Amazon never disappoints on Cyber Monday. Between flash deals and ongoing discounts, there was a lot to choose from—no surprise that the retailer sold a record-breaking hundreds of millions of products over the holiday weekend. Of those best-sellers a few choice items reigned supreme, and of those, one in particular stood out from the crowd.
The list includes everything from home tech, like the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick, to a 23andMe ancestry kit. It also features the 8-quart Instant Pot Duo80, which is an all-time customer favorite. (Not only is it a Cyber Monday best-seller for the third year running, but the pot topped the chart for Prime Day sales, too.) Looks like the craze over this kitchen tool with a cult following isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
If you’re not already familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s about time you got acquainted. The beloved pressure cooker (which is also technically a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer, and a saute/searing pan all wrapped up in one) can prepare virtually any dish in a fraction of the time of more traditional cooking methods. In the mood for Asian pork tacos? Less than an hour. Want to warm up with a cup of pho? Twenty minutes. And no magic or culinary skills required.
Of course, you may have already known all that—but did you know that you can also use this little miracle pot for a number of other kitchen tasks? Scoop it up now to make holiday entertaining a cinch. (Psst: It’s still discounted at just under $100.) Here are some less-expected ways the tool can help you out this season:
Serve Up Big-Batch Cocktails
You didn’t throw a party to play bartender the whole night, right? Make-ahead drinks will both free up your time and work for a crowd; they’re perfect for any festive fete. Just be careful about the release valve (it’s alcohol, after all; do it in a well-ventilated, clear area), and you’ll be all set to prepare a bevy of seasonal libations. Might we recommend spiked cider or mulled wine?
Prep a Hearty Brunch
It’s the week of Christmas and you have a whole house of family members to feed. Whip up a batch of soft- or hard-boiled eggs (blogger Damn Delicious has the how-to) to serve alongside fresh bread. Or go an even lighter route and make some Instant Pot yogurt. Yes, you read that right; it takes a while, but you really can make homemade yogurt in this wonder tool. Head to Food52 for instructions and then to your local Trader Joe’s to get some seasonal produce for toppings.
Make the Perfect Movie-Night Snack
You need popcorn to accompany your daylong Netflix marathon, obviously. Blogger Sixth Bloom has a recipe for kettle corn that only takes two minutes, so you can prepare it during a commercial break. Kick it up a notch by sprinkling some Parmesan on top or even adding candy, depending on what kind of mood you’re in.
Create the Ultimate Showstopping Dessert
Ready your springform pan: We’re making cheesecake. This decadent dessert is ideal for a fancy holiday meal, and it barely takes any effort at all. Go for a basic take, à la My Baking Addiction’s version (be sure to jazz it up with a berry compote) or try Cookies and Cups’s salted caramel recipe. Either one will have your guests demanding you share your secrets.