Your Burning Questions

What to Cook in Your Pressure Cooker

by • January 3, 2015 42 Comments

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: This year we're resolving to put all of our cookware to good use. We're starting with pressure cookers, and revisiting just how easy they are to use: Plunk in your ingredients, seal the lid, apply pressure, produce dinner.

Pork Stew with White Beans

If you aren't already a loyal devotée of the pressure cooker, chances are you hold it at arm's length, confused and skeptical of its magical powers. A machine that cranks out slow-cooked meats and chilis in a fraction of the time must surely be sinister -- a science oven that sucks all the goodness out of your food. Besides, everyone knows that half the pleasure of a braise is the sense of having earned it after an interminable wait.

Yet, throughout human history, certain too-good-to-be-true gadgets have proven to be, well, true. There was fire, the wheel, and the long-awaited portable watermelon fridge. Now, we're (re)discovering our pressure cookers. Plunk in your ingredients, seal the lid, apply pressure, produce dinner. Cara Rosaen was just gifted one, and she turned to the community for cooking inspiration: 

  • MTMitchell's pressure cooker is a kitchen workhorse: "I make anything that requires braising or a long time to cook -- our favorites are short ribs, lamb shanks, and chili with dried beans." She finds she needs little to no tweaks from the original cooking instructions, but did point us to some good-lookin' pressure-cooker recipes.
  • Flirty Foodie uses hers to make everything from rustic minestrone and pasta e fagioli to octopus salad, and sfmiller seconds the perks of pressure-cooking tough cuts of meat, risottos, and stews.

White Beans

  • Pressure cookers are great for more than just one-pot meals -- you can also follow sfmiller's lead and use them to prep ingredients like "dried beans and grains that take forever to cook in a pot (unsoaked pintos to tender cooked beans in about 30 minutes, start to finish), and especially for making stock (really good chicken stock in about 35 minutes, start to finish, and beef stock in about 2 hours, including bone roasting time)."
  • For everything else, sfmiller recommends Hip Pressure Cooking as "a good resource for all things PC."

What do you like to cook in your pressure cooker? Tell us in the comments!

First photo by Alpha Smoot, second photo by James Ransom, and third photo by Canal House

Tags: how-to & diy, hotline, best question, pressure cooker, slow cooker, recipes

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Comments (42)

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4 days ago Dee

can anyone tell me in what order do i put the following in an 8 quart electric pressure cooker? Potatoes, corn on cob, kielbasi, whole lobster, shrimp...thank you so much!

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4 days ago Malinda Barrett

Hi - I use this site to give me times:
https://fastcooking.ca...

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2 months ago jhondang

Would love your favorite recipe!

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4 months ago jacob

You have link youtube about how to cook?Please give a link.

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6 months ago GregoryBPortland

All the Lorna Sass pressure cooking cookbooks (three of them) are outstanding. She used to be a spokesperson for Megafesa pressure cookers (an outstanding Italian company). She knows pressure cooking inside and out, as does Rick Rodgers in his fine book, PRESSURE COOKING FOR EVERYONE. MISS VICKIE'S BIG BOOK OF PRESSURE COOKER RECIPES is a fine compliment to her website. I was a bit disappointed in HIP PRESSURE COOKING. Not enough recipes that appealed. All of these are available on Amazon.com, or if not, try Abe's Books online, which offers lots of out-of-print titles.

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6 months ago Leeannminton

Chicken and rice soup is my go to, add whole chicken, vegetables a good amount of salt and assorted seasonings, water add the pressure and its done in 30-45 minutes. I make the rice and add it to each individual bowl to prevent the rice from soaking up too much broth.

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6 months ago Rebecca Guralnick

HARD COOKED EGGS! Steamed in 6 minutes - done to perfection. They practically peel themselves. The best!

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6 months ago GregoryBPortland

Rebecca--I have to try this method for hard cooked eggs. One of my closest friends hosts a very fancy Christmas party every year and every year I complain about peeling eight dozen eggs for stuffing (each dozen gets a different type of filling). It's a nightmare, and we've tried using older eggs, pricking a small hole in the eggs, etc. This sounds like a very sensible solution. Does the six-minute cooking time begin when you achieve full pressure? Hopefully this will be the solution I've been looking for

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6 months ago Berneice Zucker

Could I cook menudo in my pressure cooker?

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5 months ago Kiki Makescoldweather Barbosa

I was going to ask same question, I've been trying to find out. Did you ever find out?

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6 months ago Melanie

Chicken soup! Start to finish in 25 minutes and it's delicious!!

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6 months ago begw

So glad to see this. I got an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) for Christmas and I'm having a blast with it. I find the slow cooker takes more...forward thinking and I ain't got that kind of organization in my life. I only have the Hip Pressure Cooker cookbook and am always looking for ideas since WE don't eat legumes because I don't like them ;-) - I did make clam risotto for NYE that was, no joke, a poem.

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6 months ago cookinalong

I've been coveting one of those Instant Pots for months, but I have so little counter space that anything that's going to claim a piece of that valuable real estate better earn its keep! Is it easy to use? Have you made yogurt with it yet?

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over 1 year ago beekeeper

Another great resource is Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass.
It has been out long enough that you can probably find it used at a good price.

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over 1 year ago Emily Odza

To add to the 'artichoke' suggestion, I discovered that adding homemade preserved lemon, and a bit of olive oil, to the cooking water for artichokes in my Fagor pressure cooker, made for tender artichoke leaves that were flavorful just as they were, without any added butter or mayonnaise.

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over 1 year ago cookinalong

Once you've made beans in the pressure cooker, you'll never use canned again! Other great dishes: rice pudding, cheesecake, garlic confit (Dad Cooks Dinner), Lorna Sass's Curry in a Hurry, just about any stew, braise, or soup is ready in half the time. Also always make stocks and broth with the PC. I LOVE my Kuhn-Rikon PC. Does is show?

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over 1 year ago Jessica

I just inherited my mother-in-law's Kuhn Rikon and armed with the best pressure cooking cookbook by Lorna Sass, I now cook with it weekly and everything is easy and so amazing. Curried Chicken and Lentils with Spinach is particularly delicious.

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over 1 year ago robbie

the link to the recipes dont work, I'm afraid..

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over 1 year ago Eileen

Love, love, love my Fagor pressure fryer. I generally use it as a regular pressure cooker but have been known to make killer pressure fried chicken when I am feeling naughty! DO NOT attempt to make pressure fried foods in a regular pressure cooker....you are taking your life into your hands. The pressure cooker makes the best pressure cooked corn on the cob in 3 min. In addition to the regular things like stocks, soups stews, braises and grains it does a nice job cooking fresh veg. Quick and retains the vitamins. Couldn't live without it. Mine is able to can fresh veg, jams etc but haven't ventured that far. Perhaps next harvest season. Anyone have luck with that? Happy pressuring!

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over 1 year ago GregoryBPortland

Shrimp Risotto--I haven't really written as a recipe, so let this just be a template. Over medium high heat, I start by sautéing 1 pound of medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined, in about 2 tablespoons of grape seed or canola oil and one tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 6 quart pressure cooker (frankly, I think it is a lot easier to sauté the shrimp in a sauté pan because the pressure cooker is deep and has a smaller cooking surface for sautéing--see notes below). Stir it around for about two minutes until the shrimp turn a bright pink color. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. In the same hot pan, add five or six anchovies, drained and patted dry (with paper towel), two large leeks, trimmed of all dark green leaves and the root end, cut in half lengthwise, and thoroughly washed and shaken dry and then cut into half moons about 1/3-inch thick or about 1 1/2 cups of diced onions and stir that around over medium heat, until the leeks/onions soften and begin to turn golden, and the anchovies melt--about five minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, about four large garlic cloves, finely chopped and cook about a minute. Add 1 1/2 cups short grained rice (Arborio is the most commonly available), and stir an additional two minutes, making sure the rice is throughly wet from the fat and vegetables in the pot. Add about 3 1/4 cups good quality vegetable broth, a fresh bay leaf or two (or two dried), and bring the pot to high pressure. Once it is at high pressure, set a timer for five minutes. When the time is up, move the pressure cooker to the sink and bring the pressure down quickly by turning cold water onto the lid of the pot. It will take less than 15 seconds. Move the pressure weight at the top of the cooker to indicate all the pressure is expelled and then open the lid, being careful to keep the direction of the opening away from you. You will note a lot of steam under that lid. Return the pressure cooker to the stove and under medium heat, stir the rice. If soupy raise the heat, stirring until the most of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. You want a slightly soupy consistency. To the pot add the zest of a small lemon, 1/4 cup of minced chives, freshly cracked pepper to taste, and the shrimp. Stir until the shrimp are heated through--about a minute and a half or so. Then add two tablespoons of softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, turning off the heat after you've added the first tablespoon of butter. Pour into a warmed bowl. Sprinkle more minced chive if you like and serve. Yield about 3-4 servings.

Notes: As I indicated above, I find it easier and more practical to use a large sautee pan for the prep work, and deglaze the pan with some white wine, rose or vermouth after all the vegetables and aromatics are sautéed.

Resist the urge to add grated Parmesan.

The anchovies are incorporated to add flavor to the shrimp dish, or use a tablespoon of Thai fish sauce instead.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

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over 1 year ago Christina

Thank you sounds delicious! Funny you added the note about the cheese. I was thinking....where's the cheese? Love that you used anchovies, they are so good for you and a perfect way to incorporate them into a dish.
I will let you know how it goes! Thank you very much!

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over 1 year ago Can't live without

I make everything in pressure cooker--plain rice, rice pilafs, risottos, veggie and meat stews, curries, cooking dried (& soaked) beans, soups. I even make pulled chicken for enchiladas...and much more. Flavors penetrate the meats so much better...anything calling slow cooking is perfect for pressure cooking in a fraction of a time. The list is endless!!

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over 1 year ago Christina

GregoryBPortland. I never had the old original pressure cooker, so i don't know the difference. For me it's an awesome quick way to make meals as a working wife. I love Risotto, would you share a recipe with me so I can try it out? We love the basic Mushroom version.

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over 1 year ago GregoryBPortland

I probably use my pressure cooker for Risotto more than any other recipe. Butternut squash, shrimp and other seafood, vegetables of all kinds--the pressure cooker can do it all. I love braises too, but for Risotto, it can't be beat. For Christina below--I had been thinking of retiring my 30-year-old pressure cooker (one of the first of the new generation of stainless steel, safer pressure cookers) and started to read about electric versions. I read so many negative comments, I simply abandoned my decision. Don't fix what ain't broke.

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over 1 year ago cwplunkett

Risotto, Risotto, Risotto!!! It is as good as anything you labor over all in under 5 minutes cooking. For me a good risotto start to finish in the Pressure cooker takes 10 minutes! Oh so good too!!!

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over 1 year ago Christina

Would love your favorite recipe!

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over 1 year ago cookinalong

Check out the websites Dad Cooks Dinner and Hip Pressure Cooking. Both have wonderful recipes. They are a little different, but I've had great success with both. They also both have lots of good recipes and tips for using the pressure cooker.

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over 1 year ago Christina

Thank you. I will check it out. We bought a slow cooker book, but I am not crazy about it.