Cook With Pressure Overview

Hello and welcome to Cook With Pressure. This review website was put together by a group of local chefs from Chicago to help foodies buy the best pressure cooker. On this website, not only will you find pressure cooker reviews, you will also find tips and recipes for using your newly bought pressure cooker. Thanks for visiting and we hope you will enjoy our reviews.

Pressure cookers are a handy cooking tool. Popular in Europe, pressure cookers are just beginning to be popular in America. Pressure cookers give you the ability to cook your food fast. Imagine being able to cook dry beans in about ten minutes. Not only does your food cook faster with a pressure cooker, but the flavor is more intense. The steam helps to infuse your food with flavor. It is also a healthy way to cook your food without compromising the flavor of the food. This guide will help you know what to look for when purchasing a pressure cooker.

 
"Budget" Model
(under $100)
"Premium" Model
($100-200)
"Luxury" Model
(over $200)
Brand and ModelPresto 6-Quart Pressure CookerFagor 8-Quart Pressure CookerFissler Vitaquick
Price and Image
Rating4.5 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.3 out of 5 stars
Customer Reviews1,567 customer reviews438 reviews44 reviews
Capacity6 quart8 quart8.5 quart
MaterialStainless SteelStainless Steel and AluminumStainless Steel

Recommended Models

The Fissler Vitaquick pressure cooker has received great reviews. It is priced high at $269, but it is worth the money that you will spend. It is made of Stainless steel although it has an aluminum base that helps the pot to heat evenly. There is an easy to monitor spring valve pressure regulator that has a high and low cook setting, with the high being at 15 psi. It is said that it is better to cook delicate food (like fish) at a lower pressure. This pressure cooker also comes with a cooking rack that can be used to place food in so that they cook above the cooking liquids.

A mid-priced pressure cooker that still performs very well is the Fagor Duo 8-quart pressure cooker priced at $110 on amazon.com. This cooker is made of stainless steel but it has an aluminum bottom. It cooks evenly and it won’t burn your food. The base is wide so that you have room to brown your meats in the bottom before you pressure cook. You can pressure cook at two different pressure settings: 8 psi and 15 psi. Also included with this product is: a cooking basket and a 10 year warranty. All-American-pressure-cookerAnother great option is the All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner. It is priced at $180 for a 10.5 quart up to $394 for a 41.5 quart. You can find this pressure cooker in 15.5-quart, 21.5-quart, 25-quart, and 30-quart volumes.

Lastly, the Presto Stainless Steel pressure cooker is the best affordable option that still receives great reviews. It is priced at $45.99 on amazon.com. This is a six quart pressure cooker. It is a little smaller, but still a good size for a small family. There is a weighted valve pressure regulator and a steam release mechanism. There is a 12 year warranty for this product.

What is a Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a pot that comes in several different sizes. The lid of the pot can be locked in tight so that when you add water and turn on the heat, the steam from the water gets trapped inside the pot. This steam creates an airtight environment inside the pot which raises the pressure and the temperature. This pressurized environment infuses steam into the food and helps to cook your food ten times faster. A pressure cooker cooks food at the same speed as a microwave, but the pressure cooker creates a better tasting food. The taste of the food from a pressure cooker is comparable to food that is cooked in a slow cooker. In the end you have food that tastes like it has been cooked in a slow cooker but at the speed of a microwave.

A pressure cooker can be used to cook a wide variety of food. It can cook soups and steam vegetables, but also can cook meatloaf, ribs and even some desserts like flan. Anything that you could cook in a slow cooker, you can also cook in a pressure cooker. There are several cookbooks that can be purchased to help you in your search of the best pressure cooker recipes. (Read “How to Use a Pressure Cooker” by Presto).

Pressure Cooker Recipe Books

To get you started on pressure cooking, these are three of the best pressure cooker recipe books we have chosen from over thousands. These books will help you get the hang of using your pressure cooker and pressure cooking as well as preserving and canning. Once you are familiar with the whole process, you will be more comfortable using your machine and creating your own recipes too. Browse our recipes here.

Title
Price and Image
AuthorBob WardenJudi Kingry (Editor), Lauren Devine (Editor) Vickie Smith
Rating5 out of 5 stars4.7 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars
Customer Reviews1 customer reviews814 reviews24 reviews
What's inside- easy and quick pressure cooker recipes
- pressure cooking essentials
- safety tips
- 400 home canning and preserving recipes
- safe canning and preserving methods
- 215 pressure cooker recipes
- pressure cooker tips and tricks

Features of a Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a pot usually with one long handle and occasionally with a short, support handle on the opposite side. The lid has the ability to lock in place. There is also a vent pipe which is a small opening on the lid that allows the excess steam to escape the pot. Also on this vent pipe is where you put the pressure regulator. The pressure regulator monitors the amount of pressure in the pot. There may also be additional features including a cooking rack that you can place inside the pressure cooker that helps in cooking your food.

There are many options to look into when you are looking to purchase the best pressure cooker. The purpose of this section is to review those options and list some of the pros and cons of each of the options so that you can make an informed decision. As you read, decide what features are important to you and then with those features in mind, you can look for the best pressure cooker to fit your budget.

Size of the Pressure Cooker

The first thing to think about is what size pot you need to buy. What will you be using your pressure cooker for? How many people do you typically cook for? The typical sizes are four, six and eight quart liquid capacity. Liquid capacity is the amount of liquid you can put in the pot to fill it up to the brim. The amount of usable space in each pot is about half of the liquid capacity because one typically would not fill a pot with food up to the brim, usually it would be filled half way. This is something to keep in mind when you decide what size you need.

pressure-cooker-sizes

A four quart pot is perfect for a single person or a couple. A six quart pot is the right size for a small family and the eight quart is what you should buy for a large family. There are also additional sizes of sixteen, eighteen and twenty-three quart pots. These larger sizes are typically used for canning although if you are cooking for a very large group, perhaps you may need a larger size.

Material of the Pressure Cooker

There are two different types of material that are used to make pressure cookers: aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum is a lightweight material. You will enjoy how the aluminum provides uniform heating. Typically the aluminum pressure cookers are less expensive. The problem with aluminum is that it is not very durable. It will not stand the test of time. It will stain and also some of the food particles may become permanently cooked into the pot.

Stainless steel is heavier and more expensive. It will last a lot longer than aluminum. The problem with stainless steel is that it is not a good conductor of heat. If you purchase a pot made completely of stainless steel, you will find that your food cooks unevenly and that there are hot spots in your pot. There is the option of purchasing a stainless steel model with a bi or tri metal base. This means that there is aluminum bonded to the outside, bottom of the pan in order to improve heat conduction.

Pressure Regulator

An important feature on your pressure cooker is the pressure regulator. This is the device that indicates and controls the amount of cooking pressure in the pot. When looking at the pressure regulator, make sure that the piece is removable. This is important in cleaning your pressure cooker. It is also essential that you choose one with a maximum operating pressure of 15 psi. Fifteen psi is the standard cooking pressure used in most recipes. There are some pressure cookers that don’t allow for that much pressure. If your pressure cookers maximum pressure is any less than 15 psi, it is an indication that you are buying a cheaper model.

pressure-cooker-regulatorThe less pressure allowed in the pot means that the manufacturer used a less sturdy, cheaper material to construct the pot. Also, if you have a higher pressure inside your pot, you will have a shorter cooking time. If you buy a pressure cooker with a maximum pressure of 10 psi, your food will not cook as quickly as a 15 psi model. Not only are you getting a cheaper pressure cooker, but you will have to cook your recipes for longer.

There are three types of pressure regulators: a weighted valve regulator, a modified weighted valve regulator and a spring valve pressure regulator.

  1. The weighted valve regulator, also known as the jiggle top pressure regulator is the least expensive option of the three. It monitors the amount of pressure with a rocking motion. It starts to rock when the cooking has begun. Once it starts rocking, turn the heat down to maintain a slow and gentle rock.
  2. The modified weighted valve pressure regulator is varies in price, it could be a moderate price or a slightly higher price. This regulator doesn’t rock, it releases short bursts of steam when the cooking begins. Once the steam begins to release, adjust the heat down for steady cooking.
  3. The spring valve pressure regulator is a pop up valve. The valve is about one inch high and is spring loaded. It starts to rise as the pressure in the pot goes up. This regulator is the most common in modern pressure cookers and it is also the most expensive. There are usually two cooking pressures with this regulator (10 or 15 psi). The spring valve pressure regulator is not audible. You have to watch the regulator to know when the pot is ready and then adjust the temperature down for cooking.

Depressurization

It is important to take into consideration how to depressurize the pressure cooker, so as to safely remove your cooked food from your pressure cooker. There are a couple ways to depressurize and something to be aware of when you are purchasing your pressure cooker.

The first way that a pressure cooker can be depressurized is with a pressure release valve. With the pressure release valve, you simply open up a release mechanism and the steam is allowed to escape the pot. Once the pressure is down, the pot can be opened. Some pressure cookers don’t have this release mechanism and you can either put the pot in cold water or you can let it sit for several minutes. This helps the pot cool down and at the same time, release the pressure enough to allow you to open it.

Other Things to Look for in a Pressure Cooker

The lid of your pressure cooker should be interlocking. This is an important safety feature that all pressure cookers have. Some of the best pressure cookers may have a cooking rack. These racks may sit high above the bottom of the pot. These racks help you to cook your food above the cooking liquid. Also with a cooking rack, you may be able to cook more than one food simultaneously. You can place one food in the liquid at the bottom of the pot and then one food can be placed in the cooking rack.

When looking for the best pressure cooker, it should be durable enough to last a lifetime. Most pressure cookers have a warranty for ten or more years. Make sure your pressure cooker is covered under a warranty. Although the pressure cooker may last for several years, you occasionally may need to replace a pressure regulator, a valve or other small part that may break from continued use. For this reason it is best to buy a pressure cooker from a well-known company that has been around for many years. This will hopefully ensure that they will be around for many years to come and will be able to supply you with any parts you may need in the future.

On the market today are several electric pressure cookers. This type of pressure cooker is not built to last. Usually they only have a one year warranty which indicates that they are not very durable. They have fewer safety mechanisms and also a smaller capacity.

Why Chefs Love Pressure Cookers

Conclusion

Having a pressure cooker is a quick and convenient way to cook healthy and delicious food. We hope these tips help you in your journey to find the best pressure cooker.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne Paylor June 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I LOVE my pressure cooker! The cuisinart plug in model works great for me. With a family of 7 and a busy schedule I love how I can just set it and run! I had a stove top and burnt the food a few times when I got distracted!

Reply

Chef Alex July 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

Thanks for the comment Suzanne! That’s a good point for new buyers. If you think you might get distracted in the kitchen, go for an electric pressure cooker so you don’t have to keep an eye on it.

Reply

Sue Stetzel July 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Have any great pressure cooker recipes to share?

Reply

Chef Alex July 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Soon! Most of our day is spent at the restaurant which is the only thing holding us back. We’d definitely like to post some soon. By the way Sue, if you have some recipes to share (you have a nice site!) I’d like to invite you to post on the blog!

Reply

Jill, The Veggie Queen September 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm

I have been pressure cooking for almost 20 years and have a pressure cooking cookbook, The New Fast Food. I have developed many plant-based recipes and I continue to do so.
The pressure cooker changed my cooking life and I am sure that I am healthier and better fed, and nourished, because of it. Three cheers for pressure cooking.

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