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Pressure Cooking Tips and Advice?

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We just got a Presto 8 quart stainless steel pressure cooker ($70 on Amazon with free shipping) and we're excited but nervous to use it. The book it came with said always cook with liquid covering the food, but many recipes don't seem to follow that procedure.

Does anyone have any wisdom to share to get us started? We don't want to make bad appliance-recipe-book food, but some excellent chow, but we're nervous about wild-catting without knowing the basics.


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  1. http://missvickie.com/
    just about anything that you could want to know about pressure cookers and how to use them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jdm

      What a nice site! The little column on the left starts with "Novices Start Here"

    2. Just make sure you seal the lid, because my mom still has exploded azuki beans on her kitchen ceiling!!

      1. Don't take the little bobber thing off until its cool off. I usually plunge the pot into sink full of cold water. It's amazing how much stuff can erupt outta that little whole.

        1. Pick up some of the Lorna Sass cookbooks. Used on Amazon would be fine. I think they are the best. In new ones are safe, I like the Kuhn Rikon, but loaned it to my son and am having trouble getting it back. I don't want to spend the $ for another, if I'm not sure he will continue to use it. I really like my pressure cooker. My first I got from my mom because of the ceiling thing.

          1. Pressure cookers work best for softening beans, cooking rice and grains. Do not expect great results if you just throw vegetables/meat in for stews or soups. You need to brown those ingredients first to bring out the flavors. Otherwise the pressure cooker just boils everything together. I love my pressure cooker, but I have gone back to oven-roasing beets, squash, etc. Takes much longer, but flavor and texture are better.

            1. I don't agree with the sentence about the liquid covering the food. I peeled 8 Russet potatoes today and placed them in a Presto 4 Quart aluminum pressure cooker. I used approximately 1-1/2 cups of water which did NOT cover the potatoes. The liquid covered approximately 1/2 of the volume of the potatoes. I've cooked chickens (whole and cut-up, and chuck roasts in the pressure cooker. I use just enough water to prevent burning the food and the meat.

              1. You can cook brown rice in 15 minutes using your pressure cooker. To one cup of brown rice add 5 cups of water( you're cooking it like pasta) and 1 tbsp oil. The oil is essential to avoid foaming and blocking your steam vents. Bring it up to high pressure and set the timer for 15 minutes. Bring down the pressure by running cold water over the pot set in the sink. Drain your rice in a strainer and enjoy.

                I've also done a great meatlof and mashed potatoes in 8 minutes! You cut up your potatoes and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker cover them with water. In a steamer basket place your 1 pound meatlof covered in chili sauce or ketchup....whatever you'd usually use. put it on top of the potatoes. Bring up to high pressure. Set the timer for 8 minutes....once done let the pressure release slowly on it's own. Check the meat with a thermometer to make sure it's done. Remove the meatloaf and mash your potatoes.

                These are two things I make quite frequently as they are real time savers.
                Hope you enjoy your pressure cooker...I love mine.