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Understanding Stovetop Pressure Cookers

A stovetop pressure cooker is one of the two types of pressure cookers available on the market. It not only saves cooking time but also helps retain the vitamins and minerals present in the food. So, how do you use a stovetop pressure cooker correctly and safely? Let’s find out!

Before we dive into the details, here are some stovetop pressure cookers at great prices available on

1. Important Information About Using Stovetop Pressure Cookers

What is a Stovetop Pressure Cooker? Structure and Operating Principle

A stovetop pressure cooker is a kitchen utensil used to cook and tenderize food using water at a higher pressure than regular pots and pans. It is a traditional type of pressure cooker that is manually operated. You can use it on induction cookers, gas stoves, or even wood-burning stoves.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Image: Stovetop Pressure Cooker Sunhouse LC600 6 liters

Structure of a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

A stovetop pressure cooker typically consists of the following parts:

  • Pot body and lid: Made of high-quality, thick steel or stainless steel that can withstand high temperatures and pressures.
  • Lower handle: Used to lift the cooker after closing the lid.
  • Upper handle: Ensures a secure lock between the lid and the pot body.
  • Gasket ring: Also known as a sealing ring, it ensures a tight seal between the lid and the pot body, leaving no gaps.
  • Steam vent: Provides an outlet for excess steam when the pressure becomes too high.
  • Pressure valve: A safety device that distinguishes between cooked and uncooked food based on the movement of the valve and the sound of the steam.
  • Pressure relief valve: Automatically releases excess steam when the temperature becomes too high.
  • Pressure indicator valve: Emits a sound when the food is cooked or when the temperature exceeds a safe level.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Structure
Image: Stovetop Pressure Cooker Structure Sunhouse SHA8504 5 liters

Operating Principle of a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

When the cooker is heated, the air inside becomes hot and trapped, increasing the pressure. This high pressure allows water to boil at a temperature higher than 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). This facilitates the easy penetration of water into the food, resulting in faster and more tender cooking. Even after heat is turned off, the residual heat continues to cook the food, saving energy.

Operating Principle of a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

Benefits of Using a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

  • Shorter cooking time: The high pressure inside the cooker ensures that food cooks quickly. Using a pressure cooker saves both time and energy compared to traditional pots and pans.
  • Preservation of nutrients: Cooking with a stovetop pressure cooker minimizes the need to open the lid and add water, helping to preserve the nutritional content, color, and flavor of the food.
  • Versatile cooking: Stovetop pressure cookers offer various automatic cooking modes, such as cooking porridge, making soup, or simmering bones. You simply add the ingredients and wait for a delicious, hot meal.

Versatile Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Image: Versatile Stovetop Pressure Cooker Sunhouse SHA8504 5 liters

2. How to Use a Stovetop Pressure Cooker Correctly, Safely, and Effectively

Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

Step 1: Place the food in the cooker, then add the appropriate amount of water according to the recipe.

Step 1: Place the Food in the Cooker

Step 2: Open the pressure relief valve or the weight valve and firmly close the lid.

Step 2: Open the Pressure Relief Valve

Step 3: The pressure inside the cooker will gradually increase. When it reaches the maximum level, the food will start boiling.

For cookers with a weight valve, when the pressure inside reaches the maximum level, the weight will vibrate and make a sound. For spring valve cookers, steam will escape through the valve on the lid.

Some modern cookers have pressure indicators on the lid, which show the pressure level.

Step 3: Pressure Inside the Cooker Increases

Step 4: Reduce the heat to a lower level to continue cooking.

For recipes that require specific cooking times, you can lower the heat to a lower level. The hot steam in the pressure cooker will continue to cook the food quickly and tenderly without high heat.

Step 4: Reduce the Heat

Safely Removing Food from the Pressure Cooker

Step 1: Turn off the heat before removing the food from the cooker.

Step 1: Turn off the Heat

Step 2: Release the pressure to the lowest level. Never open the cooker immediately after turning off the heat, as it can be dangerous. You must release the pressure to the lowest level before opening the lid. There are three ways to release pressure in the cooker.

Step 3: Only open the lid when there is no pressure inside the cooker.

Gently shake the small knob on the weight valve. If you don’t hear any steam escaping, it means there is no pressure inside. For some newer cookers, you can shake the valve stem.

Step 3: Open the Lid

Step 4: Open the lid carefully to avoid damaging the lid or pot body, then remove the food.

Step 4: Open the Lid Carefully

Quick and Safe Pressure Release Methods

The Most Natural Method: Allow the pressure cooker to cool down, and the pressure inside will gradually decrease to the lowest level. This method is usually used for baked goods and takes around 10 to 20 minutes.

The Most Natural Method

Quick Pressure Release Method: Both old and new stovetop pressure cookers have a pressure release valve. By loosening this valve, the pressure inside the cooker will gradually release through the steam vent.

Quick Pressure Release Method

Pressure Release with Cold Water: This method is the quickest, but it is not suitable for electric stovetop pressure cookers. Place the cooker under cold water and let the water run over the lid, avoiding direct contact with the safety valve or pressure release knob.

Pressure Release with Cold Water

3. Important Notes When Using a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

Precautions before Using a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

  • Check the amount of food: Place the desired amount of food in the cooker, but never fill it to the brim.
  • Check the locking mechanism and positioning: Before using the cooker, ensure that the locking mechanism and sliding bar are functioning properly and are not obstructed with food particles. Make sure the sealing ring is correctly positioned.
  • Placing the cooker on the stovetop: If you are using a stovetop pressure cooker, ensure that it is securely placed on a gas stove. Make sure the flames do not extend beyond the sides of the cooker. For an electric stovetop pressure cooker, simply place it on a flat surface, plug it in, and select the desired cooking mode.

Precautions while Using a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

  • When the cooker reaches high pressure, immediately reduce the heat, as the remaining heat can overcook the food.
  • When cooking porridge, if you notice steam escaping from the safety valve, reduce the heat to prevent the porridge from overflowing. If you see steam escaping from the lid or pot body, it means the lid is not properly closed.
  • Rotate the lid counterclockwise and slowly close it after releasing the pressure. Check if the rubber gasket is properly aligned before closing and cooking.

Safety Precautions

Precautions after Cooking and Releasing Pressure from a Stovetop Pressure Cooker

  • After cooking, slowly release the pressure by lifting the pressure relief valve to relieve some of the pressure. After a certain amount of time, you can then open the lid. Remember to slowly turn the lid to allow the hot steam to escape.
  • When opening the lid, tilt it away from your face to avoid the hot steam.

After Cooking and Releasing Pressure

Remember, safety is paramount when using a stovetop pressure cooker. Following these guidelines will ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable cooking experience. If you own a stovetop pressure cooker, don’t miss the opportunity to try out these techniques with the help of!

Pressure Cooker
Image: Stovetop Pressure Cooker

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