Do you newly purchase a pressure cooker? Or are you thinking about buying one? If you are wondering about how to use a pressure cooker, well, this guide is for you.
To think of the pressure cooker or an instant pot is to think of the airplane of cookers (fast and efficient). But, many people are scared of using it, because they think there are many risks attached to using a pressure cooker.
Let me assure you now that you can use a pressure cooker without any issues – all you need is the right guide and suitable recipes. You don’t have to be scared.
With new innovations, pressure cookers are safer than what we used to know, and electric pressure cookers are way safer than what you can imagine. Plus, they are very easy to use.
You should not miss out on cooking with a pressure cooker simply because you heard from someone who heard another person that you need a special kind of skill to cook in a pressure cooker – no you don’t.
What you should know about Pressure Cookers
As I mentioned earlier, pressure cookers are the airplane of cookers – they are just so fast in cooking your meals. You also get to retain the majority of the nutrients in your food, which is not always so with other methods of cooking.
Pressure cookers come in different types non-electric pressure cookers (stovetop pressure cookers) and electric pressure cookers.
Instant Pot is the most popular brand of the electric pressure cooker, and there are other brands such as Ninja, Cuisinart, Chef IQ, Zavor, Breville, and Farberware, among others.
Please, note that this guide is for the stovetop pressure cooker, although their usage is very similar.
Parts of your Pressure Cooker you should know
Let me get you familiarized with the essential parts of a pressure cooker.
This is the device that helps maintain the pressure inside the cooker. This part of the pressure cooker also indicates when pressure is reached.
This is the part of the pressure cooker that allows pressure to be released, the pressure regulator is also on the vent pipe.
This is the part of the pressure cooker that exhausts air automatically.
This is a device that creates a pressure-tight seal between the pressure cooker body and the cover.
Cooking Rack / Steamer Basket
This is a device to keep food out of the pot/liquid in the pot.
How to use a Pressure Cooker
In this part, I will teach you how to effectively use a pressure cooker without the fear of using it wrongly or ineffectively. As a result, I have divided this segment into 4, and they include:
- Knowing the basics of how to cook with a pressure cooker
- Preparing food types to be cooked in a pressure cooker
- Knowing the best ways to use a pressure cooker
- Knowing how to remove food from a pressure cooker
Knowing the Basics of how to Cook with a Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker works by producing heat which in turn produces steam that cooks the food faster. The fact that the lid is tightly sealed helps the food to reach a boiling pot faster.
The stovetop pressure cooker comes in two types – the jiggle top cooker and the valve cooker.
Check for dents, cracks, and leftover food
Cooking with a pressure cooker is as easy as it comes. One thing you should take note of is ensuring that your pot does not have any cracks or dents; this is very important.
Just as you have checked that there are no dents or cracks in the pot, you should also ensure that there is no leftover food in the pot – this is very important.
Knowing how to use the steamer basket and trivet
Using the steamer basket and the trivet is one important thing. You can’t just cook every type of food directly inside the pot. And this is where the trivet and steamer basket comes to play.
For foods such as seafood, fruits, and vegetables, you should first place the trivet inside the pot, and place the steamer basket on top of the trivet. Now, you can put the food in the basket before cooking.
Filling your pressure cooker
The liquid is very important when you are cooking with a pressure cooker – this is a very important thing to note as you are learning how to use a pressure cooker.
Before cooking anything at all, you should always have liquid in your pressure cooker. The liquid can be water, broth, or soup – just don’t start your cooking without adding liquid to the pot.
Also, you should never fill your pot to the top with liquid, as the pot needs room for the accumulation and circulation of steam. So, the liquid in the pot should not be more than 2/3 of the pot.
Preparing Food Types to be Cooked in a Pressure Cooker
Here is the second important step in using a pressure cooker. You need to know how to prepare each type of food to be cooked in a pressure cooker.
So, if you are keen on knowing how to use a pressure cooker, then this step is very important for you. Let me show you how to prepare each type of food to be cooked in a pressure cooker.
Preparing dry beans in a pressure cooker
Here is how you can prepare dry beans or chickpeas in a pressure cooker:
- Soak your beans in fresh water for about 5 hours or overnight. Some people don’t like soaking, which makes the cooking longer than soaked beans.
- After which you should drain it and put it in the pressure cooker.
- Add water to the pressure cooker.
- Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Preparing poultry and meat in a pressure cooker
Here are tips for preparing poultry and meat in a pressure cooker:
- Browning the meat before cooking – if you would love to brown the meat before cooking, then you can do that in the instant pot by heating a small quantity of oil. However, when doing this, you should not cover the pot with the lid.
- Browning of the meat gives it more flavor. This can also be done using a pan on a stovetop.
- Also, I prefer to season my meat before placing it in the pressure pot.
Preparing vegetables in a pressure cooker
If you want to prepare vegetables in a pressure cooker, here is how to do so:
- If it the frozen, defrost it.
- Wash the vegetables, and place them in a steamer basket.
- Place your trivet in the pot, and place the steamer basket on it.
- Cook with ½ cup of water or as instructed in the recipe guide.
- Cook as instructed in the recipe guide.
Preparing Seafood in a pressure cooker
Here is how to prepare seafood in a pressure cooker:
- Wash seafood very well.
- Place the trivet in the cooker, and place the steamer basket on it.
- Add vegetable oil to the steamer basket in order to avoid having your seafood sticking to it.
- Put the seafood on the steamer basket, and pour about 3/4 to 1 cup of water or liquid of your choice into the pot.
Preparing fruits in a pressure cooker
Here is how to use a pressure cooker to prepare fruit:
- Wash the fruit well, and place it in a steamer basket.
- Place your trivet in the pot, and place the steamer basket on it.
- Cook with about ½ cup of water or as instructed in the recipe guide.
Preparing grains in a pressure cooker
Here is how to prepare grains in a pressure cooker.
- Soak grains in warm water for about 3-4 hours. Note – don’t soak oats.
- Place in the pressure pot.
- Add water.
How much water to put in a cooker when cooking?
How much water should be added to the pressure cooker when cooking? This all depends on what you are cooking. You should check out the recipe instruction to know more about this.
Knowing the Best Ways to use a Pressure Cooker
In order to cook safely and efficiently with a pressure cooker, here is how to go about it.
- The first thing to do is to add the right amount of water you want to add to the food you are preparing.
- Put the food you want to make in the pot.
- Take off the weighted pressure regulator or the safety valve, and rightly shut the lid.
- Now, it is time to place the pressure cooker on your stove and set the heat to high.
- Allow the pressure cooker to gain pressure. The moment the pressure reaches the safety limit, the cooker starts simmering the food.
- At this point, you need to reduce the heat to a lower level as your food continues to simmer. This step is critical in order to prevent a high pressure that could blow open the safety valve.
Knowing How to Remove Food from a Pressure Cooker
This step is as important as every other step in knowing how to use a pressure cooker. The process of removing food from a pressure cooker is quite different from that of removing food from your regular traditional pot on a stovetop.
Let me quickly show you the steps involved in removing food from a pressure cooker:
- Having reached the cooking time of your food (based on your recipe), you should turn off the heat.
- The next step is for you to lower the pressure. You can do this in 3 ways.
- One is by natural release pressure, which usually takes 10-20 minutes.
- The second method is the quick-release pressure method using the quick-release method button on the lid, with this method, the pressure is slowly released from the cooker.
- Lastly, the cold water release pressure method is the fastest way of releasing pressure – using this method involves placing the pressure cooker under the sink faucet and running cold water on the lid until the pressure goes down.
NOTE: Don’t run water directly on the vent or the pressure regulator. Also, don’t try this method with an electric pressure cooker.
- Move the pressure regulator or valve stem to check if there is still pressure left by listening to get a sound, and in the absence of none, you are sure that there is no pressure left.
- Now, you can carefully lift the lid.
- Remove the food, and serve as you wish.
Frequently Asked Questions about Using a Pressure Cooker
Let me quickly answer some questions regarding how to use a pressure cooker.
Can I use a Pressure Cooker without the Lid?
Yes, you can use a pressure cooker without the lid. However, you should note that the cooker will work just like your regular pot.
Why do the Contents of my Pot Burn?
This is most likely due to you not adding the right amount of water to the cooker. Also, this could be caused by cooking on a lower heat for a long time.
Final Thoughts on How to Use a Pressure Cooker
Knowing how to use a pressure cooker is very important in order to avoid accidents or other mishaps. It is important you learn and take note of all there is to note about using this cooker.
In this guide, I have explained all that you need to know, from the safety to the cooking process of using a stovetop pressure cooker.
Also, for maximum safety and efficient cooking, I will suggest you go for an electric pressure cooker, as manufacturers of electric pressure cookers have over time noticed the risk, safety measures, and efficiency of the stovetop pressure cooker.
As a result, the electric pressure cooker is safer, faster, and hand-free. Thus, making your cooking seamless and more enjoyable. With the introduction of lid detection, automatic pressure control, pressure sensors, and more in the electric pressure cooker, you can be sure of having a better cooker than the stovetop pressure cooker.
In the meantime, this guide on how to use a stovetop pressure cooker is just the right guide for you if you are a newbie in using a pressure cooker.