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How To Use A Pressure Cooker For The First Time

Pressure cookers are a great way to cook food thoroughly and most importantly, quickly. This simple yet ingenious device is essentially a cooking pan on steroids with a lid that locks down ultra-high heat and pressure. It’s a brilliant tool for those on a tight schedule.

Because pressure cookers reign

Typically, anything made in a pressure cooker is ready in a third of the time it would take on the stove or oven. This is due to the intense steam and pressure built up in the airtight pan. And because of the quick cooking time (we’re talking a whole pot roast can be ready in about an hour!), what you’re preparing retains more of its original vitamins and minerals. Yet this unsung hero of the kitchen has earned a bad rap in the past (heat + pressure can be scary for some) and can be intimidating to the uninitiated. But our guide to the virtues of today’s versions of the pressure cooker will make your crock-pot jealous.

top view of a pressure cooker filled with chili, with a bowl on the side
Meredith

First things first: Eliminate the fear factor

The pressure cooker saves time And It’s Healthier: What’s not to love, right? Well, this appliance has gotten a bad rap in years past. And partially rightly so. Yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories: explosions! Bursts of steam at high speed! Things flying across the room! But that’s all in the past. Modern versions of pressure cookers (a device that also led to the invention of canned foods) come with a few safety measures to ensure they don’t explode:

  • The snap-on lid must be locked before the pressure starts to build. Otherwise it’s just an ordinary casserole.
  • A sealing ring helps create an airtight seal that doesn’t allow steam to escape unless you depress the safety valve or regulator (see: quick release below).
  • The stove comes with an over pressure cap and/or backup vents to make sure things don’t get too crazy in there.

Ok, now that we’ve decided…

Learn the lingo

With any new appliance, there may be a word or two (or three) introduced into your vocabulary. Here’s a quick rundown of terms that will come in handy as you get familiar with all the bells and whistles of your new frying pan:

Quick release and natural release: Essentially, these terms refer to how you release the pressure inside to open the pressure cooker when the food is ready. You will immediately open the pressure release valve (quick release) or you will let the pressure drop naturally and gradually (natural release).

  • Use quick release for any type of food that is just cooked when it’s ready, such as vegetables or eggs. In some cases, you may need to use the quick release to add food to the pot before closing it again to resume cooking. Note: This will expel a locomotive-like stream of steam, so make sure it is pointed away from you or any person.
  • Use natural release for meats that could benefit from a little simmering, or for any other food that you want to stay toasty for a while.

Pressure indicator: This is the little piece of plastic above your lid that will pop off when the correct pressure is reached (think of those plastic timers stuck in a grocery store turkey that pop out when the bird is cooked). It will also drop when the pressure has dropped, indicating it is safe to open the lid.

Pressure release valve: You’ll find it on the lid – this knob is what you’ll be using for that quick release we talked about above.

How much do you fill the pan?

Generally speaking, it shouldn’t be more than two-thirds full, but each model is slightly different, so check your owner’s manual for specifics about how much water you should use and how much food you can cook in yours to avoid burning food or clogging the vent. steam valve.

pressure cooker grilled chicken
Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken | Photo of Buckwheat Queen.

Pressure cooker recipes

You’re used to certain conventional cooking times and stovetops, so this new world might be a little disorienting. But, again, fear not! Refer to the appliance user manual for some good practices for different types of food. Plus, he uses recipes – they’ll point you in the right direction. We have several of our favorites to get you started.

And for those who live in wintery climates, these devices have an added bonus: They create a cozy warmth in your kitchen as they simmer and whistle as they work.

  • Instant Sauce Chicken
  • Boiled eggs in a pressure cooker
  • Valerio’s Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • How to make beef chili in a pressure cooker
  • Browse all pressure cooker recipes

VIDEO: Easy Pressure Cooker Roast

You’ll save so much time using the pressure cooker that you can enjoy a tender roast on a weekday evening. See how it’s done:


Explore our library of pressure cooker recipes.


Related content:

  • How to buy the best pressure cooker
  • 6 tips for perfect cooking in a pressure cooker
  • 7 essential recipes to master your Instant Pot
  • Pressure cooking: your time machine on the hob


Pressure cookers are a great way to cook food thoroughly and most importantly, quickly. This simple yet ingenious device is essentially a cooking pan on steroids with a lid that locks down ultra-high heat and pressure. It’s a brilliant tool for those on a tight schedule.

Because pressure cookers reign

Typically, anything made in a pressure cooker is ready in a third of the time it would take on the stove or oven. This is due to the intense steam and pressure built up in the airtight pan. And because of the quick cooking time (we’re talking a whole pot roast can be ready in about an hour!), what you’re preparing retains more of its original vitamins and minerals. Yet this unsung hero of the kitchen has earned a bad rap in the past (heat + pressure can be scary for some) and can be intimidating to the uninitiated. But our guide to the virtues of today’s versions of the pressure cooker will make your crock-pot jealous.

top view of a pressure cooker filled with chili, with a bowl on the side
Meredith

First things first: Eliminate the fear factor

The pressure cooker saves time And It’s Healthier: What’s not to love, right? Well, this appliance has gotten a bad rap in years past. And partially rightly so. Yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories: explosions! Bursts of steam at high speed! Things flying across the room! But that’s all in the past. Modern versions of pressure cookers (a device that also led to the invention of canned foods) come with a few safety measures to ensure they don’t explode:

  • The snap-on lid must be locked before the pressure starts to build. Otherwise it’s just an ordinary casserole.
  • A sealing ring helps create an airtight seal that doesn’t allow steam to escape unless you depress the safety valve or regulator (see: quick release below).
  • The stove comes with an over pressure cap and/or backup vents to make sure things don’t get too crazy in there.

Ok, now that we’ve decided…

Learn the lingo

With any new appliance, there may be a word or two (or three) introduced into your vocabulary. Here’s a quick rundown of terms that will come in handy as you get familiar with all the bells and whistles of your new frying pan:

Quick release and natural release: Essentially, these terms refer to how you release the pressure inside to open the pressure cooker when the food is ready. You will immediately open the pressure release valve (quick release) or you will let the pressure drop naturally and gradually (natural release).

  • Use quick release for any type of food that is just cooked when it’s ready, such as vegetables or eggs. In some cases, you may need to use the quick release to add food to the pot before closing it again to resume cooking. Note: This will expel a locomotive-like stream of steam, so make sure it is pointed away from you or any person.
  • Use natural release for meats that could benefit from a little simmering, or for any other food that you want to stay toasty for a while.

Pressure indicator: This is the little piece of plastic above your lid that will pop off when the correct pressure is reached (think of those plastic timers stuck in a grocery store turkey that pop out when the bird is cooked). It will also drop when the pressure has dropped, indicating it is safe to open the lid.

Pressure release valve: You’ll find it on the lid – this knob is what you’ll be using for that quick release we talked about above.

How much do you fill the pan?

Generally speaking, it shouldn’t be more than two-thirds full, but each model is slightly different, so check your owner’s manual for specifics about how much water you should use and how much food you can cook in yours to avoid burning food or clogging the vent. steam valve.

pressure cooker grilled chicken
Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken | Photo of Buckwheat Queen.

Pressure cooker recipes

You’re used to certain conventional cooking times and stovetops, so this new world might be a little disorienting. But, again, fear not! Refer to the appliance user manual for some good practices for different types of food. Plus, he uses recipes – they’ll point you in the right direction. We have several of our favorites to get you started.

And for those who live in wintery climates, these devices have an added bonus: They create a cozy warmth in your kitchen as they simmer and whistle as they work.

  • Instant Sauce Chicken
  • Boiled eggs in a pressure cooker
  • Valerio’s Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • How to Make Pressure Cooker Beef Chilli
  • Browse all pressure cooker recipes

VIDEO: Easy Pressure Cooker Roast

You’ll save so much time using the pressure cooker that you can enjoy a tender roast on a weekday evening. See how it’s done:


Explore our library of pressure cooker recipes.


Related content:

  • How to buy the best pressure cooker
  • 6 tips for perfect cooking in a pressure cooker
  • 7 essential recipes to master your Instant Pot
  • Pressure cooking: your time machine on the hob


Video about How To Use A Pressure Cooker For The First Time

How to Use Your Instant Pot | A First Timer’s Guide | Well Done

Here’s an easy crash course for home chefs who are new to cooking with an Instant Pot. Nicole explains how the Pot works, when to use different functions, and how to use it safely (don’t get burned from the steam!). So no more excuses! Let’s get cooking!

Get the Recipes:
Instant Pot Beef Stew: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/instant-pot-beef-stew
Instant Pot Pork Shoulder: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/instant-pot-pork-shoulder

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How to Use Your Instant Pot | A First Timer’s Guide | Well Done
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBXV31q0rnDbCP9bnwMR7WA

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