The Pressure Cooker Trouble-shooter

Infographic: Pressure Cooker Trouble-shooter (excerpt) full graphic here: http://bit.ly/1hGjRepSometimes the booklet that comes with the pressure cooker is not well written or does not include information about what to expect during normal operation – much less give any help when something goes wrong. That’s why we’ve created this infographic – a visual guide to describe how to use your pressure cooker, along with the most common problems (and solutions)!

We want to get everyone pressure cooking so you have our permission to download, pin, share, post, blog and otherwise distribute this infographic – but please don’t change it. Thank you!

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Infographic: The Pressure Cooker trouble-shooter!
click to enlarge

This graphic didn’t cover the problem you’re experiencing?  Post your question in the forums or take a look at a digital version of your pressure cooker’s manual!

This guide contains the following information:

This guide will walk you through the normal operation of a pressure cooker and describe any problems you might encounter on the way. If you’re still baffled visit www.hippressurecooking.com and we’ll help you in the forums!

How to pressure cook (flowchart):

  1. YOU: Add minimum liquid required by cooker with food and then close and lock the lid (if needed)
  2. YOU: Position or close the pressure valve according to instructions
  3. YOU: Stovetop: Select pressure; Turn heat up to high (medium for induction). Electric: Choose cooking program & time (electric pressure cooker)
  4. PRESSURE COOKER: about 10-15 minutes
    1. Contents are brought to a boil pushing air & steam out of valve
    2. Lid locking pine (and/or valve) raise sealing the cooker closed
    3. Steam stops coming out of the valve & pressure begins to build
    4. Selected Pressure is reached
  5. YOU: Stovetop: Turn heat down to maintain pressure; Start digital timer to count cooking time. Electric: Cooker begins to count down cooking time automatically.
  6. PRESSURE COOKER: Food cooks under selected pressure
  7. PRESSURE COOKER: For most cookers, very little or no steam from valve
  8. YOU: Release Pressure
  9. PRESSURE COOKER: Pressure is released through valve and only steam exists
  10. YOU: Open pressure cooker

Troubleshooting (symptom, reason & solution):

  • Pressure cooker does not reach pressure
    • Gasket not in correct position – Remove lid and remove gasket then clean and place as per instructions.
    • Valve not closed or placed correctly- Remove the valve and clean thoroughly, place in the proper position to build pressure.
    • Lid not in correct position – Remove lid and replace according to instruction manual.
    • Pressure cooker not locked – If the cooker is not self-locking, ensure the mechanism to build pressure is solidly engaged.
    • Gasket or safety valve worn – Replace gasket and/or other silicone or rubber parts – usually once every 18 months.
    • Handle(s) loose – Tighten handles according to instruction manual.
    • Not enough liquid – Add minimum amount as specified in instruction manual.
    • Liquid too thick – Do not add thickners (flour, etc.) before pressure cooking
    • Pressure cooker very full – A cooker with a lot of liquid or ingredients could take 20-30 minutes to reach pressure.
    • Pressure cooker too full – Only fill pressure cooker to 1/2 full for recipes that are primarily grain, rice, beans and fruit and 2/3 full for all other ingredients.
    • Ingredients very cold – A pressure cooker with very cold or frozen ingredients will take 20-30 minutes to reach pressure.
  • Pressure cooker cannot maintain pressure
    • Valve not closed properly – Adjust the valve.
    • Heat turned down too soon (stovetop pressure cooker) – Review instruction manual for how to tell when the cooker has reached pressure.
    • Heat turned down too low (stovetop pressure cooker) – Turn heat back up to high to regain pressure and lower less.
    • Gasket or safety valve worn- Replace gasket and/or other silicone or rubber parts – usually once every 18 months.
  • Pressure cooker spews too much steam
    • Valve not closed properly – Adjust the valve.
    • Heat too high (stovetop pressure cooker)- Release a little bit of the pressure, and turn heat down lower.
  • Pressure cooked food is under-cooked
    • Incorrect cooking time – Refer to instruction manual or our pressure cooking time chart.
  • Pressure cooked food is over-cooked, dry or burned
    • Heat too high during cooking (stovetop pressure cooker) – Lower heat to minimum required to maintain pressure.
    • Burner size too wide (stovetop pressure cooker) – Move cooker to burner that is equal or smaller than base of the cooker.
    • Incorrect cooking time – Refer to instruction manual or our pressure cooking time chart.
  • Pressure cooker valve sprays food or foam
    • Wrong opening method for ingredient – Grains, legumes and fruit tend to generate large amounts of foam.  Only open the pressure cooker using the Natural Release method for these ingredients.
    • Food contains thickener -Thickeners (like flour) will bind food to the steam and cause it to also spray out of the valve.
    • Pressure cooker to too full – Only fill pressure cooker to 1/2 full for recipes that are primarily grain, legume or fruit and 2/3 for all other ingredients.