Common Mistakes in Pressure Cookery
Is your pressure cooked food boring? tasteless? lacking… hip? We’ve got solutions to help your pressure cooker recipes achieve maximum velocity flavorage!!

funny faces with a pressure cooker6. You bored it to death.  Boiling food in the pressure cooker is best reserved for soups, stews and stocks.  Some ingredients are better steamed (held out of the cooking liquid via a steamer basket) or braised (cooked with a minimum of liquid).  Change-up the cooking method and give boiling a break so your pressure cooker can reward you with boundless flavor.

5. Your herbs and spices are ancient history. Whenever possible use fresh herbs and spices.  Whenever not possible, lightly crush and rub dry herbs before tossing them in the pressure cooker. Whack whole spices with something heavy and toast powdered spices to invite their flavor to the pressure cooker party.

4. Your aromatics are in hiding.  How many recipes don’t start by sauteing an onion, shallot, leek  or garlic clove?  Yours.  Aromatics and can really pack a punch.  Don’t toss the onion or garlic clove raw – pressure cooking will magically preserve their pungent flavor.  Saute them until soft or golden to unleash their true potential.

3. You pressure cooked an innocent by stander. Meats and veggies that would ordinarily be cooked with a quick hop in the saute pan –  for example boneless chicken breasts or bean sprouts – are not appropriate for the pressure cooker.  The result will either be tough and dry or liquefied beyond recognition and devoid of any taste. Pay your saute’ pan a little homage for quick-cooking ingredients.

2. You over-killed it. Overcooking is a rookie mistake – not referring to the pressure cooking time chart and trying to wing it usually leads to a pile of puree.  Improvise the recipe, but not the pressure cooking times.  Always refer to your pressure cooker’s time table, or our comprehensive pressure cooker time table, for the cooking time of your recipe’s main ingredient.

1. You drowned it.  Pressure cooking the food in too much liquid is the number one reason your pressure cooked food is tasteless.

An open simmering pot can evaporate almost a cup of liquid in 10 minutes.  Your pressure cooker: less than tablespoon.

Reduce the cooking liquid by a gazillion percentor just use the minimum a mount of liquid your pressure cooker needs to reach and maintain pressure which is usually just a cup or two of liquid or so (check your instruction manual, to be sure).

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  1. Hello, I just bought a Power Pressure Cooker and am searching for information on “seasoning it first”, is this something I need to do before I begin using it?

    1. Hi Kelly, can you explain a little bit more what you are looking for? Are you asking whether you should add salt at the beginning or end of a pressure cooker recipe? That’s how I take “seasoning” to mean. If that was the question, the answer is: yes! With the exception of dishes that will have their liquid in large part reduced after pressure cooking- it’s good practice to arrive at the final quantity before salting to avoid over seasoning.



      1. She means seasoning like how you would season a cast iron pan…basically breaking it in. Not like salt.

  2. Hi,

    I am trying to make steel cut oatmeal in my instant pot. I am trying to figure out which bowls are instant pot safe in order to do the bowl in pot oatmeal instead of putting ingredients in the instant pot itself (helps with cleaning up). Can you recommend some bowls that can be stacked?


    1. Jennifer, any oven-proof bowl (ceramic, tempered glass, stainless-steel) can be used in the Instant Pot – here is an article that talks about the types and kinds of bowls:

      You can also pressure cook oatmeal in mugs, here’s how:

      Any bowl that is NOT round or tapered, can be stacked leaving an off-set for the steam to get in there and cook the oatmeal.



    2. Jennifer, if you have a set of plain stainless steel camping cook pans that nest in one stack, see if they fit in your IP. I discovered all but the largest pan fit in my IP.

      I use the camping pans to cook foods PIP, make a quart of yogurt, etc.

      The thin s/s pans transfer the heat to the food faster than thick Pyrex glass or ceramic, saving time, and they clean up well in the DW.

      I prefer the camping pans more than s/s bowls because the sides are straight, the bottoms are flat, so they hold more than the same diameter bowl and they sit on the trivet and stack offset without a worry about wobbling.

  3. I always end up with soup in the pressure cooker (even though I don’t want soup), because I have to add a cup of water to everything.

    But in another post,

    it’s recommended to always submerge frozen meats completely in water, which seems like this would be contradicting that, no? Or is frozen a special case, and that’s needed to ensure that the pressure is maintained and you don’t overheat the device? Whenever I pressure cook anything frozen, I see it release a ton of steam!

    Since many people have the Instant Pot, I’ll use the their 1 cup minimum recommendation: What I think is the confusing part is that ingredients you add may also contain water, so should that be subtracted out of the 1 cup? For example, a can of diced tomatoes has a lot of liquid, how much of that (if any) should go towards the 1 cup?

    1. Frozen anything, but especially meat IS a special case. It needs to be fully submerged in order for it to defrost then cook prperly. This has to do with the characteristics of heat transfer. Water transfers heat much more efficiently than air or even steam.

      But yes, in general you can use the liquid contents of veggies as part of the liquid requirement. Once again tomatoes are a special case. This is because tomatoes scorch readily. If you just rely on the liquid in tomatoes you are likely to end up with a burnt pot. Potatoes are another special case. Check out Laura’s Risotto recipe where she talks about this in more detail.

      Are you sure your InstantPot has a minimum liquid requirement of 1 cup? I don’t have one, but I seem to recall seeing that it has a 1.5 cup minimum.

      1. That’s the problem I’m having with my new instant pot. The amount of water that comes off the food and then it taste bland. I guess i just have to figure out according to what I’m cooking how much water is retained in those specific foods. The last two chicken dishes i cooked i always put the 1 cup of stock at the bottom and then go about the ingredients but one tomato can poured into the instant pot gave me watery, tasteless chicken dish. So i guess if I’m doing a dish with canned tomatoes to exempt the 1 cup of liquid needed to pressure cook! I’m learning!! Thanks for all the comments about the liquid process! Hopefully i will get this pressure cooking thing down pat.

        1. I save 40oz peanut butter jars. They’re just the right size for the stock I get from chicken carcasses–2 rotissery carcasses in the pc with a jar of water (about a quart) and whatever vegetable scraps I have. High pressure for an hour, strain, refrigerate. Skim the hardened fat and use the resulting stock/jelly instead of water for whatever savory recipe you’re cooking. Yes, the liquid in a can of diced tomatoes is nearly a cup by itself. Add a half cup of stock and you should be good. I use plain water to fix oatmeal, but that’s about the only time. BTW, it’s a cup of oatmeal to three cups of water plus spices and dried fruit for the prescribed time (see Laura’s chart). The pot cleans up easily with a little vinegar soak.

    2. Yes, but. ;-) I cook 1 or two individually frozen organic boneless chicken breasts with just 1/2-3/4 cup of water or broth all the time. The chicken is sitting in the liquid but not submerged (I want the top of the chicken to retain the seasoning blend I shake onto it. 10-12 minutes, depending on size, NPR. After chilling, the chicken breasts slice beautifully for my son’s packed lunch sandwiches, after school snacks, and my lunch salads, plus it’s a more wholesome & economical option than buying processed deli turkey breast

  4. Thank you for these amazing tips about the pressure cooker and it’s different uses !

  5. Perhaps beef stew is not an ideal dish for a pressure cooker. I have been trying to cook a beef casserole for some time using shop bought already diced lean meat but the results on both my electric PC and my stovetop (KR) have been disappointing as the meat was tough/chewy. This is despite browning the meat separately, plenty of cooking liquid and a variety of cooking times (from 15 minutes to 30) and opening methods. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Paul, I will answer your question in the forums since you already posted it there. Here is the link to the conversation to anyone interested in following it:

      See you there!


  6. oh thats funny – I cook chicken breasts in mine weekly and they have never been dry or unrecognizable……..

    1. Me, too, Jen. Don’t know what the naysayers are doing wrong.

  7. I cooked a chicken breast, sauté first brown on each side. Left chicken on bottom and poured 1 cup of chicken broth in pot. Set a trivet on top and put my veggies in strainer on top of trivet. Set for 9 minutes manual pressure.put seal and quick release! There was very little liquid left! I have to admit it was the best piece of chicken I ever ate!! I’m newbie here but I did eggs,pasta sauce
    And spaghetti. All were awesome! Thanks for can tomatoes idea. Will do it my next venture!

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