Are you planning to bring home a pressure cooker? Smart decision! This type of kitchen tool has improved significantly since those clattering, steam-sputtering machines your grandma might have used. Nowadays pressure cookers are pretty much safe and simple to use and at the same time save you valuable time and cash.

Considering how beneficial this tool is, we have brought you this guide to reveal everything necessary to know about it.

Pressure cookers: The myths and truths

More often than not, there are questions that you have when leveraging this device in your kitchen. It is even more confusing that there are such numerous myths and misunderstandings about it that have run rampant since the times of your granny

Let’s see some of that misinformation:

  • Myth 1: Food loses its nutritional value due to pressure cooking.

What is true: This is false. According to studies, pressure cooking is extraordinary for keeping food nutrients intact.

  • Myth 2: There are just some dishes you can make in a pressure cooker.

What is true: This kitchen tool is incredibly versatile and works to make an assortment of foods. For example, these include meat that makes you swoon over and cakes. Whatever dishes are, it is is genuinely a bad boy in your kitchen!

  • Myth 3: Dishes made in the pressure cooking technique loses taste and are not as yummy as other cooking ways.

What is true: You will be happy to realize that pressured cook meals can be legit yummy as the ingredients’ original flavors do not change with this cooking method.

Pressure cooking is not super complicated. Indeed, you can rock this intuitive process with enough information and practice. Right below, we help enlighten you about this way of making cuisines.

A pressure cooker defined in layman’s terms

Cooking with a pressure cooker has to do with preparing food by heating ingredients at high pressure through leveraging stock or water in a dedicated cooking pot named the pressure cooker. You can cook pretty much any ingredient that can get steamed or cooked using fluids in this cooker. 

How does a pressure cooker work?

1. Main parts

For your information, Denis Papin, a French physicist, invented the pressure cooker in 1679. And for quite a white, people call this appliance Papin’s Digester that includes the inventor’s name.

The gadget functions on the straightforward ideal gas equation. You can basically characterize it as a chamber sealed shut to allow pressure to get built up through steam. Specifically, how could that be done?

That is thanks to the construction of seven parts. Each of them has a significant impact on your pressure cooker’s working and utility.

  • Chamber: Here, the pressure is accumulated and the food is put.
  • Lid: It assists with sealing the chamber shut and regulating the pressure.
  • Gasket: This useful component makes the chamber stay airtight, enabling steam to be stored between the lid and the chamber.
  • Pressure regulator: It is an accurately weighted part which works to control the pressure inside to a predicated variable.
  • Vent tube: It allows the steam to get away from the chamber.
  • Safety valve: This safety system helps avoid the accumulation of excessive pressure inside your pressure cooker
  • Handle and secondary handle: This component is made out of heat-resistant material to allow for the convenience of handling.

2. How it works: Explanation simplified

Pressure cookers resemble sizable saucepans or stockpots. The difference is, their lid makes a tight seal by locking onto the top. 

The cooking liquid inside the chamber boils and generates steam. The pressure is higher since steam gets trapped inside. That accordingly raises the liquid’s boiling point to around 120 degrees Celcius. Thanks to the increased cooking temperature, ingredients will be cooked faster compared to conventional cooking ways. 

As you notice, the steam gets away from the pressure regulator positioned on the lid slowly and steadily during cooking. Be cautious before you open the lid. Please make certain you release the pressure fully; otherwise, the contents may explode. With that being said, the possibility of this occurring is little to no provided that you adhere to the directions included in any buy of pressure cooker models.

Pressure cookers: Are they worth it?

A double valve pressure cooker.
A double valve pressure cooker.

Present-day pressure cookers are an amazing gadget in any kitchen because they:

1. Save time

A significant perk of this tool is that it allows you to save more time than using normal pots.

Here, just about any energy put inside will remain inside as the chamber is completely closed and the steam gets trapped there. In comparison, speaking of normal pots, you can see a considerable loss of energy because lots of steam will release from the pot.

That is why by leveraging a pressure cooker, you would substantially decrease the cooking time for your dishes. This particularly applies to foods that need cooking for a considerable length of time until they are alright for consumption.

2. Save energy

In case you are not in the know, this type of cooker makes use of heat in a way more efficient way than normal pots, which enables you to save lots of energy.

This is pretty significant. Wonder why? To hold back global warming, you likewise have to decrease your energy consumption notably.

In general, by leveraging pressure cookers, you will greatly enhance your ecological footprint as you can save a significant amount of energy over time. 

3. Save money

Because you manage to save lots of energy by using this cooker, you will be able to set money aside as time goes by.

Indeed, with the energy transition to renewable energy from fossil, the likelihood is, energy’s cost will be higher. Using a pressure cooker is a wise choice to deal with the rise in energy prices, considering you can save considerable amounts of energy.

4. Are simple to operate

Talking about another advantage of pressure cookers, we cannot disregard the truth that operating them is rather straightforward. 

Yessir, we hear you. It might take some time until you get used to pressure cooking. But let’s face the fact: that necessary time is the tiniest bit. This cooking method is not super challenging and you will learn pretty fast how long to cook cuisines.

Generally speaking, it is not rocket science. Even those that are novice to cooking will be able to use a pressure cooker the right way.

5. Make your cool kitchen

Truth be told, when you are cooking, the kitchen gets substantially warmer.  This can be rather bothering and tiring, particularly on hot days of summer.

A surefire way to make your kitchen stay cool is leverage a pressure cooker. As opposed to normal pots, there will be reduced steam got out from the pot.

6. Boost kitchen safety

Using these cookers is also regarded to be far safer than cooking with conventional pots. 

For example, assuming you make some foods in the conventional pot and your skills are not enough, the possibility is you will burn yourself someday. Meanwhile, when it comes to using a pressure cooker, you can avoid such unpleasant sủprise. That is because they are completely closed. 

7. Allow you to cook whole meals in only one pot

Again, it is worth mentioning that the gadget is pretty convenient. For example, when cooking a stew, you can simply place every ingredient needed in the cooker, meaning no use of any other devices.

Aside from being rather convenient for cooking purposes, this makes tidying up later on way easier. See, you need way fewer cooking appliances to clean.

8. Boast durability

It is safe to say that you can use a decent pressure cooker for seemingly forever.

We have this type of cooking device which we have leveraged for quite a long while without encountering any issues. Nonetheless, we heard problems experienced by users of cheap models.

In this way, as we would see it, you are better off spending somewhat more cash for a decent product unit. With it, you can cook delicious meals for a lot of years to come or, believe it or not, a lifetime without experiencing any issues related

9. Boast less loss of nutrients

Pressure cooking ensures little to no loss of valuable vitamins and nutrients in your ingredients cooked. In comparison with normal pots, pressure cookers are on another level. 

As mentioned above, this is thanks to the device’s closed system. It makes fewer nutrients will get away from the chamber and more will remain in your cuisines. 

10. Say goodbye to microorganisms and bacteria

As pressure cooking has to do with cooking foods at reliably high temperatures, a wide range of bacteria will get killed and you can have peace of mind that your cuisines are free from bacteria contamination.

11. Conserve flavors

As addressed above, your meals will be healthier because there is reduced loss of vitamins and nutrients. But that is not all. As less steam can escape your pressure cooker than the normal pot, more flavors will be sustained inside and your foods will be more tasteful. 

Key tips and tricks when you use the pressure cooker

Cooking dinner in a pressure cooker in a modern kitchen
Cooking dinner in a pressure cooker in a modern kitchen.
  • Because the pressure is originated from steam, one cup of liquid or more is necessary for the pot content.
  • Do not forget to lock the lid! Otherwise, it will never come into pressure.
  • Let it become pressure on heat at the medium to high level. Once the cooker is at pressure (typically displayed with a pressure indicator), decrease the heat to low. This time, the energy needed is minimal.
  • The highest setting for pressure is for most of the foods. Meanwhile, soft fruits tend to need lower pressure settings. If not, they will become mush. 
  • Watching the pressure cooker do its job is not necessary. Just go and relax. The sole thing to note is, in case there is plenty of steam getting escaped, reduce the heat further.
  • To decrease the pressure and unlock the cooker’s lid after the cooking process, either:
    • Move out the pan from the heat. That is when it will reduce the pressure naturally following around ten minutes (this is most advisable with meats since they will become even way tender).
    • Or run cool water over the pan’s edge with care, decreasing the heat fast and lowering the pressure.

Stove-top vs Electric pressure cooker

A pressure cooker makes foods quickly, nutritionally, with improved flavor thanks to cooking under pressure (yea!). Where there are advantages with both electric and stove-top pressure cookers, the main perk of cooking under pressure is decreased with electric models. They just attain half the pressure level.

Slow cookers vs Pressure cookers 

Both cooking appliances have specific overlap with a couple of the cooking styles – say braises. 

But when it comes to pressure cookers, the range of foods they can make is wider. They work to cook cakes, steam, and more fantastic for rice. 

What if you are an early bird? If so, you may be fine with slow cookers. Then again, in case you are similar to many families (starting the day with chaos), cooking fast once home by using a pressure cooker ensures your meals are healthy any single night.

Let’s have a quick look at this comparison table for a crystal clear understanding of how capable each of them is:

Pressure CookerSlow CookerRice Cooker
Curries, stews, and other braises
Pot roast
Steamed fish and vegetable
Boiled eggs
Cheesecake/ Puddings
Spanish rice/ Risotto rice
Slow cookers vs Pressure cookers comparison

Recommended cooking time

Generally speaking, cooking time with chicken or meat is decreased by around seventy percent. While cooking with frozen meat is not difficult at all, do not forget to add fifteen minutes to the typical cooking time using the pressure cooker. The time set has to do with the quantity getting cooked. One kilogram of stuff needs less amount.

For further details, just check out the cooking time suggestions below:

Approximate cooking time (minutes)
Beef, pot roast35 – 40
Meatballs, mince, or beef10 – 15
Cubed, lamb10 – 15
Ribs, beef, or Osso Bucco25 – 30
Pork ribs20 – 25
Roast, pork50 – 60
Shanks or lamb leg35 – 45
Chicken drumsticks10 – 15
Chicken, roast whole25 – 30
Breast, cubed, or chicken8 – 10
Butter chicken8
Spanish rice/ Risotto rice8
Recommended cooking time

Key factors to consider before you buy a pressure cooker

Cooking food in a pressure cooker with chicken and carrot

1. What is your family’s ideal pressure cooker size? 

A three and four-liter model is most fantastic for a small family of as many as four members. In case you need extra space in the cooker and have a larger family to feed, a five-liter product unit would be the preferable bet for a family of about six people. 

How about new moms introducing food to their little ones? You cannot go wrong with a one-liter small cooker. This option would likewise be suitable for a single adult who lives on their own. 

Speaking of a couple living together, we recommend a pressure cooker with a capacity of about 2.5 liters. A 3.5-liter cooker is great for a family of three.

2. How do you intend to use this kitchen appliance?

By answering this question, you can determine your cooker’s material, shape, and functionality. For example, are you planning to use it solely for lentils or rice? Else, will it be useful for various other cuisines? Are you used to cooking with inserts? Else, do you prefer cooking without them? 

Also, is your family health-conscious? Else, do you have anyone experiencing cancer at home? Then, stay away from cooking in pots made from low-quality materials and think about a high-grade stainless steel model and the one with non-stick ceramic coating, for instance. These materials are safe for your health as they are free of residue such as lead. Further, their efficiency is no joke because of less fuel leveraged and easiness to clean. 

Please bear in mind that those considerations will help with selecting your suitable pressure cooker. That benefit aside, you figure out how to make the best use of the device after considering such factors.  

3. 4S rule

When searching for a pressure cooker, keep in mind the following 4S rule:

  • Shape: A shape that is the best fit for your needs and wants.
  • Size: Purchase the ideal size for your family.
  • Storage: Account for ease of space, cleanup, and maintenance.
  • Safety: Opt for a healthy and decent material to cook in.

Some of the best pressure cookers to buy (Updated)

If you are planning to buy a suitable pressure cooker for your needs and wants, be sure to give this a read. To narrow down your options, we have curated a comprehensive list of the top picks in the market these days.

Safety cautions!

Some people consider pressure cookers a nightmare, assuming that they are exploding pots that make scalding water fly anywhere. Again, this gadget nowadays is way safer. Yet, on the other hand, it never hurt to follow some fundamental safety rules.

1. When the cooker is under pressure, never try to open it.

First things first, do not ever try to open the device when it is under pressure. Though just about any pressure cooker today comes with safety measures, making it impossible to do that, you are still better off not trying. In case you want to open the appliance to put some more ingredients, switch it off and allow the pressure to subside.

2. Be careful with how much liquid you should add.

Next up, the liquid is a must-have when it comes to cooking in these cookers. Be certain you check out the instructions included in the purchase to realize how much is necessary to add. 

Plus, avoid overfilling this appliance. More often than not, pressure cookers’ max safe capacity is around two-thirds of the total volume.

3. Be smart with the depressurization choice.

Last but not least, figure out the different ways of depressurizing your model. Most of the time, pressure cookers’ release is the quick one and the natural one. 

As for quick release for the cooker, it tends to have to do with pressing the pressure relief valve. Doing so may lead to a noisy steam burst that may startle you in case you are not prepared. With the natural release, you simply allow the gadget to work its magic. It will automatically bleed off pressure when sitting.

In general, what depressurization type you opt for will mostly rely upon what kind of dishes you are making. Do you plan to cook dried beans that foam and whatnot? If so, natural depressurization is more recommendable. Meanwhile, the quick release is your best bet assuming you have some stuff that had better not cook when awaiting the pressure to dissipate.

How to clean and maintain your pressure cooker

This appliance will be the most efficient and safest to use when properly cleaned and maintained.

1. Get rid of sticky food particles

Talking about a typical issue with using these cookers, you can notice food becomes stuck on the inside, being especially hard to eliminate. Even the hardiest of cleaning leveraging the most adequate elbow grease supply might not manage to remove such stubbornly sticking particles, which degrades the device’s functionality. 

Cooking it off is the most advisable way to get rid of that unwelcomed impact of regular use. Add weather to the unit until the food particles get submerged. Follow with pouring one-quarter cup of white vinegar. Let your pot stay uncovered and cook until this blend boils.

As soon as you get to the boiling point, switch off the heat and add one or two teaspoons of baking soda there. Wait for the fluid inside to become sufficiently cool to place your hand into it. Start applying elbow grease. Removing these particles now becomes a breeze. 

2. Prevent food from smelling horrible.

Even though you make your pressure cooker stay clean enough, you likely encounter the problem of bad odors making your yummy dishes foul-smelling. The cause of this issue has to do with storage.

Develop the habit of putting away the cooker with the lid slightly askew over the top. That way left an opening.

With the lid put tightly on the gadget during storage may result in retaining odors from previous dishes, infecting new cuisines like a stinking virus.

3. Make the overpressure plug free of dirt and dust.

Leakage is a definite sign that the overpressure plug becomes begrime. While occasional leakage while leveraging your pressure cooker is not something surprising, your device is sure to have problems if it leaks every single time of use. Be hurry to check the plug and wash it thoroughly. 

What if doing so does not work to stop the leak? There needs a plug replacement. Even when the leaking issue does not appear, taking the place of the overpressure plug every few years is advisable to make the gadget work as efficiently and safely.

4. Stay away from frying oil.

The likelihood is you have leveraged your pressure cooker for ages to have disregarded the manual. Please keep in mind that using this little appliance to fry food is a big no. 

Do you think that it is more fantastic compared to spending money on a deep fryer? Else, do you consider using this gadget for frying is pretty healthier than counting on a skillet?

Nothing of the sort.

Using oil to fry foods in pressure cookers is the culprit behind super serious burn injuries. 

In a nutshell 

Checking out the guide above, you will have a better idea of the pressure cooker, discover your best models, and pick up some valuable tips related to usage and maintenance. 

Pressure cookers these days have gained a deserved reputation for saving time and energy, being safe, and being a breeze to use. Having them for your home should be one of your best, most informed investments.

See: best pressure cookers for your needs and preferences.