11 things you should never cook in an Instant Pot

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Instant Pots are a hot ticket item. Lately, it seems you can’t even go on social media without someone sharing their favorite pressure cooker recipe

The multi-functional, highly-praised kitchen appliance has become a social phenomenon, and for good reason: It can cook pretty much anything. From tender meats to soup and stews to baked goods and more, there’s almost nothing an Instant Pot can’t make.

Shop: Instant Pot Duo 6-quart, $79 (Orig. $99.95)

Credit: Amazon

However, that doesn’t mean because you can, that you should. Not everything tossed into an Instant Pot is going to come out tasting like a keeper.

To avoid wasting (or even totally destroying) your food, check out the list below for the 11 foods you should never put in an Instant Pot. 

Fried Foods

If you’re looking for a nice crispy piece of fried chicken or golden fried mozzarella sticks, you’re going to want to try good old frying (or use an air fryer). An Instant Pot makes everything moist and tender — definitely not crispy. The texture will be off. 

Quick cooking foods

Stay away from putting Instant Oatmeal, Minute Rice or anything else with a short cooking time in your Instant Pot. Remember, once your food is done cooking, it can take your cooker’s natural release 10-15 minutes to finish the job (and that can be longer than the actual recipe or food calls for). 


The point of stir-fry is to keep veggies crispy by heating and browning everything at once, and both are hard to do in an Instant Pot. You can’t monitor the heat in your pot and you most definitely can’t create a crisp. 

Creamy sauces

Mac ‘n cheese and Fettuccine Alfredo are both delicious, but not necessarily when they’re made in an Instant Pot. When dairy is heated up too quickly, which is one of the main functions of an Instant Pot, it can curdle. If you’re making a creamy dish, add the sauce when you’re done cooking, right before plating. 


Baking bread in your Instant Pot isn’t going to be terrible, but it isn’t going to be the best bread you’ve ever had either. Imagine a soft, steamed bread without a crust. Try it at your own risk.   


Making cookies in an Instant Pot is a no-go for a few reasons. One, there’s not a whole lot of surface area so you can’t make that many of them. Second, you can make them faster in the oven. And finally, the high pressure isn’t going to give you the crisped edges that hold all the best cookies together. Steer clear!


Steaks cook up quickly on a grill, faster than they do in an Instant Pot. And according to Julia Nickerson of Savory Tooth, who gave a tip to Huffington Post, “You’ll likely end up with bland, watery and overdone steak if you try to cook it in the Instant Pot.”


The problem with making burgers in an Instant Pot is similar to steak — it’s just not good. The best part about a burger is the caramelized edges, which you won’t get using an Instant Pot. You’ll get a tender, steamed patty.

Canning (jams, preserves, etc.)

Pressure canning requires you to accurately monitor the temperature as you cook, especially if you want to be safe and avoid something as dangerous as botulism. With an Instant Pot, you can’t monitor the temperature (only the pressure), so it’s best to avoid if you want to be safe. 


Yes, one of the main functions the Instant Pot advertises is the ability to make yogurt. However, that can take as many as 9 hours to make, plus chilling time. (Remember, heating up dairy too fast can make it curdle!) You’re better off buying yogurt at the store, unless you need a large vat of it. In that case, you do you. 

Too much sauce

Sauce is great — it’s practically the American way to drench everything in it. However, when cooking with an Instant Pot, don’t think you can use it as a substitute for liquids like water, broth or stock. The pressure cooker needs liquid to create steam to create the pressure.

“If you’re using sauce, you have to dilute it. That’s really critical because if you’re using a thicker sauce, you’re going to get the burn message. There’s not enough liquid in it, and the unit is going to say something is wrong because it can’t build pressure,” Anna Di Meglio, the marketing manager for Instant Pot told Eat This, Not That

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