Meet the Standard = 15psi

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Many cooks aren't aware of what pressure their cookers operate at, or how critically important the pressure setting is. Keep in mind that most pressure cooker recipes use the standard of 15psi. If you try to cook a recipe designed for 15psi (257 F) in a non-standard pressure cooker the results will be far different than intended. For instance, using a non-standard pressure cooker that operates at only 12psi means that the timing will have to be increased by 20%. Twenty percent is a huge amount of time in pressure cooking! Not only does the increased cooking times result in foods that are overcooked, it costs more money to operate and results in a significant loss of vital nutrients.

Temperature and Pressure Equivalent Conversion Table

Pressure Settings

Pounds Per Square Inch (psi)

Temp. Equivalent

To use a standard 15 psi recipe increase the cooking time by:

For every 10 minutes of cooking time stated in the original recipe increase the cooking time by:


Low Pressure



Unsuitable for most foods

  Low pressure cookers







Medium Pressure






7 minutes

Fish, shrimp and other delicate seafoods, some tender-crisp veggies. Some recipes for steamed`rice, puddings or custards.




4 minutes

Beware of brands that only have one non standard PSI settings. You will have to modify every recipe and the results are unpredictable. Cooking at less than 15psi defeats the speed and costs more money in cooking fuel, and lesser nutritional values, not to mention wasting your valuable time.




4 minutes




3 minutes




2 minutes




2 minutes

High Pressure

15psi this is the standard




Unless stated otherwise, most pressure cooker recipes use this setting


Not Suitable For Most Recipes

The more heat, the higher the pressure and the temperature inside the cooker, and that means your food will cook faster. Higher pressures equal higher internal temperatures and less cooking time. At sea level the temperature of steam is 212F. for each pound of pressure increased, the temperature increases by 3F. To convert temperatures to the matching pressure settings see the table below.

Non Standard Pressure Cookers Produce Unsatisfactory Results

if you are using any pressure cooker that does not meet the 15psi standard, be prepared for unsatisfactory results. There is no hard or fast solution to converting standard pressure cooker recipes designed for use at 15psi to work with lower pressure settings and produce comparable results. The best advice I can give to owners of nonstandard pressure cooker is to err on the side of caution, and try to avoid overcooking if possible. unfortunately, this may mean a great deal of trial and error before you come up with a suitable combination of cooking time and proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, and do not rely exclusively on timing or you will end up with a dry, tough piece of meat.

The most obvious differences between a standard, and nonstandard pressure cooker can be seen in longer cooking times, increased fuel bills, and a loss of important vitamins and nutrients in the food you cook and serve to your family. The greatest benefits of pressure cookery is the extremely fast cooking time. This is important because it translates into less time in the kitchen, less energy used in cooking (and cooling a hot kitchen) and that means more money in your pocket at the end of the year. Pressure cooking also helps retain the maximum nutritional benefits of foods.

Longer cooking times will affect the final result of the foods you cook by changing the taste, appearance, texture, producing an unsatisfactory and disappointing final dish. Meats especially, can become dried out from over cooking when using a pressure cooker with less than 15psi. It sounds odd, but even when meat is cooked in a broth, it can become dried out, tough and stringy. As meat cooks, the muscle fibers shorten in both length and width and eventually squeeze out the juices they normally hold, so the longer it cooks the worse it becomes. See more...

To avoid this problem, test for doneness using a meat thermometer near the end of the normal cooking time. At 160F (71C), a roast will be cooked to medium. At this temperature, some of the tougher connective tissue breaks down to gelatin, which helps lubricate and tenderize the meat. Meat that cooks at too high a temperature, commonly seen when users of jiggle top pressure cookers let the pressure rise so that the regulator weight is spinning rapidly..

Electric Pressure Cookers

To further confuse American consumers, some manufacturers are now listing the pressure setting of electric pressure cookers by kilopascals. The pascal (Pa) or kilopascal (kPa) is a metric unit of pressure measurement that is used throughout the world. In the United States, we use the imperial measurement system which mesures the pounds per square inch (psi). Some examples

40 kPa (kilopascals) = 5.80150951 pounds per square inch; or rounded up to a meager 6psi.

80 kPa (kilopascals) = 11.603019 pounds per square inch; is equal to only 11.6psi.

Related Articles

Pressure - Temperature Table

All About Pressure Settings


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