“Instant Pot Miracle.” Authorized by Instant Pot. Houghton Miffflin Harcourt. $22.99

“Instant One-Pot Meals: Southern Recipes for the Modern 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker.” By Laura Arnold. Countryman Press. $21.95

“The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot.” By Kathy Hester. Page Street Publishing Co. $22.99

I have a confession: I’m a little obsessed with my Instant Pot.

I hopped on the Instant Pot bandwagon back on Cyber Monday, when my husband ordered me one as a Christmas gift. And because he can never seem to make me wait to open presents, I started using it two days later when it arrived on our doorstep. I’ve since perfected basics like pork carnitas, chili and hard-boiled eggs, but am constantly on the hunt for new recipes to try in the gadget.

Lucky for me, everyone else seems equally obsessed with the electric pressure cooker-cum-rice-cooker-cum-yogurt-maker, and there are no shortage of new cookbooks kicking around to cater to that obsession. Three arrived in our newsroom in recent months, so I brought them home and put them to work.


“Instant Pot Miracle,” which is authorized by Instant Pot, is basically the souped-up manual you’d want to come with your 7-in-1 cooker. With 175 recipes for all functions of the Instant Pot, it’s a useful guide to your machine. The recipes are broken down into 11 sections, including breakfast, poultry, fish and shellfish, desserts and sauces/spreads/jams.

By far the most useful features of “Instant Pot Miracle” are the guides for how to use the cooker and pressure cooking charts that show how to cook dozens of foods. The recipes themselves include a wide variety of options, from everyday staples like beef chili and corn chowder to fancier dishes such as Steamed Lobster Tails with Meunière Sauce.

I put “Instant Pot Miracle” to use on a snowy Sunday afternoon when I was in the mood for soup, and my stovetop and oven were already occupied. The Indian-Style Lentil Soup, seasoned with garam masala and topped with a dollop of yogurt, seemed appealing and I gathered the ingredients, not realizing until I checked the recipe one last time that it was for the slow cook mode.

One of my favorite things about the Instant Pot is how quickly I can cook basics like lentil soup, so for a split second I was annoyed it would take more than three hours to cook. But I hadn’t tried the slow cook function yet and pushed ahead. The soup itself was just OK – next time I’ll increase the seasoning to better suit my taste.

While the soup was on the lackluster side, I plan to keep this book around as a useful reference for the Instant Pot and a source of easy recipes. I’m already planning to try the Korean Beef Tacos with Sriracha Slaw the next time I need to shake up my taco night menu.

When I saw “The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot” by Kathy Hester arrive in the newsroom and spotted recipes like Oil-Free Pumpkin Tamales and Indo-Chinese Corn Soup, I snagged it. I’m not vegan or even vegetarian, but I am incorporating more plant-based meals into my weekly menu.


Hester, a best-selling author of multiple vegan cookbooks, ranges widely, from Spicy Jackfruit Tinga to Salted Date Caramel Tapioca Pudding. She also includes a helpful guide to using and cleaning the Instant Pot and a chapter of money-saving homemade staples like soy yogurt and almond milk.

I reached for Hester’s book on a weeknight when, after a long day at work, I needed to cook something for dinner that I could also use for lunches the next few days. The Best Not-Refried Black Beans were the perfect option, leaving me with more than enough leftovers to re-purpose for different meals. I took Hester’s suggestion to freeze some of the leftovers.

Of all three Instant Pot cookbooks, I was most excited about Laura Arnold’s “Instant One-Pot Meals: Southern Recipes for the Modern 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker.” Smaller than the other two, this book offers up 75 Southern classics that can be made in a fraction of the time. My mouth watered as I flipped past recipes for shrimp and grits, Brunswick stew, cornbread and spicy crab dip. My stomach was growling by the time I got to the Hummingbird cake, key lime pie and pecan praline cheesecake.

I couldn’t resist trying the Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joes, a more grown-up and flavorful version of the beef and tomato-based sloppy joes my stepmom made when I was a kid. The turkey was pleasantly spicy with a more complex flavor than I anticipated. I balked at first at Arnold’s suggestion to put American cheese on the sandwich, but I found it paired well with the heat of the turkey.

Don’t hesitate to include American cheese on the Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joes. It pairs well with the heat of the turkey.


From “Instant One-Pot Meals: Southern recipes for the modern 7-in-1 electric pressure cooker” by Laura Arnold. Arnold says this recipe serves four, but our reviewer found it made enough for about twice as many sandwiches.


Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

11/2 pounds ground turkey

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced


2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes


1/3 cup dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 sesame seed or wheat buns

4 slices cheddar or American cheese (optional)

1. Select the Sauté setting and heat the olive oil. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and cook an additional minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute until slightly caramelized. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.

2. Secure the lid and cook on Manual with low pressure for 8 minutes. Allow to naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick release and remove lid.

3. Stir in the Dijon mustard. If the sauce is too runny, select the Sauté setting and reduce until thickened.

4. Serve on buns with a slice of cheese, if desired.

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