Do you love your Instant Pot, but feel like it could do more for you?
Maybe you’re ready to branch out beyond the basics and see what this machine can really do.
Or maybe you’ve not committed to buying an Instant Pot yet and want to see what it can do before you invest.
Related Reading: 24 Instant Pot Accessories Every Owner Needs To Know About
What Is An Instant Pot?
“Instant Pot” is the name of a popular brand of electric pressure cooker that’s transforming the weeknight dinner game.
It’s had over 35,000 ratings on Amazon and was one of Amazon’s five best selling items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2018.
This game-changing kitchen gadget makes it fast and easy to cook homemade meals by acting similar to a high-speed crockpot.
By setting the Pot to build up pressure for set amounts of time, you can cook meat dishes, soup, and even cheesecake in a fraction of the time it would take with other appliances, and without the guesswork involved with a traditional stovetop pressure cooker.
But there’s more to the Instant Pot than making a quick pasta dish. It turns out there are dozens of creative uses for this versatile machine that spans everything from crafting, cosmetics, and candy.
19 Unique Uses For Your Instant Pot
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you limit your pressure cooker use to nothing but dinner.
Below are nineteen innovative uses for an electric pressure cooker that will keep it in your heavy rotation.
Note: While most of these recipes specifically refer to an Instant Pot, almost any brand of pressure cooker should work well (see end of article).
1. Handmade Popsicle Stick Bracelets
If you’re interested in making unique jewelry for pennies apiece, an Instant Pot can help you out.
Just fill the machine with water and set it to saute mode. The water will soon start to boil, at which point you can toss in popsicle sticks of your preferred width.
Let them boil for several minutes, and then carefully pull them out of the Pot with tongs. The sticks should be heated enough that you can (carefully) bend them to the shape of your wrist. If the sticks aren’t pliable enough, place them back in the water for a few more minutes.
Once the sticks have cooled, you can decorate them as you wish. Some people cover them in fabric or scrapbook paper; others use permanent markers or wrap them in embroidery floss.
There’s no limit to the creativity for making some ultra-cheap and unique bangles.
This tutorial from The Graphics Fairy will help you with design ideas.
2. Sterilize Breast Pumps and Baby Bottles
Instant Pots serve double duty for nursing mothers. Not only are they an easy way to make dinner, but they can be used to sterilize baby bottles and other nursing supplies.
Just add a cup of water to the Pot and place the trivet inside. Add all items you want to be sanitized to the Pot, ensuring they don’t touch each other.
Close the lid, turn on steam mode for two minutes, and allow the steam to release naturally for five minutes. Manually release the rest, and pull out your sanitized equipment to dry on a clean kitchen towel.
3. Homemade Dog Food
Don’t limit your Instant Pot to human needs; it’s a stellar accessory for making pet food as well.
Using the Instant Pot lets you dump all ingredients into the Pot at once and move on to other tasks while everything cooks.
You can make a week’s worth of food in one batch, making feeding your pet homemade dog food easier than picking up a bag of kibble at the store.
While almost any homemade dog food recipe can be adapted for a pressure cooker, Tales From the Back Road walks you through the steps for getting started with a healthy chicken recipe.
4. Herb Infused Oil
Extract as much benefit from your garden-fresh herbs as possible by processing them in your Instant Pot.
Both fresh and dried herbs can be infused with oil at low heat. The yogurt setting on most Instant Pots is perfect.
Simply combine the herbs and oil of your choice into a mason jar, and place it on the trivet in an Instant Pot.
Fill the Pot with water halfway up the sides of the jar and set it to low on crockpot mode or the yogurt setting.
Let the herbs steep in the hot oil for up to four hours before turning the Pot off and allowing it to come to room temperature.
You can strain the herbs from the oil with a cheesecloth or potato ricer, and store the oil in an amber-colored container out of direct sunlight.
5. Recycled Crayons
With a little creativity, you can use your Instant Pot to melt down crayons for new art accessories.
A Well Filled Homemaker explains how to do it.
First, you’ll need to collect popsicle sticks, parchment paper, small plastic cups, broken crayons in multiple colors, and a silicone mold, preferably in a cute shape.
Start by sorting your crayon pieces by color into the cups. Different shades of the same color are okay, and there’s no need to remove the paper coating.
Add one cup of water to your Instant Pot insert and place the included trivet in the bottom. Put in the containers of crayons, and lock on the lid of the Instant Pot. Set it to steam mode for two minutes, and allow the pressure to release naturally.
Remove the cups from the Pot and carefully pour the melted wax into the molds, keeping the paper coverings out of the way with the popsicle sticks. Once the wax hardens, pop your new crayons out of the molds.
6. Homemade Elderberry Syrup (and Gummies!)
Making homemade elderberry syrup in your Instant Pot is easier than you think, and you gain full control over the flavoring process to create gummies that you love.
Sparkles To Sprinkles shares a recipe for elderberry gummies that do double duty; they are both delicious and a natural immune booster.
To make the syrup, you’ll need a cup of dried elderberries, two tablespoons of fresh ginger, two cinnamon sticks, six whole cloves, and 1 ½ cups of raw honey.
Place everything but the honey into the Instant Pot and add four cups of water. Turn the Pot to manual pressure for seven minutes, and do a quick release after.
You can use a mesh strainer to press on the berries and get them to release their juices and let the strained liquid cool for at least fifteen minutes before adding the honey.
Once you’re ready to make the gummies, gather ¾ cup apple juice and three packets of gelatin. Add the juice and syrup to a saucepan, sprinkling the gelatin on top before placing it on a stovetop at medium heat.
Stir the pan for about two minutes, or until the gelatin is completely melted.
Remove from heat and cool for two minutes before pouring the liquid into silicone plastic molds.
After the gummies chill for an hour, you can pop them out of the mold and store them in the fridge for up to two weeks.
7. Homemade Seafood Stock
There’s nothing better than a big seafood dinner, but it can feel wasteful to toss the shells, bones, and shrimp tails away when you’re finished.
Get double duty out of your meal by making seafood stock in the Instant Pot.
This ultra-simple recipe will add hearty flavor to your homemade bisques, soups, gumbo, and Cajun-inspired cuisine.
Any combination of seafood remnants will do, and you can store them in the freezer until you’ve collected enough for making stock.
You can also be creative with your flavors and select from popular options like fresh thyme, lemon slices, and Creole seasoning blends.
To start, fill your Instant Pot halfway with water and add your seafood and seasoning, stirring to combine. Close the lid and pressure cook for thirty to sixty minutes. Let the pressure release naturally and use a colander to drain the liquid.
You can store the seafood stock in your fridge for up to a week, or freeze it in ice cube trays so you can unthaw what you need for each recipe.
8. Proof Bread Dough
Bread lover’s rejoice; your Instant Pot can make one of the most finicky parts of baking bread easy.
A pressure cooker set to warming mode or on the yogurt setting creates the perfect environment for yeast to flourish.
You can cut time off your baking schedule and reduce the variability of proofing dough on the countertop.
9. Roast Garlic
Most people are surprised to learn you can use an electric pressure cooker for roasting. This versatile machine makes incredible roasted garlic that’s soft enough to be spread on bread.
All you need to do is place peeled garlic cloves in a packet of tinfoil. Pour a small amount of olive oil over the top, close the packet, and pressure cook for five minutes.
The fragrant aromas of the garlic once you open the Pot will be enough to make you consider eating it straight out of the foil.
10. Fruit-Infused Water
Do you love the taste of flavored water but want to cut the cost and single-use plastic bottles from your lifestyle?
Use your Instant Pot to make homemade flavored water.
The best way to do so is to slice up your preferred fresh fruits and herbs and add them to a Pot filled halfway with water.
While any combination of flavors can work, a personal favorite is orange, basil and a tablespoon of fresh ground ginger.
You might want to add everything to a strainer basket to make for quicker filtering at the end. Process the water on manual mode for five minutes and do a natural pressure release for another five.
Once the water cools down enough to handle, you can pour it through a fine sieve to separate the ingredients, and chill the water in the fridge until you’re ready to drink it.
You can also double the ingredients for stronger flavored water and freeze it into ice cubes for spicing up lemonade.
11. Boiled Peanuts
This classic Southern comfort snack can be made almost effortlessly in your Instant Pot.
It’s best to use green peanuts for this recipe, which means they have been pre-soaked. Check your local Asian market if you struggle to track them down.
To start, rinse two pounds of peanuts before adding them to your Pot and covering them with seasoning.
You can customize the spice blend, but an excellent option is ½ cup of salt and one tbsp each of Cajun seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and Zatarain’s liquid crab boil.
Cover the peanuts with water and place a steamer on top to prevent them from floating.
Pressure cook the nuts for 45 minutes and allow the Pot to release naturally. You can then transfer the nuts and some of the cooking liquid into a container and refrigerate for several hours before enjoying them.
Note: If you use raw peanuts, soak them overnight, and pressure cook for at least 80 minutes.
12. Double Boiler for Melting Chocolate
If you own an Instant Pot, there’s no excuse for burning your melted chocolate again.
The Pot makes a perfect double boiler if you use it on sauté mode.
All you need to do is heat the Pot without the lid on until your water boils and then place a smaller one inside for melting the chocolate.
13. Homemade Vanilla Extract
Bring your baking game to the next level with homemade vanilla extract.
Best of all? You can make it right in your Instant Pot, and Tidbits tells you how.
You’ll need a pint-sized mason jar, kitchen shears, five vanilla beans, and vodka to get started.
Begin by cutting each pod in half lengthwise with the shears, or into one-inch pieces if they are too dry. Place the pieces in the jar and fill with vodka, leaving an inch of headspace. Put on the jar lid and lightly tighten it.
Next, you’ll add a cup of water to your Pot and place the trivet on the bottom.
Pressure cook the jar for thirty minutes and let it naturally release. Once cooled, you can use the extract immediately or store it for future baking projects.
14. Easy “Egg Loaf”
Are you sick of boiling and peeling your hard-boiled eggs?
Cut out the complications by making an Instant Pot egg loaf that can quickly be turned into egg salad.
You’ll want to use a glass bowl that fits inside your Pot.
Spray it generously with non-stick spray, and crack eight to ten eggs directly into the container. Next, add a cup of water to your Instant Pot and place the included trivet inside. Balance the bowl on top of the trivet and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for five minutes before finishing it with a quick release.
The bowl should cool in the Pot for five minutes before you carefully remove it and slide the egg loaf out. You can then chop it up for use in your favorite egg salad recipe.
15. Milk and Honey Corn on the Cob
If you love rich and buttery corn on the cob and want a hassle-free way to make it, then this recipe from Simply Happy Foodie should do the trick.
You’ll combine water, milk, butter, salt, honey, and Cajun seasoning with 6-8 ears of corn, and pressure cook it for four minutes, allowing the pressure to release for five minutes.
You can serve the corn immediately right from the Pot.
16. Wine from Grape Juice
The hype is true; you really CAN make wine in your Instant Pot. The full details are found at FoodnService, but the basic process involves a jug of grape juice, one cup of sugar, and a packet of red wine yeast.
Carefully follow the included instructions, and within two days, you can be drinking your own fresh-brewed wine.
Note: This recipe works best if your pressure cooker comes with a yogurt setting, and you’ll need to keep it on for 48 straight hours.
17. Natural Easter Egg Dye
Make your spring holiday season a little more festival by making homemade dye for Easter eggs in your Instant Pot.
Tidbits will walk you through the steps of making a gorgeous range of natural dyes by using purple cabbage for blue, beets for pink, yellow onion skin for orange, ground turmeric for yellow, and red onion skin for red.
18. Iced Tea
Make the world’s easiest iced tea in your Instant Pot. Smooth yet strong, this recipe from Two Sleevers is one you’ll keep coming back to.
All that’s needed are four teabags, six cups of water, and a ½ cup of sugar. Add it all to your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for four minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes after. You can then chill the tea until serving it over ice.
It’s possible to reuse the same tea bags for your next batch, so long as you add one or two more to keep things flavorful.
19. Hand Lotion Bars
Did you know you can use an Instant Pot to make personal cosmetic products?
You can nourish your skin with this homemade hard lotion bar recipe from Traditional Cooking School.
Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand: one cup each of grated cacao butter and beeswax pastilles, ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, one teaspoon vitamin E and twenty drops of your favorite essential oil.
Turn your Instant Pot to warm mode and add the cacao butter, grated beeswax, and olive oil.
Let everything melt (it will take about 12 minutes) and transfer to a glass measuring cup. Whisk in the vitamin E and essential oils, and pour the blend into a silicone mold. Leave untouched until hardened, and use immediately or store in airtight containers.
Bonus: Other Electric Pressure Cookers to Consider
While the Instant Pot made electric pressure cooker is trendy, there’s plenty of other brands worth trying. Check out these options if you’re in the market for your own.
Crock-Pot Express: This fuss-free pressure cooker has a six-quart capacity and includes a manual pressure, simmer, and boil function.