Don't miss our new free video series: Pressure Cooking School. See you there!

Fissler Vitaquick Pressure Cooker Normal Release
Before we cook together in the Beginner Basics recipe series you and your pressure cooker need to become the best of friends.  It’s easy to do! Your pressure cooker, unlike most things in life, comes with a detailed instruction manual.

While you’re reading it, you will need understand the following things about your new kitchen helper:

check mark Your pressure cooker’s minimum liquid requirement 

Although pressure cookers all do the same thing, they all do it slightly differently and this means that each pressure cooker has it’s own minimum liquid requirement (the minimum liquid the cooker needs to boil and generate pressure). You’ll learn in the later lessons that this liquid doesn’t always need to be water, it can be stock, fruit juice or even wine (don’t ever use hard liquor to bring your pressure cooker to pressure).  This liquid can even be contributed by the liquid from the veggies and meat.  Check the manual to see if says what the minimum liquid requirement is for your pressure cooker it can be anywhere from 1/2 a cup (125ml) to two cups (500ml)!

See Also: Can I use something other than water to meet my pressure cooker’s minimum requirement?

As a general rule (with lots of safe wiggle room) we recommend 1 cup (250ml) for stovetop and 1 1/2 cups (375ml) for electrics.

check mark How your pressure cooker reaches pressure 

With all recipes you will begin counting the cooking time once the pressure cooker has reached pressure. Each manufacturer will have their own way of signaling when their pressure cooker has reached pressure, so it is important that you understand how yours operates.

Here are some basic guidelines for the four types of pressure cookers:

Breville Fast Slow Pro profileSpring valve, in most modern pressure cookers (also known as 2nd Generation), will “signal” it has reached pressure by a visual, and sometimes also auditory, indicator… usually by raising a rod, signal or bar.

Digital or Electric pressure cookers  can “beep, an indicator stops blinking or ‘P’ indicator turns on”  but each one has a different way to let you know that it has reached pressure. These pressure cookers will start counting down their own cooking time – so you don’t need to do anything once the cooker has told you it has reached pressure.

Jiggler valve will “rock and jiggle,” at first slowly and then vivaciously,  as steam begins to escape to regulate the pressure inside the cooker.

Weight-Modifyed valve will “whistle, hiss or shhhhhck” when it lifts up and down to release extra pressure. This was the first kind of pressure cooker I had and they are very noisy.  I liken the sound to a steam engine train, who’s pistons are shooting up and down to move forward – which is not far from reality since the steam engine was based on a pressure cooker design.

check mark How to release pressure

There are three ways pressure cooker recipes will instruct you to release pressure:

magefesa_pressure_releaseNatural Release (for meats, grains and legumes)

Just turn off the heat and and wait for the pressure safety-handle-locking-mechanism, or indicator, to disengage (usually 10-15 minutes). This release is especially useful when cooking grains, beans and meats.

Normal, Manual or Automatic Release (for veggies and fish)

You must know in which direction the vapor will exit your pressure cooker prior to opening it with this method for the first time.  Some models will shoot vapor straight up, while others down, some sideways, or (as illustrated) forward, depending on how your hold your pan.  Lift or remove the valve, push the button, press or twist the lever to release vapor and pressure until the pressure safety-handle-locking-mechanism disengages. Newer pans will make a final “sigh” and you will feel the top moving down slightly.  (about 2 minutes). This release method is best used for quick-cooking foods like vegetables, pasta and fish.

See Also: Now, release pressure!  The How’s and Why’s.

check mark Dismantle and re-mount the valve in 60 seconds

I’m kidding – just checking to see if you’re still reading.  Take as long as you like! But know that after each use, you should remove and clean the valve to prevent operating your pressure cooker with an obstruction that could either kick-in the safety mechanisms or, at worst, damage your pressure cooker permanently.

Primary Pressure Release ValveElectric pressure cooker valves can be cleaned less often, if there is no food residue anywhere on the underside of the lid you can get away with cleaning their valve about once a week – it’s a good time to also empty the little condensation cup in the back as well.

So you don’t forget, put the pressure cooker lid next to the sink once it is removed and have any needed “tools” nearby.  One of my pressure cookers requires a butter-knife to un-screw the spring valve.  My older pressure cooker just needs a strong pull on the weight-modified valve.  One of my newest pressure cookers has it’s valve encased in a mystery box, so I just need to make sure that the rubber area leading into that mystery box is clean.

Read your manual and try to follow the cryptic diagrams so you already know what to do after pressure cooking your first dish.

check markSafety Check

Double anti-blockage vents
Double anti-blockage vents

All pressure cookers have some kind of rubber or silicone ring around the edge of the opening that helps it to seal hermetically while it reaches pressure and, often, an emergency pressure release valve. Even if your pressure cooker is new, but especially if it is not, take a careful look at any rubber or silicone parts to make sure that they are not cracked, or damaged in any way.

These are the items that will need to be replaced occasionally depending on the age and frequency of your pressure cooking – they age even if your pressure cooker is not being used.  The general recommendation is to replace these parts every 18 months – however some can last much longer.

I do not recommend oiling any of these parts unless specifically recommended in the manual for your model.

check markTest-run

The “hot water” test is often used to trouble-shoot any problems that you may have with your pressure cooker and for first-timers to see it in action.  It’s just a fancy name for boiling water in your pressure cooker and seeing if, and how, it reaches, keeps and releases pressure. We’ve also created a visual guide to help explain what your pressure cooker will do the first time it comes up to pressure so be sure to refer to it, as well!

Pressure Cooker Hot Water Test

Electric Pressure Cooker Stovetop Pressure Cooker
  1. Add 4 cups (1l) of water into the pressure cooker.
  2. Close the lid and position the valve to the correct setting (for example, “sealing” or “pressure”)
  3. Choose any cooking program and adjust the time to 10 minutes.
  4. The display will counts-down cooking time after the cooker has reached pressure on its own (in about 10 minutes)
  5. Release pressure! NOTE: Keep fingers out of the way from the steam & tilt the lid away from you.
  6. You did it!
  1. Add 4 cups (1l) of water into the pressure cooker.
  2. Close the lid and position the valve to the correct setting (for example “high” or “2” or “II”)
  3. Place the cooker on a burner that is not wider than the pressure cooker base and turn the heat below the cooker to HIGH (use a MEDIUM heat setting on induction) until the cooker indicates it has reached pressure (for example a pin is raised and/or steam exits the valve) – this step could take up to 10 minutes.
  4. When the cooker indicates that pressure is reached, lower the heat to maintain pressure (to LOW or MEDIUM heat) according to your pressure cooker instructions) and start a timer to count 10 minutes of pressure cooking time.
  5. Release pressure! NOTE: Keep fingers out of the way from the steam & tilt the lid away from you.
  6. You did it!

OPTIONAL: Quickly pour what’s left in the pressure cooker back into the measuring cup or pitcher to see how much liquid evaporated during cooking and the pressure release.

If your pressure cooker did not reach pressure, make sure that the rubber ring is properly in place, and that the valves are correctly mounted and give the test another shot.

see also: The Pressure Cooker Trouble-shooter and How To Pressure Cook

check markSay, “hi!”

Post a comment to introduce yourself and your pressure cooker (model, size and anything else you would like to mention) along with any questions you might have.

Next!

Go to the first Beginner Basics Lesson: Smashed Potatoes -Boiling and Maximum Capacity or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Pssssst!  Do you want to learn more about the pressure cookers that I’m using? See them described on my About page!

259 Comments

  1. Hi!! I just bought a Calphalon 6 quart pressure cooker and found your site while trying to figure out how to use it, since the manual’s a bit minimalistic. This page alone was incredibly helpful, and I look forward to consulting the rest of your site as work my way through figuring out this new (to me) cooking method.

    1. Welcome Branda! So glad to be of help – be sure to post how the recipes you try turn out as well!

      Ciao,

      L

    2. Just bought a power cooker pressure cooker. How do I set the amount of time I need. Before the 15 minute pressure build or after the pressure builds. The instructions that came with it are a little vague. They are written for people who have used a pressure cooker before

      1. Can you tell us the model and brand of pressure cooker you have?

        Thanks,

        L

      2. If it is the electric power pressure cooker you set the time and it will start the countdown after it reaches pressure.

        doing the water test-run above on this page should make the basic operation clear for you.

      3. And if it’s not an electric, start the timing when it reaches pressure. Don’t include the build up.
        But it sounds like an electric. My Stove tops rarely take that long to build pressure.

  2. Hi Laura!

    I just received an InstantPot 6L capacity for Christmas, and really appreciate your website so far! Completing the water boil test went well – my only question was about the anti-blockage vent (you indicated it as item #3 under the safety section of your review). This seemed a little loose and I had to screw it down a bit for it to feel snug but not tight. I couldn’t find anything about this in the instruction booklet, and was wondering if you encountered something similar.

    Looking forward to looking through the rest of your site as I get to know this new device.

    Laura in NYC

    1. Ciao Laura,

      Which model Instant Pot do you have?

      L

  3. I just got an Instant Pot 6 liter LUX for Christmas. I love to cook and I use my crockpot a lot. I have a friend who raves about her electric PC and talked me into getting one. I have used a stovetop pressure cooker before. I inherited it from my Mother-in-Law. But, I didn’t really get into it. I may have been intimidated by the uncertainty in the heat level applied. Also, I didn’t realize the versatility of it. I had limited recipes and didn’t really experiment beyond that.

    After listening to my friend’s raves and reading your website. I am excited to try lots of new things with the PC. I may even want to dig out the old stovetop version for added options. I am looking forward to adapting some of my crockpot recipes to PC on days when the early start just isn’t an option.

    Laura, have you every used a microwave pressure cooker? My friend (the same one) has one of those too and uses it quite a bit for small sides. Hers is no longer available for sale, but I saw that Nordic Ware offers one which got pretty good reviews on Amazon. Nordic ware calls it a “tender cooker”. It’s not really cheap, but looks like it might be handy. I was just wondering what you thought…. for me, for now… I’ll be working with my Instant Pot. :)

    Thanks for a great learning site!
    Terry

    1. Welcome Terry, can’t wait to read more about the recipes and experiments you decide to tackle.

      I don’t have a microwave – so no microwave pressure cooker : ) Although the time savings are intriguing, from what I read in their manual it seems like all you can do with a microwave pressure cooker is steam and boil (no way to brown in it unless you use an extra pan).

      Ciao,

      L

  4. Oh, I have one more question, if you don’t mind, Laura. I noticed that you begin many recipes by browning in hot oil before adding liquid and pressurizing. Which I’m sure adds great flavor to the finished product. :) In the Instant Pot, is it okay to use butter instead? With some foods, butter just tastes better.
    Thanks!
    Terry

    1. Terry, you can substitute the olive oil with anything you like: vegetable oil, butter or ghee. Just be aware that butter tends to burn rather quickly so it’s not a bad idea to add a tad of oil as well to keep that from happening.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thanks! Will do.

    2. I cook with butter in my Instant Pot Duo pressure cooker all the time without issue, though I also use ghee/clarified butter, coconut oil, bacon dripping, and beef tallow (I’m a traditional fat fan; I don’t ever buy vegetable oil, and I reserve olive oil for adding after cooking or with uncooked foods).

      As Laura says, butter will burn if heated too high or for too long (though slightly browned butter can add great flavor). You’ll have just to watch closely while sautéing or browning items and/or keep the heat low. Often I use ghee (clarified butter) instead of regular butter because without the milk solids (proteins) that burn so easily, the plain butterfat (ghee) can take a higher temperature before smoking – I can brown items in successive batches without the ghee burning (pancakes, for example). Ghee adds a great flavor, too.

      A ghee/coconut oil combo is my favorite oil for making popped corn in a regular stovetop pan, too. I toss it with melted grassfed butter after popping, too.

      Butter from cows fed on pasture and grass is a healthful fat, too – it’s an excellent source of fat soluble Vitamin K2, which is a co-factor that is critical for dietary calcium to go where it belongs in the body (esp bones & teeth), instead of within the artery walls, soft tissues, and joints where it causes problems. Enjoy your butter – it’s good for you.

  5. Love, love, love my new Instantpot Duo60- my wonderful husband bought it as a Christmas present for me! Made a batch of yogurt and the Ligurian Lemon Chicken. Now I’m making a new batch of yogurt. Made a couple mistakes, but I hope it turns out OK…Forgot to put the control on sealing instead of venting, and didn’t realize it for about 10 minutes, then when the steaming was complete (I am doing the yogurt right in the jars) I forgot to turn off the pressure cooker when it was finished steaming. I have some questions though. There is a skin on the top of the milk.Do I discard it? And what about the water left over from steaming? Should I leave it in the pot or dump it before going on to phase 2?

    1. Welcome sherry! What a delicious way to inaugurate your pressure cooker.

      I have copied a portion of your comment, about making yogurt in the pressure cooker, to the bottom of the post with the procedure. That way anyone else with the same questions will find the answer there. You can find my reply to the yogurt questions here:
      http://www.hippressurecooking.com/video-how-to-make-yogurt-in-instant-pot-duo/comment-page-1/#comment-10168

  6. Hello, I just ordered a Fagor set the other day. I”m so excited to get them and start that I actually dreamed about it last night. lol

    1. makvay,

      How did it go?!?! Sooo funny!

      Ciao,

      L

  7. Hello to all,
    For Christmas I received a 5 in 1 electric cooker about 6 litres. It is a New Age machine. We have cooked Corned Silverside, which at 1.2kg should have been cooked for 40 mins but I calculated incorrectly 33 ,ins,. After carving about half we realised that the middle could do with a little more cooking. So we put the unsliced end back in for 8 mins & it was just great.
    Found your website & am starting at the beginning.
    Thanks, Judy

  8. Thank you for your help. I recently traveled to China. While there I noticed a Supor Pressure cooker. The quality is exceptional. I love the one motion unlocking with the push button locking and unlocking. The automatic U clamps are remarkable. I have been cooking corned beef in the pressure cooker. With your help I am ready to enjoy many new recipes with your help and guidance.

    1. Dhinet,

      That’s a very nice looking cooker! It is very similar to BRK – likely from the same Chinese factory, and many readers are very satisfied with this cooker. Thanks for posting a pic and joining us!

      L

  9. HI, recently got a tefal secure 5, am relearning pressure cooking, and this time I am not scared of it!!!

    1. ballyrisode,

      Sounds like a very promising re-start!

      Ciao,

      L

    2. Ballyrisode..I just got one as a gift too Tefal secure5..out of the box tho – I can barely read the instructions & 1st timer here. Are you enjoying yours? I will use this course & step by step Laura..grateful to find you on Pintrest!! :) – BB

  10. Hi. I’m new to this site and new to pressure cookin also. I have a calphalon 6 quart pressure cooker and like Brenda said, the manual is a bit vague. Thanks to this site, I’m able to learn about my pressure cooker ad how to use it. Well my very first recipe with my cooker was a HUGE success. Barbecued baby back ribs and yes, the meat falls off the bone, and oh so tender and moist. Love this site.
    Here’s the recipe I found online and it’s from America’s test kitchen so you know it’s a fail proof recipe. Next time I’m cutting down on black pepper and omitting the cayenne pepper. Too spicy for me. I also removed the skin on the underside of the ribs. Good luck and you gotta try this recipe,

    George

    Pressure Cooker Barbecued Baby Back Ribs
    http://heyjude.typepad.com/blog/2013/05/pressure-cooker-barbecued-baby-back-ribs.html

    1. George, welcome! I had to remove the text of the recipe you put in your comment due to copyright concerns, but I replaced it with a link of where I think you found it.

      I have a similar much simpler recipe in my cookbook and it only takes 45 minutes start-to-finish. It has fewer ingredients and has fewer steps as well – for example, you don’t need to turn the ribs around and broil both sides as the meat is primarily on just one side of the rack, anyway.

      Readers who attended my pressure cooker demos the last two years in California already got a preview of my super-easy pressure cooker BBQ Baby Back rib one pot meal – so I can’t wait to finally share it with everyone when my book is published this September and meet hip pressure cooking readers in the New York area this summer!

      Ciao,

      L

  11. Laura,
    Re. your response to Dhinet…
    I agree that her Supor PC looks much like the B/R/K. However it’s my understanding that B/R/K makes its pressure lids and lid components in Germany and only their pots in Asia.

    Sadly I suspect it won’t be long before every PC manufacturer is making at least parts of their PCs in Asia, if not the entire pressure cooker. That’s okay as long as the quality doesn’t decline, but I’m not convinced it will.

    1. I do question whether the lids are actually made in Germany or the components were designed there but manufactured in China. Speaking for my set, none of the pieces of the cookers I have mention the manufacturing location!

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Laura,
        I got my information here:
        http://healthykitchens.com/brk_pressure_cookers.html?menu_id=1045

        http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/BRK_pressure_cookers_b-r-k_cookware_stainless_steel.aspx

        however none of my B/T/K pressure cookers mention the manufacturing location either. Both the lids and pots say “B/R/K Germany” but not MANUFACTURED in Germany. The B/R/K Germany may simply be intended to indicate that the company is headquartered in Germany.

  12. I have been in the commercial door hardware business for over 50 years. This is the finest quality pressure cooker I have ever seen. Where the parts are made I do not know or care.
    I can see and feel the quality of the components. I am not an engineer, but the locking is foolproof. China has been using pressure cookers for a long time probably longer than most all countries.
    After WWII a lot of products were made in China, they were very low quality, but look at Japanese products now. The China bashing should stop. The people over there are very talented and hard working. What high school student here would sit in a factory assembling iPhones day after day? We benefit from their low wages. What would a LCD TV or iPhone cost if made in here? How is the quality of the iPhone??
    All I said was I like the quality of the pressure cooker. I was not saying China’s was better than German. I see hundreds of German companies making their products in China.
    As long as we have our dreams here and Chinese willing and helpful to manufacture them we should be very happy.

    1. Dhinet I don’t think anyone’s intent was to “bash China,” at least it certainly was not mine. I think what concerns many Americans is that many manufacturing jobs have moved from the US to China and other Asian countries, thus taking jobs away from Americans. The jobs weren’t moved because Asians are producing better products, they were moved because as you allude to, wages for workers in these countries are low and American companies can save money by having their products made or manufactured in Asia. What sometimes accompanies lower cost is also lower quality, not always, but too often. However that is not the fault of the Asian companies, but the American companies which are not always willing to pay for high quality as happened with products made in Japan many years ago. Anyone of a certain age probably remembers that “made in Japan” used to be synonymous with cheaply made, poor quality products. Clearly that has changed. I’ve never been to China, but I’m confident that Chinese companies can produce quality products equal or perhaps superior to those produced in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, the US or any other country in the world. And they will when American companies are willing to pay for and insist on quality products instead of products produced cheaply. And that will happen only when Americans stop buying inferior products regardless of where they’re made. I’m perfectly willing to purchase a pressure cooker manufactured in Asia or anywhere else – what matters to me is that it’s a high quality product – and I’m willing to pay for that high quality product. Wages paid to many Chinese workers are appalling, but that’s a topic beyond the scope or purpose of this forum.

  13. Thank you for the reply.
    You really should travel to China when and if you get the opportunity. I have been over a dozen times visiting friends and family.
    The Chinese people admire us and want to be more like us. We and other companies have taught them a lot about the need and benefit of quality.
    The middle class is growing stronger and stronger, demanding changes in their government, getting pollution under control, property rights…
    Gone, for the most part are the poor working conditions, dirt floors, dim on non existent lighting…
    As skilled workers are in growing demand wages are rising.
    We have lots of experience in product design and innovation. This is where our focus should be focused. Not on restricting imports, tariffs, and lobbyists.
    Anyway thanks again for your forum. Back to pressure cooking! Mine is ready to be taken off the burner.
    Bill

    1. How nice that you’ve been able to travel to China, Bill. It would be wonderful to do some traveling outside of the US and China would be an interesting place to go, but at my age it’s unlikely I’ll be traveling anywhere other than within the US. In fact I don’t even have a passport.

      Don’t think supper tonight will involve any pressure cooker for us, but last night we enjoyed what my housemate said was the best beef stew she’d ever had. We also invited a couple of neighbors for supper and they too seemed to really enjoy it.

  14. Hello!

    I actually stumbled across pressure cookers while I was trying to figure out a way to sterilize bottles and equipment for mycology. I may end up having to get a pressure canner, or negotiate with some institution for a proper autoclave, but I did discover a lot of the facts about reduced cooking times, better energy efficiency, more nutrition. I eat what I can most of the time, so it’d be nice to be able to not kill myself figuring this stuff out and prepare some decent meals.

    I run an applied biology committee at the local hackerspace and we’ve been wanting to try extracting oils and flavors. The italian soda recipe has me particularly excited as I’ve been making several different varieties of honey ginger ale.

    I’m using a Fagor 6 quart pressure cooker. Look forward to learning!

  15. Hi (from the UK)!

    I got a pressure cooker in December (best birthday present ever), a Tefal 6L stove top, and I’m in love. I’ve been making lots of soups to take with me to work for lunch, as well as big batches of Bolognese/chilli/stew/dal etc.

    I’ve got a couple of books, Catherine Phipp’s The Pressure Cooker Cookbook and the BBC Good Food Pressure Cooker book. Both are really good, but at the moment I’m only cooking recipes from these books (or variations of) as I’m not confident about how to devise my own recipes when it comes to timings etc. I had my first near-disaster when making a stew from one of the books that had cooked dry when I opened it (I managed to salvage it luckily).

    1. rachelj87,
      Take a look at Laura’s Hip Pressure Cooking site (where you are now :-). Laura offers lots of advice on devising your own recipes. You’re on the right track going through Hip’s Learn to Pressure Cook series, http://www.hippressurecooking.com/learn-to-pressure-cook/. By the time you go through those 8 lessons, you’ll be very comfortable with your PC I think and ready to devise your own recipes. And of course there are forums here where you can ask any question.

      And finally, if in doubt about the amount of liquid the pressure cooker will need for a given dish, add a little extra. You can always reduce the liquid later if need be, but if you have too little, a dish could cook dry as you experienced.

    2. What I do when I want to make something but don’t have an exact recipe for is to look for a similar PC recipe and use its proportions of solid foods and liquids and cooking times as a starting point/guidline.

      Or I find several similar recipes and determine the ranges for cooking times, food volume, and solid to liquid ratios to establish a basic template. So for instance, a basic meat stew template can be customized to use similar cuts of nearly any meat/large game (beef, veal, pork, venison, elk, moose, dare I say kangaroo or horse) or poultry/small game (chicken, turkey, pheasant, rabbit, etc.). Various aromatic veggies, herbs, & spices will determine the ethnic flavor of the stew but have less impact on the cooking time & solid/liquid ratios.

  16. Hi from Belgium (and the Netherlands)!

    A few years ago I bought a pressure cooker in a going-out-of-business-sale for 65 euros (about 90 USD). I didn’t know anything about the brand (or any PC brand for that matter) but it looked good so and I always wanted to experiment with pressure cooking. Imagine the smile on my face when I found out that the brand I had (a Kuhn-Rikon Duromatic Classic) topped most reviews on the net!

    I’ve been using it mainly for soups and stews which always turn out great.

    About a week ago I came across your site and have had fun reading it since. I loved the boiled eggs trick and have been experimenting with pressure steaming now.

    Thanks for your excellent site that turns out to be a real inspiration for new ways to use my favorite pan in the kitchen.

  17. My name is Bridgette and I just bought the 6Q Instant Pot. I’m wondering if I will really use this pressure cooker and I’m looking forward to going through the basics on your site!

  18. boudreauxb,
    You bet you’ll use your new pressure cooker – or at least I hope you will. Do go through the basics on Laura’s site and soon you’ll be choosing your own recipes. You may bet less than perfect results in the early going, but simply learn from them and go on. Ask questions, whatever they are. Laura is a great resource and others who post here are as well.

    There are many people who love pressure cooking and their pressure cookers – and I’ll bet you soon will as well. Good luck.

  19. Hi there,

    I am relatively new to PCooking, everything have done so fare has been fabulous. Currently have your chicken stock recipe on the go.

    I have a 6litre Tefal electric cooker. I have a question regarding high and low pressure. Many of your recipes say to start the pc on high until pressure has been achieved then turn to low. Should I just set mine to the desired cooking pressure (high or low) at the beginning and let it do its thing? Will it make any difference if I bring it to pressure on the low setting (other than taking longer to come to pressure?). I really do prefer the set and forget methods where possible, especially as my PC doesnt give indication that its come to pressure.

    Thanks for a wonderful site! I wish I found it years ago when I “inherited” my Nannas new unused stove top PC and had no idea what I was doing so gave it away :-(

    1. Ms. AngeeL, I’m so glad to read you’re having a great time with your pressure cooker!

      Actually the instructions are written for both stovetop and electric pressure cookers and they say to bring the cooker to pressure on high “heat” – that’s the heat setting on the cooktop – not the pressure cooker. ; ) Since you have an electric pressure cooker- you can disregard that part of the instructions and only pay attention to the ones that say high or low pressure.

      If you look at the chart here, you’ll see a description of how things should go in bringing your cooker up to pressure and what you can expecte:
      http://www.hippressurecooking.com/infographic-the-pressure-cooker-trouble-shooter/

      In short, all you need to do is push-in the cooking time and your pressure cooker will do the rest – it will know when it has reached pressure because and start counting down the cooking time.

      Welcome!

      Ciao,

      L

  20. Ahh that makes sense! Thanks Laura! I love this site – I made the stock tonight from the carcass of a chicken I cooked in my slow cooker yesterday, I also added 500gms of chicken wing tips. It smells divine and cant wait to use it on the weekend for a soup. Hope it goes all gelatinous overnight.

  21. Hi, I’m from Singapore… Yesterday, I have finally purchased a Pressure Cooker, the brand is Scanpan, 6L, quite heavy, give me a sense of good quality.

    FYI, the culture here in SG is eating out, or packing food back… So there’s hardly any need to cook…

    The only thing I know is to fry eggs for my 4 years old boy…

    So, I will be trying out the 1st step to use the PC, which is to boil water with it…

    Hope that I can keep up this interest… Cheers…

    1. Welcome Hong! Well, you’ll have to start somewhere and this is a great place to do that. If you’re looking for specific recipes that you don’t find here, come to the request or conversion forum and I’ll see what I can do to find or write that recipe for you. : )

      Ciao,

      L

  22. Wow Hong, a Scanpan pressure cooker – another pressure cooker I’ve never heard of – but then I’ve never been to Singapore though I’m now reading a novel set in Singapore. While I wasn’t aware that Scanpan made a pressure cooker as I don’t believe it’s marketed in the US I am familiar with the brand and know it’s excellent. In fact I’ve owned a few Scanpans in the past.

    I’m sure you’re going to love your pressure cooker and have come to the right place to learn to use it successfully and enjoyably. Your young son will surely benefit from all the wonderful food you’ll be able to cook in your new pressure cooker. Many people here are experienced pressure cooking cooks – but don’t be at all reluctant to ask questions. Laura of course, and the rest of us, will be happy to help you learn to love pressure cooking as much as we do.

  23. Hi I’ve just unpacked my new silampos pc – very excited, my instructions are almost non-existant so thanks for this great site! My question is this – I get my pc to presuure the red indicator pops up, then i get the steam through the valve thingy, you say to then reduce the heat to as low as you can go – does this mean as low until the steam stops coming out, or as low until the indicator falls – I’m guessing the steam but just wanted to make sure – don’t want to wreck my glass cooktop if i do it wrong!
    thanks

    1. Welcome Kel! I have manuals for two models of Silampos pressure cookers in the database:
      http://www.hippressurecooking.com/category/manuals/silampos/

      Can you tell me which one you have so I can read it and tell you what to expect? Each pressure cooker is a little different so what the manufacturer says in their manual is the key.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. its the 7.5 silampos easy
        ok i re-read the manual – same as i have at home, i expected it to be more detailed about how to get pressure etc
        I can get to pressure, the red pressure indicator pops up, i then get steam from the adjustment valve,
        i just want to clarify when i then drop the heat, should i drop it as low as i can with steam still coming out of the adjustment valve?
        i just want to make sure i don’t wreck my pc or my glass induction cooktop if i get it wrong (i’m in australia and the man from the pc store online has frightened me about using it on induction cooktop!)
        thanks for your help laura!

        1. and as another quick question, on the adjustment valve, 2 pressure settings, is the next one “quick” pressure release, then natural pressure release?

          1. Natural pressure release means taking the PC off the heat and just leaving it for 10 minutes or so until the pressure drops without releasing anything.

            From the manual:
            If during the use of the pressure cooker the pressure indicator fails to rise and/or the adjustment valve does not release steam, check whether the power of the heat source is strong enough. Should this persist, depressurise the pressure cooker and check:

            This means that your PC should vent steam all the time it is cooking. Once it comes to pressure, turn down the heat so that there is a constant but slight escape of steam. If it get too vigorous then your pressure is too high.

        2. Ok I took a look at the manual – sometimes it takes someone who knows about pressure cooking to pick-up on any nuances that are mentioned there. Let me cover you questions one by one.

          First, your pressure cooker has an induction compatible base so you need’nt to worry about either your cook top or pressure cooker being damaged when you use them together.

          Secondly, yes I can confirm that your pressure cooker reaches and maintains pressure when the indicator is up AND there is a thin stream of vapor coming from the main valve. That’s when you turn down the heat.

          I recommend bringing the cooker to pressure with induction on medium heat (160-180C) and then once it reaches pressure lowering the temperature on the induction burner until you find the sweet-spot for the cooker (for my non-Silampos pressure cookers that could be anywhere between (110-120C). The sweet-spot for your pressure cooker would be a temperature where both the indicator is up and there is a thin stream of steam coming out of the valve.

          I explain in detail why you should bring your cooker up to pressure on medium heat with induction here:
          http://www.hippressurecooking.com/7-dos-donts-of-pressure-cooking-with-induction/ )

          In terms of releases, it looks like your pressure cooker has four settings: Low Pressure, High Pressure, Quick Release and Valve Removal. So the second setting after the Quick Release is what you would use to remove and clean the valve.

          Greg has given you a nice description of what Natural Release is, so I won’t re-iterate that here.

          Let me know if you have any more questions.

          Ciao,

          L

          1. thanks Laura and Greg, I tried chicken stock today, seemed to work ok, though maybe i let the heat down a little too much, i dropped it so no steam came out, but the red indicator was still up. There was certainly plenty of pressure when i turned the dial to release, it freaked me out a bit! I’ll keep an eye when i actually try to “cook” something, and as you mentioned try to find that “sweet” spot

  24. oh and i use an induction cooktop too, not sure if that makes a difference – i read elswhere that you should only take to medium to gain pressure with induction – i used high initially just with my water test, and seemed ok, just not sure about how far to turn down :)

  25. Woohoooo! I am new to PC. I remember watching my grandmother can her garden veggies and fruits growing up every year. She wouldn’t let me near the stove. I am 46 years old and trying to eat healthier with less restaurant food. I have a 6 and 9 year old so I need something super fast and this is it. My husband is not happy about the cost…so now I have to prove it to him!

    I started my Kuhn Rikon 3.5L PC off with boiling water you recommended Laura. He told me to take it easy on myself the first dinner. ha ha He thinks he is funny. I was going to try and make spaghetti in 1 pot but I don’t want to mess my new toy up!

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