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24 Instant Pot Hacks That'll Take Your Cooking Game Up A Notch

You can make popcorn, cheesecake, and WINE in an Instant Pot?!

1. Make popcorn in your Instant Pot.

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Learn how with this recipe, which uses coconut oil for a delicious snack.

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2. Use the warming function to keep your food warm until you're ready to eat — or to keep food you've made elsewhere warm!

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If your Instant Pot is clean, you can easily use it to keep food warm that you've made in the oven, microwave, or anywhere else. Use the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button on the bottom right of the panel.

3. Make applesauce in less than five minutes.

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Chop your apples and add water, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice to your Instant Pot and it'll be done in a snap. If you're looking for a recipe, try one here.

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4. If the lid smells a little funky, remove the sealing ring from inside to give it a full cleaning.

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The lid's sealing ring can pick up the scent of the food being made inside the pot over time. You can remedy this by cleaning the ring often. Some people have a ring for each scent family ("sweet," "spicy," etc.), and others wind up replacing it every once in a while.

5. Toss dry pasta into the Instant Pot — with plenty of water — in order to save yourself some time.

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One of the Instant Pot's many perks. Try this recipe for Instant Pot ziti with tomato sauce, which takes about 20 minutes to make.

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6. Make your own broth with ease.

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You can follow this handy recipe to make broth with vegetables you have on hand, or this one to make a bone broth with chicken.

7. Place the lid inside the handle to save precious counter space.

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I'll admit that I had an Instant Pot for years before I learned about this tip. It fits perfectly.

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8. Don't sleep on the sauté function. It's the key to making a one-pot meal!

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Sautéing onions, garlic, and other ingredients early on will help heat up the pot so that it'll cook much faster when you put the lid on. You can also do this by adding boiling water instead of cold water when required in a recipe.

9. Make red wine in your Instant Pot.

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What a miracle, right? Gather your ingredients and use this recipe to make it happen.

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10. Be sure to add at least 10–15 minutes of cook time to any Instant Pot recipe's total time.

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This is helpful for planning purposes. Instant Pot recipes will give you a cook time, but they don't always include the amount of time the Instant Pot needs to heat up before it starts to cook or needs time to release the pressure afterwards.

11. Use your Instant Pot to make overnight oats.

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All you need to do is use the delayed timer before you go to sleep. Set it for 7–8 hours (more or less, depending on your sleep schedule) and you'll wake up to a breakfast without having to do any work.

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12. Don't bother thawing frozen foods before cooking them in an Instant Pot.

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The Instant Pot will do the work for you. Get ready to use a lot more frozen vegetables in your meals!

13. Speaking of, you can use the pot to steam your vegetables in half the time.

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You can steam vegetables with ease in an Instant Pot as long as you use a steamer basket or colander attachment. I use mine to cook baked potatoes in about 15–20 minutes.

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14. Make your own homemade lotion with your Instant Pot.

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Yes, you can make hard lotions in your IP with a few ingredients and any molds you have on hand! Follow these instructions and you won't be wasting your money on store-bought lotion again.

15. Toss in dry beans and grains without soaking or cooking them first.

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Again, you can let the Instant Pot do all the work on this one. However, it's best to rinse these off first to get rid of any dirt, sand, or other undesirable things you wouldn't want in your food.

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16. Make yogurt in your Instant Pot.

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Reduce your plastic usage and save money by making your own yogurt at home. Try this recipe for a coconut-based yogurt to start.

17. Always include at least 1/2 cup of liquid in the pot at all times or you might burn your recipe.

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It's important to have at least 1 cup of water, broth, or other liquid in your Instant Pot meals. Pressure cooking relies on steam, and if you don't have enough moisture in your meal it won't be cooked correctly or will burn.

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18. Use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker.

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Use this conversion chart to figure out how — now you don't need to buy that slow cooker!

19. Learn the difference between a "natural release" and "quick release" and use them appropriately.

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Natural release: This is when you leave the venting knob alone and let the machine naturally allow for the pressure to drop slowly over a span of 15 minutes or so — you'll know it's done when the pin (next to the venting knob) drops.

Quick release: This is done by turning the venting knob after the timer goes off. It takes about 1–2 minutes to release all of the steam inside of the pot — do not try to open the lid until after it's finished.

Also, it's smart to use gloves or tongs to do this so you don't scald your hands with the piping-hot steam!

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20. Make an actual freakin' cheesecake in the Instant Pot.

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If you're making a big meal in the oven, save precious space by making a cheesecake dessert in the Instant Pot. Get the recipe here.

21. Use your dishwasher to clean the pot and attachments.

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You can't wash the lid or the Instant Pot itself, but the attachments and actual pot inside are dishwasher-safe.

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22. Make packaged foods like ramen noodles, brownies, and cake mixes in the Instant Pot.

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23. Use aluminum foil to clean off any remaining residue in the pot.

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Soak the pan in warm water and dish soap, and then crumble a piece of foil into a ball and use that to scrub it all off.

24. Learn all of the Instant Pot's functions so that you're always optimizing cook time and getting the best result.

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Do you have more Instant Pot hacks to share with the world? Tell us in the comments!

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Let's quarantine cook!

We've curated a bunch of recipes & tips to make cooking easier for you during this time!

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