Pressure Cooking

Published On: February 22, 2024

A pressure cooker is a sealed pot that uses high-pressure steam to cook food faster and more tenderly by raising the boiling point of the liquid inside and infusing ingredients with moisture. This innovative kitchen tool harnesses steam and pressure for quicker, more flavourful results.

How pressure cooking works ​

Unlike conventional hob cooking, where heat escapes easily, a pressure cooker traps hot air and steam within, causing temperatures of steam and water to reach beyond the usual 100°C limit. This trapped heat accelerates cooking processes and ensures that the surrounding moisture reaches higher temperatures. Notably, pressure cooking doesn’t dry out food, as the moisture remains confined.

In contrast to slow cookers that rely on prolonged heat and moisture, pressure cooking achieves similar results in significantly less time, making it a time-efficient choice for cooking from scratch or even frozen foods. Moreover, pressure cookers provide a safe means of cooking from frozen, as it takes food quickly through the danger zone (between 8°C and 60°C), and minimizes the risk of pathogens. In essence, the appeal of pressure cooking lies in its ability to deliver succulent textures, intense flavours, and unparalleled speed compared to traditional methods, making it a favoured choice in modern kitchens.

To give you some idea of the time it takes to cook the same food in an Instant Pot on high pressure compared to both a slow cooker and on the hob, check out these comparison tables:

cooking time table
Pressure Cooking vs Oven Cooking

There are many differences between pressure cooking and oven cooking with many pros and cons to both. Most people are used to the traditional way of cooking, as it is easy, reliable and works. However, once you look into the alternatives of cooking, like using a pressure cooker and how it yields a completely different style of cooking. It might just convert you.

Achieving consistent results in a pressure cooker is easy once you have worked out the ratio of liquids to grains or cooking times for certain cuts of meat. In an oven, there is a lot more guesswork and trial and error involved to achieve the perfect dish.

The ‘delayed start’ function in each Instant Pot model is a standout feature, enabling you to schedule your meals up to 24 hours in advance. This not only simplifies meal preparation but also caters to busy individuals who struggle to find the time to cook after work. Rarely found in other products, this feature contributed to our top ranking by the Standard.

Pressure cookers are not suitable for every meal however, only foods that require a moist cooking environment, such as meats and vegetables are most suitable. This is where the oven or air fryer is more versatile, allowing you to cook a wider range of foods as they cook in a dryer environment.

Reduced cooking time and reduced energy usage are not the only ways that having a pressure cooker can help save you money. Cheaper cuts of meat have more flavour, but traditionally they would need a long and slow cook to make them soft and delicious. A phrase you might hear associated with pressure cooking is “slow-cooked textures in pressure-cooked time”. Tough cuts of meat, for example, take a long time to cook but pressure cooking gives the result of a low and slow cook without the energy costs associated.

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