Can you put oil in a pressure cooker

It’s a question that I get asked quite often. ‘Can I put oil in my pressure cooker?’ The answer is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Technically, yes, a small amount of oil can be added to your pressure cooker, but I would not advise doing so unless sauteing.

I especially would not be attempting to pressure fry anything in a pressure cooker.

If you’ve just started out using your pressure cooker, you may have a couple of questions, such as ‘how does a pressure cooker work?’ ‘What can you add to a pressure cooker?’ ‘Is it safe to put oil in a pressure cooker?’ etc.

In the following post, I have provided detailed answers to these questions and more.

Can You Use Oil In A Pressure Cooker?

To understand if it is possible or whether you need to use oil in a pressure cooker, I think it’s essential to know how a pressure cooker works.

Let’s look at the basics of how pressure cooking works.

As described in a previous article, we wrote called Pressure Cooker vs Air Fryer:

‘As a pressure cooker pot is heated, the liquid inside generates steam, which increases pressure inside the pot.

This rising pressure has two effects. It raises the boiling point of the liquid inside the pot, causing the food to cook faster.

The higher the boiling pot, the faster your food cooks. And two, it forces more liquid into the food. For foods like meats, it means they’ll end up being more succulent and tender.’

As pressure cooking food means food is cooking in an environment where there is both liquid and steam, there is no real need to use oil as the primary ‘liquid’ to stop foods from burning or sticking while being cooked.

If you want to fry food using oil, I recommend using either a deep fryer or pressure fryer. A deep fryer operates by submerging food into the hot oil.

Unlike a pressure cooker, this equipment does not cook food using pressure.

On the other hand, a pressure fryer is designed to fry foods in hot oil under pressure.

However, this cooking technique requires a particular appliance specially manufactured to do so.

Experts emphasize that you should never attempt to pressure-fry any food in a standard pressure cooker because it’s just not designed for this purpose.

Deep Fryer

Can You Use Other Liquids Apart From Water In A Pressure Cooker?

Yes, you can. You’re free to use beer, wine, vegetable juices, bouillon, marinades, soy sauce, and vinegar.

You can also combine these liquids with water to create the ideal consistency for your stews.

When Can You Use Oil In A Pressure Cooker?

The only time it is recommended that you use oil in a pressure cooker is if you’re looking to brown your meats before pressure cooking them.

Sautéing or browning before pressure cooking is often recommended because it gives the meat more flavor, not to mention a crunchy texture.

However, you’ll need to check whether the pressure cooker you’re using has a sauté/brown function. If it does, follow these steps:

  • Start by prepping your meat; leave it out at room temperature for about half an hour.
  • Pat, it dry, and add your preferred seasonings.
  • Select the brown feature on your pressure cooker
  • Add a tablespoon of oil. Be mindful of the type of oil you use. More on this later.
  • Gently add the meat to your pressure cooker and cook for about a quarter of an hour.
  • Check whether all the sides are sautéd evenly before removing the meat.

Once you’re done browning the meat, you can proceed with preparing your dish.

If you want to add oil to your pressure cooker, you should not add more than a couple of tablespoons.

If possible, avoid using oil if you can, and make sure to check your user manual before doing so.

Which Oil Should You Use In A Pressure Cooker?

While you can use any oil (or butter if you prefer), certain types work better for sautéing than others. More specifically, it’s best to use oil, which has a high smoking point.

Here’s the deal, a pressure cooker is designed to reach very high temperatures. It means your cooking oil can reach its smoke point quite fast.

If this happens too quickly, and the oil continues getting heated past its smoke point, it will imbue your meats with a burnt taste.

To prevent these, consider these oils with high smoke points:
Avocado oil – 520°F (271°C)
Safflower oil – 510°F (266°C)
Sunflower oil – 440°F (230°C)
Peanut oil – 440-450°F (227-230°C)
Extra-virgin olive oil – 374 – 405°F (190 – 207°C)


So, can you put oil in a pressure cooker? The answer is yes, you can, but you don’t need to (and if you do, only a tiny amount should be used)!

In other words, oil is not to be used as a substitute for other liquids while pressure cooking as these liquids are used for cooking the food safely and correctly.

If anything, putting a lot of oil in this appliance and then using it under a high-pressure setting is a recipe for disaster.

Frequently Asked Questions

You are not able to pressure cook without the use of liquid. That liquid does not have to be water and can be something like stock instead. Oil must not be used as a substitute for water; it could result in an explosion of your pressure cooker.

Browning your meat before pressure cooking is a matter of preference, not a necessity.


When you brown the meat before pressure cooking, it adds a lot of flavor and helps to lock in moisture because browning usually involves searing with some oil or butter first for about five minutes on each side until nicely caramelized all around.

Pressure cooking and pressure frying are not the same because pressure frying uses oils, whereas pressure cooking does not.
Pressure cookers can be used as a slow cooker, rice maker, and more but generally as a pressure fryer. If, however, you are looking for a pressure cooker that can fry then the Ninja Foodi is definitely worth the investment!

No, you can not deep fry in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are not designed for this purpose. If you want or need to deep fry food, you will need to use a fryer intended for this function. Here are some examples of pressure fryers

Pressure fryers range from upwards of $100. Check out the latest pressure fryer prices here

Frying food is a popular cooking method, but it can be very unhealthy. On the other hand, a pressure cooker cooks meat and vegetables with less oil than frying does (in most circumstances, with no oil at all). You'll get more nutrients because you aren't losing any in the process.


The key to healthy cooking is not using too much oil or fat for cooking your food. The low levels of fats used when pressure cooking will help you keep your diet balanced while still enjoying delicious home-cooked meals!

The short answer is no, not all pressure cookers can saute. While many pressure cookers are multi-functional, not all have a full range of cooking functions.


For example, some models only come with two settings – high and low - while others allow you to choose different temperatures or modes (e.g., slow cooker). Some can also be used as rice cookers, yogurt makers, and steamers, in addition to being able to saute food.

6 Great Pressure Cookers

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01B1VC13K&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B01B1VC13K

Instant Pot Duo

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01M71BZD9&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B01M71BZD9

Yedi 9-in-1 Cooker

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07S85TPLG&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07S85TPLG

Ninja Foodi 8-Quart

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00004S893&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00004S893

All American 921

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07WL1XBBD&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B07WL1XBBD

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B013I40R8E&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=whichpressure 20&language=en USir?t=whichpressure 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B013I40R8E

Breville Fast Slow Pro