Cleaning and Maintaining Your Pressure Cooker

How many of you have a pressure cooker that you can’t even remember using? How many households in America have a one that has never even been used?

steam escaping from top valve of pressure cooker

Part of the problem extends from ignorance and suspicion. Ignorance of how to operate a pressure cooker and suspicion that that doing so may be dangerous.

Those owners who fall into this category just need to learn a few simple truths in order to stimulate the use of a cooking appliance that can be quite useful and, incidentally, rather simple to use and those truths can come best through use.

Those who already know that this device is no more dangerous than a stovetop when used properly and adequately maintained.

Cleaning Sticky Food Particles

A common problem with using pressure cookers is that food gets stuck on the inside that is particularly difficult to remove. Even the hardiest of cleaning with the most ample supply of elbow grease may fail to release these stubbornly sticking particles, thus making continued use of the appliance a less than appetizing enterprise.

The best way to remove this unwanted effect of regular utilization is to cook it off. Fill up the unit with water until the food particles are submerged and then add ¼ cup of plain white vinegar. Leave the pot uncovered and cook until you’ve brought the mixture to a boil.

Once you’ve reached the boiling point, turn the heat off and drop in a teaspoon or two of baking soda.

Allow the interior fluid to cool enough to stick your hand into it and then apply some gentile elbow grease. The baked-on food particles should easily clean away.

Keeping Food from Smelling Bad

Even if you keep a pressure cooker adequately clean, you can still run into the problem of offensive odors turning your delicious meal into an odiferous risk. The problem of unwanted aromas mixing inside is raised not by the specter of cooking, but the specter of storage.

Get into the habit of storing your pressure cooker with the lid place slightly askew across the top so that you leave an opening.

Keeping the lid place tightly on the pressure cooker during storage has the effect of retaining odors from meals past that can infect newly prepared meals like a smelly virus.

Keeping Your Overpressure Plug Clean

A sure sign that your overpressure pressure plug has gotten dirty is leakage. Occasional leakage when using a pressure cooker is to be expected, but the minute you realize that this little appliance is leaking every time you use it, you have inspect the plug and give it a thorough washing.

If cleaning fails to stop the leak, then you need to shell out for a plug replacement. Even if you don’t notice the signs of leaking, it is a good idea to replace the overpressure plug every couple of years in order to keep your pressure cooking working safely at peak efficiency.

Avoid Frying Oil

You may have been using your pressure cooker for long enough that you have misplaced the instruction manual. Here is a reminder worth noting: do not use your pressure cooker as a means of frying food.

You may be convinced it is better than investing in a deep fryer or you may even think using a pressure cooker for frying is somehow healthier than frying in oil in a skillet.

This is not the case.

Using oil for fry cooking in a pressure cooker is a recipe for extremely serious burn injuries.

Following these maintenance tips, a modern pressure cooker may be operated with no concerns of explosions or other serious mishaps. This energy and time saving device has a somewhat undeserved reputation for being unsafe and difficult to use but this is not the case at all.

About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

6 thoughts on “Cleaning and Maintaining Your Pressure Cooker”

  1. I blame my mother for scaring me away from pressure cookers. She often told a story about a very messy explosion the first and only time she every used one when she was first married. I’ve never even had the slightest desire to get one. However, I’m starting to put aside my fears and prejudices because I keep hearing so many good things about how fast they can cook beans or make stock and so on.

    Your tips make it sound pretty easy to care for and not nearly as scary as my mother always told me.

    Does anyone have any recommendations of a modestly priced starter model? I’d really like to make my beans a lot quicker, I think!

  2. I have heard of stories, horror stories in regard to pressure cookers, that is a path i have not walked on, thankfully, a guide above, gives tip by tip on how to operate/clean one…considering on buying one in the foreseeable future 🙂

  3. Pressure cookers are always kind of a mystery to me, and the hassle of cleaning and maintaining always overwhelms me. This is a good break down of how to do it without breaking or damaging anything, especially myself lol. Thanks!

  4. I’ve never had one of these devices, but have explored buying one recently. It’s comforting to know that they actually are safe, since I’ve also heard many horror stories over the years. It would be great to be able to cut down on meal preparation time, though, so buying one is a possibility, and cleaning it doesn’t sound very difficult, after reading this article.

  5. I wanted to thank you for these tips for maintaining a pressure cooker. It’s good to know that any leakage is a sign that the overpressure plug is dirty. I’m interested to learn if the amount of the leakage could indicate just how dirty it is.


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