Did you buy a pressure cooker last week on Amazon Prime Day? If so, you’re in good company: the retailer reported that a whopping 215,000 people purchased an Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker ($110; amazon.com) during the annual sale. The Instant Pot doubles as a slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker in one, but you can also save by opting for a more basic stovetop model, such as the Presto 01264 6-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker ($26; amazon.com).
Unlike slow cookers—which cook food, well, slowly over the course of several hours—pressure cookers speed things up. Any food normally boiled or steamed in liquid (think soups, rice, veggies, even hard-boiled eggs) can be prepared in a pressure cooker. Because steam gets trapped inside the closed container, the water temperature heats faster than it would on a stovetop. It takes just a few minutes to cook rice in a pressure cooker, for example, compared to 20 minutes or more on the stove. In other words, whipping up a quick weeknight dinner just got a lot easier.
As an added bonus, pressure cookers are particularly handy for health-conscious cooks, since the device is ideal for making good-for-you foods like spaghetti squash and dried beans in less time. Here, five delicious pressure cooker recipes from a few of our favorite food bloggers.
Pressure Cooked Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Steel Cut Oats
Making steel cut oats in a pressure cooker takes a mere three minutes. “[It’s] a game changer,” says Jill Nussinow, RDN, blogger at theveggiequeen.com and author of Vegan Under Pressure ($13; amazon.com). “Adding pumpkin, cranberries, spices, and nuts pumps up the nutrition and the flavor.”
Get the recipe: Pressure Cooked Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Steel Cut Oats
Healthy Creamy Mushroom Soup
No canned soup here: This low-calorie meal is made entirely in a pressure cooker with fresh ingredients like potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. “It’s super healthy with a beautiful velvety texture,” says Richa Gupta, blogger at myfoodstory.com. “Perfect for a light dinner!”
Get the recipe: Healthy Creamy Mushroom Soup
RELATED: 8 Surprising Ice Cube Tray Hacks
Pressure Cooker Beet & Caper Salad
“This recipe will bring your red beets from fresh to cooked in less than 30 minutes,” says Laura Pazzaglia, founder of the website hippressurecooking.com. “It pairs beets with sweet sour balsamic vinegar and salty capers for an unexpectedly refreshing flavor.”
Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Beet & Caper Salad
Pressure Cooker Chicken and Lentil Soup
Thanks to protein-packed chicken and lentils, this soup makes a hearty dinner. “This nourishing meal will fill you up,” says Gina Homolka, author and recipe developer at skinnytaste.com. Also good: “It makes plenty of servings, so you can have leftovers for lunch or freeze the rest.”
Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken and Lentil Soup
RELATED: The Best Hearty Soups and Stews
Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Sage
Normally-laborious butternut squash puree is on the table in just 30 minutes with this recipe. “This is an easy, hands-off side dish for summer,” says Mike Vrobel, a food blogger at dadcooksdinner.com.
Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Sage