How Do You Use a Pressure Cooker?


To use a pressure cooker, add the liquid and the ingredients to the pot, then lock the cover into place and set the pressure regulator. Heat the pot on high until full pressure is reached, then simmer on lower heat and start the timer to cook the food for the amount of time specified in the recipe. When done, release the pressure carefully before opening the lid. Modern and older pressure cookers have significant differences, so it is important to follow the specific instructions of your pressure cooker manual.

  1. Pour liquid into the pot

    Pour the specified liquid into the pot based on the recipe you are using. Pressure cooking requires some type of liquid, often water, but it can also be any kind of vegetable or meat stock.

  2. Add the food to the pot

    Using your recipe, add the food you are cooking into the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker pot should not be more than 2/3 full because space is needed to create pressure. If you are cooking beans, the pot should be no more than 1/2 full due to expansion. Some recipes may require the use of a cooking rack inside the pressure cooker.

  3. Lock the lid and pressure regulator into place

    Secure the lid onto the pressure cooker. On most models, the lid locks into place when properly positioned. Adjust the pressure regulator based on the type of pressure cooker you have. Older models typically have a pressure regulator that is placed over the vent pipe, while modern pressure cookers have a pressure setting mechanism on the lid.

  4. Turn the heat up, and start the timer

    Place the pressure cooker over high heat until full pressure builds. Once the pressure regulator or pressure setting mechanism indicates full pressure has been reached, turn the heat to a low simmer, and then set a timer for the time specified in the recipe to cook the food.

  5. Release the pressure

    Remove the pressure cooker from the heat when the timer goes off, and release the pressure using the pressure regulator or mechanism on the lid. For safety, keep your face and fingers away from the steam. Once all the pressure is released, unlock the lid to check the food.

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