Pressure Cooker Safety Tips

Today’s pressure cookers are extremely safe but you should follow manufacturer’s recommendations.  Here are our seven tips to safe pressure cooking.

Pressure Cooker Safety Tips Infographic
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This pressure cooker safety Infographic contains the following text:

Pressure Cooker Safety TipsToday’s pressure cookers are extremely safe but you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here’s what you need to know!

1. Read the manual and follow all precautions.

2. Inspect equipment: all parts present, no damaged parts, silicone ring installed correctly, no cracks or damage.

3. Don’t over-fill the cooker, stay below the MAX to keep food out of the safety systems in the lid.

  • Max 1/2 Full – Beans, Rice & Grains
  • Max 2/3 Full – Everything Else

CAUTION: Some multi-cookers have the max fill line marked for non-pressure programs.  It is too high to use for pressure cooking!

4. Add enough liquid for the pressure cooker to reach & maintain pressure

  • 1 1/2 cups Electric
  • 1 cup Stovetop

DO: trial run with water, ask questions, follow recipes

DO NOT: pressure can, pressure fry, distill, sterilize medical equipment

5. Use the proper pressure release method to keep the valve clog-free.

  • Normal Release – 2-3 min, everything else
  • Natural Release – 20-30 min, foamy foods


While operating and releasing pressure, do not cover or obstruct the venting valve.

6. Keep the pressure cooker’s gasket, safety and pressure valves clean of food debris.



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  1. Very good infographic

    I know of three more safety tips: not using cold water to lower the pressure in a hurry, too dangerous, steam can be ejected under the lid! Keep sharp knives away from the gasket, wash it separately. When pressure cooking pulses, only fill to one third full. I did read somewhere that pulses expand, froth and foam so much that for safety, only one third full is advised to avoid clogging the valve.

    1. Thanks for adding to the the collection of tips, David. Although some pressure cookers so include and recommend filling to only 1/3 the industry recommendation is to use 1/2 full and avoid certain foods (split peas, oatmeal, pasta etc.) altogether. Of course, there are safe ways to pressure cooking extra-foamy split legumes and we do have recommendations for each item on this website.



  2. Thanks so much for this important info! I was making soup just this week-end and noticed how high the max. line was! I’ve only had my IP for a few months but have used a stove top Kuhn Rikon for years and remembered they said no more than 2/3 full. I wasn’t sure if it would be the same with an electric PC, but erred on the side of caution and scaled back the recipe.

    Maybe the max fill is meant for the slow cooker function?

    1. Yes, the MAX is marked for non-pressure programs.



  3. Hi Laura, I was wondering why the advice not to pressure can. Do you mean not in a smaller pressure cooker? The large ones are often called “pressure canners”. A bit confused.

    Thanks in advance,

    Michael Milligan
    Layton, Utah
    Alt 4,300 fasl where 15 lb = 12 lb

    1. Yes, this applies to all “pressure cookers” that are not specifically marketed as AND do not fit the NCHFP definition for being suitable for “pressure canning”.

      Specifically, several brands of electric pressure cookers, even those of 10L size, are being marketed for pressure canning but according to NCHFP none of them have been tested or approved by them for doing so.



    2. There are a number of issues with pressure cookers being used as pressure canners:
      1. Most often cited is size. It should be able to hold 4 1 qt jars comfortably.
      2. It should have a weight pressure system. Two reasons… First spring based systems can go out of specification as springs lose their tension over time. It may be right when new. It may not be in 10 years time. Canners with pressure gauges should be recertified every few years because the gauges have springs in them….. Second canning recipes are developed with a 10 minute venting time included. This is not easily achieved with spring based systems.

      Recipes are developed with a certain time at temperature. This is to ensure that micro organisms are killed all the way through the food. If the pressure cooker is too small then it comes to pressure too quickly and the time requirement is not met The heat does not get all the way through the jars. . Second if all the air is not vented then the correct temperature will not be met EVEN IF THE PRESSURE IS CORRECT. It is temperature not pressure that kills the bugs. the pressure is simply a means to reach the temperature. Third if the pressure is not met then the temperature cannot be reached.

      There is nothing to stop you from canning in a pressure cooker. It is your life after all. But you are flying blind if you ignore the NCHFP recommendations. Unless you have a full pathology lab at your disposal, you have no way of knowing if your food is actually safe. And not all unsafe food looks or smells bad.

  4. Very interesting. New at pressure cooking.

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