No Need to Adjust Cooking Times in Pressure Cooker When Doubling or Tripling a Recipe

If I had a dollar each time someone asked me about adjusting the cooking time for a recipe in the pressure cooker, I would probably be able to afford a nice cup of tea each week. (I have been asked this twice in the past few days which is what prompted this post.)

Me and my pressure cooker

Me and my pressure cooker

Rest assured that even without those dollars, I do enjoy many nice cups of tea each week. Let me explain, though, about the cooking times in the pressure cooker and why you don’t have to change anything about the cooking time.

Let’s say that instead of cooking 1 cup of brown rice and adding 1 1/2 cups of water and cooking for 20 minutes, you want to cook 2 cups of brown rice. Using The Veggie Queen’s magic grain cooking algorithm you would add another cup of rice and 1 1/4 cups more liquid (of your choice). You would have 2 cups of rice and 2 3/4 cups of liquid. You lock the lid on the pressure cooker and wait for it to come to pressure and start timing for 20 or 22 minutes, according to how you cooked you like your rice.

The pressure cooker will naturally take longer to get to pressure because there is more liquid in the pot. It will also take longer to do the “natural pressure release” because the pot will be hotter with the additional liquid. The time will not double but might increase by 20 to 30% depending upon what you are cooking and if you are doubling, tripling or making multiple servings of your dish.

The same principle applies when you cook beans, soup, chili, curry or any other dish in the pressure cooker. You just cook for the amount of time indicated in a recipe. The cooker does the work for you.

Isn’t this handy?

Whether you use a stove top or an electric pressure cooker, this is the case. This is just another reason that I love pressure cooking so much. It takes the work out of cooking. Rice takes 20 minutes at pressure even if you cook 4 cups, although some people say that I am trying to fool them with this statement. I am not.

Truth be told, it will take longer to cook 4 cups of rice than just 1 cup, but no matter what it will likely still take less time than cooking rice on the stove top. This is even more true for beans, which might take 1 hour on the stove top and just 8 minutes at pressure in the pressure cooker.

If you have any comments or any other pressure cooker questions, please feel free to leave them here. I love getting more people to use the pressure cooker. It changes lives…



  1. Terry satherlie says

    Thank you & please have a cup of tea on me!!!
    New to the world of pressure cooking & this was my #1 question, among many others….
    I’m sooooo enjoying this new ( to me!) way of FAST COOKING, & HEALTHY!
    Best Regards, 
    Terry Satherlie

  2. Marvin Israel says

    I found out that my Kuhn-Rikon pressure cooker’s “high” setting is only 11.5 lbs, not 15 lbs. So I did some complicated arithmetic and increased a recipe’s 3 minutes to 3:30. Did I figure that correctly? (I bought that Kuhn-Ricon a few years back after the NYT called it “the Rolls-Royce of pressure cookers.”) I wonder if the Fagor was available then. Big saving of money and a better deal with the glass cover.

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      If it were me, I would probably use the recommended time, without adjustment, and then add some time on the back end, if needed.
      While I think that the Kuhn Rikon is beautiful and stylish, it is not a value pressure cooker. Fagor will win each time on that criteria.

  3. says

    I have 4 PC’s, 2-Fagors, (6 at & 10 qt) 1- 6 qt. rocker type, plus my 16 presto canner/ cooker!

    My question is: can I install a steam pressure guage on my Fagors? 

    I don’t see so well, and I like the guage so much better, since almost no steam escapes the FAGOR when it’s at the optimal pressure. Hard for me to see unless I’m standing right over it!

    Otherwise, I love my Fagors!

    These things are the cat’s meow for hard boiled eggs! So much better than boiling on stove!

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      I have no idea about installing a gauge on your Fagor cookers. My instinct tells me that you cannot do it.

      I know my Fagor cooker is sealed when I turn the heat down and the button stays up and little, if any, steam escapes. I know that the manufacturer says that it ought to have a steady stream of steam but that has not been my experience.

      You have quite a collection. Keep on pressure cooking.

  4. Annie says

    I love this idea and it makes sense to me, but sadly it doesn’t fit with my experience. I have the Instant Pot IP Lux60 and it says in the manual that the recommended cooking times are based on a small or medium amount of food, and to add more water and increase cooking time by 20-40% for larger amounts. Indeed I’ve found, for example, that 3 cups of dried chickpeas and 6 cups of water takes 70 min under pressure, and 4 cups chickpeas and 8 cups water takes 85 min. I haven’t noticed a difference with rice. Can you think of what I might be doing wrong?

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      I am not sure what you are doing as I have not ever had chickpeas take loner than 40 minutes at pressure when cooked from dry. That is a long time.
      I honestly have never cooked anything in any pressure cooker for more than 1 hour, and that is infrequent.
      Do you have hard water? Live at altitude? Have older beans? All of these can contribute to longer cooking times.
      I hope that this changes for you soon.

  5. Sara says

    I understand why cooking times don’t increase. (My pressure cooker cookbook explained it and I had to explain it to my mom… haha!) I’m more concerned with how much liquid to add to the doubled recipe. I’ve got a pasta dish (Cheeseburger Macaroni) I’d like to double and my gut is telling me I need to double the liquid for the noodles to absorb, where you wouldn’t need to double it (simply put in the minimum cup or half cup liquid amount) if you were just cooking chicken breasts or something. Thoughts?

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      Since I don’t cook chicken, I can’t exactly comment on the chicken specifically but what you say makes sense to me.
      Pasta in the cooker is tricky but I would probably double the liquid because it needs a lot of it, the pasta needs to be covered.
      When cooking grains you actually don’t completely double so it’s often tough to say exactly what you’ll need.

  6. says

    The last two times I’ve used my Instant Pot, I had something odd/wrong happen…. the first time I was cooking steel cut oats (a relatively small amount with an appropriate amount of water), and tonight I was cooking 3 cups of quinoa with 3 cups of water.

    In both cases, the PC did not come up to pressure, and it acted as though the lid was not correctly closed…. steam was rushing out of it all around the edge of the lid! This has never happened before. In both cases I checked to ensure that the seal was in the sealed position, not the vent position. In both cases, I turned the whole thing off and waited for it to cool down on its own. I then carefully examined the gasket to see if it seemed damaged or out of position.

    Nothing seemed off in any way that I could discern. Any ideas?

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      Did you check the gasket to see if it was seated correctly? This often the cause of issues like what you mention.

  7. Leslie says

    Just received my PC…I cooked 1 cup of black beans (after doing the quick soak method for the beans). They came out perfect…all right success! So my next test was to try 2 cups of black beans soaking like before. This time they came out mush (guess I will turn them into “re fried” beans). What went wrong? They did take longer to come up to pressure and longer to release the pressure.
    I live at 8,000 ft, have a Presto 6 qt stainless. Both batches of beans were from the same package. Any help would be appreciated! 

    • Jill NussinowJill Nussinow says

      I am wondering how much liquid you added to your beans when cooking them. If you use too much water you can end up with overcooked beans. I recommend 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid for each dry cup of beans that you have soaked. Perhaps that was the problem. I hope so.

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