Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (2023)

  • Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (1)What are “standard” and “non-standard” pressure cookers?
  • How do “non-standard” pressure cookers affect cooking time?
  • Do all pressure cookers actually cook at full 15 psi?
  • How does an increase of pressure affect the cookingtemperature?
  • Is there an electric pressure cooker that cooks at 15 psi?
  • How are pressure cooking times affected by high altitude?
  • Why do American, European and Asian manufactured pressure cookers all reach different pressures?
  • How can I find what pressure my pressure cooker reaches and cooks?

What are “standard” and “non-standard” pressure cookers?

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (2)To facilitate the writing of pressure cooker cookbooks and sharing recipes, there is an un-official standard. This standard includes the maximum operating pressure for American Pressure Cookers (15 psi) and the maximum operating pressure for most modern European Cookers (which is about 13 psi for spring-valve type cookers).

Any pressure cooker that does not fall within this range – or used in a high-altitude situation (see below) – is “non-standard.”

There is no international pressure cooker organization that sets a global standard. Pressure cookerUL Rating, which is an American Appliance Testing standard, only states that a domestic pressure cooker “operate at a nominal pressure of 15 psi (103 kPa) or less.” While in Europe theCE rating, the equivalent to the American certification, state that a “simple pressure vessel” can be above .5 bar (7.2 psi) and below 50 bar (720 PSI) . American manufactured pressure cookers adhere to a standard for pressure canners set by USDA in 1917 – 15 psi.

While some European pressure cookers are sold world-wide many of these manufacturers make a separate model specifically for the American market that reaches 15 psi. Some European manufacturers are switching to a single model distributed world-wide that reaches 15 psi. At the writing of this article, American pressure cooker manufacturers only sell their pressure cookers in the United States.

How do “non-standard” pressure cookers affect cooking time?

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (3)There is no set rule or formula. Pressure cooking time really depends on thesizeanddensityof the food. Most refined grains and quick-cooking vegetables do not need pressure cooking time adjustments, while tough legumes, whole grains and thick roasts will need several minutes more cooking time. In other words, the denser or larger the food, the more time a cooker operating at a lower pressure (thus lower temperature) will need to achieve the same results as a standard cooker.

All recipes and cooking time charts on this website are written to accommodate both “standard” and “non-standard” pressure cookers. When necessary, times are written in a range – standard pressure cookers should use the shorter cooking time (13 minutes) and non-standard pressure cookers the longer (20 minutes).

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More Info:Pressure Cooking Times for standard and non-standard pressure cookers

Do all pressure cookers actually reach 15 psi?

This comes down to the difference in measuring systems between the United States (imperial) and the rest of the world (metric). Pressure in the rest of the world is measured inkilopascals(kPa) andbarswhile the is measured withpounds per square inch(psi).

European manufactured pressure cookers are designed to cook at 1 bar or 100 kpa (metric pressure measurements) and that translates to 14.5 psi (this is rounded up to 15 psi) but American manufactured pressure cookers are designed to reach a full 15 psi (see below, for information on electric pressure cookers).

How does an increase of pressure affect the cooking temperature?

The rise in pressure inside the pressure cooker directly correlates to the rise in boiling point – the maximum cooking temperature that can be achieved at a given pressure.

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (4)

Using the Antoine Equation we also producedmore detailed charts.

More Info:Pressure and Boiling Points of Water – The Engineering ToolBox
More Info:Water Vapor Pressure and Boiling Points (Antoine Equation)

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How are pressure cooking times affected by “high altitudes”? Isn’t atmospheric pressurealready15 psi?

The pressure cooker adds pressureabove the current atmospheric pressure. Since there is a pressure difference in the atmosphere between one altitude and another, the pressure cooker’s pressure will vary accordingly.

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (5)At sea level, the atmospheric pressure averages 14.7 psi – add 15 psi of pressure generated by the pressure cooker and the food in the cooker is cooking at29.7psi of absolute pressure.

Moving up in the atmosphere, or going to higher altitude, the atmospheric pressuredecreases. So in Denver Colorado (about 5,000 feet) the atmospheric pressure averages only 12.2 psi- add 15 psi of pressure generated by the cooker and there the food is cooking at just27.2psi of absolute pressure -almost 3 psilesspressure than pressure cooking at sea level!

No matter where you are, a pressure cooker will alwaysadd pressureto the current atmospheric pressure.

The same 15 psi pressure cooker will cook 15 psi in San Francisco, California (sea level) but only 12.5 psi in Denver, Colorado (5,000 feet). Now, “standard pressure cooker” has become “non-standard” in Denver. This means that the recipes will need the same timing adjustments used for non-standard pressure cookers (see pie chart, above).

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (6)

formula to adjust high-altitude pressure cooking times

Increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1000 ft above 2000 ft elevation (see table, below). Multiply the recommended cooking time by the number on the table. The result will likely be a decimal value just round thatupto the next minute.

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above...increase by..or multiply by..
3,000 feet5%1.05
4,000 feet10%1.1
5,000 feet15%1.15
6,000 feet20%1.2
7,000 feet25%1.25
8,000 feet30%1.3
9,000 feet35%1.35
10,000 feet40%1.4

More Info:Air Pressure and Altitude Above Sea Level – The Engineering ToolBox

Why do American, European and Asian pressure cookers all reach different pressures?

Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (7)

The transformation from a Renaissance “bone digester” invented by French scientist Denis Papin (in 1689) to pressure canners (1905) and finally to the pressure cooker we know today began in 1926. The Home Exhibition in Paris introduced the first model for home use. The pressure cooker made it out of Europe and into the United States via the 1939 New York Fair where the National Pressure Cooker Company launched the first U.S. model.

Aluminum pressure cookers took off in the U.S. and many companies began producing them. Then, America’s involvement in WWII halted the production of pressure cookers and their factories were dedicated to producing munitions for the overseas war.

Once the war ended, European and American pressure cooker manufacturers began to develop and produce pressure cookers independently from each other. While in America unscrupulous factories made and sold sub-standard pressure cookers – that eventually went on to mar the cooker’s reputation and halt innovation- European manufactures continued to develop, perfect and innovate their designs adding multiple redundant safety mechanisms, selectable pressure levels and more features.

The 90’s started the trickle of European manufactured pressure cookers, and their features into America. It’s also when the patent for the first electric pressure cooker was filed by Chinese scientist, Mr. Yong Guang Wang. The electric pressure cooker was developed independently from stovetop pressure cookers in that they were based on the ever-popular electric rice cookers (hence the resemblance) and are manufactured in a range of pressures – depending on the manufacturer or design team.

Is there an electric pressure cooker thatcooks15 psi?

At the time of the writing of this article, most electric pressure cookersreach15 psi but they do notcookat 15 psi. As illustrated by the graphic below – electric pressure cookers reach 15 psi briefly during the warming process.

Electric pressure cookersbuildpressure up to 15 psi but thenmaintaina lower pressure during the cooking. In the graph below the “operating pressure” is 11.6 even though the cookerreaches15 psi while it’s building pressure. “Operating Pressure” is the true pressure at which an electric pressure cookercooks.

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Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (8)

More Info:How Electric Pressure Cookers Work – Instant Pot

How can I find out what pressure my pressure cooker reaches?

Most instruction booklets have this information written in them. The number may be written in kPa, bar or PSI (use the table in this page to decode the approximate PSI). There may be several terms used in conjunction with those numbers and they include:

  • Operating Pressure– the pressure at which the pressure cookercooksthe food.
  • Valve Release Pressure– the pressure at which the main regulating valve releases pressure (2 to 4 psi more than the operating pressure depending on the manufacturer).
  • Warping Pressure– the pressure at which the base or components of the pressure cooker deform.
Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure (9)

Stove top pressure cookers may also have this information written on the base, and the maximum valve release may be written on or near the valve.

Electric pressure cookers will have the “valve release pressure” written in very small text on the underside of the pressure release valve either on the plastic housing, or the metal part of the valve.

More Info:Free Pressure Cooker Manual Library

More Questions?
Leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to find the answer.

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Pressure Cooker PSI FAQ: the stuff you didn't think to ask about pressure? ›

Almost every stove-top cooker reaches 15 psi (pounds per square inch) at high pressure; most electric pressure cookers reach between 9 and 12 psi.

What psi should a pressure cooker be? ›

Almost every stove-top cooker reaches 15 psi (pounds per square inch) at high pressure; most electric pressure cookers reach between 9 and 12 psi.

What happens if there is too much pressure in a pressure cooker? ›

Overfilling a pressure cooker has various effects, including loss of flavor and texture. This is caused by the excessive pressure generated by the glut of liquid. Too much pressure breaks down food. As for the risks it is also possible for the food to block the pressure valve if the pot is filled too high.

What should I be careful with a pressure cooker? ›

Don't over fill the cooker. Most manufacturers recommend not filling more than 2/3rds full to allow for expansion and prevent food from blocking the valves. Be careful with frothy foods like pasta, split peas, oatmeal, apple or cranberry sauce. These can block steam valves and pressure release vents and cause problems.

What is the common problem with pressure cooker? ›

Steam Is Leaking and Preventing Pressure Buildup

Your pressure cooker may reach the desired pressure, but takes too long to do so and cannot contain it for a long enough period of time. The Cause: This is one of the most common issues pressure cookers face. This issue is typically caused by a damaged or dirty gasket.

How long does it take to get to 15 psi? ›

Typically, I can obtain 15 PSI in around 20-25 minutes, and I have very little trouble maintaining my desired PSI. After use, you'll want to dry all parts of the pressure cooker thoroughly to avoid damage. Hard water and other factors will eventually take its toll on various components, causing failure.

Which pressure cooker reaches 15 psi? ›

Instant Pot Max 6 Quart Multi-use Electric Pressure Cooker with 15psi Pressure Cooking, Sous Vide, Auto Steam Release Control and Touch Screen.

Why pour water over pressure cooker? ›

Pressure cookers require liquid, usually water, to generate steam. “Jiggle top” cookers need a minimum of one cup of water, while valve cookers need at least half a cup. Put food in the cooker first, then add water.

What happens if you put too little water in pressure cooker? ›

Without sufficient liquid, pressure won't build — and you'll likely get the dreaded “burn” error. Follow this tip: Unless otherwise specified in the recipe, use just enough liquid (usually water or broth) to bring the cooker to pressure.

When should I be worried about a pressure cooker? ›

In general, pressure cookers are a safe and convenient way to cook food more quickly. But on rare occasions, the lids can explode off pressure cookers with defective components or failed safety mechanisms. When this happens, hot food and liquid can eject from the cooker and burn or injure anyone nearby.

What to look for when buying a pressure cooker? ›

What features to look for
  • Steam-release valve. This is a valve you can turn to release steam, which means you don't have to carry the pressure cooker to the sink or allow extra cool-down time at the end of cooking.
  • Locking mechanism. ...
  • Pressure indicator. ...
  • Pressure settings. ...
  • Size.

What are the rules of pressure cooking? ›

Pressure Cooker Dos:
  • Read the instruction manual. ...
  • Add enough liquid. ...
  • Start with easy recipes. ...
  • Use this cooking method to build flavors. ...
  • Make desserts and side dishes in the pressure cooker. ...
  • Don't open the pressure cooker while cooking. ...
  • Don't release the pressure before it's time. ...
  • Don't overfill the pressure cooker.
Oct 5, 2018

What is the average life of pressure cooker? ›

The lifespan of your pressure cooker is going to vary based on its brand and usage. If you're using your pressure cooker on a daily basis and investing in regular maintenance, it may last you up to five years. On average, though, most pressure cookers perform well for up to three years.

What can happen if you are not careful with pressure cookers? ›

Dangerous Pressure Cooker Defects

If your pressure cooker is defective, opening it too soon could be much more disastrous. In fact, even operating it at all could result in a dangerous and messy explosion. If you sustain injury from a defective pressure cooker explosion, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Why don t chefs use pressure cookers? ›

They are most commonly used in industrial settings to quickly prepare meat or stocks. However, in most scenarios, Elite Chefs avoid using pressure cookers because they provide less control over the final dish. Chefs often prefer slow cooking techniques that accentuate and pull out the flavors of the food.

Is 20 PSI a lot of pressure? ›

Tire pressure between 32 to 35 PSI is most suitable for most vehicles. However, one can go as low as 20 PSI (although that is not recommended). Anything below 20 PSI is considered a flat tire.

How much PSI is enough? ›

The most versatile category of pressure washers, those ranging from 2,000 to 3,200 PSI effectively clean cars (including the most well-used off-road vehicles), home siding, fences, boats and grimy garage floors. Those closer to 3,200 PSI work effectively on tough stains, too.

How high will 1 PSI push water? ›

Water has the unfortunate quality of being heavier than air. In fact, it weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot. This mass requires a pressure of 0.433 psi to lift water one foot (62.4 lbs/144 in in ft). To put it another way, one psi will lift water 2.31 feet (1/0.433).

How hot is a pressure cooker at 12 psi? ›

A high pressure, which could be 10 to 12 PSI could get as hot as 239 to 245 Fahrenheit. Most cooks who use a pressure cooker will likely use the high setting since most meals need to be cooked at these high temperatures.

Does higher pressure cook faster? ›

Cooking is fast in pressure cooker just because the trapped steam increases the atmospheric pressure inside the cooker. At that pressure, boiling point of water is increased and this higher temperature cooks food faster.

Is 15 psi a lot of pressure? ›

15 PSI is the air pressure we experience at the surface of our planet. That's what the air you are breathing right now is pressurized at. Anything above that with be positive pressure, anything below will be negative pressure.

Can you pressure cook too long? ›

Unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. You'll be left with a pile of dry, crunchy, tasteless fibers and no amount of additional pressure cooking is going to put that moisture back into the meat.

Can any bacteria survive a pressure cooker? ›

Just like boiling food without any pressure, using your electric pressure cooker to cook and prepare food is going to kill the overwhelming majority of bacteria which are responsible for food poisoning including Salmonella, E. coli, and a whole lot more.

Should I stir on pressure cooker? ›

By not stirring the ingredients you place into the Instant Pot, you are allowing the liquids that are on the bottom of the pot (and sometimes on top of your ingredients, too) to circulate. And remember, liquids that circulate inside the Instant Pot are what create the steam that's needed to pressurize your dinner.

Should you run cold water over a pressure cooker? ›

When you are in a hurry and want to remove the pressure from the cooker, you can pour some cold water over it to cool it down and release the pressure. Yes, it cools down really fast allowing you to open it! To the God of Auspicious Beginnings - Ganpati Bappa Morya !

Does meat need to be submerged in pressure cooker? ›

The frozen meat should be nearly submerged in the cooking liquid. This is to be certain that the hot liquids inside the Instant Pot provide a very quick transfer of the heat as it moves into the protein fibers of the meat, keeping the meat in a safe temperature zone.

Is 2 cups of water too much for pressure cooker? ›

Using too much liquid.

Follow this tip: While at least 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid is essential to well-cooked food in the pressure cooker, too much liquid will pull the flavor out of foods. Unless otherwise specified in the recipe, use just enough liquid to bring the cooker to pressure.

What are the side effects of pressure cooker? ›

The bad news is, when starchy foods are pressure cooked, they form acrylamide, a harmful chemical that, when consumed on a regular basis may lead to health issues like cancer, infertility, and neurological disorders.

Which four precautions should be adopted while using a pressure cooker? ›

Follow these 7 simple safety tips to ensure you succeed under pressure!
  • Don't Leave Your Pressure Cooker Unsupervised. ...
  • Pressure Cookers Are Not Deep Fryers. ...
  • Use the Proper Liquid to Maintain Pressure. ...
  • Don't Overfill It. ...
  • Keep Your Face and Hands Away from Steam. ...
  • Do Not Lift Lid Until Pressure is Down.
Nov 16, 2020

Can I walk away from a pressure cooker? ›

Electric pressure cookers are fully automated. Much like with your trusted slow cooker, you can just turn it on and walk away. Once it reaches the right pressure and temperature, it stays there.

Which material pressure cooker is best? ›

Considering everything, stainless steel cookers are a better choice when compared to aluminium cookers as they overcome all the drawbacks of aluminium cookers. They are a healthier choice for cooking food as they do not react and leach while preparing salty and acidic foods.

What law is chef using a pressure cooker? ›

Gay-Lussac's Law in Everyday Life

Inside a pressure cooker the food that you want to cook sits in water. As the temperature of the liquid water is increased, water vapour (water in its gas state) is produced. This vapour cannot escape the pressure cooker – meaning the volume is not changing.

Do you have to follow a recipe to pressure can? ›

Pressure canning does not require specific recipes. The process raises the temperature of the food inside the jars to a point that is high enough to kill bacteria and inactivate the spores that can grow into deadly Botulism.

How hot is a pressure cooker at 10 psi? ›

Gauge Pressure (rel. to sea level)TemperatureAppr. Cooking time (compared to boiling)
0.7 bar (10 psi)116 °C (241 °F)33%
0.8 bar (12 psi)117 °C (243 °F)31%
0.9 bar (13 psi)119 °C (246 °F)27%
1.0 bar (15 psi)121 °C (250 °F)23%
7 more rows

What happens when you use a pressure cooker at high elevation? ›

At higher altitude atmospheric pressure is lower than near the sea. This causes the water to boil at a lower temperature (below 100), Due to this it takes longer time for food to be cooked. A pressure cooker prevents boiling of water at lower temperature and leads to quicker cooking of the food.

How long does steam come out of pressure cooker? ›

The pressure release (accompanied by a loud burst of steam) should take about 1 to 2 minutes. Natural release means you let the pressure drop slowly from your electric pressure cooker. In most cases, you don't have to do anything to make this happen; it will drop automatically.

What happens if you don t release the pressure from a pressure cooker? ›

No you do not need to turn the pressure cooker off for a quick or natural pressure release. The pressure will release on the Keep Warm setting. The benefit of not turning it off is that the time will count up so you can see how long it's been since the pressure cooking time ended.

What is the failure of pressure cooker? ›

Manufacturing defects and design defects are frequently the cause of pressure cooker explosions. Some common injuries from pressure cooker use are steam burns, contact burns, splashed/spilled hot liquids, and explosion. However, proper use can minimize the risk of these types of injuries when using a pressure cooker.

Do pressure cookers damage nutrients? ›

Pressure cooking can reduce heat-sensitive nutrients (e.g., vitamin C, folate) and bioactive phytonutrients, such as betacarotene, glucosinolates (helpful compounds found in cruciferous vegetables) and omega-3 fatty acids, that are beneficial for human health.

Why is pressure cooker not used in us? ›

Pressure Cookers are available in the US. The cuisine doesn't call for much lengthy boiling, which is essentially what a pressure cooker does in a short time. The recipes that do call for it, most people use crockpots and slow cookers. Also they do not use as much dry legumes as Indians do.

How do I know if my pressure cooker is at 15 psi? ›

Many electric pressure cooker has a max working pressure of 13.05psi (90kpa). You can find this out by looking at the bottom of its steam release. A properly certified and manufactured cooker always has such rating on the parts.

How do I know when my pressure cooker is at full pressure? ›

Once it reaches pressure the float valve will pop up, the Instant Pot will beep once, and the cook time will begin to count down from 5 minutes. You might notice hissing sounds and some steam escaping from the steam release valve or float valve hole while the pressure builds – this is normal.

What does 15 psi mean? ›

PSI stands for pounds per square inch and will tell you how much air your board is able to take and how much it needs for optimum performance. PSI for inflatable SUP's can vary from 10 – 20 PSI. Basically the higher the PSI number, the harder the board is going to be.

What temp is 10 psi? ›

However, if you add pressure to that water in a closed container, you increase the temperature. At 10 pounds pressure in a weighted gauge canner or 11 pounds pressure in a dial gauge canner, the temperature is 240°F.

How often do you have to release pressure from a pressure cooker? ›

Pressure Cooker Opening Method Quick-reference

Open the pressure valve a little bit to release pressure slowly, or in short bursts 10 seconds apart. Count 10 minutes, and then release remaining pressure by opening the valve. If the pressure dissipates sooner than 10 minutes do not remove lid until time is up.

What happens if you overcook pressure cooker? ›

Unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. You'll be left with a pile of dry, crunchy, tasteless fibers and no amount of additional pressure cooking is going to put that moisture back into the meat.

What happens if you open a pressure cooker before the pressure is released? ›

This is due to pressure that has built up inside the appliance and hasn't had time to be released. When you open a pressure cooker too soon, unreleased pressure can cause the appliance to explode, causing severe burns and other serious injuries.

What is psi for dummies? ›

Pounds per square inch (PSI) is the pressure that results when a 1-pound force is applied to a unit area of 1 square inch. It is the measurement of pressure used in the imperial unit system of measurement.

Why do we use 3 to 15 psi? ›

Pneumatic instruments operate on the flapper-nozzle (baffle-nozzle) principle. It appears 3-15 psi with the 1:5 ratio was chosen because it the most linear portion on the curve for the movement of the flapper (baffle) and the backpressure resulting in the nozzle.

How many psi is too much? ›

For instance, if 35 psi is recommended, and the maximum safe pressure listed on your sidewall is 44 psi, you can safely put 38 or 40 psi in your tires. You can even go to 44 psi. You'll experience a harder ride, but you won't create a blowout danger.

Should I hear my pressure cooker? ›

So long as the rest of your pressure cooker's parts are working as they should, your pressure cooker should only hiss when it's venting pressure. There are times when the pressure inside your cooker may get too high during the cooking process. In turn, the unit will vent that pressure, resulting in a low hissing sound.

How long should a pressure cooker take to reach pressure? ›

Remember that pressure cookers require a minimum amount of liquid and a maximum amount of food to function properly. Depending on the model and recipe, your pressure cooker may take up to 20 minutes to build up pressure.


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