Never Put This Type Of Sauce In Your Instant Pot

What would we do without the Instant Pot? This all-in-one pressure cooker and slow cooker simmers our soups, braises our stews, cooks our rice, and yogurts our milk — all without demanding too much attention or time (via Delish). Who can remember, really, a time before this magical device became popular in the U.S. — a time before 2016-ish, that is (via CNBC)? We don't even want to think about it, frankly.

The Instant Pot has become a must in our kitchens. When used correctly, it can go above and beyond its basic functions of pressure- and slow-cooking, turning out perfectly fluffy, fragrant rice; tender hard-boiled eggs; mulled wine and cider; whole roasted chickens; and even baked potatoes (via Pinch of Yum). There's even a whole genre of recipes that are developed specifically for the Instant Pot, and many of them have gone viral: think Indian butter chicken (via The New Yorker) and feta pasta (via Liemessä).

It can seem like you can make absolutely anything in an Instant Pot — and you nearly can. But there's a certain class of sauces that are an absolute no-go. Read on to find out what it is, and avoid creating an inedible disaster.

Dairy-based sauces are a no-go

If you love pasta — and who doesn't, really? — an Instant Pot is a worthwhile addition to your kitchen. While a whole box of pasta typically requires a huge pot of boiling water in order to cook to non-starchy, al dente perfection, the same amount of pasta cooks in an Instant Pot in just four cups of water — in five minutes (via Food Network). The appliance is also perfect for simmering sauces of all kinds, from buttery tomato sauce to meaty Bolognese.

If you love cream-based sauces such as alfredo and vodka, you might be tempted to stir them up in your Instant Pot. But before you do so, take heed: cooking dairy-based sauces in an Instant Pot requires some forethought. As explained by Food & Wine, you can't just "set and forget" creamy dairy sauces: pressure cooking them in the Instant Pot will cause the dairy in them to curdle, i.e., break into unappealing, denatured clumps of protein (via Coffee Science Lab).

Still keen on making a milky sauce in the Instant Pot? Just do your homework first. You can pressure cook the other ingredients in the sauce, then add the dairy at the end (via Food & Wine). Or, you can just stick to the stovetop, where you can maintain a more consistent temperature.