How much water to give in a pressure cooker? (Explained Simply with Facts)

How-much-water-is-required in Pressure Cooker
How much water is required in a Pressure Cooker?

A pressure cooker is a common and important cooking appliance. Almost all houses in India have them and use them.

The food item should be completely underwater. If the food expands in volume on cooking, then the ratio of food : water should be 1:1.5. If the food shrinks on cooking, then food: water should be 1.5:1.

Cooking is easy and faster that is why it is common.

How does a pressure cooker work?

Pressure cooker cooks food at high pressure. The water inside the cooker boils and produces steam. The cooker traps the steam. The steam starts building and it raises internal pressure.

This permits a high cooking temperature. This along with direct heat transfer from the steam cooks your food.

This is why how much water you are going to give is important. If you want to know more about pressure cooking, then read this article on Wikipedia.

You will also get different capacities of Pressure cooker. You can read our recommendations by clicking the buttons below.

Now let us see the importance of appropriate amount of water in pressure cooking.

Why do you need to know the amount of water required for a pressure cooker?

Are you cooking food in a pressure cooker for the first time? You might be thinking that what is the big deal?

Yes, it is a big deal.

Do you want to know what happen with me? I started cooking, I think 15 years back. When I cooked rice in a pressure cooker for the first two times, I burnt the food. Not once but twice.

Guess what, I was staying in a hostel and I had no other food source. So I ate them.

Well, the reasons were: I had no idea, how long it will take? I never knew, how much water it requires?

But then I learned to cook food. Yea the hard way.

What will happen if the amount of water in a pressure cooker is more or less?

An optimum level of water is very important.

If less water is used, less water will boil. This will result in the formation of less steam. Less steam means the required pressure will not cook properly.

So you will not be able to hear any whistle. Soon you will smell of something burning. This will be your food burning.


If you use less water in a pressure cooker your food will not be cooked properly and also it will burn.

On the other hand, if you use more water, then your food will overcook and the excess water will come out along with food particles, from the holes of the steam vent.

This will create a mess over the pressure cooker lid and over your stove.

It can also block the steam vent. This will be dangerous if not cleaned properly.

So, excess water in a pressure cooker will overcook your food, will make your cooking messy and will put you in danger.   

These are the reasons why an optimal amount of water is necessary for cooking food in a pressure cooker.

How much water is required in a pressure cooker?

The optimum amount of water depends on the type of food you are going to cook. If you look at the types of food you cook in a pressure cooker. You will see there are two types of food that we cook in a pressure cooker.

  1. Which expands in volume, after cooking in a pressure cooker. Like rice, different types of dal, etc.
  2. One which gives more water on heating. These are those food items that have good water content. Like meat, green vegetables and fruits.

As for example if you put uncooked rice on a hot pan, it will burn. But if you put a vegetable on a hot pan it will leave the water and then get shrunken and then finally it will burn.

So, the requirement for water is different for these types of food items.

Also, the optimum water required depends on the type of recipe you are cooking. If you like to have more gravy, put more water.

If you like to make a dry recipe or a thicker gravy, then put as much water it requires to get cooked.

In my opinion, the food item should be submerged within the water. Completely submerging means the food should be completely underwater.

This does not mean that you have to put a lot of water.

Example: for cooking 1 cup of rice use 1 and a half cups of water.

In case, your food shrinks on cooking. Have food and water in a ratio of 1.5:1.

The exact amount of water required will depend on:

  1. How much quantity of food you are cooking?
  2. What kind of food you are cooking?
  3. Where (at what altitude) you are cooking?

Do not worry, there is nothing to worry about. I always believe cooking is like an experiment. You will finally get it right. Once you get it. Keep doing it.

How much water is required in a pressure cooker for cooking rice?

In India, we have different varieties of rice. If you want you can take a quick look at the rice list in India according to Wiki.

White rice is the commonest one that we use.

There are two techniques to measure the quantity of water to pour in a pressure cooker for cooking rice.

  1. The crease method.
  2. The cup method.

I like the crease method.

Crease method:

Once I pour the required amount of rice. I dip my ring finger in the pressure cooker. In such a way that the top of the finger will touch the upper surface of rice.

Now I will pour water until 1 and a half crease of the ring finger.

I have been cooking rice like this. I have never burnt it or overcooked it and undercooked it. Oh yes, I will only wait for 2 whistles. After that, I will wait so that the pressure releases by itself.

I know this is not an exact way. I do wash my fingers before dipping them. So it is hygienic.  

But if you want something to measure with then go for the cup way.

Cup Method:

In this table, you will find the required information. Remember 1 cup = 250 ml.

Type of Rice Rice quantity Cups of water  
White rice   (fine) 1 cup (250 ml) 1.5 cup (375ml)
White rice (Broken) 1 cup (250ml) 1.25cup (350ml)
Brown rice 1 cup (250ml) 1.5 cup (375ml)
Basmati rice (fine) 1 cup (250 ml) 1 cup (250 ml)
Basmati rice (Broken) 1 cup (250ml) 1 cup (250 ml)
Jasmine rice 1 cup (250 ml) 1 cup (250 ml)
Water requirements for cooking rice in a pressure cooker

This chart will help you figuring out the optimum amount of water required. But do follow the following steps:

  1. Take the required amount of rice in a cup.
  2. Pour it in a pot and wash it.
  3. Pour the washed rice in a pressure cooker.
  4. Pore the required amount of water.
  5. Start cooking.
  6. Wait for 2 whistles.
  7. Switch of the gas.
  8. Let the pressure get released automatically.

In this way you will get a finely cooked rice.

How much water is required in a pressure cooker for meat or chicken?

Poultry food items like chicken meat will release water on cooking. This fluid juice is what we call as chicken broth.   

It is good for making many recipes. It is also good for health.

If you are cooking chicken in a pressure cooker, with the lid open. You will see that after some time your pressure cooker will have some fluid in it along with the chicken. You will see this, even if you have not added a single drop of water.   

This is the broth coming out of the chicken and your chicken meat getting cooked. Now if you add more water, you will dilute the amount and number of spices.

So, I recommend once you have added spices in your chicken which was getting cooked. Add 1 cup of water to it. Close the lid and wait for it to cook.

If you want to make soup, you can add more water.

Also, I have seen some poultry chicken meat releases more water. So, if that is the case and you will find your gravy more diluted.

In that case, there is nothing to worry about. Open the lid after releasing the pressure. And keep on cooking.  Let the excess water evaporate from the gravy.

Yes, it will take more time and consume a bit more gas.

But when it comes to the best taste, no compromise.

Also Read

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A pressure cooker is common in India. Almost every household uses a pressure cooker. If you are just starting to use one. Read this article It will help you.

It will give you an idea of how much water you will require to put in a pressure cooker to cook the food.

Happy cooking. Bon App├ętit.