| Pressure Cooker Sets
Basic Pressure Cookers
Electric Pressure Cookers
Pressure Pans / Braisers
Pressure Cookers / Canners
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What safety features should my new pressure cooker have?
Your new cooker should have a lid that locks on securely and will not allow you to opesit accidentally while the contents are under pressure. A secondary safety pressure release valve ensures that there is a back-up should the first one fail. Read our detailed pressure cooker reviews to learn more about specific pressure cookers and their safety features.
What size pressure cooker should I purchase? Is bigger better?
We recommend starting with a 6 -8 quart/liter size pressure cooker for as most recipes found online and cookbooks are designed for this size cooker. If you can afford it, buy a set with two sizes that share one pressure cooking lid.
Bigger is not better. Get the smallest pressure cooker for your needs. A bigger the pressure cooker will take longer to reach pressure, will need more liquid to get there (making braising tricky). It will be bulky to clean and store. Instead, a 6 quart pressure cooker can produce 4 quarts of double-strength stock (diluted it’s 8 quarts of single strength stock)! If the 6-8quart cooker is dish-washer safe the base of these cooker usually fit in the dishwasher, too!
Pressure Cooker Sizes and Types
|2-3qt -”small pressure pan“ Good for making sauces. Because of their small size, they reach pressure faster (but also cook less food). Great for one person. This size can pressure cook one cup of dry rice (2 servings) or 6 cups of soup. This cooker is usually is included as part of a set.|
|3-5qt – “large pressure pan or braiser” Great for cooking meat because of the larger surface area in direct contact with the heat source. Great for two people. This size can pressure cook 1 1/2 cups of dry rice (3 servings) or 8 cups of soup. Our recommended second pressure cooker (or third if you already own a set) for cooks who already own one pressure cooker and have moved most of their cooking under pressure.|
|6-8qt – “stockpot type cooker” Great for stews, soups, stocks, chilis, ect. If you can only afford one pressure cooker, this is the one you should start with (the other one or two can come later). Great for a family of 4-6. This size can pressure cook 3 cups of dry rice (6 servings) or 16 cups of soup. The most recommended sizes for beginners – this size and shape is very versatile allowing the cook to try new and advanced techniques (bain marie, triplex cooking and steaming) that take advantage of this cooker’s height.|
|10qt or larger – “Pressure Cooker/Canners” Because of their size, these pressure cookers can also be used as canners, and are used by restaurants, large groups and families. According to the USDA a pressure cooker can be used as a canner if it cano hold at least four quart-sized jars. We caution the home cook against this size cooker. These pots are very heavy while empty, and can be tricky to fit in the average sink for cleaning. This size can pressure cook 5 cups of dry rice (10 servings) or 25 cups of soup.|
What features should my new pressure cooker have?
We recommend buying a spring-valve cooker. Sping-valve non-venting cookers have the latest technology and they won’t fill your kitchen with the sounds of steam engine pistons firing (like old-style venting cookers) or drive you nuts with the clinging and clanging of a jiggling valve. They make very little noise while in operation and need less energy to operate.
Stovetop cookers should be stainless steel because cheaper aluminum cookers are “reactive” – this means that they change the flavor of acidic ingredients (tomatoes, lemon, wine, etc.).
Finally, look for a cooker with two pressure settings. “High Pressure” for meats, legumes and anything dense that needs a long time to cook, and “Low Pressure” for fish, eggs, al dente veggies and other delicate things. Some pressure cookers have a switch on the lid to select the pressure settings while others will do so by displaying a certain number of rings.
Should I get a stove top or electric pressure cooker?
The choice is completely yours. Though electric pressure cookers are more convenient, they are less powerful and durable. We wrote an article carefully comparing electric and stove top pressure cookers.
All of our recipes include special instructions for both stove top and electric pressure cookers. So go with the choice that is most convenient for you!
Why can’t I use the pressure cooker I inherited from my grandmother or bought at a garage sale?
It’s a romantic notion to bring a beloved vintage cooker back into service but we don’t recommend it. Pressure cookers made more than 20 years ago do not have the fool-proof safety features of modern pressure cookers like locking lids to ensure you don’t accidentally open it while the contents are at pressure, or back-up safety valves.
Pressure Cooker Sets
Stockpot-type Pressure Cookers
Electric Pressure Cookers
Pressure Pans / Braisers
Pressure Cooker / Canner
Measure the inside width and height of your pressure cooker carefully prior to purchasing. Electric Pressure Cookers: purchase silicone steamer basket.
Bain Marie Containers
Measure the inside width and height of your pressure cooker carefully prior to purchasing (include the height of the trivet or steamer basket that will be used in conjunction with these containers). If the lids have plastic handles, do not use. If the lids lock, do not lock while under pressure (they are not designed to regulate pressure).
For electric pressure cookers, use a silicone steamer basket in place of a trivet.
Measure the diamater (from the widest point to the widest point at the opening) of your pressure cooker carefully!