How Long Does It Take For A Pressure Cooker To Reach Pressure?

Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by River Tree Farms

Have you ever wondered how long it takes for a pressure cooker to reach pressure? Using a pressure cooker to cook is an effective way of preparing food without using a lot of effort. While pressure cooking, you have to wait for the steam pressure level to raise.

For a pressure cooker to pressurize, it depends on the type of food that you are cooking. As well as the type of pressure cooker you are using.

It usually takes a longer period for the instant pot to pressurize. It can take around 10-15 minutes for an Instant Pot to come to pressure. It is higher than the traditional pressure cooker. For traditional pressure that time is 5-10 minutes.

Factors in Pressurizing Time

There are several factors that can affect the time it takes for a pressure cooker to pressurize. Built, materials and types of pressure cookers are some of them. 

Modern pressure cookers are divided into stovetop pressure cookers and electric pressure cookers. We’ve mentioned that an electric pressure cooker usually takes more time to pressurize. Because its heating element takes time to heat up. 

Aluminum pressure cookers pressurize slower than a stainless steel pressure cooker. But what has the most impact, is the type of food that you fill your pressure cooker with.

For instance:

  • If you put a minimum amount of water in your pressure cooker, it takes 3 to 5 minutes to reach desired pressure level.
  • A half-full pressure cooker will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure.
  • If you fill your pressure cooker, it will take about 20 to 30 minutes to reach pressure.
  • It takes 10 to 15 minutes for some recipes to reach that pressure level.
  • If you use cold ingredients or frozen food, it will take about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the needed pressure level.

Methods of Pressure Cooking

Pressure releasing time varies, too, depending on the methods of pressure cooking. If you choose:

  1. Natural pressure release: Natural release method involves letting the pressure in the pressure cooker release naturally without any interference. This can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of pressure cooking.
  2. Quick release: Using the pressure cooker’s steam release valve to release the pressure quickly. The steam comes out through the steam vent pipe fast. This can take just a few seconds.
  3. Cold water release: This method involves running the pressure cooker under cold water. It is done to release the pressure quickly. The cold water release method can take a few minutes. But it depends on the size of the pressure cooker and the quantity of food.
  4. Manual release: This method involves releasing the pressure manually. It is done by pressing a button or turning a knob to release the pressure. This can take a few seconds depending on the functions and features.
  5. Automatic release: An automatic pressure release system releases the pressure automatically. Once the cooking time is done. The time for this can vary according to the recipe.

Is your pressure cooker taking too long to build pressure?

A pressure cooker is one of the essential kitchen appliances. It offers conveniences to many. However, if it can not build up pressure, your food will not be properly cooked. Because reaching pressure is the first step in the cooking process.

Below are some of the reasons why a pressure cooker would not build up the pressure:

1. Frozen food

Frozen food or cold ingredients inside a pressure cooker takes a longer time. It takes more time to generate enough pressure. It is because this type of food takes longer to heat even in minimum quantity.

It is better to thaw frozen meat a few minutes earlier before putting it in the pressure cooker. By doing this, the cuts of meat will heat properly once the device is powered.

2. Too much food inside

If you overfill the pressure cooker, enough steam won’t be produced to fully cook your food. There should be enough room in the cooker for it to produce enough steam.

Prepare larger pieces or big batches of food in larger pressure cookers. It will avoid uneven-pressure cooking

3. Too-thick ingredients

Thick food products like sauces or potatoes can hinder the pressure from circulating. It will not create enough steam. You should use enough liquid to cover the ingredients when cooking this type of food. Do not stir because the steam will be reduced even more.

If you face a loss of liquid, add additional water. If you feel food quality will lower if the sauce is too thin, thicken it up at the end. The thinned liquid will then pressurize in a few seconds.

4. Improperly closed lid

Pressure needs to be sealed completely in the pressure cooker for it to build up. If the pressure cooker lid is not properly closed, steam comes out through the sides. This hinders raising the pressure level.

When closing the pressure cooker, you should hear something like a clicking sound. It signifies that the lid is closed properly. Look if the silicone sealing is properly set too.

5. Stuck food at the bottom of the cooker

When you put liquids in the pressure cooker, they need to circulate well to be converted into steam. Food residue sometimes gets stuck at the bottom of the pressure cooker. And it blocks circulation. This results in

  • little amount steam


  • no amount of steam

Can a pressure cooker explode?

Third-generation pressure cookers usually have advanced safety features. So explosions are rare. That being said, many people have been injured by faulty pressure cookers exploding. It happens due to:

  • Increased hot steam
  • Excess pressure generation
  • Quick release of internal pressure
  • Natural pressure release through a faulty valve

The following are some of the reasons why a pressure cooker would explode:

1. Error in operator use

When you fill the pressure cooker with a lot of food or a recipe that has lots of fats, the system becomes disengaged. Bubbles and foams then begin to form. These stop the safety system from detecting excess pressure. When you open the lid at this time, the evaporated heat bursts, and the food also explodes.

You should: 

  • Not overfill the pot
  • Rest the pot for minutes before pressure cooking
  • Check if something is stuck on the steam release valve

2. Blocked valves

The particles and grease block the primary pressure valve and steam release valve. And steam would be confined in the pressure cooker because of no pathway to go out. The pressure inside becomes so higher than the atmospheric pressure averages. It may lead to an explosion.

3. Improper Sealing

If you don’t seal the lid properly, excess pressure from inside will open the lid forcefully. It will result in an explosion.

The internal pressure of the cooker is higher than the atmospheric pressure averages. The temperature of steam can be higher than 200 degrees. Quick release of hot steam from steam vent pipe can burn skin too.

4. A little amount of water

You should not wait until water dries out of the pressure cooker. The steam and gas would expand the cooker by overheating and burning it. The expansion can create excess pressure generation. This can lead to an explosion. You can avoid it by: 

  • Adding plenty of liquid in the cooking process
  • Adding warm water or warm liquid if dries out
  • Trying to maintain the correct pressure

5. Improper use of the pressure cooker

You should never try to open the pressure cooker before it releases steam or has died down. Doing that can also lead to an explosion which may cause grievous bodily harm.

Instant Pot: Your Favorite Pressure Cooker

You are researching pressure cookers. Maybe some affiliate links took you to Instant Pots; it was for a good reason! This multicooker has become a people’s favorite for many reasons. Decorated with a handful of buttons, this is not one of the ordinary pressure cookers. People love it because:

  • Versatile functions
  • Multiple features like the slow cooker, rice cooker, etc.
  • User-friendly interface with adjust button, and preset buttons.
  • Superior Safety Features
  • Consistent cooking
  • Energy efficiency 
  • It comes in various models and sizes, such as:
    1. 3-quart Instant Pot: Ideal for small families, single persons, or for side dishes.
    2. 6-quart Instant Pot: Most popular size, ideal for families of 4-6 people.
    3. 8-quart Instant Pot: Perfect for large families or for meal prepping.
    4. 10-quart Instant Pot: Ideal for families with six or more people or for cooking large cuts of meat.
    5. Mini Instant Pot: A smaller version of the 6-quart, perfect for small households.

How Instant Pots Cook Faster While Pressurizing Slower? 

We know that Instant Pots take longer o reach pressure, because of their design and features. But they still manage to cook faster than traditional stovetop pressure cookers.

Instant Pots cooks faster because of the following reason: 

  1. Uses a combination of pressure cooking and other cooking methods
  2. Saves time by offering multiple presets
  3. Has a stainless steel body that distributes heat evenly
  4. Retains heat for longer period of time
  5. Has better temperature control
  6. Has keep-warm options to prevent cooling

Tips for Using Instant Pot to Reach Pressure Faster:

  1. Always make sure the seal ring and the lid are properly placed. And securely closed before pressure cooking.
  2. Add enough liquid. Instant Pot requires a minimum of 1 cup of liquid to reach pressure.
  3. Do not overfill the Instant Pot. Avoid filling the pot more than 2/3 full to prevent clogging the pressure release valve.
  4. Use the correct preset buttons.
  5. Use the correct pressure release methods. Such as natural pressure release for foamy foods. Or quick release for seafood. 
  6. Follow the Instant Pot cooking time chart for the specific food you’re cooking. The time chart is as follows:
Food Type:Time Required:
Meat (chicken, beef, pork):20-30 minutes
Beans (black, kidney, lentils):15-25 minutes
Rice (white, brown):12-15 minutes
Quinoa:1-6 minutes
Eggs (hard-boiled):5-6 minutes
Vegetables (broccoli, carrots, potatoes):3-5 minutes  
Fish:5-15 minutes  
Soup, Chicken broth:15-30 minutes (Depending on the quantity of broth)
Desserts (cheesecake, pudding):15-30 minutes  

Also Asked Questions

1. How long does it take for a pressure cooker to whistle? 

A pressure cooker whistles when the pressure inside has reached the maximum level. The vent port then gets activated to release excess pressure.

2. Why is my pressure cooker taking forever to pressurize?

There might be many reasons for that.

  • First, check if you chose the correct cooking program from the cooking settings.
  • Second, adjust your recipe according to portion size.
  • Third, if you are cooking a recipe with 3-inch thick pieces, don’t choose the time for 2-inch thick pieces. 

3. How long does it take to pressure-cook chicken? 

Cooking chicken in a pressure cooker is a timed process. It can take:

  • 6-8 minutes for skinless chicken breasts,
  • 10-12 minutes for bone-in chicken legs and thighs,
  • 20-30 minutes for a whole chicken.

4. How to pressure cook eggs? 

Egg pressure cooking time is usually 5 to 6 minutes. You can choose a preset from Instant Pot to pressure cook eggs.

5. What can you prepare in Instant Pot? 

 You can use any one of the electric pressure cooker recipes to prepare in Instant Pot. It can be savory dishes. Like Indian curry-flavored creamy chicken soup. To make the soup recipe perfect, measure your cup of broth. You can use the slow cooker function too for broth.


There has been an evolution of pressure cookers. From the pressure cooker, Denis Papin made to modern electric pressure cookers. Its versatility serves well if used correctly. But it can be frustrating if your pressure cooker is not reaching the pressure level. Hope this article helps you find the problems and also fix it too.