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Feb 4, 2014 09:22 AM

Please recommend pressure cooking cookbooks

I recently purchased a pressure cooker. Everything I've tried so far has been incredible! I'm in love. I've been using recipes that I've found on line, but now I would like to start my cookbook pressure cooking library. I know Lorna Sass' books are supposed to be good, but which one to start with? Also, are there other books that are also good?

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  1. I have Lorna Sass' "Pressure Perfect". It's a great starter book and has all the basic instructions for cooking in the pressure cooker, along with some nice recipes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mwk

      Thanks for the recommendation. I couldn't decide between Cooking Under Pressure VS Pressure Perfect. I thought maybe Cooking Under Pressure might be better as it is newer (2009 VS 2004).

      1. re: topeater

        I have both and use Pressure Perfect much more. It has a lot of variations for each recipe, whereas Cooking Under Pressure just has complete recipes without the variations. I like to be able to adapt to whatever meat I happen to have on hand or whatever flavoring (southwest vs Italian vs Cajun, for example) I feel like eating. I also like the charts and basic information for cooking beans, grains, vegetables, meats, etc. It's a very useful book. That's not to say that Cooking Under Pressure is bad in any way, and it does have great recipes, it's just not as versatile.

        1. re: AmyH

          I concur. I use "Pressure Perfect" more than I do "Cooking Under Pressure" - it also has some very nice pressure cooking timetables that would be especially useful for a newbie. ;D

    2. My two most-used books are Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass

      and Pressure Cooker Perfection from America's Test Kitchen

      I also highly recommend this blog (I have no relationship, I just really like it)

      This blog has some interesting stuff, too, but you can't copy the recipes to another format or print them, so I never cook from it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: AmyH

        Thanks for the link to the blogs.

        1. re: AmyH

          If you like the recipes and ideas on, note that its proprietor, Laura Pazzaglia, is also the author of The Everything Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook. I bought it based on my admiration for her website and have found it to be a nice complement to the site. I believe she's also working on another cookbook.

          1. re: AmyH

            ( Laura recommends using to create a print-friendly copy of a web page.

            1. re: CookingAdventurer

              Thanks. I'll give it a try next time there's a good recipe on her site.

            2. re: AmyH

              Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful 9/2/14 is available. The new book is by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia (author of blog and I learned about it at:

              More information with the ability to pre-order Laura's new 304 page book is at: from her biography there:

              "The upcoming "Hip Pressure Cooking" (St. Martin's Press, Fall 2014) is Pazzaglia's first cookbook. In it, she explains how ingredients react under pressure with easy-to-follow recipes with a minimum of prep. The book is filled with tips, techniques and detailed information that has never been shared before- a must-have reference for pressure cookery.

              She worked with Adams Media to publish a book project "The Everything Healthy Pressure Cooker" in 2012. In it, she "healthyfies" the publisher's recipes by removing all packets, cans, and pouches and re-configures them to use only whole, fresh ingredients - she also added some reader favorites from her website.

              Pazzaglia is a former IT Project Director in San Francisco Bay Area's Silicon Valley that now lives in Italy with her husband and two children. She moved from computer to kitchen technology when her first child was born and was looking for a way to make healthier meals in less time. She has lived in four countries (U.K, Italy, U.S.A, and Austria), speaks three languages (English, Italian and German) and is currently resides in Rome.

              Her personal goal is to get everyone who is just cooking, pressure cooking."

              Laura has a section on her blog dedicated to beginners at:

              @ AmyH, thank you for your post sending me to these two blogs months back and I also like the book Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass. Lorna's blog is here: http://pressurecookingwithlornasass.w... and a review by Laura of the Pressure Perfect book is here:

              I sometimes also read to compare information with learn, however, did not buy her book because too often Vickie Smith uses highly processed ingredients (when like to instead cook with more natural basic combinations to prepare food). One thing Vickie taught me is with these newer-style Pressure Cookers we need to keep the steam valve clean: (with my older PC a pipe cleaner once in a while through the steam release hole was enough).

              1. re: smaki

                Glad they were so useful to you!

            3. I second the recommendation for Pressure Perfection as your first Lorna Sass PC cookbook.

              I don't recommend Pressure Cooker Perfection for newbies because there are some problems with the recipes in terms of the volume of water added (at least with electric pressure cookers, some recipes add too little and the machine turns off to protect itself - wait until you have more experience then you'll know to adjust the recipes in advance).

              But to give you other recommendations, let me ask this: what do you like? Are you a gourmand? Are you fond of vegetable / vegetarian dishes? Do you like traditional comfort food or Southern food? The more I know about your tastes, the better a recommendation I can make.

              7 Replies
              1. re: ePressureCooker

                Such a strange thing to ponder….what kind of food do I like. I would say my palate is fairly developed and I enjoy a variety of foods, so it would be hard to label myself. Lately, I've been short on time (hence the pressure cooker) & I've been cooking a lot of dishes from the Bonne Femme Cookbook by Wini Maranville and also her ebook on braising. It's been so cold this winter, we've been having lots of soups and warming foods. I've lived in NYC, New Orleans and Austin to give you a little background eating history. Not sure if this answered your question or not. I'm not afraid to try cooking different types of foods and the only food that we tend not to eat is Indian as there's something in the combination of spices that does not sit well with my husband's digestion which is strange because we eat sichuan, Thai and spicy Mexican!

                1. re: topeater

                  Actually, topeater, I don't find that so strange that you like sichuan, Thai and Mexican, but your husband doesn't tolerate Indian food so well - the first three are heavy on chiles, on heat, on capsaicin, whereas Indian food is very heavy on spices per se. I have members of my family who have the same sort of food preferences / aversions as your husband.

                  In that case, I would recommend Pressure Cooker Gourmet as well as Pressure Perfect - its heavy on European cuisine, but there's some gourmet stuff, some Mexican, and even some Asian dishes. That seems the most in line with your palate preferences.

                  1. re: ePressureCooker

                    Wow, all of that makes sense. I'll check out Pressure Cooker Gourmet. Thanks for the info.

                    1. re: ePressureCooker

                      Everything I've cooked so far has been incredible, except for a pork chop recipe where the pork was tough. Now, I'm wondering if I cooked the pork too long or if the recipe was just not too good. The chicken, beef, lamb & rice dishes that I have tried have spoiled me. I have never had such flavor and tenderness from meat. Plus, I've done a few veg soups with rice that have been amazing and have taken about 9 minutes. I cannot believe how incredible cooking is with a pressure cooker. It's funny that all my friends that I talk with about this say the same thing (which is also what I used to say),"I'm afraid of a pressure cooker." We all have bad memories of the old pressure cookers blowing up. I guess that dates us!

                      1. re: topeater

                        I used to be very intimidated by pressure cookers. The first pressure cooker I worked up the courage to buy, I read the instruction manual, chickened out, and gave it to my sister. Then she bought an electric pressure cooker, and she loved hers so much, and raved about it so much, I bought the same model.

                        As for that pork chop recipe, there's a likely explanation for that. Pressure cookers work best with meat cuts that have a lot of connective tissue and fat, thinking working muscles, the cuts in parts of the animal that bear weight like the shoulder and neck, or are involved in locomotion and movement, like meat cuts from legs. In the pig, pork butt and pork shoulder are ideal, ham will work, lean, drier cuts like pork chops (which come from the middle of the pig and contain little in the way of connective tissues) are much less ideal.

                        That's not to say you can't cook pork chops in the pressure cooker, but like turkey breasts, you have to be careful with them, and baby them more than you would other cuts of pork or turkey legs. Choose the thickest cuts of pork chops you can find. Brine them (soak them in a salt water solution) for at least 24 hours before cooking them. The salt will not only flavor the meat, and denature (soften) the proteins, but will help a little bit with moisture retention. You also have to be careful not to cook pork chops too long, because the softening of the meat happens really quickly, and if you go too long, the pressure cooker will do a really good job of driving all the moisture and fat out of the meat. And always be sure to use natural release, not quick release - apparently abrupt pressure changes can toughen the meat.

                        (It hasn't been easy, but I have managed to figure out how to get a tasty moist turkey breast out of the pressure cooker.)

                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                          Wow! Thanks for such a clear explanation. I'm going with the pork butt next time for tacos. Great idea about brining.

                          1. re: topeater

                            You're welcome. Pork butt is GREAT for tacos, and you won't have to brine it, well, unless you really want to. A big old 5 or so pound piece can fit in my electric pressure cooker (maybe more in yours, if you have a stovetop PC). Cut it up into just three or four pieces to help it along, what I've recently started doing is cutting it in half height wise, to keep those shreds shorter, and then cutting it in half the other way. Should take about 50 - 55 minutes under pressure (more if you live at altitude) and the meat will be meltingly soft and tender, you can shred it with your finger tips. You can even use the cooking broth to make soup - I like to make either split pea or bean with bacon soup with it.

                2. I've been getting great use from Pressure Cooker Perfection, but I haven't made a single recipe from it. I've been using the timing and techniques for the various dishes, subbing in my own sauces, spices, get the picture. It's the food I already was cooking done super fast using the steps and quantities in this book. So far everything from brisket to pulled pork to ribs has turned out fabulously. It's a worthwhile investment.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jammy

                    Don't get me wrong - there's some useful stuff in that particular cookbook. I've just found it a very contradictory and frustrating experience using the recipes as written. The first couple I tried, BBQ beans, pulled pork, mac n' cheese, weeknight chili, all turned out really well, and I thought, gee I don't understand all the bad reviews on Amazon. Then I tried additional recipes that did not work so well. The chicken and rice recipe, the minute I read it, I said that's not enough liquid, that's going to run out in about 3 minutes as the rice absorbs all the water, but since I was doing the recipes to review the book, I did it as written. Sure enough, the machine shut off pressure 3 - 4 minutes in. I tried the chickpea and artichoke tagine, it was a little watery for my taste, but it was OK. Tried the 15 bean soup and it was OK, the family liked it well enough, but I felt they used the wrong technique for the sausage, it was rubbery, and had been cooked so long all the flavor was in the soup, and none left in the sausage. Then I tried the meatloaf recipe, and I said to myself oh boy, I think this is done in such a way the machine is going to turn off for lack of liquid, and ten or fifteen minutes in, it did just that, even though I had followed the instructions scrupulously.

                    So its a mixed bag, and it would really help to have some experience with your pressure cooker to have a better idea when the liquid included in the recipe will be insufficient.

                    1. re: jammy

                      I have Pressure Cooker Perfection, recently acquired from a book sale, and have made 3 recipes in the last several days from it. I'm a fan.

                      Previously, my pressure cooker was used primarily for beans, artichokes, and chicken stock. I'm liking the ability to make complete entrees. Beef short ribs in there as I type.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        As I said, it can be hit or miss, and maybe some of the "miss" has to do with stovetop v. electric pressure cookers, but I find it helps to have some experience with pressure cookers, and your own in particular, when going through the recipes to know how you should adjust the recipes for best results. (And mind you, I have one of the electric pressure cookers they rated the highest, so its not like I have a bad machine.)

                        If you have to have experience to know how to adjust the recipes, that doesn't make it optimal for beginners. In their reviews of electric pressure cookers, they even remarked that one or more of the brands of electric pressure cookers turned off while cooking - well, yes, they'll do that if you don't put enough water in, that's a feature, not a bug. (I never had a similar problem with even one recipe from any of the other pressure cooker cookbooks I have tried.)

                        1. re: ePressureCooker

                          Yeah, I only know my ancient Mirromatic stovetop model and have zero experience with electric models. I tuned out all instructions having to do with electric. Unfortunately, the book has me wanting to buy a larger stovetop model. I love my 4 qt. baby but.....need a bigger one to fit a turkey breast.

                          1. re: tcamp

                            Oh yeah, 4 quarts is a very limiting size. You wouldn't be able to do a whole chicken or big pot roast or pork shoulder, or do a decent sized amount of beans, or a large stew. And to make your own stock, you'd want at least a 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker.

                    2. I use my pressure cooker almost daily. It is greatly under appreciated and not well understood in the US. I think it is a BBQers best friend...blasphemy, I know, but the results are what counts.

                      Lorna sass is good, but I have found quite a few new ideas by using google. Like searching for "apple sauce, pressure cooker". More and more food bloggers are discovering the pressure cooker. Yay! I am adding "pressure cooker" on the end of all my recipe searches these days and am having good luck.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sedimental

                        No BBQ blasphemy involved, or there shouldn't be: the pressure cooker is a great way to make baked beans, potatoes for potato salad, your own BBQ sauce (without the high fructose corn syrup), and to precook things like short ribs and chicken to be finished off on the BBQ.

                        As for bloggers discovering the pressure cooker, you don't say? ;D

                          1. re: daislander

                            Not just beans. You can make potatoes for potato salad in it, corn on the cob, lots of other sides, but that's not all, either. You can make your own sauces, you can for example precook short ribs in the pressure cooker and then finish them off on the grill, etc.