What’s a pressure cooker and how do you use it? Your burning questions answered

what is a pressure cooker spin prod 180915401
It’s common for even experienced cooks to be somewhat intimidated by pressure cookers. The word “pressure” can throw some people off, and others simply don’t know how to use them. But the knowledge of what a pressure cooker is and how to properly cook with them can open up a whole world of possibilities in the kitchen. These versatile machines can make everything from stews to curries or even cakes. Knowledge is power, so we’ve broken down exactly what a pressure cooker is, how to use one, and the cool stuff you can make with one of these devices.

what is a pressure cooker 81cjba0c7bl

What is a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is an airtight cooking device that cooks food quickly, thanks to the steam pressure that builds up inside. The steam also makes the food moist, which is why this device is perfect for meat stews, cheesecakes, and much more.

How do I use one?

Getting to know your pressure cooker for the first time? Try pressure cooking with just water — this is called a water test, and it’ll help you get to know your machine better. All you have to do is add one or two cups of water into the pot (always use the inner pot, and never put food directly into the cooker without this pot for safety reasons). Lock the lid into position, and make sure to adjust the valve so that it is in the sealed position. Next, select a button for which the cooking time is relatively short. For example, if your device has a button for fish, use that. Now, all you have to do is watch the pressure cooker do its magic. After five minutes or so of the water heating up and building steam pressure, the pressure will then start counting down and slowing releasing. Now you should be able to try it out with real food items.

what is a pressure cooker spin prod 180915401

How do I make sure the pressure is released?

This is a top concern among people who have never used pressure cookers before. The good news is that modern models of pressure cookers are very safe and easy to use. The easiest approach is to just let the pressure cooker slowly release the pressure all by itself. Keep an eye on the countdown to make sure it’s complete — don’t try to open the lid before the countdown is up, or you could get burned. Some cooks even like letting the pressure cooker sit for a little while longer past the countdown, just to make sure every last bit of pressure is gone.

Which settings do I use?
Most pressure cookers cook all foods in exactly the same way, but there are different cooking times for different foods. For example, the preset button for white rice on your pressure cooker may cook for just 15 minutes, while brown rice will cook for longer. For foods that don’t have preset buttons on the device, there are plenty of helpful charts online that will tell you exactly how long different ingredients should cook for. Here’s one from Hip Pressure Cooking.

What Should I Cook?

The world is your oyster when it comes to cooking with an electric pressure cooker, whether you want to try making porridge, risotto, chicken, or soup. The results are often creamier and more moist than what you would get from a stovetop or oven recipe.

If you have a springform pan, you can even try making desserts like cakes and cheesecakes. Got an oven-safe dish lying around? If it fits into the pressure cooker, you can use that to cook things you might normally cook in an oven.

Product Review

Tovala cooks delicious, idiotproof meals healthier than takeout. For a price

The Tovala Steam Oven is a countertop appliance that can serve up dinner in about 20 minutes with zero prep. The drawback is that the ready-to-heat meals, while tasty, are $12 each.
Smart Home

Hello Fresh vs. Blue Apron: Which meal-delivery service is better?

To save time in the kitchen, some busy people order takeout, some look to devices like slow cookers and pressure cookers, and others try home-delivery meal services. These days, you have several meal-delivery services to choose from if you…
Smart Home

These holiday gadgets will make cooking your meal a breeze

Are you dreading the lengthy process of cooking a holiday dinner? Try these holiday gadgets to make the job of cooking much easier. These items will make for an easy, breezy meal.
Smart Home

Thanksgiving in an Instant ... Pot? Here are our favorite recipes

Did you know you can cook the majority, if not all, of your Thanksgiving menu items in your Instant Pot? It's all about picking the right recipes. These are our picks for the best Instant Pot recipes for Turkey Day.
Emerging Tech

Students who designed transforming smart home will compete in Solar Decathalon

Modular smart homes are all the rage, and now some students from Virginia Tech are putting their money on their FutureHAUS, a modular, solar-powered, transforming smart home they're taking to the Solar Decathlon in Dubai.
Deals

These Black Friday furniture deals offer up to 80 percent off

Retailers across all industries use Black Friday to offer incredible deals on everything from kitchen appliances, to full bedroom sets. As such, it’s the ideal time to upgrade your space with pieces that will make you feel more…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Deals

Clean with a robot vacuum and save $160 on the Ecovacs Deebot, today only

Investing in smart home technology can usually come with a hefty price tag. If you were thinking of getting a robot vacuum, now is your chance. The Ecovacs Deebot N79 is one of our favorite budget-friendly robot vacuums and is currently on…
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
News

Smart speakers used primarily for music and information — and shopping

A survey of Alexa and Google Home users shows most people use their devices for core functions and had issues discovering third-party apps. A significant number of people use their device for shopping.
Deals

All the best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Product Review

It's not a spy, but you still won't want to friend Facebook's Portal+

Facebook has jumped into the smart home game with the Portal+, a video-calling device featuring an Amazon Alexa speaker and a screen. While it has lots of cool calling features, we’re weary of Facebook taking up counter space in our home.