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pressure cooker steamer baskets

Steamer basket inserts for your pressure cooker can be used to steam vegetables, fruit, fish and even eggs!

how to use a steamer basket in the pressure cooker
Above, Steamed Pressure Cooker Mussels recipe in action.

With multi-level or compartmentalized steaming basket you can cook several vegetables at the same time – the items that require the most cooking time should be at the bottom near the heat source and the least at the top.

The water used for steaming can be flavored with vinegar, wine, herbs, or the liquid itself can be broth, wine, or even tomato sauce (as in the Stuffed Zucchini recipe).

However, the steaming liquid should then be used as a sauce.  The flavor imparted by the steam is only 1/1700th the strength of the liquid being used.  Choose the steaming liquid carefully since, on its own, it will impart very little flavor to the food cooking in the steamer basket.

Steaming liquid from vegetables and seafood can be saved and refrigerated for up to a week.  Then, top-off the stock with this nutritious liquid to make another recipe like pressure cooker risotto or super-fast polenta.

If your pressure cooker did not come with what manufacturers call a “perforated insert”, your best bet is a collapsible stainless steel steamer that opens and closes like a flower (below).  They come in several sizes so purchase the biggest one that will fit in your cooker- to maximize the size of the flat area (important when wanting to make straight flans).   The center stem of a petal-like basket should be easily removable (the one illustrated un-screws from the flat base) in case you want to steam one large item (like a heat-proof bowl).
Foldable steamer basket for pressure cooker

If your pressure cooker did come with a steamer basket, very likely it also included a trivet – which should always be used in conjunction with the steamer basket since most manufacturer steamer baskets do not have feet to keep the basket raised out of the steaming liquid.

Suitable Substitutes for Steamer Baskets
In a pinch, in place of a steamer basket, a colander made of heat-proof material or wire mesh basket may be substituted.

Novel uses for pressure cooker steamer baskets
In addition to steaming food, a steamer basket in the pressure cooker may be used to…

  • cook foods on multiple levels, as seen in this three-bean salad recipe – where the longest cooking beans (chickpeas) boil in the liquid in the base and steam the shorter cooking beans in the steamer basket above.
  • keep containers from touching the base of the pressure cooker as seen in this pressure cooker bread recipe – where the bread might burn if the container were in contact with the base.
  • as part of a set-up for extracting juice as in this pressure cooker juice extraction tutorial.
  • as a substitute for a trivet.

Shop for Steamer Baskets
Please note that electric pressure cookers with non-stick interiors should use silicone steamer baskets to avoid scratching the interior of the liner.

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19 Comments

  1. Would a bamboo steamer stack work in a situation like this

    1. It will work in a pinch, but the bamboo steamer basket may not last very long. I recommend going with a stainless steel or silicone basket, instead.

      Ciao,

      L

  2. I would like to cook a meatloaf using the steamer basket (I have the fold up flower-like one) in my electric PC. I tried cooking one with the silicone steamer basket and the meat was raw in the middle! I think the silicone hindered the cooking ability.

    We will be without a kitchen over the next few weeks and I am looking for electric PC recipes. Do you think I can use the stainless steamer basket to cook the meatloaf in my electric PC?

    Thanks you!

    1. VeeeZeee you can absolutely use a stainless steel steamer basket in your electric – the only reason I don’t generally recommend it is that, right now, most electric pressure cookers have a non-stick liner with a coating could be damaged by the footies of the metal steamer basket.

      If you pressure cooker has a stainless steel insert then there is no problem. If it has a non-stick coating – since you already have both steamer baskets – I would put the metal steamer basket on top of the silicone one.

      I’ll let you in on a trick I do with pressure cooker meatloaf – that I use in my up-coming cookbook: I make it in the shape of a ring. That way I’m certain the center will be cooked and the slices are a little more “meatloafy” and a little less “wedge-y”.

      Ciao,

      L

  3. L,

    I have purchased the Instant Pot DUO60 after watching your videos. Since you received this model, can you tell me if it has a steamer basket. It looks more like what would be considered a trivet. If it is not a steamer basket, is there one that you would specifically recommend for this PC? This is my first-ever venture into this area and I am trying to figure it all out. I want to be prepared for all of the recipes that I will try. Thank you for your help and for all the information you share! It is very helpful for someone like me, who is “kitchen-challenged”.

    1. Unfortunately, non of the Instant Pot models come with a steamer basket. Since the inside is stainless steel, you don’t “have” to get a silicone steamer. I would say to go with any of the stainless steel baskets listed above. I have them all, and I reach mostly for the “flower” one!

      Ciao,

      L

  4. I use this Rsvp brand s/s wide rim mesh basket quite a bit inside my Instant Pot DUO 6 liter PC as well as for non-PC purposes. I ordered it from Amazon.com after I saw another buyer mentioned using it inside her 6 liter PC, after removing the handles so it would fit.

    The handles do come off relatively easily with a pair of sturdy tin snips to break the two weld spots on each handle (strong hand strength needed, btw). . If anyone else decides to buy one consider the handle removal a permanent alteration – I doubt Amazon or any other seller would take it back after removing the handles.

    I use the mesh basket inside the Instant Pot most often to hold bones while preparing chicken broth. The bones lift right out along with the basket after the broth is cooked and cooled a little, though I strain the broth again through a very fine strainer, too.

    I also have used the mesh basket to hold other foods – such as beans and veggies. It’s a good strainer, too. It washes very well in the dishwasher.

    I though this basket was a good value at the $11.99 I paid a few months agp with free Prime shipping, but I see it’s selling for $8.46 now with free Prime shipping. That’s a deal, IMO! I didn’t see this item on the amazon.co.uk site, though.

  5. I have the Kuhn-Rikon 2034 perforated duromatic steamer basket: http://amzn.to/1B3VaaN

    1) It is NOT 9.5″ as listed on Amazon, on a previous KR website (I don’t see it on the KR accessory page today). The box it came in also said it was 9.5″. It is a misprint on all of them (I notified both KR and Amazon months ago). It is ACTUALLY 8.25″ in diameter and it looks exactly like the WMF perforated steamer basket.

    2) Something odd is going on. I cook sliced potatoes directly in my KR stovetop pressure cooker for 4 minutes in 3/4 cup water (Kuhn minimum is 1/2 cup) and they are perfect. When I cook them in the steamer basket, they are not only undercooked, but are also undercooked unevenly, some parts of the pan are cooked more than the others. I’m guessing that they might take another 2 or 3 minutes to fully cook.

    Have you any idea what might be happening?

  6. I just received my new IP yesterday, then went out to buy a steamer basket and silicone pinch mitts. I’m a bit confused about steaming. Does the included steaming rack or a basket type (I bought the flower type and it has legs a bit over 1 1/2 in. Progressive brand, at WalMart new!) sit in the pc alone, or only with the stainless steel pot in place?

    1. Sweet Sandals, everything always goes into the inner pot! Think of it as a permanent part of the pressure cooker that is only removable to make cleaning it easier!

      Ciao,

      L

  7. This Lékué Cooking Mesh might be handy in the world of pressure cooking.

    1. That’s a great idea! It looks like fun and it’s heat-safe to a temperature higher then pressure cooking. I added it to the page.

      Ciao,

      L

  8. I see that some 1-pot meals use aluminum foil to alter the cooking times of various foods, but I’m leery of cooking with it. Do you know of any other way to achieve the same effect?

    1. You can use oven paper – but you need to wrap it in foil to keep the paper from going into the valves – this adds more “protection” and more time to the recipe.

      Ciao,

      L

  9. What is that basket in the middle on top? It looks like a useful one. I cannot believe no one has yet designed a durable steaming basket with folding handles that fits in the IP!

    1. Yes, that one is nice. It’s from Langostina – for their old-style pressure cookers.

      Ciao,

      L

  10. I found a silicone steamer basket on Amazon that seems to really hold its shape and doesn’t collapse when loaded with heavy potatoes. Here is the link if you want to check it out: http://amzn.to/2j4aaBp

    1. Ann,
      Thanks! Mine almost collapses just by looking at it, LOL.

  11. Do you happen to know what this accessory is called that is holding the eggs? Or where can I buy it (if I knew what it’s called that would definitely help my searching)…I can’t find it online anywere, but might be calling it the wrong thing. THANK YOU for your help :)

    Here is the link from google images. It is metal with 12 holes in it to hold 12 eggs, and a handle coming up the middle of it.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=hard+boil+eggs+pressure+cooker+in+egg+carton&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwin_Mi4j6LTAhVByVQKHTuYAfkQ_AUICigD&biw=1440&bih=744#imgrc=ZsIum7wVg_52sM:

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