Once you learn how to use an electric pressure cooker, you probably want to explore its other abilities. What else can I cook with it? Will my conventional recipes work? How is it different from a slow cooker? Learn more about this multipurpose appliance and cooking with pressure in this FAQ section.
Can I Cook Frozen Meat in a Pressure Cooker?
There is a chance for its centre to remain frozen after cooking with pressure. So, for best results and flavour, I would recommend thawing it out first before pressure cooking, especially thick cuts and whole poultry. If for some reason you are in a hurry and forgot to defrost it, you can do the cold-water thawing technique. Place your frozen meat in a leakproof bag then submerge it in water to thaw. Using the microwave oven is another option.
You can pressure cook small pieces of frozen meat, though. But keep the following in mind:
- Avoid going over your pressure cooker capacity. Pressurised water requires space to move around, while frozen meats need room to cook evenly.
- Stick to smaller meat cuts. Meatballs, fish fillets and bone-in or boneless chicken breast and thighs are good examples.
- Separate frozen pieces of meat. Pressure cooking meats stuck together can inhibit the thorough cooking process.
- Extend pressure cooking time. Add a few minutes to your cook time. Make sure to check your instruction manual for the right cooking liquid requirements, too.
- Use the natural release method. The quick-release option may result in chewy meat with a tough texture.
- Check the internal temperature. You can use an instant-read or meat thermometer if you have one and this temperature guide to confirm.
Can I Cook my Conventional Recipes in a Pressure Cooker?
Yes, absolutely! It may need some tweaking and trial-and-error testing, though. One way to go about it is to find a pressure cooker version of your favourite recipes. Typical adjustments would be a reduction of the cooking time by two-thirds and the amount of cooking liquid. For example, if you usually tenderise beef for 1 hour by ordinary cooking, then set it to about 20 minutes when cooking with pressure. Again, check your manual for the liquid requirements and write down your recipe modifications. Check out this article for some pressure cooker recipes.
What are the things that I should not Pressure Cook?
Pressure cookers are 100% reliable when cooking thick cuts of meat, poultry, beans, grains, some root vegetables, stews, soups and stocks. But, like any other cooking appliance, it has limitations. Here are certain foods that you cannot cook in a pressure cooker:
- Anything breaded. Pressure cookers produce steam, which will only make breaded meats soggy. Use a deep fryer or air fryer instead for crispy results.
- Expensive meats. Steaks and delicate cuts require controlled cooking time and precise temperatures. So, stick to cast iron or oven cooking for these.
- Milk and cream. Add dairy items after pressure cooking. Otherwise, these will clog the steam vent or, worse, burn in the pot. Some electric pressure cookers, however, allow yoghurt-making.
- Bread and cakes. With steam from your pressure cooker, you will not be able to get a crispy bread crust or a golden cake exterior. You can make steamed cakes and puddings in it, though.
- Instant food. It takes several minutes for a pressure cooker to build up and release pressure. So, there is a higher chance for these food items to overcook.
Should I Buy Pressure-Cooking Accessories?
It all depends on your pressure cooker recipes and preferences. They are not necessary to make your electric pressure cooker work. However, these will surely make it more versatile and safer to handle. Make sure to buy accessories that work with compatible models:
- Steamer basket. This one is great for cooking eggs and vegetables in your pressure cooker. Those with handles or dividers are excellent. Collapsible or stackable steamers and cooking racks are also available.
- Baking tins and silicone cupcake liners. These work for baking enthusiasts who love making cheesecakes and steamed desserts.
- Ramekins. Some pressure cooker models let you cook or bake with these small ceramic pots. The best part is you can serve them directly after cooking.
- Tongs or mitts. This tool will make it easy to take a hot pan or basket out of your pressure cooker. Choose one with grip or silicone ends.
- Pressure cooker cover. Use this accessory to protect your electric cooker from splashes, dust or moisture. It comes in handy when you use your unit often and prefer to leave it on your benchtop.
Pressure Cooker VS Slow Cooker: Which One is Better?
Both cook similar food items and produce the same results. However, they differ in terms of cooking time and method. Pressure cookers use locked-in pressure and steam to cook food in a short time. Slow cookers, on the other hand, take hours to cook food in low, simmering heat.
A pressure cooker is best if you want to save time and energy. Cooking with pressure is also a better choice for meal prepping or cooking in multiple batches. A slow cooker is ideal for busy people who prefer hands-off cooking. As it takes a gentler cooking cycle, you can dump most of your ingredients in the pot and forget about it. For flexibility, you can opt for a multi-cooker that lets you do both and more!
Are Pressure Cookers Safe for Pressure Canning?
The quick answer is no. Pressure canners are more specialised tools. They are bigger than your usual pressure cookers, so they can hold and sterilise mason jars. These also come with a dial or weight gauge on top to closely monitor internal pressure. This feature is essential in ensuring food safety in your canned products.
The question now is, can you use a pressure canner for cooking? It depends on its construction. Some models have an uncoated aluminium pressure cooker body that is not suitable for cooking raw, unpacked, foamy and acidic food. Make sure to check the instruction manual first before using it for cooking.
If you’re a first-time buyer or in need of a replacement, this pressure cooker review should help you compare and decide.