6 Tips For Perfect Pressure Cooker Cooking

Pressure cookers are the miracle workers of the kitchen. They’re like little time machines that propel you into the future…where it’s dinner time!

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast | Photo by Meredith

Of course, there are a few things that can make or break your pressure cooker-prepared meal. Let’s take a look. We’ve also included some favorite, 5-star recipes just to keep things delicious.

1.) To improve flavors, gently sauté aromatic vegetables like onions, celery, and bell peppers in a little fat in the pressure cooker — always with the lid off — over medium heat before adding other ingredients and securing the lid.

2.) Same goes for meats. Brown them briefly in a little oil in the pressure cooker with the lid off before adding additional ingredients. One word of warning: Never warm up the pressure cooker with the lid on.

Pressure cookers

Photos by Meredith

3.) If you’ve sauteed veggies or browned meat in the pressure cooker, allow the cooker to cool down a bit before adding liquids. Why? A little bit will evaporate, potentially leaving you with less than enough liquid to cook the food and/or create a sauce.

4.)Thin down thick sauces (like BBQ sauce) with a little water so they don’t cake and burn to the bottom of the pot. You’ll need the extra moisture to vaporize and develop pressure in the pot. Likewise, thicken sauces after the food is completely cooked in the pressure cooker.

5.) Add ingredients (e.g., vegetables) that cook faster than others (e.g., a roast) at the end of cooking; use the quick release valve to release vapor from the pressure cooker. (Consult the pressure cooker instructions for additional safety tips.)

6.) When you’re done, follow recipe directions on whether to release the pressure quickly or slowly. It makes a difference on whether the food is done just right — or is either underdone or overdone.

See How to Make Beef Chili in Your Pressure Cooker

Chef John shows you how to get fork-tender Beef Chili Colorado in 15 minutes instead of a couple hours of simmering. He also has some safety tips, along with easy-to-follow instructions that take the mystery out of pressure cooking.


Looking to buy a pressure cooker? See our buyer’s guide: How to Buy the Best Pressure Cooker.


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