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Instant Pot Recipes That Save Dinner

October/November 2018 Issue
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Let’s face it. As fall gets into full swing, time and energy are at a premium, and fantasies of having a flavorful, creative dinner on the table each night turn out to be just that—fantasies. But before you swipe an app or turn on the microwave to thaw a frozen entrée, there’s another simple way to get a delicious warm meal on the table while you’re busy doing other things or, even better, kicking back.

How? With a multicooker, the most popular of which is the Instant Pot. If you’re new to the party and aren’t already a die-hard fan (aka “pothead”), this high-tech appliance is a combination slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker that sautés, steams, simmers, and braises. Like traditional slow cookers, the mighty multicooker can be a lifesaver.

Plus, it keeps the kitchen clean while you get a leg up on a great home-cooked dinner. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to make in the multicooker (they work well in the slow cooker, too), which make great use of the late-summer, early-fall produce that’s now so abundant and delicious.

 5 Tips for Instant Pot Deliciousness


  1. Best Is Best The quality of the ingredients you cook with is, as always, paramount. Use the best seasonal ingredients you can find.
  2. Brown First When cooking meat, sear first, either in the multicooker or a skillet, to add extra flavor.
  3. Don’t Pile On Never load the pot more than the maximum fill line, or about two-thirds full.
  4. Liquid Math You don’t need a lot of liquid for a multicooker or slow cooker; the covered, hot, moist environment makes it unnecessary. A 2-to-1 ratio of ingredients to liquid is a good rule of thumb.
  5. Tough to Tender If not using the pressure-cooking function, start with the toughest, longest-to-cook items on the bottom when adding ingredients, and put more delicate foods on top.


  • Brunswick Pork Sandwiches

    Brunswick Pork Sammies

    These piled-high, slaw-topped pork sandwiches hit the spot after a busy day. The pork is also great served on its own as a stew.
  • braised chicken legs

    Braised Chicken Legs with Black Vinegar, Ginger, and Shiitake

    The vinegar braising liquid cooks down to a mellow sweetness, bright with ginger and the woodsy umami of shiitake. This dish is perfect with jasmine rice and a glass of cold Riesling.
  • summer vegetable minestrone

    Butter-Bean Minestrone with Basil Pistou

    This soup is a brothy celebration of all things vegetable, with a bright pesto-like basil topping. Tweak the soup recipe to use whatever you have in the crisper drawer.
  • caponata-style eggplant

    Caponata-Style Braised Eggplant with Couscous

    Eggplant caponata is a vegetarian main course that offers the balanced acidity and sweetness of the classic condiment. Served with couscous and a fresh mint, tomato, and cucumber salad, it hits all those notes that I crave in a meal.
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