Table of Contents
- 0.1 Are electric pressure cookers safe? Electric pressure cooker safety features
- 0.2 What is an electric pressure cooker, and how does it work?
- 0.3 What are the benefits of electric pressure cookers?
- 0.4 The risks of using a pressure cooker
- 0.5 Safety features to look for when buying an electric pressure cooker
- 0.6 Conclusion
- 1 Frequently Asked Questions
- 2 6 Great Pressure Cookers
Are electric pressure cookers safe? Electric pressure cooker safety features
Safety is always a priority for the home cook. When cooking in the kitchen, safety should be your number one concern. Electric pressure cookers are a fantastic addition to any modern kitchen and offer many benefits that other cooking methods can’t match.
The modern electric pressure cooker has come a long way since its invention in the early 1990s. Thanks to new safety features found on most models, the days of scorched pots and ruined dinners have been replaced with delicious meals.
Electric pressure cookers have been around for over 30 years, but they continue to evolve with technology and user needs. This article will discuss some of these newer safety features and how they can help you make cooking safer, easier, and more efficient!
What is an electric pressure cooker, and how does it work?
An electric pressure cooker is a countertop kitchen appliance that uses electricity to create steam and heat food evenly. This is achieved by sealing everything inside the pot before bringing it up to temperature under high pressure in just minutes.
When you start cooking, the liquid inside the pot is heated to a high temperature, and steam is created; pressure builds that pushes the boiling point up higher, ensuring that food is cooked quicker and more evenly than it otherwise would.
On the other hand, stovetop pressure cookers use heat from an external source to do the cooking. Stovetop pressure cookers vent throughout the cooking process- this may be noisy (see my article on pressure cooker whistles) to ensure that the pressure inside the pot is not too great.
All brands of electric pressure cookers operate the same as each other. Inside the base is a heating element that heats the inner pot and, consequently, heats the food and liquid inside.
The heat generated by the heating element inside an electric pressure cooker is much weaker than heat generated from the external source for a stovetop. This means that electric pressure cookers do not build up as much pressure as a conventional stovetop. They’re electrically powered and because there are many built-in safeguards.
One such feature is a thermostat that immediately interrupts power from being provided to the element in the event of any failure.
Most electric pressure cookers these days can be considered a multi cooker (you may hear a pressure cooker referred to as a multi cooker), which means they can perform more than just the one job of pressure cooking. Having the option to not only pressure cook but also air fry, steam, saute and use it as a slow cooker or yogurt maker is very appealing to many people, which is one reason for their growing popularity.
This popularity has benefited from ensuring that manufacturers up their game, including improving and introducing many safety features.
What are the benefits of electric pressure cookers?
Electric pressure cookers have been a wonderful invention, and there are many benefits to them.
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits:
They can cook food quickly and efficiently
In today’s world, we all lead busy lives. Whether it’s because of work, leisure, or family commitments (such as driving the children swimming, gymnastics, or football), we generally tend to have less and less time to dedicate to cooking meals.
Electric pressure cookers have solved this issue as they can cook food quickly and efficiently.
Electric pressure cookers are a great alternative to conventional cooking methods as they provide faster results, with less energy consumption than other types of kitchen appliances. This is because electric pressure cookers use electricity more efficiently to heat the contents inside the cooker quicker.
Electric pressure cookers also have pre-set cooking times, which means you can cook your food to the desired level by simply setting it for a certain amount of time.
Try doing that with a stovetop pressure cooker!
Electric pressure cookers are very versatile
As more and more people are pressure cooking at home, whether because they want to save money or for other reasons, electric pressure cookers have become increasingly popular. It is not hard to see why considering how versatile the appliance can be.
Modern pressure cookers can be used to cook a variety of meals. They are very versatile and can cook various meals, from stews to lasagna, soup, or entire chicken curry. That is one of the great things about them.
Another great benefit of their versatility is that you can get rid of many other kitchen appliances that may be taken up cupboard or countertop space as an electric pressure cooker can do more than one job.
Heat Loss Reduction
Electric pressure cookers reduce heat loss from the pot, which means that they also save more of the flavor in your dish as it cooks. This is because they use lower pressure than stovetop or oven cooking which boils water more rapidly and keeps it in the pot.
Ease of Use
Most brands these days come with pre-set buttons and easy-to-follow instructions. One of the downsides to stovetop pressure cookers is that you have to mess about with the heat, sometimes count whistles, make sure the correct weighted valve is used, etc.
With an electric pressure cooker, you have none of these worries. Add the liquid, add the food, lock the lid, and flick the switch to seal, and away you go. There is also the option of using one of the many pre-set functions on the cooker.
Select the chosen option by pressing a button, and the cooker will do all the hard work for you, from cooking time to keeping it at low pressure.
If we are talking about the safety features of electric cookers, then ease of use is one thing that their stovetop counterpart can’t beat! I believe this is one of the reasons they are growing in popularity year on year.
Preserve Food's Appearance and Taste
Cooking food in an open container (even one with a lid) can lead to changes in a dish’s flavor and color. Pressure cooking saturates food with steam, allowing the retention of bright colors and phytochemicals. The airtight design also makes it possible for flavors to develop more quickly and more deeply.
We all remember the horror stories of stove top pressure cookers exploding that our grandma’s used to tell. Well, thankfully, gone are those days.
The safety record of electric pressure cookers is fantastic, and I would go as far as saying they are one of the safety appliances in my kitchen.
Many modern pressure cookers on the market today feature safety-locking lids to prevent them from opening early and pressure valves that can release any excess pressure before it becomes dangerous.
Electric pressure cookers come with features that go beyond the essential safety measures seen in stove-top models. These additional safety systems come in handy as they monitor and adjust the pressure automatically to make sure it is at a safe level.
When it comes to cooking, safety should always be your top priority. But with electric pressure cookers, there are many features which can put you at ease and help give you peace of mind. Here are a few:
- Safety Lock Lid – A safety locking lid keeps the pressure cooker from opening until it has sufficiently cooled and the internal pressure has reduced.
- Automatic Pressure Release – One of the essential safety features to look for in an electric pressure cooker, like with the Breville Fast Slow Pro, is automatic pressure release valves. This feature will release excess pressure at the end of cooking, saving you from potential burns and accidents.
- Leaky Lid Protection – The Instant Pot Duo 60 provides a critical safety feature that guards against accidental overcooking. If the cooker doesn’t reach pressure within an expected amount of time, it will automatically switch to a low heat setting, preventing your food from burning.
- User Manual – Safety recommendations for the pressure cooker are detailed in the user manual that comes with the appliance. The instructions cover using it and prohibiting certain behaviors (such as never pouring oil into it, filling it only up to its fill line).
The risks of using a pressure cooker
Despite all the safety features manufacturers have put in place, there are still some risks in using an electric pressure cooker. The majority of these risks are human-generated and can be avoided if you take proper care of your pressure cooker and use your pressure cooker.
- Maintenance – Ensuring that you maintain your pressure cooker to a good condition and regularly clean it will reduce the risk of mishaps. Ensure that the safety valves are routinely cleaned and clear of any blockages. This should be part of your regular routine. This is a relatively easy thing to do but will make a big difference in the risk of using the pressure cooker.
- Fill Levels – Avoid filling the pot too much. Be sure to follow the fill levels for your model, but in general, the pot should only be 1/2 full if cooking beans, rice, and grains and two thirds full for everything else.
- Check the Rubber Gasket – Ensure that the rubber gasket (sealing ring) is in good condition and adequately sealing the lid. It should be smooth and free of any cracks or cuts.
Safety features to look for when buying an electric pressure cooker
Each model is different, but some of the safety features I would recommend looking out for are some of the following:
- A safety feature on a pressure cooker stops the lid from opening if the cover is not locked in place.
- An appliance that features a quick-release valve to release vapor from the pressure cooker.
- A safety indicator, which tells you if the content is pressurized (some models have gauges).
- An automatic off switch allows the pressure cooker to switch itself off if it detects any issues.
With all the safety features and precautions in place, there’s no question that electric pressure cookers are among the safest appliances in the kitchen. All pressure cookers are different, but most brands will have several safety features, more some than others.
Before purchasing an electric pressure cooker, I would recommend finding out the safety features of the model you have. You may find something that you want to be included in but does not come with that particular model.
Once you have bought your pressure cooker, you will also need to ensure that you follow the manufacturing guidelines to ensure that you do not encounter any issues or serious injuries.
Now that you have read this blog post about the safety features of electric pressure cookers, are electric pressure cookers safe? I hope you feel like your question has been answered and that any concerns or worries have disappeared. It is always best to be well informed to make the right decisions for yourself and your family, so please do not hesitate to reach out with any further questions or concerns you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Electric pressure cookers come with safety features that will not allow you to open the lid until it has reached a specific temperature. This is to ensure that there are no sudden changes in pressure that can lead to an unexpected release of steam and food, often called "exploding."
Yes, using a pressure cooker has been proven to be healthier than cooking food in other ways. The high pressure inside the cooker helps break down meat and vegetables during cooking, making it easier for our bodies to digest.
Pressure cookers have also been shown to increase the number of nutrients in food, whereas some other cooking methods reduce the nutrients in food.
Read more here: What is the difference between autoclave and pressure cooker
It can take anywhere from 5 - 15 minutes for the pressure cooker to depressurize depending on the size of the pot and how many pounds per square inch (PSI) are in it.
If you want to depressurize the pressure cooker manually, you should switch on your appliance, allowing you to do so. For example, on the Instant Pot, you can switch the release valve from Sealing to Venting, and the pot will depressurize immediately.
Please be careful when doing this and ensure your hand is nowhere near the vent when the steam is released.
Stainless steel is much more durable than aluminum, and its shine never dulls, despite multiple years of use. However, this is more expensive than aluminum cookers, and the material doesn't conduct heat as well. In comparison, aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat.
Yes, a pressure cooker will kill bacteria. A pressure cooker works similarly to an autoclave by boiling water to create steam, killing the bacteria.
Pressure cookers are good for killing most of the bacteria that cause food poisoning. This includes E. coli, salmonella, and other dangerous organisms. High levels of pressure make it difficult for bacteria to survive, making electric cookers safer than boiling food.
A pressure cooker's natural release is when the pressure cooker is left to cool down on its own.
A natural release typically takes anywhere between 5 - 30 minutes.
Yes, generally speaking, the Instant Pot is safe to leave unsupervised for a short period.
Ensure that the pot is left on a flat surface to ensure no danger of it falling.
Cooking rice in a pressure cooker is perfectly fine to do. A pressure cooker is one of the most effective and efficient ways to cook rice.
It has been reported that using a pressure cooker to cook rice will make your rice taste better, more digestible and nutritious, and most importantly, carcinogenic aflatoxin-free.
Yes, pressure cookers will hiss as the pot comes to pressure. This is the pot regulating the pressure, and it is nothing to be concerned about.
Some pressure cookers, such as those used in India, hiss a lot louder than others. You can read more about it here: How To Use A Pressure Cooker Without Whistle
It is possible to pressure-cook smaller cuts of frozen meat and poultry. Frozen vegetables can also be pressure-cooked with an electric cooker. It will take up to one-third more time to cook thicker pieces of frozen meat like beef or pork. However, the food generally tends not to turn out very well.
Yes, raw meat can be pressure-cooked in an electric pressure cooker. There are a few common ways to do this, the most popular being to place raw meat on top of other foods or around the inside of the pot before cooking it.