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Oct 19, 2007 08:42 AM

Pressure Cookers and what's your favorite? [Moved from Home Cooking board]

On my Christmas list this year, is a request for two things(mandoline) and one of them being a pressure cooker. I know just about next to nothing about pressure cookers but have heard such wonderful things about them from people that swear by them.

Please tell me which one you think is best. I am not worried about price, mainly function and results and of course the safety factor. I am smiling as I write this because I am finally going to get two of my most wanted kitchen helpers!

In advance, I thank you so much as I do really appreciate your educated responses!

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  1. I have a Kuhn Rikon...I've had it for about 7 years. I used it a lot when I was working as a personal chef. I don't use it as much now.

    I've been really happy with it. Never have had any problems or issues and have always been pleased with the results.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either Kuhn Rikon or Fagor.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ziggylu

      Thanks! I appreciate your answer. Can't wait to get it and use it. I know I won't use it everyday, but people I've talked to say it does an amazing job tenderizing meat quickly.

      1. re: ziggylu

        Ziggylu, may I ask what your favorite dish to cook in the p.c. was in your personal chef days? I have an OLD Presto that I won't part with (it's like a tank!) so I'm just curious as to what you loved cooking in yours.

        1. re: Val

          I used it mostly for soups, stews, and red sauce when I was working as a p.c. Some of my clients favorites were a beef stew with dried cherries, mushroom barley soup, and lamb shanks. I used the red sauce as a component in other things i'd be making during a visit.

          Very handy tool. I don't use it at home much these days though.

        2. re: ziggylu

          Though there is a Fagor (canning set) on sale on Amazon which might not be true Fagor - at least if the reviews are to be believed.

          I recently returned to using a pressure cooker, using a 4 qt Presto from the mid 80's. Also ordered replacement gaskets. That is new enough to have a lid interlock that keeps the cook from opening the lid while there is still pressure. So as long as you don't try to do something stupid, safety should not be big differentiator in a new cooker.

          There are some web sites that give recipes and hints on using pressure cookers. That largest is There are also books. I'm looking at a couple from the library. Lorna Sass has several books out.


          1. re: paulj

            I got the Amazon set. It is a little bigger than I need but thank goodness it is not too small. It arrived last week and the first thing I made in it was a porcini risotto. It was done in 7 minutes as promised. I think the slow cooker is going to languish in the basement.

            BTW' though Amazon bills it as being a Fagor and it is hard to tell the difference between the two, it does have a different name on it and is made in China. Also is non-stick. For the $29.99 and free shipping I don't care what name they chose to give it. I sell Fagors so am familiar with them.

            1. re: Candy

              Another Chinese PC that I've been tempted to get is the one distributed by GCI Outdoors, and sold by many camping stores. It's hard anodized, with short handles that should pack well with camping gear. In the past I've used my 4qt Presto on extended camping trips, making dishes like chicken cacciatore in minutes.

              I recently tried the rissotto, and was relatively pleased. It wasn't prefect, but promising. Chickpeas have also worked well. With a metal mixing bowl as insert I've made a good blueberry steamed pudding, and a quick Indian pudding.


          2. re: ziggylu

            I've got the 8 qt. Kuhn Rikon and have had it for 3 years now. It's brilliant. It came with Lorna Sass' "Pressure Perfect" book in the box. While I have to say that we haven't used many of the recipes, we do use her techniques and suggestions a lot.

          3. Can't tell you which is the best but I own a Fagor Elite 8 qt and I'm very happy with it. It only has one pressure setting but I don't find that a problem with what I use it for. If you don't already have a madoline you will love it. I would recommend at a Japanese Benriner model at the least. They are easy to use, work great and are inexpensive. I use mine more than the more expensive Bron I have.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scubadoo97

              ooooo thanks for the tip on the mandoline as well, these are two tools that I dearly want. I can't wait to get them! Thanks for your input all!

            2. I have been using two fagor pressure cookers in a Personal Chef biz for almost three years now. I love them. Easy to use, easy to clean and a great time saver. I use one or both at least 5 - 6 each week. Sometimes 2 -3 times in one day.
              I have clients with allergies and usually start every service day by making a large pot of chicken stock to be used through out the day.

              5 Replies
              1. re: jdm

                Wow! I am so excited with the all the possibilities for this utensil. What is the quart size?

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I bought a set directly from Fagor and it included an 8 qt and a 4 qt pot, one lid that fits both, a glass lid and a steaming basket.
                  I believe the site is
                  Good luck.

                2. re: jdm

                  jdm, I wonder if you could share how you make the stock. I guess I wonder if you use a whole chicken, or parts. I'm having a little trouble getting the flavor I want when I use a p cooker for this task.

                  1. re: sueatmo

                    I've been impressed with how well the PC extracts gelatin and calcium from the meat and bones. Flavor may not quite as good as with slow cooking because PC does not allow anything to brown. With a conventional pan you get some browning at the surface and rim of the pot above the liquid. So if that flavor component is important, I'd suggest frying or roasting the bones and vegetables before hand.


                    1. re: paulj

                      I brown things before putting them in the PC. Roasting the bones in the oven like when making stock the regular way gives you a nice rich stock.

                3. I've had two pressure cookers from SEB...I love them. The first I bought 30 years ago -- it's a French brand I learned about while living in France, but I bought the pressure cooker in the US. Never had anything go wrong with 30 years. The second I bought just last year on Ebay-- the very same model. Check Ebay's prices in general. I love SEB.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    How easy is it to get replacement gaskets for these various brands? Presto gaskets are available some retail stores (more likely in semi-rural regions where people do canning), and online.

                    Or are the brands that use some sort of gasket-less seal?


                    1. re: paulj

                      There are many online sites for ordering replacement pressure cooker parts.
                      Here are two:

                    2. re: maria lorraine

                      My grandmother just gave me a SEB pressure cooker that looks like maybe it was used once and has been sitting in a box for 30 years or so??? I am going to try to cook a roast in it today and see what happens but I have never cooked in a pressure cooker before. Any pointers?
                      It is the SEB Super Cooker Model 025430 Aluminum Pressure Cooker 8 quarts
                      I also have the 300 recipes for SEB Pressure Cookers book .... but many look unfamiliar to what I am use to cooking with.

                      1. re: saukcity

                        Saukcity, what kind of roast are you doing, may I ask? Make sure to season and brown it before putting it under pressure, that would be my first tip, which you may already know.

                        1. re: saukcity

                          Check the gaskets (including any safety valves). On a cooker that old, they might be hard and cracked. If so they need to be replaced before you use it.

                          1. re: paulj

                            The SEB gaskets hold up pretty well. You can tell if there are any leaks or gaps (those other than what you can see easily) by just making something.

                            In answer to your question on cooking a roast in a pressure cooker, it's not
                            my preferred method for that. I like high oven heat for a roast, and browning
                            prior to going into the oven for increased flavor. However, the pressure cooker is awesome for some meat sauces, chicken stock, an entire head of cabbage (the cabbage gets sweet/caramelizes) and so many other things. You're lucky you have a SEB. I've had one of my SEBS for 30 years. It is still perfect.

                      2. Magefesa is the single best pressure cooker ever. Light and solidly built. It has no nasty jiggly top. Silicone seals that last forever (with proper care). No funny taste (aluminum pressures I'm talking about you). I love it. I use it. I'm a fan. Is it more expensive, yes. Is it worth it, absolutely. The easiest, most convenient lid ever. The pressure release clip is a dream.

                        Buy it, use it and thank me later.

                        For more info