How Pressure Cookers Work Explained In Easy Terms

How a pressure cooker works

Do you want to know how a pressure cooker works? Read this article to learn exactly what these appliances are, how they work and how they will make life SO much easier for you!

In this article I will discuss:

A brief history of pressure cookers

Pressure cookers are nothing new.

These appliances have been around for a very long time.

In fact, they first appeared in 1679! Back then they were called Papin’s Digesters. They were named after the inventor, Dennis Papin, who was a French physicist.

Since then, many improvements have been made with modern pressure cookers having pressure regulators, safety locks and different cooking settings. Some have their own heating element as well.

Because of these technological advances, you nowadays find more and more that pressure cookers are incorporated into appliances called multi cookers. These handy appliances are much more than just your average pressure cooker with additional functions like slow cooking, steaming, yogurt making and rice cooking.

How does a pressure cooker work?

When you heat water, it eventually starts to boil. Under normal atmospheric pressure at sea level, that temperature is 212°F/100°C.

As you go higher up and increase your altitude, that boiling temperature drops.

When you get to the top of Mount Everest, for example, water boils at 154°F/68°C.

Air pressure is responsible for this effect. The lower the air pressure, the less energy is required to have oxygen escape from the liquid water.

The opposite is also true.

The higher the air pressure, the higher the boiling point.

That is the key to the inner workings of a pressure cooker.

When you heat water in a pressure cooker, steam (water vapor) gets released. Because the pressure cooker is sealed, the steam can’t go anywhere. This causes the pressure to rise in the pressure cooker which in turn increases the boiling temperature.

You now have a situation where you can heat water to above “normal” boiling temperature.

In fact, with pressure cookers you can heat the system up to about 266°F/130°C.

The capability to cook food in water that can be heated well above the “normal” boiling temperature of water allows you to cook meals faster because the higher heat penetrates food quicker.

What can you cook in a pressure cooker?

You can cook almost anything in a pressure cooker. It’s great for food items that need to be boiled and braised, such as beef, lamb and chicken.

You can also easily cook pasta and rice in the pressure cooker and have it ready in no time at all. Furthermore, it does a great job with vegetables, soups and stocks.

There are heaps of great websites with numerous pressure cooker recipes that you can try out.

Some of them are:

100 Pressure Cooker Recipes

Pressure cooker recipes

50 Easy Instant Pot Recipes

40 warming sweet and savoury recipes for your pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Recipes

56 Easy Pressure-Cooker Recipes Even a Beginner Can Make

Final Thoughts

Pressure cookers are very handy appliances, and I can say with confidence that there are several reasons you should have one in your kitchen

They reduce cooking times greatly and make it so much easier to prepare meals, especially when you cook for larger families and social gatherings.

There are plenty of great recipes out there and I also encourage you to experiment with your own flavors and ingredients.

You also have the choice between traditional pressure cookers and stovetop pressure cookers, it’s just a matter of researching which one is best for you.

Yes, there are people hesitant to buy a pressure cooker due to safety concerns, but you can rest assure that the pressure cookers of today are miles in front of their predecessors in terms of safety.

If you are still unsure about the safety of your pressure cooker, just follow these guidelines to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Happy cooking!