The History of Pressure Cooking

According to, the history of pressure cooking dates back to 1679 when French physicist, Denis Papin, invented a steam digester to render fat from bone. He discovered that by using an airtight vessel to trap steam, he could increase internal pressure, generate higher temperatures and cook food in less time. Although the design was not practical for the average consumer at the time, his invention was still considered an important contribution of the Industrial Revolution.

Home pressure cooking became consumer friendly in 1938 when Alfred Vischler introduced the second generation of pressure cooking, the first “saucepan-style” pressure cooker called “Flex-Seal Speed Cooker” at a New York Trade Show.  Following the introduction of the product, pressure cooker sales topped overall housewares product revenue in the United States by the end of 1941.

Within the past five years, a third generation of pressure cooking was introduced into the market, transitioning from stovetop to countertop with programmable electric pressure cookers. This multifunctional cooking tool has taken at-home culinary enthusiasts by storm by offering more convenience by eliminating the need to monitor the vessel. It also saves energy and money by shortening cook times and not requiring the stovetop. Below are three rookie mistakes to avoid when starting out with your programmable electric pressure cooker.

Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker Tips

  1. Adding Too Much/Not Enough Liquid

Because almost no liquid is evaporated in a programmable electric pressure cooker, use the least amount of liquid possible. In total, your vessel should be no more than half to two thirds full. Not enough room in the cooker could cause your food to lose flavor and texture from excessive pressure generated by too much liquid.

Keep in mind that it does require some liquid to build high pressure steam. A rule of thumb should be always having at least one cup of liquid in the vessel at all times.

  1. Not Taking Size Into Account

Cut the same food items into uniform sizes to promote even cooking. If you wish for all of your ingredients to be cooked at the same time, cut slower cooking ingredients into smaller pieces and quicker cooking ones into larger pieces. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to stagger adding ingredients to your cooker.

  1. Not Adjusting Cook Times

Pressure cooking is a whole new world of cooking and can be intimidating to some who are used to conventional stovetop cook times. How long something takes to cook in an electric pressure cooker depends on the pressure setting and the dish you are trying to make. On average, electric pressure cookers are about twice as fast as conventional cooking. Refer to your electric pressure cooker manual and recipes online for general guidelines. Keep in mind that if you live somewhere with higher altitudes (elevation above 3,000 feet) you may have to increase cook times.

What programmable electric cooker tips did we miss? Leave them in the comments below. For more tips on how you can save energy and money in your home, visit