Do you have a pressure cooker?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Let's talk about pressure cookers.

Recently, I purchased Amy Chaplin's At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, which is an inspiring cookbook, and I'll definitely write more about it later. However, the book is more than a collection of recipes: Many of the book's pages are devoted to how Chaplin stocks her pantry and prepares her weekly staples. Chaplin is an avid proponent of owning a pressure cooker, in particular, for making beans. She recommends a 5-quart model as the ideal size for cooking 2 cups of beans or soup for four people.

Meanwhile, Bon Appetit, one of my favorite food magazines, devoted a page to its love of the pressure cooker. Suddenly, it seems everyone is using a pressure cooker!

I've never owned a pressure cooker, and I'm fairly resistant to buying additional kitchen gadgets, but all this talk has gotten me thinking about owning one myself. For beans alone, it would be a handy thing to have. However, at more than one hundred dollars, a pressure cooker is a pretty significant investment. Though it would also probably pay off--and not just in saved time: If you can make beans in 20 minutes, you're more likely to make them from scratch than to reach for a can, and a pound of dried beans costs less than a 13.5 oz. can of cooked beans. Not only are pressure cookers economical, because they cook food in a reduced time, they save energy. Better taste, cost savings, and an ecological choice? I've almost convinced myself to take the plunge. Here are some recommended models:

Bon Appetit's test kitchen recommends Kuhn Rikon's Duromatic Pressure Cooker, $219.99 on, and two other models. Chaplin also likes the Kuhn Rikon brand.

My in-laws, who are avid pressure cooker users, have their eye on WMF Perfect Plus's Pressure Cooker, $159.87 for the 4 1/2-quart model on While, the food editor at my office likes the models by Fagor. 

What about you? Do you own a pressure cooker? If so, do you have a model that you love? Anything you like to cook in yours? I'd love to hear more about why I should consider investing in a a pressure cooker of my own.


jennie said...

My husband got me a Kuhn Rikon for xmas and it's great! He's made excellent black beans in it and I have roasted a whole chicken for weeknight dinners (20 minutes). Highly recommend.

Laura Fenton said...

Thanks, Jennie. I had not even considered the possibility of a chicken!

Liz Fenton said...

Alternatively there's a slow cooker which you could start before work or the night before.

Anonymous said...

I love my Fagor pressure cookers. I have two sizes and they both use the same lid. I love the quality and the Quick Steam release option on the lid. I have a hard time waiting for cooling so this is a plus. I bought mine at Costco for around $79.00 on sale but the regular price is $99.00 which is great! I love it so much I bought one for My brother who loves to cook but skills are basic. He also loves it. I did not want to invest a lot into the pans until I know how much I would use it and I am glad I tried this brand because I love how it works. Beef turns out awesome, just made beef stew today. Black beans are wonderful in it hold their shape and yet soft. I highly recommend this affordable high quality brand.


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