5 Common Pressure Cooker Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Are you interested in purchasing a pressure cooker but unsure of how to use it? Using a pressure cooker can be intimidating and first-time cooks often make many pressure cooker mistakes. However, cooking with a pressure cooker is much easier than you think.

They can cut the cooking time in half while using an affordable and healthy cooking method. Are you interested in diving into pressure cooking? Keep reading for common pressure cooker mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Wrong Size of the Cooker for the Recipe

Using the incorrect pressure cooker size for a given recipe can prevent the lid from being properly sealed. When selecting a stainless steel commercial pressure cooker, refer to the size guide found in the manual.

Choose the size recommended for the dish, factoring in the number of ingredients. If there is not enough room for the steam to build up and release, the pressure cooker won’t be able to do its job.

2. Not Sealing the Lid Properly

The lid needs to be sealed properly to ensure that the pressure will rise inside the cooker. An improperly sealed lid can result in decreased pressure and long cooking times. Make sure the lid locks into place, is secure and sits flush.

Check the gasket to ensure it is properly in place. Run a finger along the outside of the lid after closing it. There should be no gaps or spaces when the lid is correctly sealed.

3. Overfilling the Cooker

Overstuffing pressure cookers with food or liquid can block the steam vent, which is essential in building up the pressure safely. If the steam pressure is blocked, the cooker can become dangerous, with the risk of an explosion or burning of the contents. Always follow the proper instructions and guidelines about quantities.

Never fill a pot more than two-thirds full of food and no more than halfway full of liquids. Make sure to add enough liquid to the pot to allow for expansion of the food, such as rice, but not so much as to fill the pot beyond the suggested limits.

4. Using Foil

The foil must never be used inside a pressure cooker as it is highly prone to cracking and becoming stuck to the cooker’s lid. Or worse, melting from the generated heat and interfering with the cooker’s internal operations.

This can prevent the cooker from releasing steam efficiently, resulting in a pressure build-up that could be dangerous. Always use other materials such as parchment paper, oven bags, or steamers made specifically for pressure cookers.

5. Releasing the Pressure Too Quickly

If the pressure is released too quickly, the food will not be fully cooked. If the pressure cooker has a steam release valve, the pressure should be released slowly and carefully by rotating the valve.

If the cooker does not have a steam release valve, the cooker should be moved away from the heat, removed from the burner, and allowed to sit for up to 10 minutes. Finally, opening the lid should be done by turning the lid away from you to protect it from possible eruptions from the cooker.

Avoid These Common Pressure Cooker Mistakes

Pressure cookers are helpful kitchen tools, but they require careful attention and practice. Avoid common pressure cooker mistakes such as underfilling or overfilling and not venting the steam. Following the pressure cooker’s instructions will keep you safe when cooking.

Need help getting started? Ask an experienced family member or friend for pressure cooker advice, or read more on best practices.

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