A pressure cooker is a valuable tool for every kitchen, and you can make many food options in it, but there are definitely some that are better than others. There are also foods that you should never make in a pressure cooker.
In this article, we are going to be touching on the most suitable foods to use in a pressure cooker along with those that should never be made in a pressure cooker.
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Why Would You Use a Pressure Cooker?
- Pressure cooking’s main advantage is its ability to cook food fast (up to ten times faster). It uses steam to create high pressure that allows for much higher cooking temperatures than conventional cooking methods.
- Another big advantage is that tough cuts of meat like oxtail or beef brisket that normally require long, slow cooking to tenderize them can be done in much less time. This saves both time and energy costs.
- The superheated steam intensifies the flavors of the food so you can do with less salt – always a good thing nowadays when everyone is watching their sodium intake.
- Using a pressure cooker retains more nutrients than other ways of cooking. That is because very little liquid is used so vitamins and minerals are not thrown out with the cooking water.
- Pressure cooking is a low-fat method of cooking. A small amount of fat may be used to brown the meat at the beginning, but after that, no other fat is needed. The food cooks in steam instead.
- Pressure cooking is a very energy-efficient cooking method because of the shorter cooking times. The house will not need to be cooled down as much as there’s no oven heating up the place.
- Everything is cooked in one pot so you will have fewer dishes to wash.
Suitable Foods For Pressure Cooking
Foods that are tough and normally need long cooking times are great for a pressure cooker. These include cheaper cuts of meat and poultry, brown rice, dried beans, and hard vegetables like potatoes, squash, and carrots.
This is the number one dish to prepare in a pressure cooker. You can make anything from oxtail stew, beef stew, mutton curry, and vegetarian bean stews.
Use your pressure cooker to make wonderful chicken noodle soup in less than thirty minutes. For winter, make beef stews, or hearty smoked pork and bean soups.
3. Shredded meats
Your pressure cooker is great for quickly preparing the meats you need for shredded dishes like pulled pork, shredded chicken for chicken salads, and pulled lamb for stuffing into pita bread.
4. Baked potatoes
Gone are the days when you had to heat the oven for half an hour and then bake potatoes for an hour to soften them. You can have soft and fluffy baked potatoes in just fifteen minutes if you do them in your pressure cooker. Sweet potatoes work brilliantly in the pressure cooker too.
5. Vegetarian dishes
Are you under the impression that pressure cookers are only useful for meat-eaters? Not so! It’s such a valuable appliance for vegans and vegetarians to have because it cooks dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, brown rice, and other staples in a fraction of the time you’d need on a stovetop.
6. Entire meals
You can cook an entire Sunday lunch in your pressure cooker – no problem. It will easily accommodate a pot roast, potatoes, and root veg. Plus you will have flavorsome gravy at the end.
Worst Foods for a Pressure Cooker
While many foods can be made in a pressure cooker that will taste delicious and make your mouth water, some can do the opposite. There are a few foods that should never be made in a pressure cooker for different reasons.
Below are some of the foods that you should never make in a pressure cooker:
You should never make noodles in a pressure cooker because they can foam up or clog the pressure valve. This is something that you definitely want to avoid.
2. Fried Foods
Pressure cookers are made to sustain a maximum temperature of 250˚F. Hot oil can reach 375˚F. You don’t want oil at this temperature under 30-psi pressures.
Yes, KFC does it but they use industrial-strength pressure vessels specifically made for this purpose. Deep frying will damage the pressure cooker parts. You can, however, shallow fry foods on saute mode.
Dairy foods don’t work well in a pressure cooker. The high temperatures make milk curdle and scald and cause the cheese to become tough. You can, however, add dairy products such as cream or cheese at the end after the pressure has been released.
An exception to this rule is yogurt, though it has to be used the right way.
Well, we suppose some people have made bread this way but it’s not ideal. There will not be a nice crust and the bread won’t look good either.
5. Multiple Ingredients
Fitting too many elements into your Instant Pot such as a main and side dish will result in your food not cooking properly because each meal needs its own cooking time.
The pressure cooker will not bake your cake. Instead, it will steam it and make it more like a pudding than a cake. That said, pressure cookers are great for those old-fashioned steamed treacle puddings that Grandma used to serve with custard.
7. Delicate Vegetables
It depends on how you like your vegetables but not all veggies will come out well after pressure cooking. If you like your veg crispy and al dente, then don’t pressure cook them.
This goes particularly for delicate ones like broccoli, cauliflower, green leafy veg, asparagus, and the like. If you must do them, use a low-pressure option and release the pressure immediately after cooking.
Overall, while pressure cookers are a valuable tool to be added to any kitchen, there are certain foods that you should steer clear of when using this appliance. On the other hand, there are some recipes that you will make over and over again.