Pressure cooking temperatures never exceed 250 degrees Fahrenheit at the hottest. The pressure cooker hits that temperature once you hit 15 PSI. With the speed, ease, and economics of the pressure cooker, people have increasingly taken to this method of cooking. However, understanding where the temperatures sit may prove helpful for knowing the PSI.
I have put together this simple and quick PSI measurement gauge to make things easier, but we will go into more detail soon:
|Temperature||Pressure Setting||Pressure Level PSI|
(pounds per square inch)
|220 ℉||low pressure||3 PSI|
|235 ℉||medium pressure||10 PSI|
|250 ℉||high pressure||13-15 PSI|
As a side note, you always want the temperature up to full PSI before dropping it back down with a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers operate on the Ideal Gas Laws of physics, and as the temperature increases, the PSI increases with it. You don’t want the temperature to keep rising above 15 PSI because the device could explode. This can be corrected as easily as lowering the temperature.
Before we hop into the pressure cooker temperatures and what to expect with each food, I’d first like to give you some quick tips on how to use the pressure cooker correctly. With this guide, you can set your timer so that it goes off when the food is ready. Most electric pressure cookers have a built-in timer, but stovetop pressure cookers usually require an external timer.
If you live at 3,000 feet or higher, you will need to increase the timer by five percent for every additional 1,000 feet. For example, if the recipe calls for 10 minutes, use the following equation to determine the extra time:
|Time multiplied by five percent||=||additional time|
|10 x 0.05||=||0.5 or 50 seconds|
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How you set it up depends on whether you have the electric or stovetop pressure cooker. With a stovetop pressure cooker, start the pressure cooker on high and end on a low. Once you reach the desired PSI, lower the heat just enough to maintain a gentle bubbling. With electric pressure cookers, you typically enter the time or select a pre-set function and press the start button.
They handle the raising and lowering of the temperatures, making them ideal for beginners.
Before you begin, exercise caution not to overfill the pressure cooker more than 2/3 full. With rice and other starchy foods, you shouldn’t fill the pressure cooker to more than half full. This prevents the food from clogging the pressure release safety valve.
With this food chart, remember to start with the shortest time and continue to reach the desired texture.
Pressure Cooking Times for Everyday Food
|Type of Food||Food Size||Pressure Cooking Time|
|Artichokes||whole||8 – 10|
|Asparagus||whole||1 – 2|
|Barley||pearl||15 – 20|
|Beans (fresh green/wax)||whole / cut||2 – 3|
|Beans (lima)||smelled||2 – 3|
|Beets||¼-inch slices||3 – 4|
|Beets||whole (peeled)||12 – 14|
|Broccoli||florets/spears||2 – 3|
|Brussels sprouts||whole||3 – 4|
|Cabbage (red or green)||quartered||3 – 4|
|Carrots||¼-inch pieces||1 – 2|
|Cauliflower||florets||2 – 3|
|Chicken||breasts||10 – 12|
|Chicken Noodle Soup||pieces||10|
|Corn||cob||3 – 4|
|Meat roast (beef, pork, or lamb)||whole||40 – 60|
|Meat pieces (beef, pork, or lamb)||1-inch cubes||15 – 20|
|Peas||shelled||1 – 1 1/2|
|Potatoes||pieces / sliced||10|
|Potatoes(whole)||new (small)||5 – 7|
|Rice||brown||15 – 20|
|Rice||white||5 – 7|
|Spinach||fresh||2 – 3|
|Squash (fall)||1-inch pieces||4 – 6|
|Squash (summer)||sliced||1 – 2|
|Sweet potatoes||11/2- inch pieces||4 – 5|
|Turnips||sliced||2 – 3|
Understanding the cooking times of various foods can be helpful. Remain aware of the release method that each recipe calls for. Some will ask for a quick release and others will want a natural release. The natural release has the advantage of cooking the foods for longer, such as meats, whereas quick release works well for vegetables when you don’t want to overcook or burn them.
Electric cookers may add slightly more time to the recipe. However, they provide you with a more even and consistent pressure within the container.
Now, let’s have a look at the temperatures and what PSI it reaches for each of the temperatures. This can be useful in understanding where your food is currently at in terms of PSI:
Hopefully, this shows you where the PSI sits as it reaches different temperatures. How long it takes to reach this will depend on the material and brand of the pressure cooker. Most pressure cookers cannot cook higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit, making 15 PSI the maximum that they can reach. As soon as your pressure cooker hits 15 PSI, you want to turn it down to stop the pressure from building.
Most recipes will call for the pressure cooker to reach 15 PSI, but it also depends on the recipe and what you’re cooking.
Understanding PSI and Your Food
Once the pressure cooker reaches 12 PSI or 244 degrees Fahrenheit, the fibers in meats and vegetables will begin to rapidly break down. This is part of what enables the food to cook 30 percent faster and use 50 to 75 percent less energy.
Most pressure cooker recipes were designed to reach the full 15 PSI for cooking foods. They have it set at this because it is the best temperature for cooking foods fast. The lower temperatures and PSI on the pressure cooker don’t cook the food as fast. That obliterates the entire reason for using a pressure cooker.
How a Pressure Cooker Cooks the Food
The pressure cooker seals in the water vapor, and as the temperature builds, the pressure inside builds with it. From the high thermal heat transfer of the steam, the food cooks at a much faster rate than the traditional cooking methods. As soon as the pressure cooker reaches 15 PSI, it means that your pressure cooker has hit 250.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and you will want to turn down the heat.
Pressure cookers have an advantage in that they force moisture into food. For cheaper meat cuts, this makes them taste better than what they would otherwise.
When Would You Use the Low-Pressure Setting?
You have a few occasions where you use the low-pressure setting on the pressure cooker, but I will outline where it makes sense. For example, you use low-pressure in the pressure cooker when you want to cook eggs, vegetables, and certain types of fish.
Hard, medium, and soft-cooked eggs all exit the pressure cooker in perfect condition when you use the low-pressure setting. The low-pressure setting will cook at between 4 to 7 PSI or 224.2 to 232.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, however, that the lower PSI setting will take longer to cook the foods. Many people find it not worth it because of that. At that rate, why not cook it with a conventional method without the risk of it exploding?
Understanding the Boiling Point
The maximum temperature that a liquid can reach is its boiling point. Once it hits the boiling point, it enters the gas stage. Because the vapors get trapped in the pressure cooker, this raises the pressure at the same time as when the temperature rises.
Now that we understand this, let’s have another look at the different pre-set cooking settings on a multi-pressure cooker and what to expect when it comes to temperature (highest temperatures to lowest):
|Pre-set Cooking Function||Temperature||Pre-set Time|
|Slow Cooker – high||252℉||2 hours|
|High pressure||240℉ – 248℉||1 minute|
|Risotto||240℉ – 248℉||6 minutes|
|Brown Rice||240℉ – 248℉||20 minutes|
|White Rice||228℉ – 230℉||10 minutes|
|Low Pressure||226℉ – 230℉||1 minute|
|Slow Cooker – low||190℉||2 hours|
|Keep Warm||165℉||30 minutes|
|Yogurt||104℉ – 109℉||8 hours|
Some electric pressure cookers will include things like this in their features. That makes it useful to understand the different temperatures that your food will cook at with these settings. Take this as a general rule of thumb, rather than the law.
How Do You Use the Features of a Pressure Cooker
Using the right feature at the right time will have positive results on your food. For example, the risotto feature on a pressure cooker was made for cooking rice in a special way. During this process, the rice gets toasted in fat, which makes its feature for it even better. The white rice feature, on the other hand, will automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature based on how much rice you put in. Understanding each of the features ensures that you will get the most out of your pressure cooker.
Safety Devices on the Lid for Temperature
Once the temperature reaches a certain point on the pressure cooker, the steam will begin to build up in the device. As the steam reaches excess levels, the pressure cooker’s lid will release the excess steam to maintain safety levels and reduce the risk that it would explode.
You may want to buy the new-generation pressure cookers because the advanced safety features lower the risk that they would explode. In the 1950s, you heard about pressure cooker explosions all the time. Nowadays, pressure cookers have reduced the risk greatly.
Today’s third-generation pressure cookers can even detect temperature and pressure within to maintain safe pressure levels on the pressure cooker. You still should take this device seriously, but it doesn’t pose the same danger as in the past.
MUST-READ – Avoiding accidents with pressure cooker safety
Food Containers: The Temperature Advantage of a Pressure Cooker
Because pressure cookers will never exceed 250 degrees Fahrenheit, this makes them a good choice for products that you may not have otherwise been able to use within them. For example, heat-safe plastic containers can be used inside a pressure cooker because they don’t melt until 266 degrees Fahrenheit. Check this in advance.
While you can use them inside a pressure cooker, don’t place them on the base of the interior. In particular, you may find this useful with foods prone to burning. You might add a lid to the container, but make sure that steam can enter the container. Don’t use cracked or damaged containers. Also, make sure it’s a heat-safe container to avoid melting or fire.
Caution: If you decide to take this route, understand how the cooking time goes up because of less direct contact with the steam. The material used will have an impact. For example, a recipe that uses a stainless container will have a different cooking time than using a heat-safe plastic container. Beware of undercooked food.
Why Do Pressure Cookers Reach Temperature Faster?
Unlike boiling, pressure cookers don’t use as much water, which allows them to reach a higher temperature faster. Using more liquid-like also wastes energy because of a longer cooking time. You don’t even have to immerse the food in the water to get results.
What Temperature Does a Pressure Cooker Cook At?
A pressure cooker maxes out its temperature once it reaches 250.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The device traps hot steam inside, which helps to cook the food faster. The temperature of pressure is much lower than in other cooking methods.
How Hot Is a Pressure Cooker at 11 Psi?
Pressure cookers that reach 11 PSI will have a temperature of around 241.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Most pressure cookers, however, don’t reach full pressure until they reach 15 PSI.
How Do You Maintain 15 Psi in a Pressure Cooker?
To maintain 15 psi in a pressure cooker, add 10% more to the cooking time. For example, if you’re making something for 10 minutes at 12-13 psi max level of pressure then it should be given 11 minutes instead.
How Long Does It Take to Cook in a Pressure Cooker?
How long a pressure cooker takes to cook the food will depend on what you’re cooking. Larger meat cuts tend to take more time than vegetables, which only take five to seven minutes.
Conclusion – Pressure Cooker Temperature Chart
For building pressure, pressure cooker temperatures will range anywhere from 211.8 to 250.1 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on PSI. Understanding the different temperatures on your cooker can be useful because you can learn how to use it in specific ways for certain things. Also, you can learn how long the foods cook.
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