Pressure Cookers

pink_warm_mama_1August 14, 2014

If you've used both, what are your personal pros and cons regarding the original pressure cooker and the newer electric cooker? All help appreciated.

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I'm editing something I posted on a similar thread:

I got into pressure cooking when my mom gave me an electric pressure cooker. Did okay, and got me interested enough to the point where I bought regular stovetop PC's. I now find that I never use the electric one. It has been gathering dust for years. YMMV.

Advantage of electric PC: timer function can be used to precisely start and stop the cooking. Disadvantage: it's a one trick pony, and takes up counter or cabinet space.

Advantage of stovetop PC: the pot can be used for other things (i.e., the pot can be used as a regular pot, not as a pressure cooker). Disadvantage: you have to manually turn it off.

Here's a off the wall suggestion that you might consider: if the stovetop PC you buy is induction capable, consider buying an induction hot plate. Using your PC on that would have all the timing functions of an electric PC (assuming the induction plate had a shutoff timer). Plus, you'd have a handy induction hot plate for doing stuff anywhere--say, frying fish on the back porch instead of the kitchen.

There was a recent thread here in which fellow Cooking Forum participant Lars discussed using his induction hot plate in just that fashion.

Here is a link that might be useful: induction hot plate link

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:45PM
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Original PC can do one or two things.

A modern PC can be a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:43PM
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dcarch: When you say modern PC, are you referring to an electric pressure cooker? And if so, do you have one?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 10:58PM
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"----are you referring to an electric pressure cooker? And if so, do you have one?---"

Yes, those electric/electronic ones.

I had one, but I gave it away as I have two regular ones. Just don't have the room for so many pots and pans.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:27AM
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Regular stove top user on a gas range, Can't compare to newer electric. One of the makers (Presto?) used to offer 50% off a new one if you sent in your old lid. Check a web site to see if that is still true. Find a broken one at a yard sale for a buck and save some money.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 7:43AM
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I have both, and use only the electric for cooking food any more. The stove tops (3) I will can in, but since buying an electric multi function that will pressure cook, slow cook, brown, hold at warm or do rice, I turn to that often and enjoy it very much. I appreciate that I can set it to pressure cook, and can leave it with no attention - knowing when the time I've set has finished if I don't respond to its signal it will automatically turn to 'hold warm'. I have the Fagor, use it several times a month. Cleanup is a breeze.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:47PM
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I've spent the last two days reading old GW and CH threads regarding pressure cookers. Funny that there are now 2 on the first page here! It wasn't even on my wish list until I read about how fast they turn out tasty food, as well as reduce the temp in the kitchen (a big deal for me) in comparison to regular stove/oven.
Previously, I only popped popcorn in my aluminum one.

I'm not enthused about another countertop appliance and like the simplicity of the traditional pots. I think I want, at least, an 8 qt for the type of cooking I have in mind and that size is crazy expensive for electric.

My induction cooktop has a timer that will turn the hob off for me. I'm seriously thinking about a 10 qt that can be used for canning stock as electric ones can't be used for pressure canning. Some have doubts about the Fagor 10 qt, but it meets the criteria. You can water bath can in the electric, if one desires to.

Or maybe the 4/8 qt combo. Yeah, still thinking about it!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:23PM
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Oy vey, now I have to get an induction burner and a pressure cooker/rice cooker/slow cooker. Since I already have a stovetop pressure canner, and have been thinking about getting a rice cooker, (I love rice and eat rice all the time but haven't yet been able to perfect a cooking technique for it), and I am willing to dedicate counter space to my slow cooker which I use all the time, getting those two appliances make sense to me. Sadly, it may be a while before I can pony up the dough! Thanks a lot PWM! :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 10:49AM
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One thing about the electric variety, they don't reach as high a PSI as the stove top (15psi/8psi). Fagor's 6 qt hi is 9psi/low is 5psi. Most use those pressures. I don't know how much of an issue that is. Just takes a little longer.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:14PM
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"----- I don't know how much of an issue that is. Just takes a little longer."

low, 5 PSI. 220 degrees F./100 degrees C.

Rarely used - Possibly some delicate types of fish, shrimp, some tender-crisp veggies

medium, can vary from 8-10 PSI, about 235 degrees F./115 degrees C.

Sometimes used for rice, pudding or custard recipes, some steamed holiday puddings.

high. standard is 15 PSI, 250 degrees F./120 degrees C.

Everything, this is the standard, and unless stated otherwise most pressure cooker recipes call for 15 psi.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 4:08PM
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So electrics commonly cook at low and medium settings. Using a recipe from another source would require a time adjustment, since most are written for 15 psi. Correct?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 4:49PM
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Alex, I have used that Fagor Splendid 8/4 combo, and it's a great deal for the $. ( I'd still have it if a relative didn't like it even more, and borrowed it :) I also have the 10 qt, and it's very good for cooking big quantities, but I haven't used it as a canner.

If you have an induction hob with a shutoff timer, I don't see any advantage for an electric pc. And you can use the pc pots for non-pressure applications. And I agree--if you have the storage space, get an 8 qt (at least) rather than a 6 qt. You'll need to experiment to see at what power level to set the hob to maintain pressure (you put it on high until pressure is reached, then cut the power to where the pressure is just maintained) but within a few uses I'm sure you'll figure it out.

Checking prices, I see that the 8/4 set is $137 at Amazon and $127 at Kohls.

Here is a link that might be useful: fagor 8/4 pc set

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 9:00AM
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I'm going to hijack a little, sorry PWM!

Arley- I pulled the trigger! I got the 10 qt Fagor Chef at Macys because of an extra 20% off the sale price yesterday. I cook extra for left overs & freezer storage because my 3 little kids already eat a lot. I can't imagine how much my two boys will eat when they're teens!

Since I want to can small quantities, I decided to start with the big dual purpose and I'm going to keep my eye out for a killer deal on a 6-8 qt for smaller dishes, if I end up using it a lot. The Chef seems to have an extra pressure indicator that will help me keep it at 15 psi for canning , taking the guesswork out of it for a newbie. I can always utilize pot-in-pot, too.

Picking up Lorna Sass's "Pressure Perfect" from the library today!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Re 15 pounds of pressure, it might be the advertised standard but does it really reach it?

I stopped paying for Cook's Illustrated online when they started nickel and diming (except a lot more than nickels and dimes) for all different levels of membership. But I remember that in their review of stove-top pressure cookers, including all the usual suspects, Fagor, Kuhn Rikon, Presto, WMF, Fissler, etc., they found that Fissler was the only one that reached full 15 pounds of pressure. I don't recall the results of the electric ones. (Although as I recall at the time they weren't impressed with the browning of any of them.)

I have no idea how they measured the pressure, whether it was an actual pressure measurement or if they backed into it from temp. I know their scientific methods have been questioned. Don't shoot the messenger.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:13AM
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I've read others' views of that review and the testers seemed to not read the instructions, hahaha! I like a site run by a gal in Italy. She's tested, or has collected data, on a variety of PCs. In order to can stock, at my altitude, I need 11 psi for xxx minutes. That is more than reached on Hi with stove tops. If I choose to start canning more delicate things than stock I'd need a PC that uses weights so as not to over-process. I'm going to do it on Hi, for the instructed time.

Here's the link for the site I mentioned above. I guess we're relying on the company's own testing and truth in advertising, huh?

Here is a link that might be useful: hip pressure cooking PSI FAQ page

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:37AM
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I've been happy with the browning of the electric Fagor Multicooker I bought for my daughter.

I've also found the electric (which isn't advertised as reaching 15 psi) and my stovetop Kuhn-Rikons (which are) are all equally effective in cooking. The electric seems to take a little bit longer but not long enough that it disrupts my cooking process.

The Lorna Sass book is really useful, IMO. I suppose a 12 psi pressure cooker might require extending cooking time longer than what she recommends, but in practice you release pressure, open the cooker, and if the beans or whatever are not done, you just keep cooking w/ the cooker lid open for another 10-15 minutes. And the next time, you remember to add a couple minutes pressure cooking time. I'd look for a used copy that you can annotate.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:43AM
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Alex, the article you link addresses cooking and psi, not canning. Most of us know when our food is done to the degree we want and can make adjustments accordingly. When it comes to canning for shelf storage, I won't without a tested dial gauge or milled weight that will verify psi - I wouldn't take the manufacturers word that the very appliance I bought was heating to the correct psi with no way to monitor that myself.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 11:54AM
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To check the temperature of your PC:

Get a metal container with a cover and fill it up with cooking oil, one or two cups.

Cook the oil in your PC. Elevate the oil above the water in the PC.

Give it plenty of time to cook the oil.

Release the pressure quickly (and safely). Then immediately measure the temperature of the oil.

That would be the max temperature of your PC.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:11PM
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Morz8, I linked it for the psi question FOAS had. The canning off-shoot was my own. But, she does have a chart for temps reached at a certain psi.

I'll be able to test the temp mine reaches. That will verify the manufacturer's claim that it will be close to 15. With stock, anything above 11 will be sufficient for safety. Especially if I process it for the same amount of time as directed for 11psi -for simplicity's sake.
The Chef notes that it has a gauge that allows you to monitor whether it maintains high pressure, which is why I chose that model. If it doesn't, it's an easy return or exchange for an 8 qt for cooking only.

The only other thing I might can are tomatoes next year. I'll adjust the acidity for those.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 3:29PM
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All this available canning information, and please don't be annoyed, but I don't even plan to can with a pressure cooker. I make a lot of soups and stocks plus ordinary every day cooking and thought a small pressure cooker might be a time saver for me. Thanks for everyone's thoughts which will surely help others too.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:24PM
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I'm sorry Pink. I really didn't mean to hijack, but I wanted to answer those questions/concerns and the psi comparisons sort of led to that. Again, sorry about that!

Did you take a look at the link? She has a ton of info comparing electric and stove top. I'll link her review page, too. Looks like she endorses the Instant Pot, but I didn't read all of it. There's also, but she's not a fan of the electric variety. You can try those forums, as well as searching Chowhound.

Here is a link that might be useful: one electric review

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Alexis9719 - doesn't matter at all. So many read these questions I feel sure lots of cooks learned lots.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 12:29PM
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