pressure cooking school  Welcome to Pressure Cooking School!
 This article is part of Lesson 7: Sweet Desserts


OK, here’s my hyphenated list of what’s containers are suitable to use in the pressure cooker:

  1. Oven-safe – Any container that is suited for baking in the oven can resist the temperatures of the pressure cooker.
  2. Food-grade – A glass flower vase, for example, is not food-safe or food-grade as the glass might contain lead. The container needs to be made of food-grade materials.
  3. Non-hermetic– Any container that fully seals, like a flanera, tiffin box, camping container, or a pudding mold should not be used in the pressure cooker sealed. That’s because a hermetically-sealed container will build pressure inside as well but it lacks the valves and vents to safely release it.

Here’s a portion of the heat-proof containers that I re-purposed from my kitchen. Actually, one was specifically made for the pressure cooker – see if you can guess which one it is!

The stainless steel bowl was actually a storage container designed of the refrigerator.  It’s the kind that came with a plastic lid.  I got rid of the plastic lid, and I use the bowl in the pressure cooker.

Heat-safe containers to be used in the pressure cooker or Instant PotThe Indian tiffin box it seals hermetically, so I don’t use the lid in the pressure cooker. It’s actually quite handy because it already has a handle to easily pull it out of the pressure cooker.

The bundt pan solved my soggy-centered steamed cake problem. No more center, no more problem!  Actually, I’ll explain a little later why this works.

The mini cheese-cake spring-form pan is one of many I tried using in the pressure cooker in different ways.  Look, these spring-form pans and push pans… forget them! They’ll just give you a cheesecake with a soggy crust. You don’t need them.

I’m not a big fan of silicone.  It’s slow to cook and it retains flavors from previous recipes as well as the flavor of the dish-washing detergent. So, I don’t recommend them. BUT, they’re actually great for making cheesecake – and I’ll explain and show you why during the recipe.

This ceramic bowl is the perfect shape for making bread puddings.  Actually, speaking of ceramic, even a mug will do!

Did you notice how many materials can be used in the pressure cooker? Unfortunately, each one has its own quirks

More Info: Buy Hip Recommended Pressure Cooker Accessories

Container Material

Each material has its own “heat transfer rate.”  In our case it means how long it takes for the steam in the pressure cooker, to heat-up the container, to cook the food or dessert inside.  The higher the transfer rate, the faster the heat is delivered to the batter, and the faster the dessert is made!

The Three Ingredient Flan from my cookbook, actually takes twice as long to cook in a silicone ramekin than a ramekin made of any other material!

  • silicone actually insulates the contents from heat;
  • glass and ceramic are slow to heat-up but also slow to cool down so these containers continue cooking the contents even after they’ve been removed from the pressure cooker.
  • stainless steel heats faster, but also cools down quickly;
  • aluminum containers transfer the most heat to the food, but they’re delicate and can react with acidic foods.

Since they’re easy to find and perform the best, I mostly make my desserts with stainless steel and ceramic accessories.

But the material of the container is not the only thing that affects the pressure cooking time of the dessert – the shape of the container matters, too!

Heat-Safe Containers for the pressure cooker - heat transfer of various materials

Container Shape

Just like any other food under pressure, the food is cooked from the outside-in. So, the further the heat has to travel, the longer it will take for the dessert to cook! For desserts in particular, I consider them done under pressure once the raising agent is activated, and the eggs have set.

Pressure Cooker Dessert Cooking Time by Shape

And speaking of raising agents… let’s talk about baking powder, now!



pressure cooking schoolCONTINUE Lesson 7: Sweet Desserts

Heat-Safe Containers for the pressure cooker - heat transfer of various materials Pressure Cooker Dessert Cooking Time by Shape


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  1. The lava cake in a mug recipe states “use a ‘slow normal release'”. Does that mean a slow quick-release or a natural release.? I’m not quite sure what “normal” refers to.

    1. Hi Linda, take a look at the segment from a previous lesson that discusses the opening methods:



  2. I found the article on pressure cooker containers to be quite timely as I am going to make chocolate pudding in my pot for dessert and want to use a ceramic soufflé dish. I will give it a try with confidence since it is oven safe. Thanks for your tips.

    1. Yaaay! Glad you found it useful, stop by the forums to share your pudding recipe with us, if you get a chance!



  3. Hi Laura. What is the make of the Silicone cake pan you use? Where can I buy it? I have the Instant Por 6 at Duo. Will that fit?

    1. Hi MJK, I should have mentioned it in the article – but it was more about learning than selling – the 8″ bowl and rack are from the Fagor “expansion kit” which can be purchased directly from them at this link (not an affiliate link):

      I also found similar 8″ silicone molds on amazon, which I link to from here (look at the “cake pans” category):

      Yes, it will fit in your 6qt since your inner pot 8.6″ wide.



      1. What silicone pan would you recommend for the 3qt mini? The ones on amazon are shipped from China :(.

        1. Miriam, I don’t know of any American silicone manufacturers – there could be, I just don’t know about them. Your mini is 18cm wide (7″) so I recommend using a 6-6.5″ silicone pan. This one looks good, and it already has a review of someone using it in their mini!



  4. I always learn something from your lessons. Never thought of using the Silicone. I will order from Amazon. Thanks again.

  5. Thanks for the education – I really do appreciate it. I have a couple of the silicone pans used to make egg bites. I really hate something being used for only one purpose. Do you have any suggestions for other recipes or purposes? I was thinking of mini cheese stuffed meat loaves or mini lava cakes but not sure of the cooking time. I teach 5th grade and I have a pot in my classroom- the silicone containers help with perfect portioning! Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Karen, first of all – most of these “silicone egg bite” molds were originally designed for freezing baby foods. I have not seen in the description of any of the ones for sale on Amazon that they are made of high-temperature resistant silicone. There are actually several grades of silicone, and the temperature range will be stamped on the mold in very small writing. Check that before using it, again in the pressure cooker.

      I would not do mini lava cakes unless everyone plans to stand around the pan to eat them – unmoulding them would be quite an adventure.

      For the mini-meat loves, a meatball usually only needs 5 minutes of pressure cooking time. If you put it in a silicone container – which slows down the cooking time – I would say 10 minutes at high pressure. But you should always take the internal temp to make sure they are cooked all the way through.



  6. I don’t agree with not using a spring form or push up pan for cheesecakes. I have made dozens using my push-up pan, covered with a paper towel and not once have I had an issue with a soggy crust or condensation on top of the cake.

    1. How do you cover the base with a paper towel? I’ve tried that too, and it gets quite soggy.

      If there is a better way, please share!



  7. Can you “invent” a tube pan with, for example, a cake pan and a small ramekin in the middle and get the advantage more even and faster cooking time of the tube configuration? I don’t know why it wouldn’t work, but just wondering.

    1. Denise, a reader already has! She used a glass jar and filled it with beans. Take a look at the comments and photo at the bottom of this page:

      I’m really surprised with how well it worked out!



      1. Thanks for the head’s up. The beans idea to keep it in place is great.

        Great site, Laura. Full of fabulous information.

  8. I learned so much from this video! Many thanks for sharing and I have bookmarked it to see more later.

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