Maillard reaction in a pressure cooker

The Maillard reaction happens at 140 to 165 °C (280 to 330 °F). Does this change at different pressures? Water can go past 100°C in a pressure cooker, how high does it go in a standard pressure cooker?

  • Posted by: tejolson
  • December 26, 2020


Lori T. December 26, 2020
The temperature at which the Maillard reaction begins is fixed. So that won't change regardless of the temperature you expose the food to. In a pressure cooker, the temperature at which water will boil is raised as the pressure increases. At 11 pounds of pressure, the temperature will be about 235F, and at 15 pounds of pressure, it will reach 250F. I do not know of a standard pressure cooker which will tolerate pressures much greater than that without having triggered the fail safe devices built in to prevent catastrophic explosion.
tejolson December 26, 2020
So I can't the Maillard reaction through conventional means in a pressure cooker. I would need much higher than 15 psi. Which they wont make due to safety reasons and the structural limitations of the pot and metals we use. Is it possible to get the Maillard reaction by putting the meat in jars and put them on the bottom of the pot?
Lori T. December 26, 2020
The Maillard reaction does occur in a pressure cooker to a limited extent. But if you wanted the usual browned appearance on a roast, for instance- you would do far better to sear the meat first, and then pressure cook. You can also do a reverse sear in some cases, and brown the meat after cooking is finished. You can do this in a skillet, or even on a rack under a broiler. The short blast of heat needed will not significantly overheat your finished meat, and you will get the browned appearance you are after.
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