We love our Instant Pots, and why wouldn’t we when the magical machine helps put healthy family dinners on the table in almost no time (faster than take out!) with minimal work? It’s been a game changer for many of us, and it turns out that we don’t have to limit the magic to soups, stews, and quick curries. There is so much more we can make in the Instant Pot than we ever imagined.
Here are 15 surprising Instant Pot recipes, from cough syrup to hand lotion (really!). Make them all and officially cross over into Instant Pot-obsessed. We have.
Top Image: Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake from Cookies and Cups; Cool Mom Eats is a reward style affiliate
–Updated for 2022–
Related: How this Instant Pot-phobe became a convert
Elderberry syrup helps boost your immune system during cold and flu season, and it’s tasty, too, flavored with citrus, cinnamon, and vanilla. The store-bought kind is not cheap, though, so I found this recipe for Elderberry Syrup at The Girl and the Kitchen that you can make in the Instant Pot in just seven minutes. Genius.
One of our preferred afternoon snacks has become a big bowl of popcorn. The microwave packages aren’t inexpensive, though, and they probably aren’t all that healthy either. So I’m loving this Instant Pot Popcorn at The Typical Mom. It is so easy, cheaper, healthier, and less wasteful than our normal microwave habit.
Related: 10 of the best Instant Pot Recipes for beginners
During the cold winter months, this recipe for hard lotion bars that you can make in the Instant Pot that I found at Traditional Cooking School could be a lifesaver. Or at least a hand-saver. Ha! It’s pretty simple, but based on her photos it looks very messy. You might want to clear out a big space and do this without the kids around.
I typically think of cooking soups, meats, and other savory dishes in my Instant Pot, so I was surprised when I saw this recipe for Instant Pot Creme Brûlée at A MindFull Mom, but it makes so much sense! You steam the pots of custard, then when you take them out (carefully, those dishes will be hot), you torch the tops. So much more reliable than using a water bath in the oven!
Related: A whole week of dinners all made in the Instant Pot
When I first heard about making dog food in my Instant Pot, I was a little grossed out, but it’s actually just regular food made for dogs. So maybe you’ll be into this?
It turns out that a lot of Instant Pot dog food recipes aren’t actually that healthy for dogs, but Mary at Tales from the Back Road did quite a bit of research to come up with one that kept her dog’s health in mind. Other than the crushed egg shells, there’s nothing in this recipe that I wouldn’t eat myself, so it’s safe to cook this without feeling like you need a separate, dedicated pot.
Our pediatrician prefers that I don’t give our kids over-the-counter cough syrup, and the fact that they can hype some kids up is enough reason for me to avoid them. That said, I still want something to ease their discomfort with a bad cough hits, and this All-Natural Cough Syrup recipe at Traditional Cooking School is a great option. Made with honey, ginger, and herbs, it should get them feeling better soon. Plus, it’s guaranteed to taste so much better than regular cough medicine.
Related: 5 classic dinners sped up in the Instant Pot
Vanilla extract is one of the more expensive flavorings you can buy at the grocery, especially if you try to avoid the imitation variety. This recipe for How to Make Vanilla Extract from Shugary Sweets is so simple, it will change forever change your relationship with vanilla extract. Just be sure to follow her tips for what type of vanilla and alcohol to use. Not only will it up your personal baking game, these jars make fantastic gifts for other bakers in your life.
Related: Make ahead holiday food gift ideas
Infusing liquor takes weeks of waiting, mixing, waiting, shaking, and waiting some more for the drink to turn out right. And sometimes, it still doesn’t take. But this recipe for Instant Pot Limoncello from Corrie Cooks speeds up the process — a lot. Then get creative and use her method to whip up your own favorite drinks. My husband recently used this process to make Old Fashioneds and coffee-infused bourbon, which came out amazing. Definitely worth trying. And this makes a great homemade gift for adults as well.
If you’re craving a big pan of lasagne this winter, but don’t have ricotta on hand, no worries. This recipe for homemade Instant Pot Ricotta Cheese at Real Food Real Deals is so easy, and it’s free of all the preservatives you’ll find in packaged ricotta. Really, you probably won’t ever buy the rubbery, store-bought kind again.
Related: The best Instant Pot French Onion Soup for those fancy dinner days
When my kids are crazy hungry in the afternoon, it’s nice to have something relatively healthy to feed them before dinner, you know, when they suddenly aren’t hungry anymore. Hummus with veggies and pita chips is a good option for us, and this easy Instant Pot Hummus recipe at A Pinch of Healthy is so full of flavor. Note that it does take over an hour to make, so start it before they get home.
Related: The 10 best family-friendly Instant Pot recipes we’ve tried so far
My kids love snacking on hard boiled eggs, so I usually make a big batch to keep in the fridge during the week. But, being the distracted cook that I am, I often walk away and don’t notice when the water starts boiling, which means I’m just guessing about when to take them out of the water. This recipe for Hardboiled Eggs in the Instant Pot at Skinny Taste takes away all that absent-minded guesswork, while still letting me totally ignore what’s going on in the kitchen.
Related: Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
Baking potatoes in the oven isn’t exactly tricky, but they do take a while, so I like that making “baked” potatoes or sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot turns this into a quick, 12-minutes task. The biggest downside is that the skin won’t crisp up in the Instant Pot, so I like the recipe at Amy + Jacky Pressure Cook Recipes that finishes the potatoes off in the oven for a few minutes. Then I get my crisped skin and efficient cooking too.
I’m dying over how easy this Instant Pot Salted Caramel Cheesecake recipe is at Cookies and Cups. Keeping the pressure vent closed means that it maintains its rich and creamy texture for a totally delicious and decadent dessert. You guys, this looks so good. Diet? What diet?
Related: Pumpkin cheesecake in the Instant Pot
That “Yogurt” button on my Instant Pot is one that I don’t use often, but totally should. This recipe for Instant Pot Yogurt at Super Healthy Kids also has tips for how to make Greek-style yogurt, if that’s your preference. Or try your hand at making Coconut Milk Yogurt for a dairy-free alternative. Any of these making a great morning or afternoon treat — and will save you tons too!
I’d never thought of making jam in the Instant Pot, but this recipe for Instant Pot Peach Vanilla Jam at Marisa Moore Nutrition looks so easy that I have to try it. First, she doesn’t ask us to peel peaches, so I already love her. Second, she adds vanilla bean to the peach jam, because, brilliant. And even though it tastes like a crazy decadent treat, this recipe uses honey, not sugar, to sweeten it, so yes, you can have seconds.