You can cook pretty much anything in a pressure cooker — from meats to poultry, to rice, potatoes, and vegetables of every kind. You can even make dessert.
The best news of all is that pressure cooking allows you to prepare foods up to 70 percent faster, on average, than conventional cooking methods do, which means you save energy as well as time.
Working with a new electric pressure cooker is always exciting as there are so many functions to explore.
One of the best things about modern pressure cookers is that you can easily change the pressure to suit what you’re making and use either low, medium, or high settings.
Figuring out when to change the pressure and what pressure you can use is sometimes daunting for new pressure cooker owners. Some cheaper models just have high pressure and that’s it.
With many brands though, you have a multitude of options and each one has its uses.
When to Use Low, Medium and High Pressure on Pressure Cooker?
When to use low pressure on a pressure cooker?
Hint: Hardly ever. However, figuring out when to use low pressure on a pressure cooker is a good idea if you want to avoid overcooking certain foods.
Despite owning a pressure cooker, a lot of people dislike the idea of handling high pressure when they start as they are a little afraid of it. Perhaps you want to start lower and slower until you build up your confidence.
Low pressure on a pressure cooker refers to settings of between 4 and 7 PSI (pounds per square inch). The temperature will be about 229 to 233 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thing to remember here is that the lower the pressure is, the lower the temperature you will have inside the pressure cooker. That means you will have a much longer cooking time.
This is not usually a benefit because the main reason most people buy a pressure cooker is that they want to cook their food quicker. Therefore, this option works only when you want to slow cook food and you don’t want fast results.
You would normally only use the low-pressure setting for delicate foods like eggs, fish, or vegetables. The texture of these foods will benefit from the moderate pressure.
When to use medium pressure on a pressure cooker?
If you are looking for your food to be well-done in an optimal amount of time and yet not rushed or overcooked, then the medium setting is great here. It ranges from 7 to 10 PSI and the temperature will reach 235 degrees Fahrenheit.
Again, you can use this for slightly more delicate foods that you don’t want to fall apart such as chunks of fish and even root vegetables and squash. Such foods’ delicate texture will benefit from being under a little less pressure.
When to use high pressure on a pressure cooker?
Tip: Every day! You may have figured out that most foods will be cooked using the high-pressure setting. This is the one you will use most of the time because it’s perfect for meat dishes like stews, poultry, soups, and curries.
The pressure will be anywhere from 10 to a maximum of 12.5 PSI. At 12 PSI, the tough fibers in meat break down fast. The temperature will reach 239 to 245 degrees Fahrenheit. (Stove-top pressure cookers can reach 15 PSI.)
Most people will want to go with this setting because it’s simpler, more convenient and it has the potential to help you cook faster. Even tough meat cuts can be broken down with ease at such temperatures and veggies will be cooked perfectly too.
As you can see, pressure cooking is at its best when you go with a high-pressure value. You could go with a lower pressure for eggs and fish, but that means using less water and taking more time to complete the process.
If you have an older model Instant Pot, it may not have a button that specifically says, “High Pressure.”
Simply use the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the pot for however many minutes you need. On these older pots, the “Manual” button equals High Pressure.
You may be unsure how to find the low-pressure setting. If you have an IP-DUO, IP-SMART, or IP-DUO Plus, use the “Pressure” or “Pressure level” button to change the pressure level.
Push the “Manual/Pressure Cook” button, then the “Pressure/Pressure Level” button until the display says “Low”. You can then set the cooking time with the plus/minus buttons. Remember to change it back when you are finished!
If you have the older IP-LUX model, you will not have a low setting. It is only made for high pressures. Don’t worry though because most pressure cooker owners never use the low setting anyway.
We hope this has settled your questions about when to use high, medium, and low settings on your pressure cooker. Happy cooking!