Kitchen & Cooking

This is the one tool you need to make a fancy Valentine's Day dinner

A four-course meal without leaving the house? Check.

An Instant Pot is the only cooking tool you need for the perfect Valentine's Day dinner at home Credit: Getty Images / Tempura

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Whether you’re in a long-term commitment or you’re seeing someone new, spending Valentine’s Day together can be a big deal for your relationship. If you and your loved one want to opt out of the stress of fighting for a reservation at a crowded restaurant, you may consider spending this romantic night at home with a well thought-out dinner. As cooking is one of the most hated chores in the U.S., you might be interested in forgoing pots and pans for the best multi-cooker we’ve tested—a kitchen gizmo known as the Instant Pot.

Why do you need an Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Ultra
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

You may benefit from an Instant Pot if you're celebrating Valentine's Day at home.

Branded as the do-it-all device that can sear, slow cook, sauté, and bake, the Instant Pot is the one tool that can whip up a variety of dishes without dirtying up extra pans, which is ideal for a mess-free date night. Many users also rave about how user-friendly Instant Pots are; upon receiving her first Instant Pot, our managing editor managed to cook a whole week's worth of meals without repeating any dishes.

An Instant Pot can easily cook for two, three, or even more. So if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a group of friends whom you adore, planning a few courses with an Instant Pot isn’t much harder than a potluck.

Already an Instant Pot user? Here are some of my favorite menu ideas for a romantic date night.

Instant Pot recipes to make on Valentine's Day

Appetizers that look and taste amazing

Bacon Ale Dip
Credit: Happy Life Blogspot

This rich, creamy dip is the perfect appetizer for Valentine's Day dinner.

To make your dinner special, you may consider adding a couple of Valentine’s Day-themed appetizers. I personally like the idea of serving chips with an interesting dip because you can easily make the dip beforehand. This pressure cooker cheddar bacon ale dip caught my eye because of how straightforward the recipe is. With the “pressure cook” setting on the Instant Pot, you can make this dish in under 10 minutes from start to finish. It’s rich, creamy, and savory, which is perfect for a chilly night.

Side dishes that don’t disappoint

sides
Credit: Parker Feierbach / 40 Aprons

These Instant Pot side dishes are just as impressive as the main course.

When we plan fancy meals, it’s easy to neglect the the sides. If you’re a big rice fan, this simple 15-minute risotto recipe that we used to test multi-cookers may be a good choice. With a dash of saffron, this dish can easily brighten up your dinner table.

We also find these Instant Pot roasted sweet potatoes a perfect no-fuss side dish for any dinner. If you’re looking for something light on carbs, this Whole30-approved chicken tortilla-less soup is full of flavor and easy to make.

The star of the show—the mains

Duck break and pasta
Credit: A couple Cooks / Crunchy Creamy Sweet

For the main course, creamy pasta and roasted duck breast are both good options.

Once you’ve made decisions on the apps and sides, you can focus on a main course that will make your date night memorable. If you and your partner are meat-eaters, you may want to try recipes like old-fashioned pot roast, succulent duck breast, or flavorful beef bourguignon. All dishes require relatively short cooking time, and you can set them and forget them in advance.

But if you’re sticking to a particular diet or staying away from red meat, we can also recommend some brilliant vegetarian recipes that will make your date night special and romantic, including this pad thai stir fry. As pad thai is one of my favorite take-out foods, I was shocked to find out how quickly it can be made in an Instant Pot. If you want to play it safe with your date, you can’t go wrong with a creamy pasta dish.

Desserts to end the night on a sweet note

Desserts
Credit: Paint the Kitchen Red / My Baking Addiction

These delicious dessert recipes don't require too much baking knowledge to make.

Not everyone associates their Instant Pot with dessert, but these wildly popular gadgets can bake cakes and more. This Instant Pot Oreo cheesecake recipe from is easy to follow, but you’ll need to buy a 7-inch springform pan if your Instant Pot is 6-quart or smaller. If your Instant Pot is 8-quart, you should use an 8-inch springform pan.

If you don’t want to order a new springform pan to crowd your pantry, you may want to try this classic peach crisp—our editor loves it.

Don't forget the best wine subscriptions to complement the food

Wine Subscription Service Blue Apron
Credit: Blue Apron

Before you start cooking, don't forget to order the wine.

Lastly, you may consider pairing your delicious, homemade dishes with some expert-picked wines that can help set the mood. We’ve tested the best wine subscriptions and found Blue Apron to be the best for beginner wine drinkers. Although we didn’t like all of the wines we received, these services are generally flexible with customization so that customers can tailor their boxes to their individual tastes.

Which Instant Pot should you buy?

If you’re intrigued by the cooking possibilities of an Instant Pot but don’t know which one to get, you can check out all the latest Instant Pot models that we’ve compared. If you have an Instant Pot but it's been collecting dust in your basement, you may also benefit from this Instant Pot refresher course.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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