If memories of your mom’s pressure cooker hissing angrily away on your stove have prevented you from reacquainting yourself with this kitchen appliance, you should reconsider. Modern pressure cookers have come a long way and are a boon for the busy cook. Here are some pressure cookers we liked:
The EatingWell Test Kitchen tried out 6 different pressure cookers ranging in size from 4 to 8 quarts and in price from $35 to $250, including an electric model by Cuisinart (6 quarts; $100). Although they had slightly different features, all worked well during testing. If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker, we recommend buying one with the following features:
Size: 6- to 8-quart models are best for soups, stews and batches of beans or grains that serve 4 to 8 people. If you like to cook in big batches, go for a 10-quart model.
Pressure Indicator: Cookers that have a “spring valve” pressure regulator built into the lid (like the 7-quart Kuhn Rikon model, $240) tend to be more expensive, but it’s very easy to tell at a glance if the cooker is at the desired pressure. Less-expensive models (Presto, 6-quart, $45) typically have a removable, round weight that sits on top of the vent. When the cooker is at high pressure, the weight jiggles—making them a bit noisier than the spring-valve models.
PSI (pounds per square inch of pressure): Models that reach 14 to 16 psi at full pressure are faster at cooking than those with a lower psi.
Stainless Steel: Most stainless-steel pressure cookers are more expensive than their aluminum counterparts, but they brown food better, conduct heat more effectively and won’t discolor acidic foods.