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Don’t make the famous “pressure cooker” or “Instant Pot” vanilla extract making use of vodka and vanilla bean or follow any type of other recipes that recommend using liquor under pressure – these recipes could an outcome in injury and also fire. Evaporating alcohol is not only flammable yet it can combust unexpectedly.

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This alarm debunks flawed assurances the pressure cooking with liquor is safe in electric pressure cookers or with adjustments (such as utilizing jars or organic release), consists of official statements native manufacturers, the UL criter organization; and, Dr. Marco Bella, professor the Chemistry at Sapienza college of Rome, Italy.

hip info: definitions and also clarifications

alcohol vs. Ethanol -this alarm will describe the alcohol in liquor and wine “ethanol”. That’s because, as Dr. Bella sharp out, alcohols are a class of chemical compounds and it would certainly be confuse to speak to this details compound through such a basic name.

liquor – when referring come liquor, this means distilled soul (aka hard-liquor). This includes, but is not restricted to, vodka, whiskey, tequila, rum, gin and also brandy.1

But first, let’s see how this all obtained started.

How it every began..

Two years ago, a blogger shared she friend’s Vanilla Extract pressure cooker method which requires filling the pressure cooker v 80-proof vodka (40% ethanol) and vanilla beans, pressure food preparation at high pressure. Quickly after, another blogger changed the an approach by proposing putting the same concoction (vodka and also vanilla) into a jar, screwing on the lid to “fingertip tight” and then pressure steaming the liquor-filled jars on a rack. Fast-forward to today, and also a google search alone will yield end a million recipes because that making vanilla extract or other concoctions making use of liquor in the pressure cooker – some even using 190 proof Everclear (which is 92.4% ethanol).


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Frieda Loves Bread Blog “One Pot press Cooker Vanilla Extract Technique” – fair use
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Power pressure Cooker XL official YouTube Channel “Penne alla Vodka” recipe – fair use
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Parie Californian Blog “Instant Pot Limoncello” – same use
LifeHacker “Make Your own Vanilla Extract in simply Two Hours, with Your immediate Pot”
But the perils don’t avoid at blogs. Unfortunately, cooking recipes websites, magazines, apps, booklets and recipe repositories and videos created, or promoted, by pressure cooker manufacturers themselves offer press cooker recipes v the enhancement of liquor.

A manufacturer’s main Facebook group, because that example, yields hundreds the results as soon as searched for “hooch”, “moonshine”, “vodka” or “everclear”- in spite of the reality that each write-up is moderated.

Manufacturers reticent come comment

Pressure cooker manufacturers show up to be wake up to reveal their main policy on the security of pressure food preparation with liquor. I contacted three well-known pressure cooker manufacturers for their policy and also only one to be willing to carry out a statement.

At least, immediate Pot responded through the complying with statement:

Regarding cooking alcohol in instant Pot, over there are numerous factors which can generate source of ignition that the alcohol fume. These room not part of the immediate Pot product and also beyond the regulate of immediate Pot device. We cannot official endorse such use provided the opportunity of unexpected risks. – Robert Wang, CEO, immediate Pot

Kuhn Rikon go not want to comment on the practice, and Fagor America claimed that they do not recommend the use of your product outside of the UL standard. A traditional that, unfortunately, doesn’t deal with the use of liquor to build pressure in the cooker.

UL Standard’s unsure position

A blogger fostering the practice posted the following correspondence v an employee the the UL requirements as evidence that pressure cooking with liquor is safe. The UL’s answer to this blogger is as complies with (emphasis included by me):

Hi Ms. ,I’ve to be asked come answer this inquiry for you. I did some research, and I can’t uncover anything definitively that says it’s unsafe. I found a pair of cooking sites that have recipes post for pressure cookers that appear to employ part alcohol. The UL conventional for pressure Cookers, UL136 is quiet on this, together it does no state any type of risks in the required “Important Safeguards” that forbid the addition of alcohol. So ns inclined come think it’s ok, yet I can’t say because that sure. You can want to think about consulting the manufacturer the your press cooker to view what they say. Expect this helps.Best regards,Nick Staff Engineer

So, basically, because the UL guidelines do not state that it is unsafe this employee was inclined to think it is safe to use alcohol in a push cooker. Maintaining in mind the there not a complete list of items specifically proclaimed in the guidelines as unsafe – for instance gasoline (don’t shot it) – this walk not show up to be precise conclusion.

I contacted UL Standards straight to obtain clarification on their research methods, their usage of omission as proof of safety, and also get their official statement on the practice of pressure cooking with liquor. In enhancement to a an individual invitation to tour their experimentation facilities in Illinois at your expense, they provided the complying with statement because that me to incorporate in this alert…

UL creates standards and tests commodities for safety and security under regular use. UL does no evaluate push cookers because that use through flammable liquids. If a product has been 3rd party certified, consumers deserve to be assured the product will run safely if supplied as directed by the manufacturer. Safety and security instructions state “Do no use pressure cooker for other than plan use”. – Barb Guthrie, VP, UL.

So… what identify safety?

When i contacted Dr. Bella because that his expertise on this issue, even before discussing the mechanics the liquor in the pressure cooker, the took worry with bloggers assuring the security of this exercise solely based on the reality that points went well because that them.

Specifically, Dr. Bella desires to make it clear that warming up ethanol, which is a very flammable liquid, have to only be excellent in a managed environment (a chemical activities or a distillery), and also only by means of device which has actually been specifically designed and also tested because that this specific purpose. A procedure that entails warming up any type of flammable liquids can be considered reasonably safe only if it was broadly tested.

“I definitively discourage anyone to warm up ethanol of other flammable liquids in push cookers, which are designed to heat up water and not various other liquids,” stated Bella.

Any cooking technique cannot be assumed to be safe also if someone write-ups a video describing that on the Internet, according to Bella. The poster might not have had actually problems, yet might simply have been lucky. Making the unlikely the someone who had challenge pressure cooking with liquor would article videos, image or warnings ~ above the net or even report such an accident.

Ultimately, pressure cooking using liquor can not be thought about safe until it is proven to be for sure by individuals qualified to make such assertions. Researchers in a laboratory are qualified; home cooks in a kitchen likely are not.

Pressure cooking with liquor

When liquor is push cooked the is technically being re-distilled; but, rather of redirecting, cooling and also actually distilling the ethanol vapors a home pressure cooker releases a cloud of this combustible vapors in her kitchen.

Basically, in distillation, the different boiling points between water and ethanol are provided to separate them to do a stronger concentrate. Due to the fact that ethanol boils at 173°F (79°C) and water in ~ 212°F (100°C) – distillers record the very first vapors to evaporate and immediately condensation them to eventually concentrate into a liquor.2

But, if girlfriend pressure chef liquor the valve releases ignitable vapors over and around your press cooker. If a spark to be to ignite the combustible vapors exit from the valve of a push cooker, they might serve together a wick come combust the highly-concentrated alcoholic liquid and vapors that remain inside the pressure cooker.

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I personally know of at least two mishaps involving pressure food preparation with liquor.

One i made myself as sooner or later I absent-mindedly replaced white wine with Limoncello liquor in a chicken recipe. I smelled something burning in the kitchen and also my pressure cooker was shooting flames from the valve. Thankfully, the ethanol to be sufficiently diluted by the various other ingredients inside the press cooker to prevent an explosion, yet I didn’t yet recognize this while ns crawled on my kitchen floor to revolve off the cooker. Don’t shot this.

A well known chef, who runs a free online pressure cooking school, was inspired to bring his cooker to push with Rum to further flavor his pressure cooker caramelized banana recipe. That didn’t finish well. Don’t try this, either.

Is that possible to usage liquor in your push cooker and not have any problem? Yes, the possible, but it is just not worth the risk. Please, don’t perform it.

If you’ve had an accident pressure cooking with liquor – we want to listen from girlfriend – please contact me privately come share her experience.

Frequently request Questions about Liquor and also Pressure Cookers

Is it ever ok to pressure chef using liquor?

There space two exceptions as soon as pressure food preparation with liquor might be considered reasonably safe.

The an initial is once the alcohol is burned-off (to dry) – together as when sauteing ingredients for a recipe or de-glazing a pan together all the liquids are evaporated prior to locking the lid onto the pressure cooker and bringing it to pressure.

The other is the use of a tablespoon or 2 of liquor in a cake-type recipe that is steamed. Because it will certainly be combined with other ingredients the concentration that the ethanol will certainly be reduced.

Why is it reasonably safer to pressure chef wine and beer compared to liquor?

A bottle of wine includes on average 11% alcohol and beer 4% yet liquor deserve to contain 40-95% – the concentration that ethanol in liquor is much higher than in alcohol or beer. The lower the ethanol content, the higher the temperature that the solution needs to be because that it come evaporate.3

According come Dr. Bella, when pressure food preparation wine, also though ethanol vapors might still exit the valve, if they to be to ignite, the fire would not travel into the press cooker and also ignite the contents under push (as can happen v liquor) because of the lower all at once concentration of ethanol inside the pressure cooker.

There’s a long background of alcohol being offered in pressure cooker recipes through no reported mishaps or main warnings. And, as mentioned earlier, the fact that there room no reported accidents is not sufficient to take into consideration a practice completely safe.

While the vintage American push cooker booklets ns consulted did not contain any kind of recipes containing one of two people liquor or alcohol – likely because of the reality that most cookers sold were aluminum (which is reactive) and as a an effect from the 13-year ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages – the vintage booklet I gathered from Italy offers wine rather liberally. In the 1967 fifth edition the Cucinare Bene a Meta’ Tempo (Cooking well in fifty percent the Time) dispersed with Lagostina’s stainless steel pressure cookers 44 the the 77 meat recipes use wine together a fluid for the cooker to with pressure. Over there are additionally six recipes that use liquor yet it is either fully evaporated before pressure cooking or mixed-in afterward for flavor or flambè.

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Cucinare Bene a Meta’ Tempo (Cooking well in fifty percent the Time) &c; 1967

There is no history of liquor being supplied in a push cooker together the fluid for the cooker to reach pressure, together the key ingredient because that a recipe, or in a jar (more ~ above this later). 

While you have to still take basic precautions as soon as pressure food preparation with wine and also beer (which I information in this post) there is no historical precedent of pressure cooking liquor – and also there is credible first-person evidence that that is not safe. Don’t perform it.

Aren’t electric pressure cookers safer for pressure cooking with liquor?

It is a myth that just because electric push cookers don’t use an open up flame the they cannot cause sparks.  The contents from i m sorry they are made, for instance a relay switch, can cause sparks during normal operation4. Also, also a an easy static discharge indigenous the chief or even simply transforming on a light switch could reason a spark which would ignite any adjacent ethanol fumes.

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Here’s a photo of prompt Pot’s relay switch, in addition to an sector photo with a transparent casing which reflects the contacts the “click” as soon as the heating facet is gift turned on and off (see graph in following section). The clicking of these metal contacts in the switch can reason an arc (electrical discharge).