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An instant pot — also known as a pressure cooker — is a small, versatile multi-cooker found in small and large kitchens all over Eastern Europe. And now, they’re getting more popular in the States. While a multi-purpose cooker may look like a slow cooker, one peek at the pre-set cooking buttons will tell you otherwise. This nifty little appliance can cook all the foods a slow cooker makes, plus, it makes hard boiled eggs and bakes desserts, including cheesecake! Are you in the mood for Mexican…

food, Italian, or Thai?

There's practically nothing the instant pot pressure cooker can't do. And then there are several preset buttons for its built-in slow cooker. It’s also a rice steamer. These are just some of the things your instant pot will do for you. Some of the advantages of an instant pot is that cooking time is so quick. Also, it does so many things that people feel like they don’t need to crowd their kitchen countertops with other kitchen appliances. So should you toss your rice cooker, slow cooker, and deluxe combination toaster oven? Yes! Well, maybe not the oven. But definitely those other appliances.

What can an Instant Pot do?

One thing your instant pot can do that your crock pot lookalike can’t is brown or saute meat. Is your steak or chicken still frozen? That’s another advantage of having a multi-cooker. You don’t have to defrost meat — or even frozen veggies. Fans of pressure cookers are mesmerized that what typically takes some five or six hours to cook can take just 30 minutes. It’s like a miracle for busy people. So imagine it’s your most hectic time of the month. Between work and kids and sleep, you barely have any time to do anything else. So you put some chicken in your instant pot, and voila — you have five days of meals at your fingertips. And not the same meal night after night, either. On night one, serve sesame chicken, butter chicken on night two, stir-fry on night three. Get it now? And if you think you’re going to get some tasteless and wet steamed chicken, think again.

Easy Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

This is how easy it is to make sesame chicken. Start by preheating the instant pot on saute and add sesame oil with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste. Cut boneless, skinless chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, then toss and coat in a mixture of cornstarch with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the multi-cooker is ready, add the chicken and let it brown for 3 or 4 minutes. Add in soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes (optional). Cover with the lid and seal. Allow to cook on manual for 3 minutes. While the chicken is browning and then cooking, make a slurry of cornstarch and water. After releasing the steam from the pot, set to saute again, stir in the slurry and stir about 2 minutes — until you get the consistency you want. Serve over a bed of rice and top with plain or toasted sesame seeds. Then stash leftovers in a plastic container and take to work tomorrow. Wondering how this is different from your slow cooker? Sure, you can make a sesame chicken recipe in a slow cooker. But you can’t brown it or saute the chicken. That would take an extra skillet and at least twice the amount of time as your instant pot. Now imagine if, after the pressure-cook stage, you place three-quarters of your chicken into a container. Then on nights two, three, four, and five, simply add portions of pressure cooker chicken back into the instant pot with a different sauce or different ingredients. Then you’ll have a different, unique instant pot chicken meal every night of the week, and leftovers to boot.

Easy Instant Pot Dessert Recipes

You probably expect a multi-cooker to be able to make all those comfort foods you love: chicken and beef, chicken noodle soup and beef stew. But desserts are a whole different planet. That’s baking! So if that surprises you, then the fact that your instant pot can also make cheesecake really will blow your mind. Check out how easy this 3-ingredient, fluffy Japanese cheesecake is. To prep, line the pan with parchment paper. You can stop the paper from slipping by spraying a little bit of cooking oil on the pan first. Separate your eggs and then place the whites in the fridge. Melt chocolate chips and then whisk with cream cheese until smooth. Then whisk in egg yolks until smooth. Grab the chilled egg whites and beat on high until stiff peaks form. If the peaks fold, then keep beating. Take a third of the whites and fold into the cream cheese batter until it’s a sold color. Then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the full mixture into the pan and add 1 1/2 cups of water into the cooker. Place the pan into the cooker on top of the trivet. The trivet will keep the water from touching the pot. Seal, set to manual high pressure for 17 minutes. The cake will naturally release. Before serving, allow the cake to set in the fridge for a few hours. This step enables the flavor to develop and mature. A dusting of powdered sugar will give the cheesecake gentle, sweet finish.

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