How Much Water Is Needed For Pressure Cooking

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  • When cooking recipes that are mostly liquids, like soups, stocks and broth, remember the 1/2 rule, and do not fill the pressure cooker beyond this level.
  • When cooking recipes that are mostly liquids do not use the cold water or quick release method to reduce pressure. When the internal pressure drops rapidly the contents can come to a rapid boil, and this could force food up through the pressure relief valves.

It's About Time, Not Quantity

There are several cooking techniques used in pressure cookery, but unfortunately most users never go beyond simple steaming, or in some cases, drowning, foods in the pressure cooker. Most pressure cooker recipes use the technique of steaming, or steam roasting, to cook foods. One of the most common mistakes in pressure cookery is using too much water. This not only takes a longer time for the cooker to come to pressure, but it means that a lot of nutrient, vitamins and mineral are lost in the cooking liquid, robbing your family of the nutrition they need.  It also adds to your fuel bills by requiring more energy to do the cooking.

Many new, and even some long time pressure cooker users make the mistake of drowning the food under water and boiling it to death. Another method of cooking in the pressure cooker is called infusion cooking, which cooks food covered a well seasoned, flavor-enhancing liquid which adds to the finished taste of the food. Whichever method used, it is important to make sure there is always adequate liquid in the cooker to last the length of the cooking time.

The amount of liquid needed depends on the cooking method used in the recipe and the length of the cooking time, not the quantity of food being cooked. For example; if you cook 1 baked potato in a 2nd generation cooker it takes 15 minutes, and 1/2 cup water is enough for that time based on my Test Drive. For cooking 10 potatoes, the time, and the amount of water remains the same, it just takes the pressure cooker at little longer to come up to full pressure.

How Much is Needed?

The owners manual of many second generation cookers recommend a minimum 1/2 cup liquid for cooking, and generally the weighted-jiggle top cookers need at least 1 cup for every 20 minutes of cooking. Check your owners manual to be sure. Longer cooking times (20 minutes and up) will require more liquid than just the minimum required. To find out how much water your cooker needs to produce and maintain steam do the Test Drive.

You need not limit your choice of liquids to just water. Of course water to fine if you are just steaming on the rack with food out of the water like one of my PIP Recipes, or steamed veggies. Try other liquids to add more flavor to your recipes. Almost any liquid, or combinations, can be used, anything that will enhance the flavor of the foods you are cooking, see the chart below for some ideas.

 
 
 

 

 

 

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