6 ridiculous foods you can make in your Instant Po…

What do hamburger helper, Rice-A-Roni, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, a brownie mix and a box of stuffing all have in common? Many things, probably. But the one I’m focusing on today is that you can make all of them in the Instant Pot. Ridiculous? Yes, perhaps. LOL. But just in case you were wondering I’ve tested them all in the Instant Pot and am going to share with you what I found out…

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You can make boxed foods like this in the Instant Pot...LOL!

Boxed Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot

First up is that 67 cent box of mac and cheese. I was even too cheap to buy Kraft and went for the Kroger brand. But I’m pretty sure they’re all going to cook about the same in the Instant Pot. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Pour the macaroni noodles into the bottom of your Instant Pot. Save the powdered cheese package for later.
  2. Pour in 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp of water into the pot. Make sure all the noodles are covered with the water.
  3. Lid on, vent sealed. 3 minutes high pressure.
  4. Perform a quick release. If foam starts coming out move the valve back to sealing and wait 20 seconds and then try again.
  5. Remove the lid. Stir. Stir in the butter and milk (amounts on the back of the package) and the contents of the cheese packet. Stir until butter melts. Serve and enjoy(?).

making boxed macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot

Results: If you’re going to make boxed mac and cheese this is an easy way to do it (not sure if it’s easier than just cooking on the stove?). The pot reached pressure fairly quickly because the pot isn’t that full. Using the quick release made the process pretty fast. It took 13 minutes from start to finish for me. This could easily be doubled or tripled, just be careful of foam sputtering out the valve when you do the quick release.

Ramen Noodles in the Instant Pot

I have to admit ramen noodles are usually in our pantry. It’s one of the only boxed foods that I buy. Every now and then we make them for our kids on a Saturday for lunch. And secretly I usually have a few bites of them. Here’s how to make ramen noodles in the Instant Pot.

  1. Pour 2 cups of water in the Instant Pot.
  2. Pour in noodles and open the seasoning and pour that in too.
  3. Lid on, vent sealed. Set the pressure cook time to 0 (zero!). Yes, you can do this. Cool huh?
  4. Quick release, remove lid. Stir and serve.

how to make ramen noodles in the instant pot

Results: I actually really liked this method of cooking ramen noodles. And it will probably be used by me in the future! I set everything in the pot and walked away. When I heard the beeping I performed a quick release and the noodles were perfectly cooked. I thought they might be overdone but by using a zero minute pressure cook time and a quick release they didn’t get mushy. You could easily double or triple this.

Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot

I don’t think I’ve had Hamburger Helper in about 17 years. Seriously. Ha ha!! When my husband and I first got married we ate a lot of Pasta Roni but not so much Hamburger Helper. Both are probably disgusting to me now. Sorry not sorry.

  1. Brown a pound of ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey) in your Instant Pot using your saute function. Drain off any excess grease.
  2. Deglaze the pot by pouring in 1 cup of water. Then add in the box of Hamburger Helper and the seasonings. Add in 1 3/4 cup of milk.
  3. Lid on, vent sealed. Set the pressure cook time to 0 (zero).
  4. Perform a quick release. If foam starts coming out move the valve back to sealing and wait 20 seconds and then try again.
  5. Stir. Serve.

how to make Hamburger Helper in the Instant Pot

Results: This was probably the least favorite thing of all 6 items I tried. By pouring in the milk initially the texture was a little weird (perhaps curdled). To prevent that I might add in evaporated milk instead. It had quite a bit of liquid when I first opened the pot but after letting it sit a minute the noodles soaked it up. I just don’t think Hamburger Helper is that great any way you prepare it.

Boxed Stuffing in the Instant Pot

When I was young I loved Stovetop Stuffing. I don’t know what it was about it, but I just really liked when my mom would make it. Now as an adult I’m not too fond of boxed stuffing mixes. I don’t even really love homemade stuffing all that much. I know my husband thinks it’s the best part of Thanksgiving but I’m more of a homemade roll girl. My husband actually really liked the boxed stuffing that I made in the Instant Pot. Haha!! He said it was “super moist.”

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the Instant Pot. Sprinkle contents of package on top. Add amount of butter indicated on package. Don’t stir.
  2. Lid on, vent sealed.
  3. Set the pressure cook time to 0 (zero).
  4. Perform a quick release. If foam starts coming out move the valve back to sealing and wait 20 seconds and then try again.
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve.

how to make boxed stuffing in the Instant Pot

Results: There was a little bit of stickage that happened on the bottom of the pot, but not too bad. I ate a bite. My husband and kids ate it fairly happily.

Boxed Rice-A-Roni in the Instant Pot

Again, I went with the store brand on the rice-a-roni. This particular variety was a pilaf of rice and orzo and it sounded good. I actually really like rice-a-roni…it’s been a few years since I’ve made it but I remember liking it. Here’s how I made it:

  1. Add 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp water to the pot. Add in the contents of the box (seasonings too) and 1 Tbsp of butter.
  2. Lid on, vent sealed. Set the timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Set the pressure cook time to 0 (zero).
  4. Perform a quick release. If foam starts coming out move the valve back to sealing and wait 20 seconds and then try again.
  5. Stir the rice and serve.

how to make rice a roni in the instant pot

Results: the texture of the rice and orzo was creamy and perfect. The taste…not so good. The seasoning packet was way too overpowering and salty. I wonder if that’s because I bought the store brand???

Boxed Brownies in the Instant Pot

Boxed brownies are one of those things that I think are pretty good. Usually I’m all about homemade foods but boxed brownies get a pass from me. Especially the ghirardelli brand. YUM! Don’t get me wrong I totally prefer my homemade brownies over any brand of boxed mix but if you’re in a pinch the boxed brownies will do.

how to make boxed brownies in the instant pot

  1. Mix the brownie mix according to the directions on the package (mine had egg, oil and water to add).
  2. Pour the batter into a greased 7 inch by 3 inch cake pan. I used this Fat Daddios Cake Pan.* Cover the pan with foil. This will prevent drippage from coming down on the top of your brownies.
  3. Pour one cup of water into the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet in the bottom of the pot*. 
  4. Prepare a foil sling or make a sling out of a silicone baking mat like I did (pictured below). My friend Barbara gave me this idea.
  5. Place the cake pan that is covered with foil on top of the trivet and sling.
  6. Lid on, vent closed.
  7. Use the STEAM button for this recipe. Set the timer for 60 minutes.
  8. Quick release. Use the sling to remove the pan. Careful it’s hot!
  9. Serve the brownies with ice cream and eat hot or cold.
how to make a sling out of a silicone baking mat

I cut up a silicone baking mat to make a reusable sling for my Instant Pot.

Results: So you may be wondering why in the world you would use your Instant Pot to cook brownies when it takes LESS time in the oven. Well, I don’t know. Just because you thought it would be fun, maybe. Or maybe you don’t have an oven. Yes it does take an hour of cooking time. However, I have to tell you that the results were pretty cool. If you’re expecting normal brownies then you’ll be disappointed. What came out of the pan was a cross between a brownie and a piece of fudge. They were ultra moist and dense and dark. I literally had one square and was satisfied. This is saying a lot because I am hardly satisfied with one portion of a dessert. My family thought they were soooo good. Here is a video of what they looked like:

brownies made in the instant pot

Brownies made in the Instant Pot come out very thick and dense. It reminds me of a cross between a piece of fudge and a brownie.

So there you have it! 6 boxed items you can make in the Instant Pot. Now whether you will or not is another story 🙂 What is the weirdest thing you have attempted to make in your Instant Pot???

Here are some other articles I bet you might like…

5 things you didn’t know you could do with your blender

5 outside of the box ways to use your slow cooker

5 things you didn’t know about slow cooking

5 more things you didn’t know about slow cooking

What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?

For all of these items I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly.  It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.

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*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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