What should you not cook in a pressure cooker?



Pressure cookers have become a staple in many kitchens around the world, thanks to their ability to cook meals quickly and efficiently. These handy kitchen appliances use steam to create high pressure, which speeds up the cooking process significantly. However, there are certain foods that should never be cooked in a pressure cooker due to safety concerns or the risk of altering their taste and texture. In this article, we will explore some foods that are best avoided when using a pressure cooker and the reasons behind it.

Safety First: Understanding the Limitations of a Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers work by trapping steam inside, which increases the internal pressure. While this results in faster cooking times, it can also cause certain types of foods to release excessive foam, expand rapidly, or even explode. It is crucial to be mindful of these limitations to ensure both the safety of yourself and your pressure cooker.

Avoid Cooking Frothy Foods in a Pressure Cooker

Frothy foods, such as oatmeal, pasta, and legumes, should be avoided in a pressure cooker. These foods have a tendency to release foam during cooking, which can clog the pressure release valve, causing a dangerous build-up of pressure inside the cooker. It is always recommended to cook frothy foods on stovetops or in conventional pots to prevent any mishaps.

When it comes to cooking oatmeal in a pressure cooker, the rapid increase in temperature and pressure can cause the oatmeal to froth excessively. This overflow of foam may block the pressure release valve, leading to a potential explosion. It is safer and more reliable to prepare oatmeal through traditional stovetop methods, ensuring a smooth and controlled cooking process.

Additionally, pasta can also foam and expand rapidly when cooked in a pressure cooker, running the risk of clogging the valve and causing a safety hazard. Avoiding the use of a pressure cooker when preparing pasta will guarantee a safe and predictable cooking experience.

The Risks of Pressure Cooking Filled Foods

Certain foods that are filled or stuffed can pose safety risks when cooked in a pressure cooker. This includes stuffed vegetables, filled pastries, or any dish that has a sealed or closed structure. The pressure built up inside the cooker can cause these foods to burst or explode, leading to a messy and potentially dangerous situation.

When cooking stuffed vegetables, such as peppers or tomatoes, the filling inside can expand under pressure, causing the vegetables to burst open. This not only creates a mess but can also result in overheating and uneven cooking of the ingredients. It is advisable to prepare stuffed vegetables using conventional cooking methods, such as baking or roasting, to achieve the desired texture and flavor.

Similarly, filled pastries or dishes that require a sealed structure should not be cooked in a pressure cooker. The high pressure can cause the pastry dough to burst or leak, resulting in an undesirable outcome. Opt for traditional baking methods when preparing these types of dishes to ensure a perfect and intact final product.

Delicate Seafood and Pressure Cookers

Seafood, especially delicate varieties such as fish fillets or shrimp, require gentle and precise cooking to maintain their delicate texture and flavors. Due to the intense heat and pressure generated in a pressure cooker, seafood is at risk of becoming overcooked, rubbery, or losing its natural flavor.

When seafood is cooked under high pressure, it can lead to an uneven distribution of heat and result in overcooking, taking away from its tenderness and moistness. The delicacy of fish fillets and the subtle flavors of shrimp are best preserved when cooked through traditional methods such as grilling, sautéing, or poaching. This ensures a controlled cooking process and a delicious final result.

Keeping Dairy Products Out of the Pressure Cooker

Dairy products, such as milk, cream, and cheese, are best avoided when using a pressure cooker. The high temperature and pressure can cause dairy-based ingredients to curdle, separate, or scorch, leading to an undesirable outcome.

When cooking with dairy-based liquids like milk or cream, the intense heat of a pressure cooker can cause them to scorch or curdle, resulting in an unpleasant taste and texture. It is safer to incorporate dairy ingredients toward the end of the cooking process or use conventional methods like simmering or gentle heating to achieve the desired consistency and flavor.


While pressure cookers are highly versatile and efficient appliances, there are certain foods that should never be cooked in them due to safety concerns or the risk of altering the taste and texture. Frothy foods, filled dishes, delicate seafood, and dairy-based ingredients are just some examples of foods to avoid in a pressure cooker. By understanding the limitations of these cookers and choosing appropriate cooking methods, you can ensure both the safety of yourself and the integrity of your dishes. So, next time you're considering reaching for your pressure cooker, remember to use your knowledge and judgement to make the right culinary choices.

In conclusion, a pressure cooker can be a valuable addition to your kitchen, but it is crucial to be mindful of what you cook inside it. By following these guidelines and respecting the limitations of your pressure cooker, you can enjoy safe and delicious meals every time. Happy cooking!


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