Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Feb 10, 2011 05:26 AM

Pressure Cooker - 6 qt or 8 qt?

I'm buying my first PC and trying to decide on the most useful size - please help! I'd like to make smaller things like grains and beans but some possibly as large as a whole chicken (possibly cut into pieces). I'd also like to be able to do ears of corn.
Any thoughts are welcome - thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 6 quart should be big enough to do a whole chicken or equivalent amount of parts or even a good size pot of soup (I just made a soup yesterday that called for a pound of mushrooms and 3 quarts of stock, plus other ingredients). The other day I made chili with 2 lbs. of ground beef and a pound of dried beans. If you get a bigger pressure cooker, you'll be handicapped by the larger size in that you won't be able to make small quantities of foods because the pot has to be filled to a certain level in order to cook properly. Unless you expect to make enormous batches of things, 6 quart should be fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nyleve

      I actually just got a pressure cooker and have been reading about it and the method the last couple of days, also consulting the Miss Vickie website:

      From what I've read, the bigger size gives added flexibility with no down side. When can you not make small quantities in a larger cooker?

      And for a number of ingredient types, you can only fill the cooker half full rather than 2/3, because the foaming of some ingredients would otherwise foul the valve.

      All that said, I do gather that a 6 quart size can be fine, and testimonials like yours bear that out.

    2. My 6qt Fagor handles a 6lb chicken (whole).

      Do you know the dimensions of the pots you have in mind? I think the Fagor 8 has a larger diameter than the 6. The height difference may be negligible.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I was thinking about the Fagor 6 or 8 qt. The diameter is larger on the 8 qt as you stated.

      2. I have a 6 qt Fagor and it fine for most things except stock. When doing stock I wish I had a larger PC. By the time you add 2-3 lbs of bones and trimmings and then 2 qts of water it's nearly filled to the top.

        8 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          How long does it take to make a stock in a PC? I guess this is the area where having a pc makes difference.

          1. re: hobbybaker

            I think if you plan to use a PC for stock frequently you'll really need two different pots. For regular everyday use - unless you're a family of 8 - you'll want a mid-size that can make 4 servings of most things. A 6 quart pot will do that. But for stock you'd really need something quite a bit bigger, which couldn't generally be used for small batches of food. There's a minimum amount of ingredients in most of these cookers which would make it problematic for cooking small amounts.

            1. re: Nyleve

              I think golden rule is mostly 2/3, correct? I am just thinking if it does not take long, separate into two batches and make twice. Doesn't it work?

              1. re: Nyleve

                Really depends on how much stock you want to make at a time. I usually make about a quart, rarely more. That's enough water to cover a chicken carcass. There just isn't room in my fridge for more stock. If I keep it on the concentrated side, I can thin it when making soup.

                1. re: paulj

                  The good thing about stock in a PC is that it doesn't take long to make so you can do two batches back to back

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    sounds good. Thanks for you guys all for your feedbacks on stock :)

            2. re: scubadoo97

              Would you say that other than for stock, 6 qts is fine? Any other things you make that you wish you had a larger PC for?

              1. re: olympia

                Olympia, I mainly cook for one or two, but always make at least four to six servings so as to have leftovers. The cooker I use most often, by a long shot, is my Kuhn Rikon 5-liter (so it's not even 6 quarts). Second-most-used is the four-quart saute-shaped Fagor that came in a set with an 8-quart pot; I like this one for its large diameter and shallow sides, and it easily handles (for example) chili made with slightly over a pound of ground meat. I bought the Fagor set intending to use the larger cooker for stock--but as it turns out, I hardly ever bother. And I prefer the smaller cookers for everything else, since the 8-quart seems to take longer to come up to pressure and is cumbersome to wash by hand in my relatively small sink. Of course, your own cooking habits should dictate the size (or sizes!) you finally choose.

            3. I'd recommend an 8 qt. I have a Presto, and it works fine.

              I just finished making stock this evening, and by the time you get all the ingredients in there, there's not much room left to make 2-3 quarts. And 2-3 quarts isn't all that much.

              I can make risotto and small rice servings (using 1 cup rice). I also cook 8 oz of dried beans at a time in it, fresh veggies, etc...

              By the way-- for my stock, I place all scraps (onion ends and the outer flexible white part that I peel off, carrot scrapings, ends, etc, chicken bones from roast breasts or braised thighs, etc) all in a ziplock bag that goes in the freezer. When it's full, I plan to roast a small fryer chicken for dinner that night. Then, I use the bones from that, along with my full ziplock freezer bag of items and any leftover veggies along with the appropriate amount of water-- all into the pressure cooker and cook for 1 hour.

              Now the stock is out on the porch to cool overnight and will go in the freezer tomorrow AM after I scrape off the fat.

              For 1 pot, the 8 qt works fine and gives me maximum versatility. I really don't feel you lose anything by having an 8 versus 6 qt.-- other than the ability to "go bigger" for soups, stews, stocks or big cuts of meat/poultry.

              And with the Presto, it has the shorter handles, so it doesn't take up as much room as you'd expect.

              Just my 2 cents... good luck whichever way you go...

              1. Definitely buy the 8 quart, I wish I would have. Sure the 6 is pretty useful but the 8 does everything the 6 does and more. Since you can only fill a PC about half full you will likely wish you bought the bigger one if you get the smaller one and unless you have an undersized stove or cabinets it's unlikely you will wish for the smaller PC if you get the larger one. I didn't intend to talk in circles but you get the idea.

                4 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  Thanks, John. Is that too big for rice or beans? I do like the larger steamer basket that comes with the 8. I must confess that I bought both with the intention of returning one and am having a very hard time deciding! I did think it might be nice to keep the 6 and down the line get the 10 so I could can with it.

                  1. re: olympia

                    I do rice and beans in a 6 but would like an 8 because the 6 isn't large enough to do the quantities I would like. If you're going to have a large one and a smaller one I'd go with a 6 and a 12 for canning that could also be used for a large batch of chilli, stew or even a small turkey.

                    1. re: John E.

                      Okay, goofy but what is the minimum and maximum on rice in the 6 qt. Also, is half full the max on rice or beans? I'm new to pressure cooking (obviously)!

                      1. re: olympia

                        I don't have all the answers to pressure cooking. I usually double check the cooking times every time I use the thing. 

                        Here are a couple of informative websites. 



                        One more thing about purchasing a  pressure cooker, buy one made from stainless steel with an aluminum disk bottom. I bought one all aluminum and wish it were stainless. Every time I use it I wonder why I don't use it more.