6 foods you should avoid cooking in an Instant Pot

If you love your Instant Pot or multi cooker, DON’T put these foods in them!

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot
(Image credit: Instant Pot)

From the best Instant Pots to the best air fryers, it seems that a multitude of kitchen appliances are more geared towards saving time, money and energy while making meals. Whether you love to cook or can’t stand being in the kitchen, devices like Instant Pot multi cookers perform a variety of cooking methods at a simple touch of a button, including pressure cooking, steaming and slow cooking.

But despite the power and ease behind Instant Pots and other popular multi cookers, they can’t do everything, and to be honest, they shouldn’t. That's if you want to get the best results from your chosen meal and if you don’t want to damage your appliance. So, to help you get the most out of your Instant Pot, here are 6 foods you should avoid cooking in it.

Before I get into the list, it’s worth noting that there have been many exciting advancements in multi cookers, including the addition of extra cooking methods. For example, the Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer and the Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi Cooker are both 5-star appliances that can air fry your food alongside other multi cooking functions. But for the sake of this list, I’ll be looking at your standard Instant Pot-style multi cookers which don’t have an air fryer feature. Now, let’s get on with the list!

1. Seafood

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Seafood

(Image credit: Terje Sollie / Pexels)

The first thing you should never cook in an Instant Pot or multi cooker is seafood. Seafood like oysters, clams, muscles, shrimp and other types of fish are extremely delicate and can’t handle slow or pressure cooking modes. This type of seafood is also quite tricky to cook in general, as you need to cook it at the perfect temperature which can be hard to achieve with an Instant Pot. Cooking seafood at the wrong temperature and for too long or too little can result in chewy, mushy food and it can increase the risk of food poisoning.

2. Dairy

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Dairy

(Image credit: Charlotte May / Pexels)

Dairy products like milk, cheese and cream shouldn’t go in your Instant Pot. This is because the heat of your multi cooker can cause the milk to curdle, which won’t taste nice and in most cases, will completely ruin your meal. Having said this, you can add milk or cheese once you’ve finished cooking your meal and when the heat is off. It’s also worth noting that some multi cookers like the Sage The Fast Slow Go can make yoghurt, so make sure to hang on to the instructions manual to give this a try.

3. Fried chicken

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Fried chicken

(Image credit: Shardar Tarikul Islam / Unsplash)

Any kind of crispy food like fried chicken shouldn’t go in your multi cooker – unless it has an air frying function. To put it plainly, Instant Pots aren’t designed to do this type of cooking so it won’t give your food the crisp and crunchy texture that you’re after. Your Instant Pot or multi cooker won’t be able to heat oil to the high temperature you need for frying, which can result in burnt or soggy mushy food. This type of heat can also put strain on your appliance and even cause it to catch fire.

4. Pasta

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Pasta

(Image credit: Heather Gill / Unsplash)

This next one might sound confusing as there are many multi cooker pasta and noodle recipes out there for you to try. However, it’s best to avoid cooking pasta, noodles and certain types of lentils in an Instant Pot, as it’ll most likely come out unevenly cooked or excessively gummy and claggy. Pasta water and the pasta itself can also clog your multi cooker which can damage it in the long run.

5. Bread

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Bread

(Image credit: Jude Infantini / Unsplash)

Another food that you’ll see many Instant Pot recipes for is bread. However, baking bread in a multi cooker won’t give you the tastiest loaf as you’re steaming the dough rather than baking it. This results in under-proved bread that hasn’t risen very well and doesn’t have a brown crust, so the flavour, texture and look of the bread isn’t as good as what you’d get with the best bread maker.

6. Steak

Foods to avoid cooking in an Instant Pot: Steak

(Image credit: Justus Menke / Unsplash)

Finally, if you fancy a juicy rare steak, you should steer clear of an Instant Pot. While an Instant Pot is brilliant at breaking down tough cuts of meat and it can provide a good sear, it doesn’t yield the best results from a nice piece of steak. If you cook your steak in an Instant Pot, it will come out cooked and ready to eat, but you don’t have much of a say over how it’s cooked, so, if you like your steak rare, you won’t get this from your multi cooker.

For more cooking tips, check out these 7 foods you should NEVER cook in an air fryer.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!