DIY Food

What to Cook in Your Pressure Cooker

January  3, 2015

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

Shop the Story

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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lovely Madayag
    Lovely Madayag
  • kbigot
  • GregoryBPortland
  • JL
  • Dee
Fond of large dogs, tiny houses, pungent cheese, and dessert for dinner (or breakfast).


Lovely M. March 27, 2018
Pressure cookers are awesome; you will surely realize that after reading these power pressure cooker Reviews. They have replaced the traditional forms of cooking that used to take a lot of time before food was ready. The pressure cookers come in various sizes;

4 Quart Pressure cooker that is meant for one, two people or just one meal for a small family
6 Quart can accommodate more people than the 4 Quart one, mainly for a medium sized family
8 Quart can accommodate a large family
10 Quart and 12 Quart can accommodate a larger family than the latter.
Depending on the size of the family, make your choice. One thing that you should be assured of is that it will totally change your cooking experience. Check this out!
kbigot September 13, 2017
I rediscovered my mothers pressure-cooker when I wanted to make a Boeuf Bourguignon and was in a hurry. It succeeded wonderfully in just a half a hour. I have bought a new pressure cooker since!
GregoryBPortland September 13, 2017
I have two pressure cookers--an 8 quart T-Fal, which is fairly new. It replaced a 35-year-old pressure cooker from T-Fal that I purchased in New York city and started by fascinating and complete confidence in the new stainless steel cookers that didn't explode. It has been a workhorse turning out risottos, stews, soups, and other dishes with consistency and excellent results. Last year I purchased a 4-quart pressure cooker from IKEA, which is ideal for smaller jobs. I works well too and is also stainless steel. I think I paid about $40 for it. The T-Fal was about $70. I still haven't used the multi-cookers yet and I'm not sure I'll get around to adding one to my kitchen. For anyone who thinks the slow-cooker is the right sort of convenience cooker in their home, I suggest you look at YouTube videos to see just how fast, efficient, and delicious pressure cooking can be.
JL September 13, 2017
The modern Italian Pressure Cooker is gorgeous. Because I already own 2 sizes of pressure cookers (European made), it wouldn't be prudent to purchase a 3rd. BUT--I can salivate over this one!
JL September 13, 2017
The modern Italian Pressure Cooker is gorgeous. Because I already own 2 sizes of pressure cookers (European made), it wouldn't be prudent to purchase a 3rd. BUT--I can salivate over this one!
Dee July 1, 2015
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!
Malinda B. July 1, 2015
Hi - I use this site to give me times:
Dee July 9, 2015
thank you!
GregoryBPortland January 20, 2015
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, or if not, try Abe's Books online, which offers lots of out-of-print titles.
Leeannminton January 19, 2015
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.
Rebecca G. January 6, 2015
HARD COOKED EGGS! Steamed in 6 minutes - done to perfection. They practically peel themselves. The best!
GregoryBPortland January 20, 2015
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
Berneice Z. January 5, 2015
Could I cook menudo in my pressure cooker?
Kiki M. February 5, 2015
I was going to ask same question, I've been trying to find out. Did you ever find out?
Melanie January 5, 2015
Chicken soup! Start to finish in 25 minutes and it's delicious!!
begw January 4, 2015
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.
cookinalong January 6, 2015
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?
beekeeper February 26, 2014
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.
Emily O. February 23, 2014
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.
cookinalong February 19, 2014
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?
Jessica February 19, 2014
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.
robbie February 19, 2014
the link to the recipes dont work, I'm afraid..
Eileen February 19, 2014
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 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!
GregoryBPortland February 19, 2014
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.
Christina February 20, 2014
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!
Can't L. February 19, 2014
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!!