Several months ago I bought a pressure cooker (here’s the link to the Cuisnart Pressure Cooker I bought). I purchased it because I was curious. People had left comments on the blog and Facebook mentioning that they were using one or asking questions. So in the name of blog research, I hit the “buy now” button on Amazon.
I’m still learning to make full use of it, but I’ve discovered a few things that I really do like it for.
First, let’s talk a little about how they work. There are stove top pressure cookers, but I only know about the electric type that I own, so that’s what I’ll speak to.
It’s pretty simple really, but there are a few parts to them that you need to get familiar with. The lid has several pieces, including a sealing gasket. This needs to be in good repair and assembled properly, which is simple to do. It’s also easy to pull the lid apart for washing.
There’s a removable pot, which is where the food goes. This can be used to brown or sauté as well. It’s nice to be able to cook onion or brown meat before finishing the dish off with pressure cooking.
The pot on the Cuisinart model I own is very easy to clean. Much easier than our regular pots and pans or the slow cooker crock.
When you’ve got the food in the pot and ready to cook, put the lid on and turn it to lock it on. Then choose either high or low pressure and select the time. And don’t forget to hit “start”! I’ve made that mistake several times and it’s frustrating. I stand there wondering if the thing is ever going to reach pressure, and it never will if I don’t click the “start” button.
When the time is up, use a spoon or spatula to turn the pressure release valve for a quick pressure release. Steam will escape until the red button that indicates pressure drops down. If the recipe calls for natural pressure release, you just leave the cooker sit until the red button drops down on its own.
It may sound a little complicated, but once you’ve done it a time or two it’s very easy.
What I like to cook in the pressure cooker.
I really like it for rice, either brown or white. Especially for brown rice, because it cooks faster than on the stove. Also, I have problems getting the brown rice done on the stove top for some reason. But in the pressure cooker it turns out great.
I’ve also made risotto in it. It’s very easy to do and doesn’t require the hands-on stirring time that the stove top version does.
The pressure cooker is my new favorite way to cook Macaroni and Cheese.
I’ve made spaghetti squash in the pressure cooker. It turned out perfect in about 12 minutes under high pressure.
Cooking whole chickens is quicker than doing them in the oven and they turn out very moist. I’ve also done a bunch of boneless chicken breasts to shred for the freezer.
Possibly best of all is being able to quickly cook a slow cooker freezer meal in the pressure cooker. There are days I forget to set up the crockpot and the pressure cooker comes to the rescue.
I’ve cooked Chicken Tacos, Beef Fajitas, pork roast and potatoes and more. All of these were slow cooker freezer meals. I thawed them in the microwave until they were mostly thawed, but not entirely. I usually start with 30 minutes of high pressure. If the food isn’t done at that point, I put the lid back on and give it more cooking time.
Pressure cooking still isn’t instant cooking. It’s usually faster than using the stove top or oven, but not always. And you do have to account for the amount of time it takes for the pot to reach full pressure. This varies, depending on how much is in it and the temperature of the food (partially frozen will take longer to reach pressure).
I wouldn’t say that owning a pressure cooker is a necessity for putting quick meals on the table. But it is a nice tool that is versatile and worth using. I’ll be doing more experimenting in the coming months and will share the recipes that turn out great!
If you’d like to explore more pressure cooker recipes now, check out this blog – Pressure Cooking Today.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.