6 Things You Shouldn't Cook in an Instant Pot

These dishes don’t thrive under pressure.

Fact checked by Haley Mades

A few years back, Instant Pots reigned as the must-have appliance, due to their ability to expedite the cooking process. Not only that—Instant Pots can slow cook, roast, bake, steam, air fry, and dehydrate countless ingredients, helping to create some of the most tasty and memorable dishes. But just because this versatile gadget can technically do it all, that doesn't mean it should. In fact, there are a handful of foods that just shouldn’t be pressure-cooked.

Among them are dairy and fried foods, as well as burgers and steaks. These foods are not Instant-Pot-friendly for a multitude of reasons. And while Instant Pots are a useful tool when baking cheesecake, custard, or mousse, it's definitely not the best method for other types of desserts. When it comes to cookies and pies, your best bet will always be to trust your oven.

Here are the foods you shouldn't cook in an Instant Pot.

<p>Cavan Images/Getty Images</p>

Cavan Images/Getty Images

Related: The Differences Between an Instant Pot, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, and Crockpot

Creamy Sauces

If you’re thinking of making a homemade vodka sauce or broccoli cheddar soup in your Instant Pot, think again. You should always avoid adding dairy to your Instant Pot because the high temperature will cause it to curdle, separate, or clump together. Instead, add cheese to your dish once it’s finished cooking.

Fried Foods

When it comes to making healthier versions of your favorite fried foods, it’s best to avoid the Instant Pot altogether. Pressure cookers lock in air and moisture to expedite the cooking process, which simply doesn’t work for foods that are meant to be crispy. Dishes like fried chicken, potato skins, and onion rings are better suited for an air fryer, otherwise, they’ll become a soggy, oily mess.

Related: 4 Things You Shouldn’t Cook in an Air Fryer


While you can certainly whip up a batch of Instant Pot burgers, it’s probably not the best cooking method. Plus, there's nothing more idyllic in the summer than a juicy char-grilled burger. And that's the trick—the only way to get that beautiful smoky char is to prepare your burgers on the grill or in a cast-iron pan. Making burgers in an Instant Pot will steam them instead, which isn't the way to go.


Similarly to burgers, the best way to achieve that smoky char on a steak is to grill it or cook it to your desired temperature in a cast-iron skillet. Not only will the steak be juicer and more decadent, but it will take half the time to cook, too.


The perfect cookie has a soft, gooey center and deliciously crisp edges, which is only made possible by an evenly heated oven. Baking your cookies in an Instant Pot isn't a good idea for a few reasons. For one, there isn't much room to bake a batch of cookies, but more importantly, the moisture from the Instant Pot will make the batter spread out.

Related: 94 Christmas Baking Recipes for Festive Cookies, Bars, and Bites


Just like cookies, pies thrive when baked in dry heat from an oven. Otherwise, it’s nearly impossible to make a pie with a firm and flaky, crust (which if you ask us, is the best part). However, you can make a delicious and fruity pie filling in an Instant Pot—just be sure to bake the whole treat in the oven for the ultimate pie experience.

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