Operate A Pressure Cooker

Match the burner size to the pressure cooker size.

Cooking with a pressure cooker is an effortless approach to conserving energy and saving on your energy bill. Invented by a French doctor in 1679, the pressure cooker speeds cooking times and tenderizes most cuts of meat. Operating a pressure cooker is not difficult and, though there are many makes and models, the basic operating instructions are the same. The safety of today’s models make learning to use a pressure cooker worthwhile for those with busy lifestyles. Add this to my Recipe Box.


1. Insert cooking rack into pressure cooker. A rack will raise the food level from the bottom to prevent scorching the food and should be used in all cases. This is particularly important when the pressure cooker is filled to capacity, as it will take longer to reach pressure and scorching can easily occur.

2. Add required amount of liquid and other ingredients to the cooker. Pressure cookers cook with with steam, using as little water as possible to preserve vitamins and minerals. Most of the modern pressure cookers use 1 cup of liquid for every 20 minutes of pressure cooking.

3. Check the vent in the top of the lid by holding it up to the light to make certain it is clear. This will assure the steam build-up will be accurate.

4. Lock the top of the pressure cooker onto the pan by following the manufacturer’s instructions in the owners manual. Some models have a lid lock with flanges and others have a lid that locks when twisted onto the pan.

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5. Place the pressure regulator, the weighted metal knob, onto the vent pipe, which is the raised opening in the center of the pressure cooker’s lid. Place the cooker on the burner closest to the size of the pan.

6. Turn the burner on high under the pressure cooker until 15 pounds pressure is reached. Units having a pressure indicator will register 15 pound pressure on the gauge. On other units, the pressure regulator begins to rock and steam is released slowly which can be seen and heard.

7. Turn down the heat under the pressure cooker and begin timing the cooking when the 15 pound pressure mark is reached. Vegetables and fruits cook quickly, sometimes in five minutes or less. Boneless chicken can be ready for the table in three minutes and a large roast beef can take up to one hour. Use a pressure cooker-specific recipe to be sure, as you cannot open the pressure cooker to check while it’s cooking under pressure.

8. Cool down the pressure cooker when cooking is complete, which will enable you to remove the lid. When the recipe says to let pressure drop on its own, set the pan aside to cool. Instructed to cool the pan at once, you will place the pan in cold water or under a cold running faucet until the pressure is reduced. This will take a minute or less. The lid will now open.