Thursday, May 14, 2009

High altitude cooking

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High altitude cooking is the opposite of pressure cooking in that the boiling point of water will be lower at higher altitudes due to the decreased air pressure. This lower temperature results in a lowered boiling point of water and may require an increase in cooking times or temperature and alterations of recipe ingredients. For home cooking, this effect becomes relevant at altitudes above approximately 2000 feet (600 meters). At that altitude, water boils at approximately 208oF (98oC) and adjustments sometimes need to be made to compensate for the reduced air pressure/water boiling point.


1 Boiling

2 Baking

3 Methods used at high altitudes

4 Boiling point of pure water at elevated altitudes

5 See also

6 External links



This method of cooking at high altitude can be compensated for by increasing cooking times.


Breads and cakes will usually require additional adjustments such as increased dry ingredients and higher oven temperature at elevations above approximately 3500 feet (1000 meters).

Methods used at high altitudes

From pressure cooking: A pressure cooker is often used by mountain climbers to compensate for the low atmospheric pressure at a very high altitude. Under these circumstances water boils at temperatures significantly below 100 and without the use of a pressure cooker, may leave boiled foods undercooked, as described in Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle:

At the place where we slept water necessarily boiled, from the diminished pressure of the atmosphere, at a lower temperature than it does in a less lofty country; the case being the converse of that of a Papin's digester. Hence the potatoes, after remaining for some hours in the boiling water, were nearly as hard as ever. The pot was left on the fire all night, and next morning it was boiled again, but yet the potatoes were not cooked. I found out this, by overhearing my two companions discussing the cause, they had come to the simple conclusion, "that the cursed pot [which was a new one] did not choose to boil potatoes."

Boiling point of pure water at elevated altitudes

Based on the standard sea-level atmospheric pressure of 101.3 kPa:

Altitude, m

Boiling point of water,

















With the addition of salt and other dissolved substances, the boiling temperature will increase.

See also


Pressure cooking


External links

Boiling point of water vs altitude

High altitude cooking tips

Cooking at high altitudes

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