Mashed Potatoes – Lesson 1 – Boiling and Maximum Capacity

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pressure cooker mashed potatoes
Making mashed potatoes in the pressure cooker is incredibly easy, and fast! It was the first thing I learned to pressure cook and I still boil potatoes in it at least once a week – mashed potatoes for cold weather and potato salad for when it’s warm outside!

Boiling in the pressure cooker takes less time and less water than regular stovetop boiling.  The closed environment keeps the water, and seasonings from evaporating so you need to add less salt than usual, too. I use just enough water to cover the food I’m boiling halfway – it takes less time for less water to boil, and the pressure cooker will reach pressure faster than if it were “full” of water.

Maximum Capacity

Most pressure cookers have a “max” line, at approximately 2/3 of the way to the top edge of the pot to indicate the height limit of food an liquid. Following this guide will leave enough room for the pressure cooker to reach pressure and keep the food out of the pressure and safety valves. When boiling beans, grains, rice -or any other food that expands during cooking: never fill the pressure cooker more than half capacity (this limit is usually also indicated inside the pressure cooker). This is because these foods may either foam or expand while cooking – and you want the them to stay clear of the operational valves and safety mechanisms. Please note that some electric multi-cookers may have the max line marked on the inner bowl for non-pressure programs.

See Also: Consumer Alert: Max Fill Lines Too High for Pressure Programs on Multi-cookers

Although pressure cooker accidents are rare today, in the very rare instances when they do happen it’s usually because the cook has over-filled the pressure cooker.

It is important to note that if you purchased a 6 quart pressure cooker, that is not the maximum capacity, it’s the size of the cooker. To figure out the maximum amount of liquid you can put in your pressure cooker, just multiply the stated size by “.66”. So, a 6 quart pressure cooker will be able to cook 4 quarts of soup. Half capacity, is actually just half of the total capacity, 3 quarts in this case.

Don’t worry if 6 quarts are starting to sound really small, now. This is the pressure cooker size that is most recommended for beginner pressure cooks, the minimum size for which most pressure cooker recipes are written, and provides abundant food for a family of four. As you will see in the series, and on this website, most recipes will rarely reach maximum capacity and can often be doubled in the “average,” 6 quart, pressure cooker.

See Also: Pressure Cooker Capacity FAQ

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
4 L or larger none 15 min. High(2) Normal

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Mashed Potatoes - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Serving size: ⅙th
  • Calories: 147.4
  • TOTAL Fat: 6.4g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 21.3g
  • Sugar Carbs: 1.0g
  • Sodium: 399.2mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 1.9g
  • Protein: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 23.1mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Mashed Potatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 6-8 medium potatoes (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse rock salt
  • ⅓ cup (100 ml) full cream or milk
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Wash and scrub your potatoes well, even though you are taking the skin off, you don't want the stuff that is stuck on it to float around in your pressure cooker and cooking water - you will be using it later for the mash.
  2. Place the washed potatoes inside the pressure cooker, with the largest potatoes in the bottom and the smaller on top, and add the water. Then, put the salt on top (it will melt and combine with the water during cooking). Never put salt in direct contact with a cold stainless steel pressure cooker as it may discolor the metal.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 18 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high (if you are using a gas cooktop ensure the flames are not licking the sides of the cooker - that is a little too high and could discolor the metal and damage the handles) and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure (with this model, the indicator comes up to the second white ring), lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 15 minutes pressure cooking time.
  5. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve- each pressure cooker does this differently so consult your manual for specific instructions!
  6. Transfer potatoes to mixing bowl, reserving the cooking water, and while they are as hot as you can handle, remove the skins (or leave them on if you prefer).
  7. Begin mashing with a potato masher and add two tablespoons of cooking water. Then two tablespoons of cream. Continue adding and mashing until you have reached the desired consistency - chunky is what my family likes so it only takes a couple of rounds of mashing and adding liquid for my potatoes to be finished.
  8. Taste before adding additional salt as they might already be salty enough! Then, add any additional salt and pepper to taste.

FLUFFY mashed potatoes from the pressure cooker!

Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson: Naked, Steamy Carrot Flowers Steaming, High and Low Pressure or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Now that you can boil in your pressure cooker, you can make…

Warm Green Bean Salad with Mushrooms and Potatoes - pressure cooker recipe Pressure Cooked Balsamic Vinegar Baby Onions Red Wine Stewed Pears

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