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The Kitchen Pot That’s Hot

But, what are these fast cookers great for — and not so great at making

Coconut curry chicken is prepared in an Instant Pot cooker.

KARSTEN MORAN/New York Times

Dinner made easier, thanks to the latest kitchen gadget.

En español | Move over, Crock-pots and pressure cookers. The multipot has merged your best traits into a programmable one-stop cooking tool. This appliance — brands include Instant Pot, Breville and Fagor ($80 to $250) — makes short shrift of such tedious tasks as stewing beef, braising a lamb shank or even fermenting yogurt. Just plug it in, add ingredients, tap a button or two, and it does everything else — generally faster than its forebears.

Great for making

  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Mac and cheese
  • Curry
  • Rice pilaf
  • Shrimp scampi
Shrimp scampi

Getty Images

  • Lemon pudding
  • Mussels with wine
  • Polenta
  • French onion soup
  • Crème brûlée

Not so great for

  • A whole chicken
  • Anything crunchy 
  • Anything crispy 

   

whole crispy chicken

Getty Images

   

(Note: To avoid food explosions, read the manual! Also, certain Instant Pot models were recalled for overheating.) 

Melissa Clark, author of Dinner in an Instant, contributed to this report and shared a recipe that can be done with a fast or slow cooker.

A look at some culinary curiosities of the past

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