Does a Pressure Cooker Destroy Nutrients?

Do pressure cookers destroy nutrients

Since I wrote about my new favorite kitchen appliance, the Instant Pot pressure cooker, I’ve gotten a  lot of comments and questions about if pressure cooking is a healthy way to cook food or if it destroys nutrients.

It is certainly a logical and valid question… in fact it was the question that kept me from trying a pressure cooker for years until I finally decided to research it, and what I found was fascinating.

Growing up, I considered a pressure cooker an antiquated kitchen tool that elderly relatives used and that was most useful for canning. Some pressure cookers can double as a canner, which is probably why my elderly relatives used their pressure cooker more than those in my generation, but it turns out I had missed out on a lot of important points in my quick judgement!

How Does a Pressure Cooker Work?

A pressure cooker is a pressurized (of course) pot that cooks food using a combination of heat and steam. While it would seem that high heat is required, the steam and pressure actually provide much of the cooking power. A pressure cooker has a valve that seals in the steam, creating a high-pressure environment. This is beneficial because it increases the boiling point of the water or liquid in the pot and forces moisture into the food in the form of steam. Both of these help the food cook much more quickly.

How does this work?

Consider this- water boils at a lower temperature at higher altitudes. This is because the lack of pressure allows the water to boil at a lower temperature. You may have noticed special high-altitude cooking instructions on certain recipes and this is partially why. The lower the temperature at which water boils, the faster foods start to dry out and the more difficult it can be to cook. This is also why it takes longer to cook food at higher altitude.

Pressure cooking essentially does the opposite of altitude, it increases the boiling point of water and decreases the cooking time. Since steam can’t escape from the pressure cooker, you avoid water-loss and are able to cook foods without losing heat.

One big advantage of a pressure cooker is that it can cook foods much more quickly and energy efficiently than other methods like stove top, the oven, or even a slow-cooker.

Does Pressure Cooking Use Really High Heat?

This is where some of the confusion starts to come in. Many people assume that since pressure cooking cuts down the cook time so dramatically, it must use a much higher heat. This isn’t the case at all.

As described above, the shortened cooking time is a product of the increased pressure, not increased temperature at all. When researching, the highest recorded boiling point of water in a pressure cooker I could find was 250 degrees. That is still lower than the temperature that most foods are prepared at in the oven or stove top and about the same as a slow-cooker.

In other words, a pressure cooker may cook foods at a lower temperature than most other cooking methods, utilizing the pressure to improve cooking time and efficiency.

Does a Pressure Cooker Destroy Nutrients?

I completely understand this question, as I had the same one. At first glance, the idea of cooking foods more quickly seems too good to be true and it just seems logical that there is a downside, such as a loss of nutrients.

Fortunately, in researching this question, I found that the reverse is actually true!

Readers have asked if a pressure cooker uses high heat (see above) and if this creates the similar negative effects of high-heat methods like grilling and broiling. Again, it makes sense until we delve into the science of heat and pressure and understand that the increased pressure is what creates the faster cooking environment, not higher heat.

To reiterate, pressure cookers actually cook at a lower temperature than most other methods (steaming, roasting, etc.) but do it more efficiently. All cooking methods reduce nutrients to some degree, but I was surprised how much of a difference the cooking method could make!

In fact, a 1995 study found that pressure cooking preserved nutrients in food more than other cooking methods. Another study measured levels of Vitamin C and B-Vitamins in food and found these levels of vitamin retention (the amount remaining in food after cooking):

  • Boiling reduced nutrients the most with a range of 40-75% retained (up to a 60% loss of nutrients!)
  • Roasting and steaming preserved up to 90% of nutrients (but in some measurements, almost half of nutrients were lost!)
  • Pressure cooking did the best job at preserving nutrients with a 90-95% retention rate

This makes sense when you think about it. Since pressure cooking doesn’t require a much higher temperature and shortens the cooking time, there is less time for nutrient loss. For this reason, pressure cooking may actually preserve nutrients better than other methods of cooking.

There are a couple of notable exceptions to this rule:

Pressure cooking does seem to deactivate certain properties in food like phytic acid. I explained in this post about traditional preparation methods for grains how reducing phytic acid and lectins makes the nutrients in foods like grains and beans more absorbable and less likely to irritate the digestive system. Pressure cooking seems to do a better job of deactivating these substances than other cooking methods.

An Important Caveat

There have been conflicting studies that showed that higher levels of nutrients were lost with pressure cooking, but follow up research revealed that most of the nutrients were actually just transferred to the cooking liquid.

For this reason, I make a conscious effort to use only as much cooking liquid as is needed when using a pressure cooker and to re-use the liquid in the meal by making a gravy, drinkable broth or sauce of some kind.

What Can You Cook?

I’ve personally only experimented with roasts, broth, meats, soups, stews, vegetables and rice in the pressure cooker (this is the one I use), but there are instructions and recipes for cooking virtually everything in a pressure cooker (including cheesecake and hard-boiled eggs!).

Many people love the ability to cook rice or beans in under an hour in a pressure cooker but I love that I can prepare a roast in under an hour!

Pressure Cooking: Bottom Line

Like any method of cooking, pressure cooking does destroy some of the nutrients in food, but it actually preserves more than any other cooking method.

With newer electric pressure cookers (like the Instant Pot), pressure cooking is a convenient and healthy way to get food on the table for your family more quickly and easily while still preserving the nutrients in your food.

Do you use a pressure cooker? What is your favorite way to use it?

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Reader Comments

  1. I adore my pressure cooker, I do remember my elders (Grand Mother, Grand Aunts, Aunts and Mother) using it all the time on the Aga stove ( I would love an Aga but living in a concrete jungle like New York it is not possible. I do soups all the time even the beef bone broth and the chicken bone broth in stead of 24 – 48 hrs of cooking I do it on low heat for 6 hours.

    I make a herbacious green soup with chicken bones for a recent flu and I was truly cured in 48hrs.

    My Ox Tails and Osso Bocco stews are done in 50- 70 minutes compared to nearly 3 – 5 hrs

    • I’m having a freezer delivered Thursday because I’m running out of room for my bones and bone broth! It’s the best. I can’t wait to my hand pork bone broth! I have a pig foot, tail, and assorted shoulder, ham hocks, and rib bones all ready!

      • Where do you get all your bones?

        • Karyn, you can purchase bones from local farms. Find a couple farmers markets in your area – there are almost always small businesses there who sell the meat from their farms. Contact them directly to inquire about purchasing the bones.

  2. I love my pressure cooker. I makes the best bone broth! That is what I mostly use it for. I also have an excellent beef soup recipe that we love, and a cauliflower curry I love. I would love to get a trivet for mine and try doing roasts or chicken!

    I haven’t had luck doing beans, I find the outsides don’t soften up enough.

    • You still need to pre-soak them overnight or use the quick-soak method (bring to a boil for 2 min and then let sit, covered for an hour.) I make legendary bean soups… Add the salt AFTER cooking.

    • Pressure cooking beans for an additional 30-40 minutes really softens beans.

    • Over night soaking is necessary for cooking beans of any type in Pressure Cooker. Adding a small pinch of sodium bicarbonate (cooking soda) softens and well cooks beans much faster. Only a very small pinch is required.

      • I just made navy bean and ham soup in pressure cooker it took 42 minutes no pee soak and it was perfect beans were soft.

        • I definitely do NOT suggest a pee soak! 🙂

  3. Thank you! I have always wondered this!

  4. Hi! I used an old-fashioned Presto 6qt for the last 10 years, or so & absolutely love it! We cook mostly chicken and bone broth in it with different Thai curry recipes & our new favorite is gf BBQ chicken quarters. The flavor goes all through the meat, every time. Sweet potatoes are a great addition to most meats.Thank you Katie for posting this, as I have always wondered about the nutrients even though the flavors are always yum!

    • Please post some recipes for pressure cooker bbq and thai curry. Sounds delicious.

    • Hi
      I dont understand how you would get any stock from this method, I have used a pressure cooker for veg etc when I was first married 34 years ago.
      When I’be done this you use so little water that there is barely any liquid, do you ignore the less water and fill it to the top.

  5. I’m glad you’re extolling the virtues of your InstantPot. I’ve had mine for 4+ years and would be lost without it. Don’t forget to mention how great it is for hard or soft boiling eggs and also for making perfect rice every time. Also, don’t forget to talk about how pressure cooking destroys the anti nutrient lectins in beans which are NOT destroyed by traditional stove top cooking. So for the best digestion with beans (as well as the fastest cooking times), use a pressure cooker.

    • A point of correction. Breakdown of food constituents is done by time at temperature rather than pressure. Chemical reactions proceed faster at higher temperature. Cooking is chemistry.
      Boiling point is directly limited by pressure in a linear relationship. Water will not get hotter than the boiling point (ignoring superheating). Sea level is a convenient reference point for boiling pure water. It is defined as 100C at 760 mm by mercury barometer. (212 F at 14.7 psi) At 15,000 ft water boils at 183 F, at 5000 ft (Denver) at 202 F, sea level 212 F. In my pressure canner my weight set produces 5 lbs over sea level or 220 F at 19.7 psi, 10 lb over 235 F, 15 lbs over 250 F. Pressure limits all cooking in water, all the time. Providing a closed atmosphere where boiling point (temperature) can be forced far above ambient is an efficient way to reduce cooking time in water, and saves energy.
      We usually prevent food reaching the equilibrium temperature of a hot oven. The air temperature may be very much greater than 250 F but cooking temperature is again limited by the boiling point of water in the food. Food cannot get much above this until the water in the dish has evaporated. Then, the temperature can zoom up and quickly burn the food. Searing by direct contact with hot metal or fire is controlled to the very outside layer of the food and is possible because the water at the surface flashes off, hence the sizzle.
      Flavor infusion comes from opening the structure while immersing the food in flavored liquid, the same occurs at lower temperature but requires more time.

      • So what are you saying about the nutrients?

  6. You inspired me to dust off my electric pressure cooker. I made a pork roast but it didn’t have as much flavor and wasn’t as tender as when I make it in the crock pot. Should I have cooked it longer? I’m kinda lost when it comes to cooking with it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  7. I too love my pressure cooker. I have a Fagor Duo 6qt cooker that I use on a gas stove. It defiantly cuts cooking time big time. I found cooking beef short ribs 40 minutes came out so much more tender than cooking all day in a slow cooker. You can cook almost anything and flavors are so much more concentrated.

  8. Thank you! Last wk. a few people helped me settle this in my mind but you have cemented it. I appreciate you & the work you do to help all of us.

  9. Here in Brazil we use it a lot. It is one of the main pots in every kitchen, since we cook beans all the time.
    15 minutes after reaching pressure and they are done!
    My husband loves cooking chicken breasts on it. Simply cook them with some water, then drain the water out, add seasoning, seals it back and shakes the pot. The chicken practically melts with the shaking. Voilà!

    • Hi Mariana, another brazilian here living in Germany but not without my “panela de pressão”! Great tipp about the chicken… how long do you cook it before “shaking it up”? Obrigada!

  10. My Mother used a pressure cooker for pot roasts on Sundays but I don’t remember what else she used it for. Unfortunately, it was one of those aluminum ones. They also used other aluminum cookware, some Teflon….both had dementia in their latter years. The pressure and hissing of the escaping steam was always a little intimidating to me. It sounds as though a good cooker would be a wise investment.

    My Grandmother used a pressure cooker and had one of those events where the ceiling became decorated, LOL. I was not a witness to it, though.

    Great information, WM!

    • Yes, my mum also had a decorated ceiling once, with a stove top pressure cooker making oxtail stew! God it was a mess! But we saw the funny side of it. And it never stopped her using it again!

  11. How do you adapt a “traditional” recipe to cook properly in the InstantPot. I just got an IP for Christmas and am a little lost. I have done beans and rice successfully, but I make soup every week and would love to know how to adapt my soup recipes to cook in the IP.

  12. I have never been able to understand how a pressure cooker
    can make great “gelatin” bone broth?

    The term “pressure” to me means, that the minerals/gelatin etc.
    can’t be released from the bones into the water.

    It must work because several posts here love it.

    Does it produce thick gelatin once refrigatrated or is it
    a runny liquid broth?

    I do it in a slow cooker for days and get great gelation.

    If pressure cooking produces the same thick
    gel as to a runny liquid broth, I’m buyin’
    a pressure cooker!!!

    :-Dale

    • Dale
      Since I use the pressure cooker for making stock I can eat my stock with fork and knife.

    • Dale,
      Mine turns out perfect! It really ia almost like jelly ?

  13. I am concerned about AGEs. If the temperature is only 250 I would think we’d be fine, but I’d be curious to see if pressure (which I think is configurable) or brand affect temperature. Have you experimented with different settings and temperature?

  14. I also use the pressure cooker mostly for bone broth.I use the slow cooker in the past but now sice several month with the pressure cooker I get the best bone broth ever.

  15. Thanks a bunch for writing this Katie. I use pressure cooking on everyday to cook different kind of lentils for my whole family. I was always concerned about pressure cooking but never did the research on this. So glad that you did the research for all the other families. Thanks!

  16. I have been feeding my 3 scotties with home made dog food at least once /day. I love the pressure cooker for quick cooking chicken breasts, with or without bones.No added onion to the broth so I can use the chicken breasts for anything I want. I usually cook 4-5 at a time and store in a container in the ref. I can then use the cooked chicken breasts for quick soups, chimichangas, salads, stir fries, plus for my dogs. So much better than the canned chicken I used to buy Takes 10 mins. to cook and 10 mins to de-pressurize.My other favorite is for corned beef and cabbage but that is not so frequent.I have a fagor pressure cooker with 2 sizes of pans and I use a gas stove. I have not tried rice in it because I have an excellent rice cooker and I use that to cook brown rice with veggies for the pooches.

  17. Thank you, was thinking about this when i read your instapot post!! Makes sense 🙂

  18. I’m glad you researched this because long ago I heard that pressure cookers were not good to use and that’s what held me back from getting an InstaPot. Thank you,

  19. Thank you so much for writing this post!
    You’ve gone above and beyond answering my question that I posted on your insta pot review.
    I was actually quite sure I would pass on these appliances because I believed it was ‘risky’ in terms of food quality.
    You’ve converted me with logic and reasoning! I am excited to find a good sale and give this gadget a go.
    Thank you!

    • $115 on Amazon!

  20. I recently bought an Instant Pot SMART and I’m amazed by it! I always thought pressure cookers were for cooks who didn’t have the time to do it the ‘right’ way (i.e. a nice long braise). I’m amazed that the recipes I used to braise come out way better in the IP! The meat is tender but also so juicy. I’m having a ball with this thing! Great for rice, grains, and beans of course … Just made a great soup with a ham hock and dry beans. So many other fun things I can’t wait to try. You can make ricotta cheese with this but also I think I can use the bluetooth feature to make some of my other fresh cheese recipes more easily! I’m very excited about this purchase, I’ve only had it about a month. Have a great time experimenting and collection recipes to adapt …

    • I’ll be curious to hear how you do with cheese making in the IP. I tried to program my Smart IP for some cheese making recipes, but it didn’t work well. ?

      • Nancy: Could you tell why it didn’t work? I haven’t done it yet, can you tell me anything that might help? I know that the temperature sensor is at the bottom, that could be a problem I guess …

  21. I love my pressure cooker. I eat a lot of green beans and cauliflower. My pressure cooker steams these up in about 3 minutes then I saute them on the stove in some seasonings to add flavor. Quick, easy and delicious. I make soups and stews as well.

  22. I actually have three PC’s right now. I have an InstantPot, a Cuisinart, and a Cooks that I picked up at a second hand store tor 12 bux which was never used :). I use them 4 to six times a week. I am albsulutely in love with PC cooking and so is my family. The meats are the most tender and the cooking times are fantastically reduced so you leave a tad less carbon footprint. I’ve done entire holiday meals out of one PC.This is the best way to cook almost anything and there is a wealth of recipes on the Internet. My favorite is the Instantpot with the Cuisinart a close second but even the Cook’s does a great job. It is smaller so I usually save it for lighter meals.

  23. My Fagor pressure cooker is my most used pot, used basically every day in addition to the microwave. It’s the only way I make pot roast.

  24. I bought an Instant Pot as a Christmas present to myself:) My favorite is to saute onions, celery, carrots and meat in lard (from pastured pigs), add homemade bone broth and a bit of Red Boat Fish Sauce and cook for 30 -45 minutes. Yum!

  25. I’ve owned several pressure cookers over the past 10-15 years, and my favorite by far is the Kuhn-Rikon. They are a bit pricy, but it is a really good quality pot, and the simple design makes it easy to monitor and regulate the temperature. It also requires less liquid than many models, just 1/4 cup for quick steaming veggies. It doesn’t have a lot of locks and levers, just twist the lid on, and there is a valve at the top to indicate pressure level, 1 line for low, 2 for high. The lid locks automatically if there is pressure in the pot and you can quick release by pressing down on the pressure indicator. I say this because I read a review in a cooking magazine once that was criticized this model in favor of the less expensive Fagor for lack of a safety lock and quick release button. I also have a larger model by Fagor, which is a very good pot for the price, but I find it clunky in comparison to the Kuhn-Rikon, and the pressure indicator can be deceptive. It pops up when there is pressure in the pot, not when it is at the proper cooking pressure. The first few times I used it the recipes came out under cooked, now I wait until I can hear steam escaping to start the cooking time.

    My first model was an electric one, like the insta pot, which is easier when you’re first starting out, but you can’t use cold water pressure release with those, and the pan in the one I had was Teflon and not very sturdy. It also takes up a lot of extra space. The stove top models are basically just a really sturdy stainless steel pot with a fancy lid. I use it whenever I have need of a large pot pressure or not. Another tip if you are thinking of purchasing is to go big. You can only fill the pot 1/2 – 3/4 full depending on what you are cooking, but there is no minimum. You can also cook tiered meals in separate bowls at once, such as cooking a pot of rice on top of a roast or stew.

  26. I usually make chicken stock. I add a little vinegar and pressure cook for a total of 6 to 9 hours over 2 or 3 days. This way I can’t pick out the meat and some of the bones are so brittle they can be easily eaten. Does cooking this long destroy nutrients? I just like to add more calcium to my stock and it turns out like jelly every time. Plus it makes my $25 organic chicken go a long way.

  27. Someone commented on the electric pressure cooker taking up more space than a non-electric one, but I found that I was able to get rid of my slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and yoghurt maker, and it has saved me a TON of space … (Just thought I should mention this in case anyone else has those extra appliances.) My pressure cooker is an Instant Pot.

    • Exactly. I kept one very small crockpot and got rid of two other crockpots and a rice cooker.

  28. Please tell me this means we’ll see lots of nutrient – rich Instant Pot recipes now, especially for the Real Plans app. ? We’ve tried a lot we love, but I’m always on the lookout for healthy IP meals. Thanks for this info!

  29. Thanks so much for this post, and your time and effort behind it. It was immensely helpful to me, as I’ve had the same questions.

    I have 1 remaining question, I read that the pressure adulterates proteins, did you come across any information on this issue in your research?

    (I was curious about the AGA you mentioned, which I had never heard of, and went on a research tangent. Very interesting.)

    • I saw this claim as well, and could never find any source that showed that it did or didn’t adulterate proteins… or even find where this idea originally came from. Something I’m still researching…

      • Thanks so much for your response, I so appreciate it and your continued commitment to researching the issue. I saw that a couple people said that Sally Fallen wrote against pressure cooker use in Nourishing Traditions. I got my copy out and looked it up, I found that also, in 2 places, but despite all the other research noted in the book, this issue wasn’t backed up by any.

        • Its on the WAPF website too, I believe. And adulterating proteins is a concern along with loss of nutrients under pressure. I didnt delve into it, just said, oh…no pressure cookery for us. Now I wish I had. Instantpot that does yogurt, its a slowcooker n even a steamer too?? Toooo cool. Alas, pressure cooking’s not good tho 🙁
          Maybe I’ll write WAPF and get a more indepth explanation.
          Its gotta be better that nuking the food. Right??

          • It might well be better than ‘nuking’, who knows? If you find out more from WAPF, please do let us know.

  30. Great for bone broth and soups. I live at 6,000 feet. A friend makes 12-24 hour bone broth the “traditional” way, simmering in a non-pressurized pot. I use a stove top 1 gallon Presto. The heat is more easily controlled than with an electric, and the “pressure regulator” (the rocker) is more immediately responsive. We both like to make bison bone broth and compare. The main difference is that mine takes less than half the time, and comes out richer. I let the cooker simmer for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from heat and put it in the sink and run cold water over the top till the safety valve drops, add more water as needed, then put it back on the stove, bring it back up to “rocking” temp, and go another 90 minutes. This saves cool down time. DON’T TRY THIS WITH AN ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER, KIDS!!!

    Another trick I’ve now begun using: After a few hours (two or three iterations) of pressurized cooking, take the pot off the stove, do a quick-cool down, take out the bones (knock out any partially dissolved marrow into the broth). Put the bones in a denim bag (an old cut-off jeans pant leg will do). Secure one end with large Staples brand binder clips. Holding the open end closed, use a heavy rubber mallet to crack up the bones into smaller pieces (I do this on a cinder block or paver, outside). When you finally decide your broth is done, you will know for certain that you’ve leached out nearly all the bone minerals you can get from your expensive soup bones.

  31. Does anyone ? the Instant pot’s lid, it’s not magnetic. I question if it’s stainless steel? I did have conformation from the company that the pressure gauge is aluminum(the cage on the inside top of of the lid)…
    We just want to be safe 😉

  32. I have just started using my InstaPot and love it. I have a stainless steel one. I toss in my quinoa or rice with the recommended amount of water, throw a few handfuls of spinach, other greens, carrot chunks or other goodies on top, then add either already cooked meat,(usually chicken or beef), some spice and olive oil, butter or coconut oil and hit the rice button!
    My kids love it when I take a frozen pack of bacon, pressure cook it for about 10 minutes, drain the fat, add the quinoa and water and veggies. I just need to start using bacon that doesnt have sulfites and processing chemicals.
    I just bought a liquid smoke that hopefully will give the bacon flavor my kids love, to other dishes!
    I cant wait to make prune plum preserves this summer with just the prune plums and raw dates!!!

  33. My mom uses her antiquated pressure cooker to make her homemade spaghetti sauce. She tosses in all the ingredients, and then walks away. It’s delicious!

  34. Thanks for a wonderful, well researched and beautifully articulated post on the wonders of the pressure cooker! I swear by mine for quick cooking of potatoes and beets (with just the right amount of water so as to preserve nutrients), lentils and beans (with overnight soaking as someone mentioned above) and curries (which get a lovely, rich gravy in the PC versus regular pot). The phytic acid point is great too. Having grown up in India, I’ve been intrigued by the recent commentary on anti-nutrients in lentils and legumes making them a poor choice for optimal health. Indians live on lentils and legumes but almost always prepare them in a pressure cooker after soaking, gaining all the wonderful health benefits without too high a dose of anti-nutrients. My cooker even has an old school whistle which my toddler is not a fan of LOL.

  35. Why does the pressure cooker deactivate phytic acid in grains? I would think the longer you cook them changing the water the better…

    • It seems to be a result of the pressure, but I’m researching this for another post and will hopefully be able to share it soon…

      • Hi Katie, just wondering if you have had a chance to look into the research on this? Does it apply to legumes as well? I’d love to look into it myself, but I have no idea where to start! Thanks for all you do 🙂

        • It does deactivate the phytic acid at a higher rate than just cooking slowly. Here is one study that explains why: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF01088088?LI=true#page-1

          Also, from Food Renegade:
          “PRESSURE COOKING MAKES GRAINS AND LEGUMES MORE DIGESTIBLE BY REDUCING PHYTIC ACID AND LECTINS.

          Yep, you read that right. The great enemies found in grains, seeds, and legumes are reduced far more by pressure cooking than by boiling.

          In this study done on peas, the phytic acid content of peas soaked overnight and then boiled was only reduced by 29%. But in peas that had been soaked overnight and pressure cooked, the phytic acid was reduced by 54%!

          Phytic acid binds minerals and other important nutrients in our digestive tract, keeping us from using them. By reducing the phytic acid content of grains and legumes, we increase their nutrient-availability and render them more digestible.

          Pressure cooking is also on par with fermentation as the best way to reduce the lectins (yet another anti-nutrient) in grains.

          Turns out, pressure cooking may be the best possible way to cook your soaked beans and grains!”

          • Thank you, that is a great help!

            One more quick question: if pressure cooking preserves nutrients, does slow cooking destroy nutrients?

  36. Katie you are AWESOME, THANK YOU

  37. I am very glad you did this research. Now I feel comfortable buying a pressure cooker, as I’ve been considering canning of bone broths, legumes, stews, etc, delish homemade foods for when we’re not up to cooking. Thanks so much.

  38. The comments here make me wish (as a new Instant Pot owner) that I had everyone’s recipes!

  39. I have Presto pressure cooker/canners but haven’t used them for pressure cooking because they are made out of aluminum. Does anyone know if/how much of the metal is transferred to the food? Would love to speed up the process for bone broth and bean/grain preparation without having to buy something else if I can help it.

  40. Nourishing Traditions says NOT to pressure cook. Would love Sally Fallon to weigh in the discussions of PCs n InstantPots.

    • I am curious about that as well.. I wonder if in light of the more recent research, she would have a different opinion now that when she wrote NT

  41. I’ve been using a pressure cooker for over 30 years, and recently switched to using a steamer. Really I actually prefer using the steamer, although they cook very similar, just seems a little easier.

  42. I love my IP …. it is the foremost helpful kitchen tool I have ….. everything I have cooked from meats, grain, rice, beans, greens, I most not forget cheesecake have been very good….. and as commented above the bone broth I have ever made!!!…. the flavor is the best!!! along with no smell…… I love this article as well….. well written! IP cooks with steam under pressure in short times which is best to preserve nutrients, flavor and saves times…. I wish I had one when I was working long hours to prepare better meals!!! Thank you for writing this post!

  43. You’ve got the temperature bit wrong. Pressure cookers use a higher heat due to the pressure. At high altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature due to the lower pressure. A pressure cooker cooks with a high pressure, so has a higher boiling point, and so the food cooks more quickly.

    Now, because the pressure cooker is sealed, you can use a lower heat setting on your stove to cook on a pressure cooker, but inside the temperature is still higher than in a normal pan. Think of it like putting a lid on a normal pan – you might use full power to boil water without a lid, but put the lid on to trap the heat, and you can turn your stove down, but keep the water boiling at 100 degrees celsius. A pressure cooker is the same, but due to the high pressure, it boils water around 120-130 degrees celcius instead.

    Pressure cooking saves nutrients, but it’s because of the reduced cooking time, and not because it’s cooking the food at a lower temperature. If cooking food with a low temperature was faster than cooking it with a high temperature, low temperature slow cookers would be fast!

  44. Hi Katie,
    I’m really glad to see you get the word out about pressure cooking and its benefits. If someone is interested in eating well – the pressure cooker will get them there.

    I would like to clarify that even though you apply less heat – the lowest possible flame on the burner or less wattage than a slow cooker- in pressure cooking this does not mean that the food is cooking at a lower temperature. As you correctly stated, the boiling point of water is raised during pressure cookery. What that means is that the water in a pressure cooker boils at 240-250°F compared to 212°F.

    Although you can set a slow cooker and oven to temperatures as high as 450°F this does not mean that the food is cooking at that temperature. In fact, that’s why the FDA has minimum temperature recommendations for meats & poultry – for example 160°F for ground meat or 140°F for pork – because setting the oven at 350° does not mean that the pork will COOK at 350°F. In fact, the highest temperature any food can boil, braise or brake without pressure is 212°F at sea level. No matter how much MORE heat you apply to the food, the maximum temperature it can achieve is the boiling point.

    Air is such a poor conductor of heat that it’s used as an insulator. Think of a thermos or cooler. It’s the layer of air that keeps the foods in it hot or cold. Similarly, your oven and slow cooker are filled with air which prevents the heat from the flame or heating element from effectively transferring their heat to the food in them.

    Instead, water is a good conductor of temperature which is why it’s faster to boil than bake potatoes. Or why you could stick your hand in a 212°F oven without a problem but you would get a nasty burn sticking your hand in a pot of boiling water (don’t try this).

    Pressure cooking is an air-free wet cooking method so the food DOES cook at a higher temperatures than conventional boiling, braising and baking. The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature at which the food cooks. Cooking food hotter means it will be ready sooner.

    So if vitamins and minerals are destroyed at high temperatures, why is it that they’re more nutritious when pressure cooked?

    As you mentioned, there are several studies that address nutrition in pressure cookery, and let’s be honest, not all of them say that pressure cooking conserves more nutrients than other cooking methods and they haven’t been done on a large variety of fruits and vegetables, either.

    None of the studies I’ve seen spell out WHY pressure cooking vegetables might be in most cases more nutritious than other methods. The suspicion is that it’s not just the AMOUNT of the heat but the DURATION of it that affects vitamins and minerals. Pressure cooking most veggies takes less than 5 minutes and this flash-cooking of the veggies at high temperatures is most likely the reason they retain so much Vitamin C.

    I’m the author of two cookbooks on pressure cooking and the founder of the Hip Pressure Cooking website. I have also consulted for pressure cooker manufacturers (Instant Pot, Kuhn Rikon, Fagor, Magefesa, WMF and Fissler) and provided them with recipes for their materials to promote pressure cookery.

    Ciao,
    L

  45. I love my fogor pressure cooker that I got from my bridal shower!! I also use it alot for making food for my beloeved dog. My recipe is follow: few pounds of boneless chicken meat, half to 1 cup of uncooked rice, a set or two of chicken livers, and some chopped carrots with aprox. two cups of water.I usally cooked for 20 mins high pressure. Once, the pressure is release, I then add a handful of frozen peas in. Thats it, i only need to cook this about one a week or so!
    Another dish that I make all the time is braised pork shoulder. What I do is i get a few pounds of boneless pork should, cut them up into big chucks, throw in half an onion, couple of garlics, half a citrus, some oj, some herbs such as clove, cinnamon, cloves, ground cumin, chili power, garlic powder etc. Half an hr to 45 mins later, I got a pot of delicious pull pork for rice, tacos, sandwich etc!!

    • Thanks for the recipes Sally, I have also been cooking for my 3 scotties but was using the rice cooker for rice and veggies and my Fagor pressure cooker for chicken . I also love my Fagor but after all the comments here I splurged on a 7-1 Instant pot. I will try both of your recipes in that. I guess I really wanted to get the Instant Pot to try the yogurt,plus I wanted to check it out to see if my son and my daughter could use it. Bought one for my son’s birthday and in 2 days he has cooked ribs from the frozen state and a leg of lamb and said they were delicious.I think that means he likes it. I will buy one for my daughter for her birthday.Best thing to have when you work 12 hr. shifts.

  46. Hi Katie, thanks for the fantastic research you do. This blog is one of the first places I stop when doing my own research, and on a topic like this I would have no idea where to start otherwise!
    Just found out that Instant Pot will be released in Australia later this year, yay! All other equivalent products use Teflon.
    Quick question, if pressure cooking preserves nutrients, does that mean slow cooking destroy them? Or are the nutrients also just transferred to the water? I’m also wondering if this is the case for steaming & boiling.

  47. I have Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers. I use to use them all the time and after reading your post I will be using them more often. I really like them and feel they are very safe to use.

  48. Great post – this thought has been bothering me since i got an Instant Pot.Thank you for researching.
    One of the concerns I have is – the rubber/silicone/plastic …not sure what material – inside of the lid -is it safe ? Is it not emitting anything dangerous ? Traditional pressure cookers (stove top ones) do not have a plastic/rubber inside the lid…

    Also – are we challenging nature by coming up with technology that doing things quicker – food was supposed to be cook with natural fuel – are we going against nature? Not questioning anyone but trying to make sure I am feeding my family healthy stuff –not exposing them to anything harmful by cooking things faster using electricity –going away from traditional methods

  49. Interesting article regarding the nutritional values during pressure cooking .I really like it. The general misconception has been made crystal clear.Kudos!

  50. Hi Katie, I have histamine intolerance so anything slow cooked is now out for me. I can’t find anything about how a pressure cooker affects histamine in food, and wondered if you knew? I’d love it if I could eat stews again… Many thanks

    • From what I’ve read, those with histamine intolerance can handle pressure cooked meats if they are cooked fresh (like any meat would be for you), and eaten immediately.

      • Thank you! That’s great news 🙂

  51. I make my bone broth old school, many hours on the stove. The last batch I canned and although it was beautifully gelatinous, after I canned it it was not and would not gel. Does canning broth destroy the healthy gelling benefits? Is freezing a better method of storage? I appreciate a response. I hate the thought of loosing the benefit of my work through improper storage. Thank you.

    • I pour mine directly into quart jars and let it cool in the jars.You should then get a nice fat layer on top of the jar.Cap it and store in the ref.for up to 2 mths.May keep even longer if the fat is intact but I usually use it up by then.I can also then scrape the animal fat off the top and use it for roast potatoes to make them crispy.

  52. Brown Rice: When making Brown rice on the stove top I always soak it over night. I just got a new Pressure Cooker and all the recipes I find for brown rice just throw it in the pot with water and cook it under pressure. What do you advise to get the most nutriment out pressure cooking brown rice?

  53. Thank you for he post. Have you researched on proteins denaturing in pressure cooker? I love my IP, but now I’m doubting about keeping food proteins intact. Thank you.

  54. I had this same question, Wendy, about potential denaturing of proteins with pressure coking. I don’t know if it was too much past the original post, or just no answer available, or what, but my question didn’t get answered (and I still go on without using a pressure cooker). Good luck in your search for answers.
    Best,
    Mary

    • Doesn’t all cooking denature proteins by definition? Since protein structures collapse at 57C (135F), then anything that is cooked is by definition denatured. You could simply warm your beef and chicken to keep the proteins intact, but you wouldn’t be cooking it. Also, don’t forget that stomach acids denature protein as well, although the structures affected are likely to be different. I never understood the problem with denaturing protein: we know that some proteins have enhanced bioavailbility when denatured (cooked): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10564098

  55. Mary, perhaps you don’t understand what denaturing of proteins means? ANY kind of cooking will denature proteins. When you cook an egg by boiling it, for example, it changes the nature of the albumin (denaturing it). There’s no danger to humans in denatured proteins. A pressure cooker is perfectly safe.
    Jenny

  56. My original question is still unanswered. Does canning bone broth destroy the healthy gelatinous properties?

    • Not from what I can tell, especially since the broth has already been boiled at high temperatures.

  57. I guess my question would be are food molecules cooked by a pressure cooker different from other methods? Does the body recognize these denatured proteins and know how to process them?