The pressure cooker has taken the world by storm and successfully reintroduced pressure cooking into our daily lives. This convenient appliance now has a permanent place on our kitchen countertops and helps us prepare dinner in a fraction of the time compared to ovens and slow cookers. But it must be said that most people who own this device do not use it quite well or at least not to its full potential. Make sure you don’t make these mistakes when cooking with your pressure cooker.
16. You don’t take advantage of the “jump” function
You should use the “skipped” option of your pressure cooker. If your recipe requires browning meat, pre-cooking onions or any other preparation work on the stove, you can do it properly with your pressure cooker. Sauté the ingredients in the bottom of the pan with oil or any grease, then continue your recipe by switching to the pressure cooker function. You’ll have one less pan to clean!
15. You underestimate the time it takes for a recipe to take
Yes, the pressure cooker is fast, but you may be a little disappointed when the macaroni and cheese recipe that promises to cook in five minutes takes more… five minutes. Indeed, the time required to pressurize the machine is not taken into account, but it is possible to reduce the duration of the process by a few minutes. All you have to do is turn on your pressure cooker at the beginning of your recipe, even if you are not yet ready to close the lid. Make sure you have cooking liquid so as not to heat your empty pan, then finish the remaining preparation.
14. You cook on a low heat
The pressure cooker also works as a slow cooker, but you won’t get very far if you use the low heat setting. The “low” function is more comparable to the “keep warm” function of your slow cooker. Use the “normal” (or “medium”) setting for a real slow cooker at “low” temperature and the “high” setting.
13. You do not clean the gasket
If you notice an unpleasant smell from your pressure cooker, there is a good chance that it is the gasket. Strong foods can infuse the silicone ring, and after a few meals, it inevitably becomes a coarse combination of odours. Before throwing it in the garbage, try this method of cleaning it: pour two cups of white vinegar into the pan, close the lid, then run your pressure cooker for two minutes in “steam” mode. Remove the seal and allow it to dry before reinstalling it.
12. You are not replacing the gasket
If you have not followed the cleaning process and your seal is a lost cause that smells bad, it is probably time to replace it. In addition to odours, you should also keep an eye on its appearance – cracks or other damage can lead to leaks. Please note that rings sold by unauthorized dealers have not been tested or certified by the company.
11. You store the lid on the jar
Another way to fight the smell of the gasket is to store the lid upside down on the pot. This allows the ring to aerate when not in use. Who would have thought it would be so easy to fight bad smells?
10. You overfill your pressure cooker
As tempting as it is to make a month’s meal at once, it is better not to overfill your pressure cooker. According to the user manual, you should not fill the pan 2/3 full when using pressure cooking programs, or more than half full when cooking foods with increasing volume, such as rice or beans.
9. You don’t stack food
Another way to enjoy your pressure cooker is to stack different foods inside the machine. For example, while your meat is cooking at the bottom of the pan, you can steam potatoes or vegetables on top. You will need a stand that fits your machine, but then you can simply place a steamer basket or other safe pressure cooker container on top of the stand.
8. You don’t use it as a rice cooker
Yes, your new favourite device also makes perfect rice. It’s as simple as a 1:1 rice to water ratio. Rinse the rice, add it to the pan with water and press the “rice” button (use this method only for white rice). Let the cooked rice rest for about 10 minutes.
7. You’re not cleaning the anti-lock shield
If you have never removed the anti-lock shield under the lid of your pressure cooker, stop what you are doing and clean it now. This component must be removed and cleaned each time it is used to avoid clogging and blocking the vent with debris.
6. You wrongly double the recipe
If you double a recipe, but the pieces of meat are the same size as the recipe requires, the cooking time should remain the same, no increase in time is necessary. However, if you change a chicken recipe into whole breast cubes, you will have to adapt.
5. You don’t use enough liquid
You may think that by using less liquid, you can cook the instant pot faster. The machine needs a certain amount of liquid to reach pressure. According to Instant Pot, this quantity is 1 cup, minimum. Fill your pressure cooker with less than that and you will wait a long time.
4. You use too much liquid
There is a right amount of liquid needed to cook in your Instant Pot. We have already established the minimum, but you must also be careful not to use too much liquid. Due to the lack of evaporation of water, sauces do not reduce as they would on a stovetop and, therefore, flavours do not concentrate, making sauces bland and thin.
3. You add thickeners too early
Due to this lack of water evaporation, you may need to thicken your finished dish, even if you have not used too much liquid. This should always be done after cooking, as the thickened liquid can cause a loss of steam, which slows down the overall cooking process. One option is to choose the “sauté” option of the machine once the pressure cooking is complete, then add the thickening agent (such as cornstarch porridge) and simmer until desired consistency is reached.
2. You don’t make pasta properly
Yes, surprisingly, pasta can be successfully cooked in a pressure cooker, but there are two things to keep in mind: choose consistent pasta varieties, such as penne or rigatoni. Do not be tempted to mix the pasta with other ingredients. You will want to add your sauce and any cooking liquid first, then add the pasta on top. This prevents them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
1. You always use quick couplers
We are all in a hurry to get dinner on the table, but sometimes using the quick release pressure function is not the best option. According to Instant Pot, this option is not suitable for foods with a high volume of liquid or high starch content (e. g. porridge, sticky liquids, soup, etc.). The food content may splash due to pressure release. They recommend the use of quick release for quick-cooking vegetables and delicate seafood.