What pressure cooker to buy?

elvisallardJune 24, 2006

I'm thoroughly confused and would love some advice. I've never used or even seen a pressure cooker used. But I think it would be a good appliance to own. I know I want one to use on my gas stovetop. I know I want to get at least an 8 quart (rather go big than too small). I know I don't want non-stick. And I want one that is very easy, fool-proof to use. Any suggestions would be most helpful!


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Have a look at the Fagor offerings. They are simple, high-quality, and made in Spain.

I have a 10 quart cooker/canner that is really nice. It is safe, simple and effective.

If you wait until after canning season, you may find this cooker or similar models with deep discounts. I bought mine for 50 percent off, or $50.

Good luck in your search!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 9:32PM
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Check out the foodtv.com site. They have a 5 piece, stainless steel Fagor set in their store for $109.95.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 10:50AM
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I have a Duo Fagor PC (actually two pans, one pressure lid and one reg. lid and I love it.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 3:08PM
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Hi Ellen,

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my pressure cooker. I own a Magefesa.

I recommend you check out Lorna Sass's line of pressure cooker books. She offers advice in 'Pressure Perfect' in how to select one (basically: ya get whatcha pay for - look for heavy duty - Fagor is great, as the above posters have mentioned) as well as a whole eye opening array of recipes. I use addall.com as a shopping bot once I've picked a book.

Good luck, and come on over to the cooking forum to get/share recipes and experiences once you bought a PC!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 11:31AM
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Kuhn-Rikon makes the absolute best pressure cookers...truly beautiful pans. I have one of their large pressure cookers and an amazing 5Qt pressure frypan, with a waffle texture base, that is incredibly versatile and touted by the inimitable Madjur Jaffrey, author of several wonderful Indian cookbooks.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 12:55PM
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Another vote for Kuhn Rikon. I have the 6 quart stockpot, and it's terrific. I rarely cook for more than 2 or 3, so it's a good size; if you are cooking for more you might consider an 8 qt model.

The NY times called the Kuhn Rikon 'the Mercedes-Benz of pressure cookers'--an apt analogy, because they are a tad pricier than others, and the replacement parts are a little more as well. Still, it's very responsive and works just great.

You'll need a good guide, and you can't go wrong with any of Lorna Sass's cookbooks. I don't have 'Pressure Perfect' but I have three others by her. She gives advice on PC selection as well; you may want to hold off the purchase until after you've read her advice. I have tried several of the recipes, and have never tasted anything less than good; many recipes were absolutely outstanding. The Osso Buco made in the pressure cooker is better IMHO than making it the old fashioned way. Also: corned beef & cabbage in under an hour. Yum.

Just my own personal preference, but I would recommend against an electric pressure cooker. I have one (a gift) and rarely use it.

Another resource for PC recipes and purchasing advice is Miss Vickie's website (see link); I've never cooked any of those recipes, tho, since Lorna seems to cover all the bases well.

If you do go with Kuhn Rikon, be prepared to pay close to retail. Most of the Internet merchants don't discount it very much at all, but some do throw in a copy of Lorna Sass's "Pressure Perfect".

Suzyq3, I'm green with envy. I've been lusting after that 5 qt pressure frypan for a while. I have dropped a few hints to the spouse to no avail. Can you fit a whole chicken in it (not cut up)?

Here is a link that might be useful: miss vickie pressure cooking

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 4:27PM
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arley, well said.

As for the 5 qt pressure frypan, though, I wouldn't use it to cook a whole chicken; I'd worry about overfilling, which is one reason that I chose the 8 qt for my other pan. Remember that the pressure frypan is shaped like a saute pan, fairly shallow and wide, so it's really best used for dishes that need initial browning (the waffle texture minimizes sticking) and then pressure cooking with some added liquid. As I mentioned, Jaffrey found it almost a necessity for many of her Indian dishes.

Here's what Kuhn Rikon says:

"Roasting under pressure is probably the newest cooking method. Smaller pieces of meat like stew, chops, etc., and roasts up to 2 pounds are prepared in the Pressure Frypan. The waffle textured bottom makes it possible to fry with very little no fat and oil. First, brown your meat in the well preheated Pressure Frypan. Add a little cooking liquid (stock, wine, cream etc). Larger pieces of meat can be prepared in the same way in the 4,5,6 and 7 quart DUROMATIC pressure cookers. Meat roasted in the pressure cooker or Pressure Frypan remains juicy, does not shrink, and tastes delicious."

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 5:34PM
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I ended up ordering the 7 liter Kuhn Rikon Duromatic pressure cooker and hope to have it by Friday. It came with two cookbooks, one being the Lorna Sass' Pressure Perfect. I am very much looking forward to getting it. I hope I'm not intimidated by it! I'll keep you posted.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 7:36PM
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Sounds great, suzyq3. Thanks for the info.

Elvisallard, I never cooked with a pressure cooker until I was 50 but now I couldn't see having a kitchen without one. One strong point is braises: taking a tough but flavorful piece of meat and making it fork-tender and juicy in a short time. That sort of comfort food (pot roasts, stews, etc.) is really easy with a PC.

Vegetarians like them because you can cook beans and grains in a fraction of the time compared with conventional cooking. Likewise tough vegetables surrender fairly quickly, too. Steamed artichokes in ten minutes instead of forty-five.

You'll also do a few things you might not otherwise do just because it's easy. Say you've roasted a bird for supper. Throw the carcass in the PC, add some water and go. You can make stock from chicken bones in about the time it takes to do the dishes and clean the kitchen. That's an ingredient for your next meal which you wouldn't have had otherwise.

And, it's very energy-efficient. PC cooking is very popular in areas with high energy prices.

Whatever you choose (I have heard good things about Fagor) I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Bon appetit!!!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 7:52PM
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Yes, I'm looking forward to all you mention, especially the beans. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to make something with beans, and I didn't have canned beans and I didn't have enough time to soak and cook the dried beans. Plus I'd like to make my own stocks, but it's always a huge commitment of time. I was a bit "scared" because of the possibility of it exploding, but I understand that the new PC's are safe and very easy to use. I might need a little handholding the first few times I use it, though.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:00PM
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I have to give props to the people recommending the Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, I've heard great things about them. Unfortunately, no one in the States knows about Fissler pressure cookers. I think there's officially a distributor in the US, but I don't know of any retailers that carry it. Fissler is German cookware, and they have a great line of pressure cookers! I have a Fissler BluePoint (purchased in Europe), and it works like a charm. It's really solid, durable, and easy to clean. I also have a Fagor Duo set (pressure cooker and skillet set), but I have to say that I was extremely disappointed when I received it in the mail. THe lid doesn't fit on easily, the gasket is flimsy, and the handles seem like they'll break quickly. Also, the base of the Fagor is much, much thinner (as well as the rest of the pot) than my Fissler model, so buyer beware. With pressure cookers, you usually get what you pay for. My Fissler cooker cost around 200 dollars (it's a 4.5 liter, which is close to 4.5 quarts). In comparison, the Fagor set cost less for more pieces. To me, the Fissler quality is an investment, and my food doesn't scorch (even on high heat) because of the thick encapsulated bottom. Hope this helps...

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 8:55PM
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I have a Kuhn-Rikon 5-liter risotto pressure cooker. When I first bought it, I recommended it to everyone. Perfect risotto in 7 minutes and so easy. Then, after about 6 months of use, it stopped building up to the necessary pressure level to seal properly. I tried a new gasket. I tried oiling the clean gasket. I checked for blockages and seal issues. Nothing helped. After, calling several places that kept recommending replacing gaskets, I talked to someone at K-R and she said the problem was the helper valve under the green recipe ring. She gave me a number for a place in Arizona where I could order the replacement valve. It took one month of calls, lost orders, confusion, etc. before the piece came. It has improved the performance, but the pressure cooker still does not work as well as it did in the beginning. I am not going to buy any more Kuhn-Rikon pressure cookers.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 11:23AM
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Hi folks. I recently purchased a Fissler pressure cooker (2-3 quarts?) at a yard sale. It looks brand new - even the rubber gasket has that 'new rubber look', and is clean and flexible. It's a Vitavit model, but not one currently shown on Fissler's homepage. This one has three bands of decorative circles in red/black, dark yellow/black, red/black (in decreasing size) around the outside. Can't find anything about this model anywhere.

First, I've never used a pressure cooker, and admit to being afraid of them:( Second, there was no instruction manual with this one, and it's built differently than the *other* pressure cooker I found that did have a manual. However, it otherwise looks like this one:

I'm guessing (maybe wrongly) that the basic function is the same as the other model I have, and those instructions re the amount of liquid, etc., will be about the same, but one this quite different. On the Fissler, what is the function of the black 'knob' on top where the pressure thing can pop up. The black knob can be turned - is this a setting gauge of some kind? ANY help would be deeply appreciated. One poster here mentioned Fisslers, and I'm hoping she or someone else who has one can tell me how to safely use this:) Many thanks!!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 10:58PM
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The manual for the vitavit royal is on that website you listed above.. click on it and print it.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 8:33PM
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the manual is in the replacement parts section as a PDF file to download

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Here's the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Download manual here

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 8:52PM
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I purchased the "Figor" 6qt. this week I hope to try it out. Looks great & was "on sale" at hsn.....razenette

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 8:33AM
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