Creative Ways to Use 3 Beloved Kitchen Appliances

These unexpected uses will get even more use of these hardworking kitchen essentials.
Published February 1, 2021 | Updated October 6, 2022

If it feels like you’ve exhausted all the possible ways to use some of your favourite kitchen appliances, allow yourself to get inspired by these unconventional ways to use an Instant Pot®, muffin tin and waffle iron. Easier-than-ever hard-boiled eggs, DIY smoothie packs, and crispy tofu are just some of the out-of-the-box suggestions you’ll find in the tips below.

Instant Pot

When using the pressure cooker setting of your Instant Pot, always add at least 1 cup of liquid (water, broth or juice) to the pot.

Hard boiled eggs: Make a batch of perfectly hard boiled in Instant Pot using the manual high pressure setting. Carefully arrange eggs on a trivet and add 1 cup of water. Cook the eggs for 3-7 minutes, depending on how soft or firm you like your yolks, and use a natural release for 5 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water and then peel (or store in the fridge).

Cook an entire chicken: You can cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot using the pressure cooker feature in 30 minutes or less (allow for 6 minutes per pound of chicken). Generously season the chicken with salt, pepper, herbs and any spices or spice blends you love. Place the chicken on a trivet and add 1 cup of chicken broth, adding whole garlic cloves, lemon slices and fresh rosemary and thyme if desired. Pressure cook the chicken and let the steam release naturally for 15 minutes when the time goes off.

Muffin tins

Silicone muffin tins are ideal if the tins are being used for meal prep or freezing purposes. The flexible material lets you unmold the contents of the muffin cups quickly. A traditional aluminum or stainless steel muffin tin can still be used, but may need to be placed in hot water to help remove frozen items.

Freeze portions of soup: Large muffin tins (sometimes called Texas muffin tins) are ideal for portioning out and freezing soup for easy meal prep. Divide room temperature or cold soup into the tins, leaving a small amount of room for expansion, and freeze until solid. Label large freezer bags with the name of the soup and the date it was frozen. Transfer frozen soups to labelled bags for storage.

Make large ice cubes: Fill muffin tins with water, adding a round of citrus or other fruit to each cup if desired. Freeze and add to cold beverages as needed.

Bake eggs for breakfast sandwiches: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Crack an egg directly into each cup and season with salt and pepper (or any other favourite spices). Bake the eggs for 15-17 minutes — the whites should be completely set. Let the eggs cool slightly before removing from the muffin tin. Use immediately or refrigerate for future use.

Make a DIY smoothie pack: Prepare your favourite smoothie and evenly divide it among the cups of a muffin tin. Transfer the frozen smoothie pucks to a labelled freezer bag. When you’re in the mood for a smoothie, blend a couple of frozen smoothie blocks with water, coconut water or your choice of regular or non-dairy milk.

Waffle iron

Most waffle irons, whether they’ve been made from cast iron, ceramic or coated in a non-stick material, don’t need to be sprayed with cooking oil before being used. If butter or oil (such as chili oil) is needed for flavour, apply to the waffled food right before eating.

Hash browns: Try cooking shredded potatoes with a waffle maker the next time you’re craving hash browns. For best results, shred the potatoes using a box grater and wring out as much excess moisture as possible. Season the shredded potato with salt and pepper and cook until crispy. Add thinly sliced shallots to the shredded potato mixture if desired.

Cheese: You can cook both soft and firm cheese in a waffle iron with very different results. Place a small round of brie or camembert in a waffle maker and press down lightly, enjoy the grilled, gooey cheese with apple or pear slices. Firm cooking cheeses, such as halloumi, can withstand more pressure and heat, becoming crispy and browned around the edges.

Tofu: Crispy tofu is a favourite take-out item, but it can take some practice to achieve consistent results when cooked at home in a skillet. Press a block of extra-firm, firm or medium tofu to remove excess moisture (this guide to tofu includes instructions for pressing tofu). Cut tofu into thick planks and grill in a scorching hot waffle iron until golden and crispy. Serve with soy sauce, chili oil and thinly sliced scallions.