Unlike a grill or a pan on a stovetop, an instant pot isn’t designed to allow the meat to achieve that perfect mouthwatering browned texture.
Why Knowing How To Use Your Instant Pot Matters
An instant pot can work its culinary magic in your life in many ways. However, that doesn’t mean its abilities extend to all types of food. The dishes and ingredients we listed are just some of the food items that cannot be cooked effectively using an instant pot. Keep them in mind to get the full benefits of your new kitchen appliance and get even more useful years from it.