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4 top tips for using a pressure cooker

Learn how to use a pressure cooker – with everything from how it works to safety and cleaning tips.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Pressure Cooker

If you’re often pushed for time in the kitchen but don’t want to sacrifice the texture or flavour of your cooking, then you may need a pressure cooker. Not sure how a pressure cooker works, how to open a pressure cooker or even how to clean a pressure cooker? Follow our top tips to get started.

Always check the gasket is clean and in good shape when using a pressure cooker.

How does a pressure cooker work?

Pressure cookers work by forming steam inside a sealed pot to create pressure. This pressure generates lots of heat – more than is needed to boil water – and forces liquid into the contents of the cooker. The end result is rapidly cooked food that still tastes great!

How to use a pressure cooker: 4 top tips

  1. Always consider pressure cooker safety

As with most activities in the kitchen, safety should be your main concern.

  • Read and follow the instructions for your pressure cooker.

  • Check the equipment before use – focusing on the gasket, seal and valves.

  • Never use a lot of oil. This could melt or damage the cooker.

  • Wait until the pressure has dropped before opening it.

  • Use the valve to release pressure during cooking. Stand well back to avoid burns.

  • Do not leave children or animals unattended when using a pressure cooker.

2. Prepare your food thoroughly

Your pressure cooker manual will tell you how to use your pressure cooker, but the first step is always preparing the ingredients.

  • Brown meat before cooking. A quick fry in a pan will help seal in the flavour.

  • Cut food into small pieces to help food cook quickly and evenly.

If you’re not sure what recipes to start with, go for slow-cooked dishes. Pressure cookers really come into their own when transforming slow-cook meals like stews and curries into quick dinners. Just remember to start a timer so you don’t accidentally overcook your meal!

3.     Add the right amount of ingredients

Overfilling your pressure cooker could risk the results and reduce its safety so always measure your ingredients carefully.

  • Fill your pressure cooker to halfway. This gives the steam room to breathe.

  • Cook with at least 2cm of liquid at the bottom of your pressure cooker.

Not sure how to open a pressure cooker? Avoid opening it while cooking, releasing pressure by opening the valve instead. Once you’ve finished cooking, wait for the pressure to drop in the cooker before opening it as normal.

4. Learn how to clean a pressure cooker properly

Keep your appliance in good working to ensure the best results time after time.

  • Remove the gasket and gently wash it with mild soap and water, such as Lux Dishwashing Liquid.

  • Clean the rest of your pressure cooker with a non-abrasive sponge.

  • Rinse and dry thoroughly.

  • Reattach the gasket and store your pressure cooker safely.

There you have it, four simple tips for pressure cooking that cover everything from learning about pressure cooker safety to knowing how to use a pressure cooker and how to clean it.

Key steps

Follow our key steps when using a pressure cooker:

  1. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  2. Check all equipment before use.

  3. Use at least 2cm of liquid when cooking.

  4. Don’t overfill your pressure cooker.

  5. Use the valve to release pressure. Do not open your pressure cooker until you’ve finished cooking and the pressure has dropped.

Originally published