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Pressure cooking your vegetables can preserve the most flavor, color and vitamins – but a moment of inattention can reduce them to dull pulp.  Here are my tips for getting the most out of your pressure cooked veggies!

Save vitamins and water.  Your pressure cooker already preserves vitamins that are oxygen and light sensitive during cooking by expelling almost all of the oxygen before reaching pressure.  Save water-soluble vitamins too by keeping the veggies out of the cooking liquid. Place them in a steamer basket with the minimum amount of water required by your pressure cooker – save the remaining liquid after cooking as a stock- it’s full of delicious veggie juice!

Go Low…  Pressure.  If your pressure cooker has two pressure settings: High (2 ) and Low (1) use the lowest setting to ensure your vegetables are not overcooked in an instant.  All vegetables, with the exception of potatoes and winter squash, only need about 5 minutes under pressure to be fully cooked. Use the Low Pressure setting on your pressure cooker to increase the cooking time and chances of success!

Time Check and Digital Help.  Always look up the cooking time for the vegetable you are about to pressure cook in your user manual or my pressure cooker timing chart.   Keep exact track using the digital timer on your microwave (if you have one), the timer in your cell phone, or go techie and get a snazzy digital timer to add to your useful kitchen gadget collection!

Quick Release.  Open your pressure cooker as fast as possible. Using the Normal Release method – we no longer recommend using the cold-water quick release method.

Chill!  As long as vegetables are still steaming after being removed from the pressure cooker, they are still cooking.  If your recipe calls for al dente veggies dunk them  (steamer basket and all) in a prepared ice-water bath, or run cold water over them in the sink to stop the cooking process.

Leave a comment, to share your amazing veggie tips for the pressure cooker!

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21 Comments

  1. Thankyou for this blog – love it, love it. I have tried everything from the eggs to the polenta and look forward to the new recipes when they come out!!

  2. Very nice tips! I usually shy away from cooking veggies in my pressure cooker because we all like al dente veggies, or roasted. But you’re right, it definatley preserves the nutrients better than steaming or boiling.
    Great idea to save the liquid.

  3. Thanks Penny, glad to hear from you and hear about your successes!

    Gwen (Healthy Mamma) I think the “Low” pressure setting is under-utilized. When I got a pressure cooker with two cooking levels I couldn’t find any recipes, cooking times or indications on how to use this cooking level. To my knowledge, it is mostly ignored in most pressure cooking cook-books. As you can see I’ve been busy developing recipes (eggs, fish, etc.) that use this setting! Especially for something that cooks so quickly, like veggies, it is a real help.

    I suggest giving it a shot… the added flavor from the preserved vitamins and minerals is really worth firing up the pressure cooker!

    Ciao,

    L

  4. All excellent tips. The one I don’t usually follow—but should!—is the use of the steamer basket. I always forget that’s an option with pressure cookers… not sure why!

  5. I love my pressure cooker, but an generally lacking in imagination. I just found your blog, and I expect to be using it a lot! thanks.

  6. Ciao Franco – my dear colleague who also strives for authenticity in Italian cooking (everyone, click on his link and check out his blog!!) Try storing the steamer basket in the pressure cooker. It will be a good reminder!

    Welcome Anonymous, please come back to let us know what you tried. Or post your successes with other’s pressure cooker recipes on my Facebook wall.

    Ciao,

    L

  7. Hi, great blog.

    Thank you for the many tips.

    With best regards,

    Jörg

  8. I love this site, so happy to find it.
    THANK YOU EVERY ONE all the posts are wonderful.

    Judy

  9. I’m so glad I found this site. I just bought an electric pressure cooker and I’m almost afraid to use it, but I gotta jump right in. I found your site looking for blue cheese scalloped potatoes in the PC. Do you have a method you can suggest? I imagine I can’t do what I normally do in the oven… sliced potatoes mixed with milk, pepper and blue cheese. Would I have to add the BC near the end or do you even recco I do this in the PC?

  10. Welcome to pressure cooking Cathy! There are recipes for scalloped potatoes in the pressure cooker, but I have not tired them myself.

    However, all of these recipes suggest using the Bain Marie method. My recommendation is to do a scaled-down version of your recipe using this method and then finishing it under the grill.

    Another option is to pre-cook the potatoes, slice them and then finish the whole recipe in the oven in your regular casserole.

    Have fun, and Welcome!

    Laura

  11. I recently acquired an electric pressure cooker after almost 40 yrs using a stovetop model. I love it! Last night I browned and roasted a chicken in it (though it was probably more like steaming, the browning added a lot of flavor), then boned out the chicken and tossed the bones back into the pressure cooker and made stock :)

    1. Great Job, Shelly! I’ve been meaning to write 5 amazing tips for pressure cooking meat. Watch for that coming later this year!

      Ciao,

      L

  12. I remember my mom cooking with her pressure cooker in the early 70’s. She scared me so bad by telling me the lid “may shoot through the ceiling” if she opened it before releasing the pressure.

    I bought a modern pressure cooker today and I’m so happy with it! http://herbivoracious.com/2012/01/cream-of-nettle-soup-a-guest-post-from-laura-of-hip-pressure-cooking.html I can’t wait to try your recipes!

    Thank you so much!

    1. She was right! Few pressure cookers. back then, had the safety devices they have now. My mother-in-law’s pressure cooker, which has been in continuous use since the 60’s has nothing to prevent you from opening it while it is under pressure. So it was drilled into her to make sure, several times, that the pressure is COMPLETELY out before opening!!!

      Congratulations on your purchase and I look forward to hearing about which recipes you try!

      Ciao,

      L

  13. What tips does anyone have for successfully cooking potatoes and other vegetables together in the pressure cooker?

    I love making mashed potatoes or, sometimes, boiled potatoes to accompany the vegetables. I personally don’t mind slightly soft vegetables, but others in my family prefer them not to taste soft because they assume soft vegetables are overcooked.

    1. Thanks for the advice. :)

      I love this website. :)

    2. Most vegetables need five minutes or less to pressure cook – potatoes 10 with natural release.

      You can cook potatoes with other vegetables in a couple of ways.

      The first, is using the phase-in method. Pressure cook the potatoes for about 7 minutes, release pressure and then add the other veggies and cook 4-5 minutes (depending on the veggie) and open with a quick release.

      The second, and probably the easiest, is to do a small small dice with the potatoes and pressure cook everything together.

      When your non-mushy vegetable loving friends are over, do the small dice but boil the potatoes in the base of the cooker and add the veggies in the steamer basket.

      Lots of ways to get to the same place. So use the method that fits best with your cooking style!

      Ciao,

      L

  14. My Insta Pot arrived and I made a pot roast immediately. The meat was a little tough even though I followed the directions in the book exactly. This morning I steamed an orange cauliflower with a silicone steamer insert. The cooked flowerets seemed to be a little overdone. The owner’s book has a little different times and directions than your website. Which should I use as the definitive time chart?

  15. Hi Laura,

    I noticed that you said potatoes require Natural Release? I’ve been cooking 5lbs of potatoes with skin on (1 cup water) for 10min with Quick Release and they seem fine. Would the Natural Release be better? Thank you.

    1. It depends what you want to do with the potaotes and whether you want to keep them whole or a little bit al dente.

      Ciao,

      L

  16. Howdy Laura,

    Frozen Veg in a pressure cooker? can this be done?

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