Wirecutter Weekly: Fall is for Instant Pot dinner parties


Set out your nice dinnerware and light up those candles, fall is for cozying up inside with a homemade meal.

Since signing the lease to my new delightfully spacious apartment (by Brooklyn, New York, standards at least), I’ve been fantasizing about the dinner parties I will throw. Finally, I can host more than two people without forcing them to sit on the floor under my (lofted) bed! (If you have a small apartment, too, check out the gear we recommend for making use of every space from floor to ceiling.)

The ideal dinner party is as fun for you as it is for your guests, so: Stick to stuff you could cook on a weeknight, and make the setting feel exceptional. I’ve had great success cooking congee in my Instant Pot (or you could make this coconut rice), to serve with a bunch of DIY toppings (sauteed shrimp, bok choy, and so on). It’s also perfectly acceptable to buy a rotisserie chicken, a nice loaf of bread and fancy butter, then make a big salad in the prettiest bowl you own. I break out all of the nice ceramic dishes I never get to show off. Buy flowers. Light candles. Arrange your snacks on a nice wood cutting board. Use cloth napkins (these are colorful and affordable!) and fun glasses (like coupes for cocktails). For dessert, put out some fruit and cookies, or just let people break pieces off of a good chocolate bar––it will encourage them to nibble and linger, and isn’t that what dinner parties are all about?