Physics Behind Pressure Cooker

We all know that cooking food in a pressure cooker will make food be cooked faster and it might even be “better” cooked. But have you ever really think how does pressure cooker works? What is the physics behind it? Well, we did...


How does pressure cooker works?

Under normal air pressure, at sea level height, water starts boiling if heated over 212°F (we say 212° F, but this temperature can be lower if cooking is done in the higher altitude (around 203°F in Denver, CO, for example). Boiling is a process in which water turns from a liquid state into a gas state. This happens when water molecules are producing enough energy to overcome the air pressure above it and turn into vapor, and they do that influenced by the heat. So, if you are cooking something (in water), the max temperature you can do it at is just above 212°F, after which water will start to evaporate and eventually won’t be there… To overcome this, you can increase the pressure around the water, and that pressure will keep water molecules from turning water into vapor, which effectively means you will be cooking food in a water that is heated above 212°F. This is essentially how a pressure cooker works.


More details on pressure cooker physics

Due to the reasons we explained above, in pressure cooker the air pressure is much higher than normal air pressure at the sea level (double the normal air pressure). To overcome that increased pressure and turn into vapor, water molecules need more energy, which means water needs/can to be heated even more…and it gets heated around 250°F in a pressure cooker. This higher temperature, combined with higher pressure inside the cooker (which further forces the heat into the food even more) helps cooking food inside pressure cooker significantly faster.


Electric pressure cookers

While old pressure cookers were basically pots with special lid that has a mechanism and is designed to keep the pressure inside at acceptable and safe level, their flaw was/is that you cannot open the lid to see if the food is done…because if want to do that, and you open the lid, you release all the built pressure and if food is not done, you need to close it and wait to heat to the needed temperature again. Newer, smart electric pressure cookers solved this problem with smart controls and preset modes! Now all you need to do is put the food inside, select needed preset mode and leave it to do its work. At any moment you can see the temperature your food is cooking on and see the pressure level inside.


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  1. Reservation function, you can put ingredients into the pot before going to work or at any time. After clicking the reservation, you can enjoy the food directly when you come back from get off work, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to cook anymore;
  2. Over-pressure protection, when the pressure in the pot exceeds the standard, avoid over-pressure lifting the lid or exploding the pot, safe and reliable;
  3. Heat preservation function, the machine automatically keeps warm after cooking, so that every meal is full of warmth, and the food is not cold when you come home late;
  4. Automatic pressure relief, the sensing probe in the electric pressure cooker can adjust the internal air pressure at any time and complete automatic pressure relief after the program ends;
  5. Temperature control protection, the electric pressure cooker automatically samples and monitors the temperature in the pot through the temperature sensor. When the temperature in the pot is higher than the control setting value, the energized contact of the switch is instantly separated, thereby cutting off the circuit to protect safety;
  6. Pressure adjustment, during cooking, if the air pressure in the pot exceeds the safe pressure, the fire power will be automatically reduced until the air pressure returns to normal.


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