choosing a pressure cooker size

choosing a pressure cooker size

For home cooks that are just looking to make dinner, and not restaurant-quantity stock: bigger is not better. We recommend getting the smallest pressure cooker to fit your needs because a bigger the pressure cooker will take longer to reach pressure, will need more liquid to get there and it will be bulky to both clean and store.

More material. A larger pressure cooker will have more metal and that metal will take more time to heat up – time you’ll be waiting for it to reach pressure.

More liquid. As pressure cooker size increases so do the minimum liquid requirements – while a small 2qt pressure pan only needs about 1/2 cup of liquid (or less) to reach pressure a much larger 12qt pressure cooker needs two cups (or more)!  The same piece of meat that braises in the smaller pressure cooker can only be boiled in the larger one –  limiting the cooking techniques that can be achieved.

More work. On the more practical side of things, a giant pressure cooker is going to be tricky to wash and store.  Depending on your sink and water tap configuration it can be quite a challenge to wash. Instead, a 6-quart cooker with a dishwasher safe base can easily slip into the bottom rack.

Our recommendations?
Start with a 6 -8 quart/liter standard  stockpot-type pressure cooker.  Most recipes found online and cookbooks are designed for this size cooker.If your main goal is stock-making but for a family – not a restaurant – keep in mind that a typical 6 quart pressure cooker can produce 4 quarts of double-strength stock (here’s how) – diluted that’s 8 quarts of single strength stock!

The size and shape of standard pressure cookers are very versatile allowing the cook to try new and advanced techniques that take advantage of this cooker’s height – such as bain marie, dupleX (and triplex) cooking, and steaming.

Choose your pressure cooker’s size carefully and to match both the pressure cooker size and shape to the kind of cooking you’re most likely to do with it.

And, don’t forget, that the easier the pressure cooker will be to use and clean – the more likely you’ll be to use it!

 see also: Pressure Cooker Capacity FAQ

ElectricStove top
Mini electric Pressure Cooker / Instant Potsmall stove top pressure cooker2-3qt - SMALL cooker or pressure pan or mini Good for making sauces. Because of their small size, they reach pressure faster (but also cook less food). Great for one to two people. This size can pressure cook one cup of dry rice (2 servings) or 6 cups of soup. For stove top pressure cookers, this size cooker is usually sold as part of a set.

We don't recommend this as a "first" pressure cooker purchase because of the limited uses and the majority of the recipes currently published are for 6-8qt pressure cookers - and because of the mechanics of pressure cooking (minimum liquid requirements, maximum fill lines) it's usually not as simple as cutting a standard pressure cooker recipe in half. However, once you've got the hang of pressure cooking in our standard recommended size this size pressure cooker would be a lovely addition to the kitchen.

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.

This is 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.

Standard Electric Pressure Cooker / InstantPotstandard size stove top pressure cooker6-8qt - STANDARD stock pot / rice cooker style 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 - but it can also pressure cook less. This is our recommended size and shape for beginners.

In electrics, the 8qt size is slightly taller and wider - giving the cook a larger area to brown foods. However, the larger size of the inner-insert makes it bulky and difficult to fit in a standard dishwasher.

pressure canner10qt or larger - Pressure Cooker/ CANNER 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 stove top pressure cooker can be used as a canner if it can hold at least four quart-sized jars. We caution the home cook against this size cooker for cooking.These pots are very heavy while empty, and can be tricky to fit in the average sink for cleaning. This size can pressure cook a minimum of 5 cups of dry rice (10 servings) or 25 cups of soup.

At the time of this writing, the USDA does not have tested processing times for pressure canning with ANY electric pressure cooker - despite what a manual, box or infomercial may say it is not safe to pressure can in electric pressure cookers at this time.

Choose the right size and shape pressure cooker, multi cooker and Instant Pot

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  1. Laura, re the small, 2-3 qt cookers: have you ever tested how much faster they reach pressure? ‘Coz I’m thinking that – if the time saving is substantial – those might be really handy for cooking dishes in minimal liquid, dishes that might scorch in the bigger pot. Thoughts?

    1. Ciao Annette, I tested the Kuhn Rikon set (2 & 5L). The small pressure pan took, on average, almost two minutes less to reach pressure when using the same percentage of water (200ml in the 2L vs. 500ml in the 5L). It also needs MUCH less liquid – I think you can get away with even just 1/4 cup (125ml) of liquid to bring the smaller pan to pressure.

      We’re having a great discussion in the forums for additional uses just for the small pressure pan:

      Another thing you can do to avoid scorching, in any size cooker, is to bring the contents of the cooker to a boil without the lid (or with a non-pressure cooking lid). When you see lots of bubbles and steam, you can slap on the pressure cooking lid so the cooker will begin reaching pressure immediately and reducing the opportunity for the contents to scorch.



      1. Hi, Laura.

        Does a larger pot take longer to RELEASE pressure as well as reach it? Seems common sense that it would, but the physics of these pots gets far too complicated for me. I’m trying to figure out if the total time I’d save is worth buying another, smaller PC. I want to stop avoiding recipes that call for releasing pressure to add additional ingredients and then repressurizing. It takes too long in my 6 liter PC!

        1. If you are talking about Natural release, my 12L KR loses pressure FASTER than my 5L
          My 2.5L is somewhere in the middle.

          (Photos are delayed a bit longer. Sorry)

          1. Sorry, I should have been clearer. I was referring to instant/quick release. One would think a smaller cooker would vent steam faster because it has less steam to vent. But maybe it’s not that simple. Just wondering.

            Like Laura, I do get tired of holding down the pressure stem. It hasn’t been an issue because I’ve mostly done natural releases. But now I’m looking to pressure cook veggies, hence, more instant releases. How long does your pressure pan take to do an instant release?

            1. I am in the same position as regarding understanding some of the science of pressure cooking. My feeling is that volume plays a big part. less air will have less steam. More water will take longer to reach pressure. So it seems as if a smaller PC will come to pressure faster and release quicker.

              For vegetables I find they are tasty but almost always overcooked. Big veg are easier than small ones.

              Like you, I want to buy a small pressure cooker but they are pricy and I have two 6 liter.

              I do add the veg later for stews etc, and find it adds very little to the time and is a definite improvement, but while worth it, a bit of a nuisance.

              I have been wondering if I could simulate a smaller PC by a few large decorative rocks or a bunch of silicone trivets/lids etc. in the bottom. Would be a bit awkward,/messy etc. but I will probably try it when I am in a place that actually sells fresh veg.

              1. Helen, sounds like we are on the same page, looking for more agile cookers. Honestly, though, Greg pictures of beef or lamb or whatever it was far more compelling to me than the concept of your rock veg soup! :-(

                We could answer our question of how fast a small pan instant releases compared with a 6 liter pan if SOMEONE with a small pan was willing to cook 1,000 ml of water on high, and then time the quick release. You and I could also time our 6 liter stovetop cookers with 1,000 ml of water and post our results.

                1. Suzanne, I have done unpublished tests between the 2.5L and 5L Kuhn Rikon bases to time how long they take to reach pressure – more details in my reply to the first comment in this review. Although I was not tracking timing for natural release with experience I have found that the main affect is the fill level of the cooker. A larger cooker will tend to be fuller of food (that is still trapping and releasing heat) than a smaller one.

                  Overall, I have observed that between brands and sizes, and recipes it takes about 10 minutes for natural pressure release – give or take a minute or two.

                  I want to encourage the discovery of more information and like that you want to explore this topic further. I’m also curious to find out how the results of your research could be significantly useful.

                  If you’re ready to tackle such a study, may I recommend opening a topic in the forums so that others with Kuhn Rikon might participate?



                  P.S. Since the original question was about how quick the quick release is… have you tried the special trick (pulling instead of pushing) that I shared in this review?

                  1. Thanks for sharing your unpublished research, Laura. I did try pulling up the pressure valve this morning. Whew, big steam and hissing, suddenly. I decided more gradual release of steam is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll move my inquiry to the Kuhn Rikon forum, as you suggest.

                    1. Suzanne, I use this release when cooking pasta. It’s scary the first few times. But seems quite safe. Just be ready to let go if foam starts coming out. That happened to me for the first time two days ago. I was cooking 600g pasta instead of my normal 200g

                2. Well I am a person who is curious about things so I might fill my cheese cake pan(s) with pebbles and do the water test. before and after with varying amounts of water. Probably not this month though as I am up to my a** in alligators.

                  Unfortunately the ever helpful Greg is in the hospital, poor man.

  2. Dang – I should have gotten the set after all. I’ve just splurged on a Silit Vision 4.5 liter pot, thinking I would use my old 4.5 l Silit when the need for two cookers arises (and it does, of course). And while the new pot has many great features (scratch-free interior, removable handle so you can pop the lid in the dishwasher, indicator gauge that is much easier to read than the old one), it is not faster to reach pressure.
    I’ve tried the “bring to boil and then close lid” approach (and of course it also helps to shun flour – flour seems to be a sure way to a scorched pot) but still – I kind of wish I had the small cooker, too.

    1. Anette, look what I found on ( With a little hunting, I bet you can find the smaller base without the pressure cooking lid in the right color and model to fit the lid of your new cooker! I’ve found that German manufacturers load up EVERYTHING on amazon for their German customers – though UK and US customers usually don’t get such a wide selection.



    2. P.S. Flour, or any thickening agent, should always be added AFTER pressure cooking. Otherwise they prevent the contents from boiling (they glob inside the cooker instead of boiling). I always cringe when I see pressure cooker recipes calling for that – its a lazy conversion from the original recipe (don’t get me started on CANNED beans).

      This doesn’t mean you can’t have a thick gravy or creamy soup… you just thicken it in a few minutes AFTER you open the cooker.

      Here’s how to do it (amazing tip number two):



  3. Laura, thanks! I’ve been eyeing the amazon offers for sure — though, on the other hand, the sales people at my local department store were amazingly knowledgeable and helpful when I was shopping for my new cooker, so I’d really like to keep them in business. (As an aside: what are the manufacturers thinking, loading up amazon with all this stuff? Clearly, when purchasing a pressure cooker it helps enormously to look at different models and to talk to an expert — shouldn’t department stores get a big reward from manufacturers for providing that service, rather than get shot in the back? Big harrumph.)
    I know what you mean about lazy conversion: I figured that out the hard way (which involved much scrubbing with baking powder). These days, I grate a raw potato into the stew at the very end — I’ll take a look at your tips & tricks to see what you do, too.
    Happy cooking,

    1. Generally each manufacturer has a different relationship with their retail stores. At least in the US, UK and Italy – they generally try to do different offering to the retail store (like a set that includes a steamer basket or glass lid) than what is available online.

      Why not ask the store if they can special-order you the smaller pan so you can make a set?

      I’ve seen a manufacturer here in Italy give retail stores a private demo at a cooking school, with paid hotel and travel costs, events with celebrity chefs and lots of freebies and motivational programs to garner top placement at the front, on the counter, or in the window of the store.

      Online everyone is equal!!



  4. Laura, when you are talking about not using flour as a thickening agent, are your including the flour chicken or beef is coated with before browning for stews?

    I make wonderful chicken and beef stew, by dredging the meat in flour, then browning. I then remove the meat from the cooker, dab up the excess fat with a paper towel, held in tongs. I then deglaze the pan with the liquid, usually broth, I will be using to make the stew. I make sure I scrape up all those browned goodies off the bottom of the pan, to cook into the stew. Add everything back into the cooker and finish the dish. It makes a flavorful nice gravy as part of the stew, with no additional thickening needed.

    1. Welcome swtgran!

      You are referring to my tip about not adding thickeners in the pressure cooker prior to pressure cooking, right?

      There is a fine line between a “little” and a “little more” flour that could cause a pressure cooker to scorch. If you dredge meat, and carefully shake of the excess it can work wonderfully – as you found out!

      However, adding flour specifically to thicken a stew – such as adding a butter and flour mixture at the beginning (as instructed by non-pressure cooker or badly written pressure cooker recipes)- is definitely too much. If the cooking liquid is thickened BEFORE pressure cooking it will be too thick to freely “boil” (it will just have a bubble or two break the surface) and the part that is in contact with the base will scorch.

      Most pressure cookers may not even reach pressure but for those that do they will then squirt out the thick liquid, and not steam, when pressure is released.

      There are no draw-backs to thickening a stew after-pressure cooking. It only takes a few extra minutes and you have a 100% guarantee that it will not scorch.



      1. I’m glad I read this – I was ready to attempt a roux-based gumbo. I assume my only alternative is a filé powder gumbo, where the Filé thickener is added after cooking?

        1. I’m not familiar with that recipe, but if it’s roux based you can make the roux separately and add it later, to thicken. Believe it or not, it will not make a difference to the finished dish if you add the separately-cooked roux AFTER pressure cooking and then simmer everything together for a few minutes to thicken.

          See my instructions in the New England Clam Chowder recipe for the details!



          1. Is there a way to view this german site in English I can’t read it and would like to understand what each item is and details. etc.

  5. Thank you for the clarification. I do not make a thickener before I cook the dish. I do try to gauge the liquid for the entire dish and the flour dredged meat, to end up with a slightly thickened gravy, when done pressure cooking. There are times, I need to thicken the gravy in the dish after I have completed the pressure cooking.

  6. Ah, but in the case of a zombie apocalypse, my All American pressure canner doubles as a heavily armoured bunker. Let’s see your little Kuhn do that :)

    I think you just made me buy a pressure braiser, though. That’s brilliant.

  7. First of all, love this site so much! It is such an inspiration, and the recipes are great.

    Now the question. I am planning on upgrading to a Kuhn from an old t-fall that I have been using (as I want the higher pressure I have become comfortable with from my much larger Fagor). What makes this hard is that I currently have for my “small” cooker a 6 liter. The Kuhn doesn’t seem to have a 6 quart in the saucepan style … only a 5 and 7. I am leaning towards the two piece set you mention, but this is smaller than your recommended 6 quart. Is this going to bite me in the foot? I don’t think I use the extra space in my 6 liter, and really I am going to be using a lot of your recipes.

    Is the Kuhn 5 quart a safe bet for your recommended size?

    1. Although the Kuhn set is actually 5 instead of 6 liters I use it interchangeably with the other 6L’s I have lying around kitchen – though it can be a tight fit when I’m stacking things vertically. How big is your “too big” Fagor? and, how many people do you generally cook for?



  8. +Laura Thank you so much for the info. My Fagor is 10 quarts, I use it mostly for making stock (the gateway drug for pressure cooking for me) and canning. I think I will order the Kuhn 5L set, just wanted to double check that it is a good everyday size per your recommendation.

  9. Hi, thanks for all the great info on this website!
    I have a quick question. I got started pressure cooking with my step fathers 6 quart fagor, and I fell in love immediately. I decided to buy my own, I went with a presto 8 quart model because I wanted larger capacity and stainless steel rather then aluminum.

    My question relates to the presto’s inferior ability to maintain pressure. The fagor functions beautifully, once I get it to pressure I can put it on the lowest heat setting and the indicator will never drop. The pressure indicator pops up smoothly and I am very confident it’s At pressure.
    The presto doesn’t seem to perform as well; the pressure indicator bobs up and down sometimes, I may have to jiggle the pot to get it to stick up, and if I check it w a knife by pressing on it it pops back down at times. I find this very frustrating because I’m not 100% sure the stupid thing is at pressure when it first pops up. On top of this, when I put it on the same low heat setting it seems to lose pressure much easier then the fagor. The pressure indicator will pop down. The presto indicator seems tricky to me, or maybe it’s just designed to react differently?

    Do you have any thoughts on this? I’m considering returning the presto over this. Especially since my experience w the fagor is so different. The fagor will not lose pressure easily once I heat it up to pressure, while the presto seems much trickier.


    1. What you have are two cookers working with two different mechanisms – the Fagor is a spring-valve cooker and pressure is regulated by how much heat is applied (and yes, you need very little heat to maintain pressure in a spring-valve cooker). Instead, Presto ONLY makes venting weight-controlled cookers where the pressure is regulated by letting out more pressure than the clibration of the weight (so it vents, jiggles or pumps to do this). Weight-modified cookers need medium heat to maintain pressure.

      I, personally, do not recommend using weighted cookers because they are less energy efficient, they evaporate more cooking liquid and technically, they do not maintain a constant temperature (it drops each time a jiggle or whistle happens only to build up again for the next one).

      Take a look at the reviews on this website – Kuhn Rikon, Fagor, WMF and Fissler ONLY make spring-valve cookers. Magefesa makes both. You’ll want to make sure you get one of their “super-fast” cookers to avoid going through the same experience you’re having with the presto.



      1. Thanks so much for the response!

        This explains the difference then. I read your review of the Fagor Futuro which seems mixed, that is the one I would buy to replace the Presto, although it twice as expensive.

        Upon doing more research of the Fagor line I realize I was not even getting up to proper pressure while using it. I put the Fagor on lowest heat setting immediately after the indicator pops up, I never waited for steam, and I never have steam coming out of the pressure cooker while it is cooking when I thought it was at pressure. My recipes seemed to always cook fine though- I made the clam chowder twice already (it was amazing!) and also split pea soup which cooked perfectly. I haven’t cooked a huge amount of things yet though, so maybe these recipes I cooked are somewhat fail proof… I’m overwhelmed by the thought that I have to sit there and make sure steam is shooting out of the pressure cooker while it is cooking. It makes just want to return my Presto and buy an electronic one!

  10. Last night I had both my 12L and 5L KR (Hotel Series) working.
    I did not notice any difference in the time they took to come up to pressure. They were on the same hob sequentially & I did not time it, but it felt similar.

    What I did notice was that the 12L needed a higher setting on the gas to maintain pressure. Mind you the 5L needs to be set somewhere between “Off” and “Almost on” while 12L needed to be between very low and almost off, so it was actually easier to maintain pressure.

    This is by no means a definitive study. The 12L was almost empty – ~1 Cup water steaming tamales while the 5L was nearly full cooking beans and later rice. But it may be something to consider if you have a high output stove.

    I use my medium burner for the Hotel PCs. The big one is just too serious for a mere 12L pot. I will probably need to use the small burner when my 2.5L arrives. Or. Heaven forbid, the electric.

    1. Yes, great observations on how the pressure cookers work. That is absolutely correct that the time to pressure depends on the fullness of the pressure cookers. Also, if the cookers were on different burners you were applying different quantities of heat.

      For example, that one cup of water takes a lot less time to come to a boil than several cups of liquid and vegetables.

      If you ever want to test the actual difference between your two cookers, fill each cooker with just water to half-full line and start a digital timer when you turn on the flame and time until the cooker reaches the second ring. Repeat with the next cooker using the same burner.

      The purposes of filling each cooker to THEIR half full is BOTH to make sure that the ratio of water to the pressure cooker does not change AND to simulate real-world use as someone who buys a large cooker would generally be cooking larger quantities of food.



      1. I did use the same burner. I use the term “hob” where you use burner. I have a four hob cooktop. Three gas burners – Wok, medium and small – and one electric plate. So I tend to use “hob” for all of them. Like you I have spent time in IT, and have learned the benefit of redundancy. I can continue to cook if I lose either gos or electricity. And if both fail I can switch to the camping stove. As I have said elsewhere, electricity is the one that fails most often, though I did lose gas once after a particularly nasty boilover. Note to self: ALWAYS pay attention when cooking.

        I am not particularly worried by the difference, as long I understand the differences and can cook with both. I posted my “discovery” here as I thought it might help others with their decision making process.

      2. Hi Laura, I did use the same burner. I use the term “hob” where you use burner. I have a four hob cooktop. Three gas burners – Wok, medium and small – and one electric plate. So I tend to use “hob” for all of them. Like you I have spent time in IT, and have learned the benefit of redundancy. I can continue to cook if I lose either gos or electricity. And if both fail I can switch to the camping stove. As I have said elsewhere, electricity is the one that fails most often, though I did lose gas once after a particularly nasty boilover. Note to self: ALWAYS pay attention when cooking.

        I am not particularly worried by the difference, as long I understand the differences and can cook with both. I posted my “discovery” here as I thought it might help others with their decision making process.

        Cheers Greg

  11. Yes, I would LOVE a larger PC – electric. It is just that I often have company and like to do a ham…..a larger ham will not fit in my 6 quart PC.

  12. I just bought a 21 quart All American off eBay. I am planning on using it for steam injection mashing in beer brewing, but I would also like to cook something in it once in a while. I can deal with extra time to heat up things, but I am hoping that there won’t be things I just can’t cook in it because it is so large. I can always scale up recipes right? Leftovers are good.

  13. While I am certainly not a restaurant I am feeding a large family of 10. So would the 6 quart be ok or would definitely need a larger one?

    1. For 10 I think you would definitely be pushing your luck with a 6L PC. If you look at the recipes here, most are sized for 4 people and specify a 6L or larger. Though I do regularly cook them in my 5 L. If you are doubling or tripling the recipe, you will need to double or triple the container too.

      Remember that you only ever fill to the 2/3 line. That means that a 12L PC will hold a maximum of 8 Litres. And a 6 L will hold 4 L. If you are making soup and serving 2 cups per person, ( that’s what fits in my soup bowls) then @ 4 cups per litre, you need 5L ACTUAL capacity to feed 10. That means at least an 8L pot. Other foods will not fit the pot as efficiently as soup, so you would need more capacity for them. And remember things like beans you only fill to HALF full.

      That all said, I planned for cooking for four when I bought mine. It is now only three and I often only cook for two. To cater for those days, you might want to consider a smaller PC. Tere are lots of sets out there with for example 8 and 3 litre pots. This setup will allow you to cook for the horde, but will also be useful when most of them are out for dinner elsewhere.

      A 10 or 12L will open the doors to canning as well.

    2. I agree with Greg. A 6qt is a good size for the average 4-person family. If your family has 10 members that’s quite an accomplishment (and the 6qt is going to be too small)!

      Yet, you will still want to get the smallest cooker for your needs. The best way to go about this is to think about how many cups of dry rice you usually cook to feed your whole family. Then, look it up on the size chart here:

      Let us know if you get stuck anywhere and we’ll help!



      1. If you recommend calculating 1 liter per person, does this calculation include the max fill level for a given size of pressure cooker?

        e.g. 6 people = 6 liter pressure cooker. But you should only fill 2/3 full. i.e. 4 liters. So should it really be 4 people?

        1. Yes, my recommendation is for the size of the pressure cooker and it keeps the maximum fill levels in mind.

          It breaks down like this, per liter per person: an abundant 2 1/2 cups (666ml) of soup or stew per person which is max 2/3 full; OR, either a 1/2 cup of dry rice which is about 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice per person (actually 2 servings) OR 1 cup of soaked beans (or 1/2 cup dry) which is about 2 cups of cooked beans per person which is max 1/2 full.



          1. So, a 6 liter pressure cooker should really be for 4 people then?

            1. Absolutely, a 6L will work for four people. That’s what I use for my family of 4 every day… and night. : )

              Happy Thanksgiving!


  14. Does anyone know if you can get just the pans themselves from vendors? I ordered a Fagor Duo cooking set that comes with a 4 quart and an 8 quart pot with one lid. It also included a strainer basket (not sure what recipes will call for that yet). If I wanted to also get a 6 or 10 quart pot, would I need to buy whole sets or could I just use the pressure lid with those pots? The web sites I’ve been to only seem to sell whole sets.

    1. Typically a lid can be used on all base sizes within that model – unless for some reason a larger size also includes a wider base. But you cannot trade lids and bases between models, even for the same manufacturer. For example, a Fagor Futuro lid will not fit on a Fagor Duo base.

      Generally, manufacturers do not sell ONLY bases. However you can always write to them and ask.



  15. You can get separate pieces of B/R/K pressure cookers, It seems like from the main dealer you should be able to do likewise with other companies.

  16. Hi there,

    Love this site, and as a shift worker, I love my KR pressure cookers.

    I currently have the 5lt 28cm braiser and an 8lt 24cm, and practically live out of the 5lt one as I find the 8lt takes far too much time to bring up to pressure for everyday meals and vegetables – (I mainly use it for corned or pulled meats and soups etc).

    I am looking at splurging and purchasing a set in the KR 24cm size (to be compatible with the 8lt lid to be able to mix and match) but I am having difficulty deciding on the 6+4litre set or the 6+2.5litre set, as I’m not sure what would be more practical in the smaller base size, considering that I have the very practical, but not overly deep 5lt braiser already.

    I like the width and height of the 6lt as I can still double stack in it, and I am hoping it will be closer to the efficiency of the 5lt than the 8lt, but I am unsure of the most practical solution in going for the 2.5lt, or spending the extra for the 4lt – (choice of affordable suppliers are limited in Australia)…

    At the moment its just hubby and I (I usually cook enough to have left-overs or for the occasional blow in), but may be needing to cook for ankle biters in future too…

    Looking at using the extra cookers for things like vegetables, grains, beans etc to add to dishes or make as whole and/or dishes, and of course the one pot wonders (with fragile veg cooked on the side, etc).

    Would be most appreciative for some experienced perspective before plunging into the purchase.


    1. We are a family of two and have the 12L, 5L and 2.5L KRs. The 5 is the one you have. We also have the Breville FastSlow Pro, but that is too new to make any comments based on it – only one meal so far.

      The one that gets by far the most use is the 2.5 frypan style. I even make stock in it if I only have one or two chicken carcasses. And yes I have cooked in it for three on occasion.

      I feel that given you have the 5 already (and I know how practical it is!) the 4 AND the 6 would be pointless. You will reach for the 6 if you want something deep and the 5 for everything else. I predict the 4 will end up gathering dust. 4, 5, 6 are just too close in size.

      The 2.5 OTOH will add an extra dimension. I predict it will become your daily PC with the others being pulled out for special needs.

      So I would suggest the 6/2.5 set.

      Your prediction of rug rats in the future puts you in a very different demographic to us though. Ours are long gone. So your needs may work out very different to ours.

      Also while I have used the Breville just once so far. Last night’s dinner as it happens. I can see it getting a LOT more use in the future. And not just because we have just started remodelling the kitchen and don’t have a functioning stove right now. Set and forget is very convenient.

      Just one last word of caution. It may not be the size of the 8L causing problems coming to pressure. I did a test a wee while ago, details posted somewhere on this site, I brought each of my stove top PCs to pressure with just 1 Litre of water. The 2.5 was actually the slowest. There was not much difference between the other two. I put it down to the fact that I needed a smaller burner for it so it didn’t heat as fast. One day I will repeat the test using the same burner for all. But it won’t be soon.

      And yes Australia is the end of the earth where PCs are concerned. Not sure there are any local suppliers for KR left here. If you know of one I would be most interested. I either use Amazon in the US via Laura’s Links or in the UK. And while you are ordering, toss in one of KR’s Vase Pepper grinders too. They are brilliant. I prefer the larger old model, but Pam prefers the newer small one.

      1. Hi Greg,

        Thank you so much for your input!!

        That has definitely put the size debate to rest for me – and with the savings with going for the smaller set, I may be able to find the pepper mill and purchase that too…

        I cannot remember exactly what site I purchased my original ones from – it wasn’t Amazon, as most stockists/sellers that are charging reasonable fees do not ship to Australia – the same goes with many other sites I find the KR’s for sale on, and there seem to be little to no stockists of KR in Australia – if there are any, they are keeping themselves well out of reach.

        Luckily its much easier to get the parts for these dream machines – if and when they are needed – than the actual KR pressure cookers themselves.

        After many hours searching, I have found a reasonable listing on ebay for the set (there are actually a few different sets on there listed from different sellers too… just have to watch those postage fees!) – it still has to come from europe though…
        I will have a look where you suggested too before ordering.

        Thank you again!


      2. Greg, this may be a little late to respond to your 2016 comment about your 2.5 pc taking longer to come to pressure than your larger pcs but I may have an explanation. When you added that you had it on a smaller hob/burner I thought I should mention that in Canada our small burners are usually 1500 watts whereas the large burners are 3000 watts. This might explain your 2.5 pc taking longer to come to pressure.

        1. Thanks Sheila,
          Yes I am aware that my smaller burner was putting out less energy and that was why it came to pressure more slowly. I have since repeated the experiment using all three on the smaller burner. They all took pretty much the same time to come to pressure. I was expecting the big one to take longer as it has a LOT more metal to heat up. That did not happen. FOr me this pretty much disproves the common idea that bigger pressure cookers take longer to heat up than smaller ones. What is happening is that bigger pressure cookers usually contain more food/water. And that takes longer to heat up. If you cook a 2.5 litre PC amount of food in a 12 litre pressure cooker, it will heat up in about the same time as it would in a smaller pressure cooker. All other things being equal,

          What I have noticed is that the big pressure cooker need a slightly higher flame to maintain pressure. And it cools down faster. I put this down to the larger surface area of the PC radiating more heat than the little one. What this means in practice is that the big pressure cooker is more expensive to run than the little one. It also heats up the kitchen slightly more.

          Here in Australia, Electric hobs are measured in Watts like yours, but gas burners, such as I used for this experiment, are measured in Mega Joules. While I obsessed over these measurements when I was buying the cooktop, I no longer remember what they are. Except the big wok burner which was 22MJ, bigger than any other domestic stovetop, but still not enough for proper “wok-hei” Sigh. I continually dream of getting a commercial wok burner (more like a small jet engine really) but have nowhere to put it.

          1. Greg, this explains so much more to me. It’s interesting that the larger volume of metal in the larger pcs hasn’t much of an effect on the final timings “all other things being equal”. That I didn’t expect.

            I also have thought long and hard about the true heat used with a wok. That special temperature of aprrox 1000-1500 F from a real fire. I’ve wondered whether an old fashioned wood stove might be able to do it but then worried about the potential of a chimney fire. LOL

            And what about cooking with a tandoor – the flavours from the heat and smoke combined. Ummmmmm.

            Yes, space is an issue but the heat generated by these methods tempers my desire quite a bit when currently I’m doing my best to keep the kitchen as cool as possible in the summer by using my pcs (I have 3) or cooking outside. Yep, I move the works outside. I don’t have a/c.

            I can’t imagine what it must be like cooking over a live fire in the kitchen even though I grew up with an old fashioned wood stove used daily and in the kitchen. We didn’t make a roaring fire in it in the summer. We used a low and slow burn but still it heated up the kitchen and the whole house a lot where the heat outside was more tolerable. God bless screen doors. I can’t imagine how hot the house would have been with out the doors open for a cross breeze through the house.

            I lived in Florida for three years where the temperature can reach 62 C / 144 F, with the humidity. That’s the Sous Vide temp for beef. Seriously!

            The biggest draw back for me is the heat. I’m just not that committed to ‘the dream’ where space is the only hurdle. Our poor ancestors. But I here ya. I surely do. My mouth is watering just talking about it. You’re a braver man than me. LOL

  17. Hi Laura,

    I am learning a lot from you and all the comments from your followers, thank you all for that.

    I am trying to Pressure Cooking and Pressure Canning dry beans. I have an All American Pressure Canner that we are not supposed to use as a Pressure Cooker. The recipe says we soak the beans for 12 hours, then simmer in a stove pot for 30 min and finally fill up the jars with 1cup of dry beans and process in the pressure canner for 75 min. My questions are:

    1. what would be the time equivalent of a 30 min stove simmer if I want to use a pressure cooker (I like the IP and the Fargor)

    2. Do you have a recipe for Pressure Cook/Pressure Canning dry beans?

    Thank you

  18. A couple of things I noticed:
    1. We regularly use our 2.5L (2.6Qt) for two. You have it down as only cooking for one.
    2. Your second section is missing it’s header. I suspect it should say 5Qt Pressure Pan. The bolding is also odd here.
    3. 10Qt or larger. You say these are OK for pressure canning. True from a volume standpoint, but USDA also advise against spring valve models as they (a) are difficult to vent. and (b) can go out of specification if the spring fatigues or stretches. A shame as my 12L Kuhn Rikon is not really suitable for pressure canning. And that was part of the reason I bought it. You live and learn. Sigh.

    1. Thanks, Greg, I’ll make the updates. Where does the USDA recommend against using spring-valve cookers for pressure canning? That is my personal recommendation because you MUST take in spring-valve or gauge-measured canners for calibration for pressure canning annually – whereas a weight-controlled canner should still be checked regularly but is unlikely to need re-calibration. ; )



      1. I won’t swear it was them. It may have been your comment I was remembering. But it is also mentioned in Modernist Cuisine (Vol2 p85ff)
        They also specifically mention the need for venting. In fact they devote a full page to it. And when you consider that Myhrvold is generally scornful of USDA’s overly cautious approach, it is worthwhile noting.

  19. Laura, this is soooo very helpful, thank you, thank you, thank you! I am brand new to pressure cooking, and cooking for one on top of that. Mostly, I just lurk here, so this is my very first post, lol! So hi everyone, nice to meet you all, happy to be here!

    I sure wish I had seen this article before purchasing my first pressure cooker! I have a Cosori 2 qt since May, and have been really struggling. I even did your pc school, so helpful! But being a newb, it’s difficult converting to smaller size when I don’t know what I’m doing to begin with. I wasted POUNDS of rice, mfg recipe just doesn’t work, but birds were happy. I think, as you suggest, a 6 qt would have been better for a beginner as I could follow recipes exactly for one thing. At the time, the Cosori was the only small one I could find, very little info, no recipes for this size. Since the insta pot mini is out, hoping for more info to become available online. The forums here are so helpful, but still struggling with the small size of my pot and my inexperience. Comments to this post seem like most would look at this size for a 2nd cooker, while I use as my main one, so I always seem to be out of kilter, lol!

    For anyone interested, my thoughts on the Cosori: I REALLY don’t like the non-stick pot, no stainless available in this size. Accessories (cake pan, cheesecake pans, steamers, pip, etc) are very challenging, but not impossible, to find, 6″ sizes are too big. 5″ & 4″ work, hard to find, but border on so small, not worth the effort. Again, I’m following along for 6-8 qt recipes, info, suggested accessories.

    I see in the comments, which I always read & learn so much from thanks, convos about how long to reach pressure, release, etc. for this smaller size. I would be very happy to test or answer questions about this size for anyone interested. It would be fun & help me learn! But you all would have to tell me EXACTLY what to do, haha!

    So thanks again Laura & everyone for all the comments & forums that are so helpful to a beginner!

  20. I’m trying to find out what size PC would be good for a 4 LB roast. I see all these sale prices and would like a little input. Merry Christmas Everyone!!

  21. I would think 6 qt would be good for most things and if you want to cook more, you can do a second run since it’s more than twice as quick as standard cooking to begin with.

    I started out researching slow cookers this morning when I ran across these multipurpose cookers. Everyone here loves rice, boiled eggs and tender meat. I already have a 16 qt pressure canner so these cookers don’t scare me at all.

  22. Just received an 8qt Instant Pot Duo Plus Series PC as a gift. Never had a PC before. It comes with the IP Recipe Booklet which I believe you say is set for a 6qt IP. My problem is how to adjust the WATER or STOCK. e.g. your Ligurian Lemon Chicken recipe calls for 1 Cup of water or stock. However, the User Manual for my 8qt IP says always use at least 18 fl oz – or at least 2+ Cups water or stock. Even accounting for the 1/2 Cup of White Wine, this still would seem to make even less than 2+ Cups of fluid. QUESTION: Should all your recipes in this book be more or less DOUBLED UP? Or, just how should I adjust the fluids for my 8qt IP?? Thanks so much for your assistance!

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