The behemoth All American Pressure Cooker is hitting the top of this list as a pressure cooker and canner. It comes in several sizes, ranging from 10.5-Quarts to 41.5-Quarts, so you can choose the ideal cooker for your needs. It’s made from durable aluminum and has a satin finish. It offers metal-to-metal sealing, which is designed to create the perfect seal.
It has a geared steam gauge, which many other pressure cookers and canners do not have. This allows you to always know what the pressure is inside the pot. It also has an automatic overpressure release with three settings: 5 psi, 10 psi, and 15 psi. This pressure cooker is by far the most expensive on the list, more than doubling the price of the others.
All the Volume You Need
If you love to can different kinds of foods, such as meats, vegetables or fruits, All American has what you need. The amazing sizes allow you to can a lot at once. To get an idea of how much you can do, know that the 21.5-Quart pressure cooker can hold 19-pint jars or 7-quart jars. Plus, a pressure cooker is the only safe way to can vegetables and nonacid fruits, such as apples. The high heat can quickly destroy any bacteria.
If you don’t expect to be doing a lot of canning, it may be best to choose something different because of the sheer size. It will be hard to find a place to store it, which could become annoying if you rarely use it. However, the smallest size is only 10.5-Quart, so it may still be worth it if you think you’ll get good use out of it.
Cook or Can
Most people who buy the All American are those who love to can because it does just that. With the high heat, you can store foods and destroy bacteria. However, this machine isn’t just a canner. You can use it as a pressure cooker too, so it becomes two useful tools in one.
Even if you don’t use a pressure cooker now, you’ll want to once you realize how easy it is. A pressure cooker cooks food in 70 percent less time than other methods. Plus, the food stays tender and juicy unlike overcooked chicken in the oven. With the All American 921, you’ll cook food in no time and be able to can fresh fruits and vegetables, so you can have them all year.
Durable Structure That Will Last
The All American Pressure Cooker/Canner can take a beating. It is built from tough hand-cast aluminum, so you’ll be able to use it year after year, allowing you to recoup your investment. It will hold up on many different types of stoves, such as electric glass-top.
Unlike some other pressure cookers, the All American doesn’t use rubber or plastic gaskets or rings. The lid is firmly held in place with sturdy screws. Several are placed around the top of the cooker to ensure you have a tight, safe seal. On the downside, all that durability and reliability makes this canner looks industrial or like the one you’d see in a big restaurant. Of course, that’s perfect if you love to can.
First Runner-Up – Presto 01781 Pressure Canner
The Presto 01781 is also crafted from durable aluminum that is warp-resistant, and it can be used on regular or smooth-top ranges.
The Presto 01781 has a pressure dial gauge like the All American, so you can always know what the pressure is inside the cooker and never have to guess. It is a much more affordable cooker than the All American, costing less than half the price.
The Presto comes in only two sizes: 14-Quart and 23-Quart. On one hand, this means no matter which one you pick, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a place to store it.
On the other hand, however, it may not be as small or as large as you wanted, depending on how much you can and how much food you pressure cook at once.
Second Runner-Up – Granite Ware Enamel
Another affordable option is the Granite Ware Enamel, which comes in 21-Quart.
This 9 piece canning kit also includes a canner lid, 7-jar rack, 9-inch colander, lid wrench, funnel, tongs, jar lifter, and a magnetic lid lifter.
On top of that, it’s built from durable enamel-on-steel and because of that it heats quickly and efficiently.
The side loop handles help ensure safe secure transport, mainly because of the coated stay cool handles.
To trap the heat for faster boiling there is a domed lid with loop handle. In other words, it has everything that a solid canner should be able to provide.
Third Runner-Up – Mirro 92122A Canner
The Mirro 92122A is the least expensive cooker/canner on this list, making it a good choice for budget chefs or if you are new to canning and aren’t sure how long you’ll be doing it. It has three cooking pressures, allowing you to set the pressure to what you need to cook best.
Like the Granite Ware cooker, it looks more like something you’d find a home kitchen. In fact, it just looks like a big pot with large handles.
Again, you face the same disadvantage with the Mirro 92122A: only two sizes. It comes in 16-Quart and 22-Quart, which are great sizes, but if you wanted something small because you only can a little or if you need something huge, this isn’t the best option.
If you love to can, you should have a pressure cooker because they safety can many types of food. If you want to improve your canning skills, get the All American 921 Pressure Cooker. It’s everything you need to can all your favorites or pressure cook delicious meals.
Pressure Cooker Buyers Guide
You love to make Grandma’s chicken noodle soup recipe, but making the broth and cooking the vegetables seems to takes forever. Maybe you like to make stew or chili, but you hate having to stand to watch at the stove for all that time. Perhaps you’d like a new way to make BBQ or roast. Then you, weary chef, need a pressure cooker. Gone are the days of kitchen explosions! These cookers are equipped with safety features, so don’t fret! Check out these tips for purchasing a pressure cooker:
A Little About Pressure Cookers
Pressure cookers cook food using steam pressure much faster than conventional cooking methods. To achieve this, food is placed in the cooker with a small amount of liquid, then the cooker is sealed. Heat is applied and the cooker’s temperature slowly rises. Eventually, the liquid boils and gives off steam, which is trapped inside the unit. The cooker maintains the desired temperature and pressure for a prescribed amount of time and then the pressure cooker is removed from the heat source, the pressure is released slowly and it can be opened. Almost any food that is cooked in a liquid can be cooked in a pressure cooker.
There are many advantages to cooking with a pressure cooker. First and foremost, a pressure cooker cooks food faster. This is ideal when you forgot to put the roast in the crockpot before you left for work, and now you only have a few hours to figure something out for dinner. Pop it in the pressure cooker! It will cook 70% faster than cooking with conventional methods. Cooking at higher altitudes is also faster. You don’t need much liquid to cook in a cooker, and because of this the vitamins and minerals in the food are not extracted by the water. This also means that your food is more flavorful. A pressure cooker uses less energy to operate since it cooks so fast. Finally, a pressure cooker will kill bacteria. It reaches temperatures high enough to kill microorganisms.
There may be some reasons why you wouldn’t want to use a pressure cooker. It is not as affordable as a regular saucepan or stockpot. When cleaning, you must make sure to be careful with the gasket, as it is fragile.
Pro Tip – if your gasket does get dry or cracked, you can bring it back to life by rubbing a small amount of vegetable oil on it. Do not rub too much, because excessive oil can cause the gasket to swell and you won’t be able to open the lid. A gasket that has lost its flexibility makes it harder to bring the cooker up to the desired pressure. When cooking on the stovetop with conventional pots and pans, all you need to do to check on your food is lift the lid. With a pressure cooker, however, it is necessary to depressurize the unit first. Finally, pressure cookers are heavy, not making them a viable option for transporting food.
What to Look for in a Pressure Cooker
High quality and heavy gauge steel is the first thing to look for. All pressure cookers are made of metal, either aluminum or stainless steel, but you want durable stainless steel. Stainless steel is important, as aluminum tends to have an acidic reaction to the food and can change the taste. There are different types of stainless steel. You should look for a cooker stamped “18/10 Stainless Steel,” which indicates the makeup of the metal. A cooker of this combination includes 10% nickel and 18% chromium. Due to the inclusion of these alloys, the cooker will be stain and corrosion resistant and it will have a nice gleam to it. Some models come with a non-stick inner coating. It is recommended that this is avoided for two reasons. First, non-stick coatings just do not last. Also, there is some controversy regarding the health and safety of non-stick coatings. It is better just to avoid it.
Your pressure cooker should come with a steamer basket, a trivet for keeping items above the liquid line and metal divider for cooking multiple foods at once. It should also come with instructions, which you should read carefully as misuse of the unit can result in serious injury.
Most pressure cooker recipes require that the food is cooked at 15psi (pounds per square inch). Don’t take it for granted that the cooker you have chosen will reach this gauge – some are manufactured to reach pressures at less than 15psi. This is important at high altitude cooking as well. There should also be an accurate, easy-to-read indicator that will tell you when the unit has reached the desired pressure.
Your pressure cooker should have a quick release mechanism built into the regulator. This allows for equalization of the pressure quickly, so you can add ingredients as you go and quickly continue pressure cooking.
Pressure cookers come in stovetop or electric models. The stovetop models are heated and brought to the desired pressure by the burner on your stove. An electric model simply plugs in. Electric models are a little safer because they are self-regulating and it is not as easy to reach an over-pressure situation. You can also set it and forget it with the electric models, as they are all self-regulated. Stovetop models are more accurate due to manual regulation and come up to pressure faster. A stovetop cooker can also be used as a stockpot and saucepan.
Some pressure cookers are multi-functional. They can also perform functions such as sauté/browning, steaming, slow cooking, rice cooking, yogurt making and stockpot warming (to keep cooked foods warm). Pressure cookers have even been used as autoclaves in emergencies.
Problems occur when the main steam valve is blocked. This causes the pressure to build in the unit and can result in an explosion. Pressure cookers currently on the market are equipped with two or three safety valves. The best way to avoid a mishap is to avoid overfilling the cooker. Typically, only fill the cooker with solid food 2/3 full, liquids that foam or froth (pasta) ½ full, and foods that are pulses (beans) 1/3 full. Pro Tip – 1 tablespoon of cooking oil will cut down on froth. Look for pressure cookers equipped with safety features, such as an over-pressure release valve, which will release steam if the pressure inside the cooker rises too high. If the pressure continues to rise, the gasket will be pushed out through the lid, which will safely vent the steam.
Size Does Matter
Pressure cookers come in different sizes – 4, 6, 7 and 8-quart models. Which model you purchase is determined by your need. Do you have a big family and need to make large meals? Then you might want to go for a 7 or 8-quart model. Remember, pressure cookers cannot be filled to capacity.
Making dinner has never been so easy! Just toss in your protein, maybe some veggies, a starch, and a little water or chicken stock and voila! A short while later you’ve got a healthy, hot meal for your family that took little effort. A pressure cooker is a smart investment for families of any size.
Slow Cooker vs Pressure Cooker
Chances are you have either a pressure cooker or a slow cooker in your kitchen. Both appliances are great for convenient, hands-off preparation of meals. We can stew tough beef cuts or cook beans fully in either one of them and end up with the same results.
We must note, however, that these two have significant functional differences. Pressure cookers are designed to cook food in minutes, while slow cookers are just that—slow. Let’s take a look at how they work so we know which one is best for which situations.
As the name suggests, these use pressure and steam heat to prepare food faster than the ordinary methods. Pressure cookers are categorized into two types: stovetop pressure cookers and electric pressure cookers. Both of these have advantages and limitations but generally, provide similar cooking results.
How pressure cookers work and what they can cook
Generally, pressure cookers can be simpler to use once we learn how they operate them. So let’s find out how they function.
Both the cooking liquid and food are sealed in a pot, and as the liquid begins to boil, it produces steam that generates pressure in the pot. It’s this steam pressure and high temperature that cooks the food two to three times faster than the normal rate.
You can quickly cook almost anything in a pressure cooker. An egg, for example, boils within minutes. If you want to cook some dried beans, meat, rice, vegetable or fish, a pressure cooker will considerably reduce the cook times.
The main limitation of pressure cookers
You must be an expert cook to prepare good meals with this cooker since you can’t remove the lid during the cooking process.
These can cook food over longer periods, usually between 4 to 10 hours, using low heat. Just like pressure cookers, they are easy to use and also offer us the convenience of setting and forgetting.
How a slow cooker works and what it can cook
The ingredients are mixed inside the cooker and covered with a lid. Either a high heat or low heat setting is then made. Some recipes may, however, require occasional stirring for best results. You can set an alarm to notify you when the food is cooked.
A variety of foods such as stew, soups, meat, vegetables, fish and bread can be made in a slow cooker. Slow cookers are best suited to those of us who don’t like to be actively involved in the kitchen.
Limitations of slow cookers
It is easy to completely forget that we are cooking due to the long hours involved, and the food could end up overcooked. The fact that a slow cooker takes hours to prepare food is also limiting if you’re always in a hurry.
Can we use them interchangeably?
Not really. The major difference between these two appliances is the cooking speed. Even though we might prepare the same food in both appliances, the cook time, food texture and liquid amounts may vary. For this reason, it would be nice to have both appliances.
What to Cook in a Pressure Cooker
You’ve recently gotten a pressure cooker as a gift from a family member. Great. Only one problem: you’ve never had a pressure cooker before. You have absolutely no idea how it works or what to cook in it. Fortunately, a pressure cooker isn’t too difficult for a kitchen appliance to understand.
Always Use Liquid
It is important to make sure you never forget to include the liquid when you are cooking with a pressure cooker. In fact, you can even safely use more cooking liquid than the recipe recommends – just never use less. A pressure cooker is designed to use pressure to cook things quickly. The pressure creates a very hot built-up and trapped steam. This is why there should always be at least a cup of cooking liquid and you should never fill the cooker more than halfway with just liquid. You also need to avoid overfilling the cooker as you do not want to end up with a big mess either.
What All Can You Cook in a Pressure Cooker?
Most people are a little shocked to learn just how many things you can cook in a pressure cooker. This is because a lot of people do not understand how a pressure cooker works. It utilizes pressure to cook the food faster. This, however, does not mean the appliance is less efficient than traditional cooking. It is just a different method of cooking. Some popular choices for a pressure cooker include:
- Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Stew
- Tamale Pie
The Trick is Timing
When it comes to cooking food with a pressure cooker, the most important thing to keep in mind is the timing. Once the pressure is right, it is important to keep to the suggested cooking time. While the cooking times are approximate, it is always better to discover you have undercooked something than overcooked something. If you need to cook the food for longer, just do it in small intervals to avoid overcooking. The harder the food is when you started cooking it, the longer it is going to need to cook to become soft and tender.
Size Does Matter
As you are exploring different pressure cooker recipes, keep in mind that the size of the portions you are cooking does matter. You want to try to cut the pieces of food to be roughly the same size. This will allow the food to cook evenly under pressure. The larger the pieces of food are, the longer you are going to have to cook the food before you can eat it.
Browning Will Enhance The Flavor
If you are looking for food with extra flavor, consider browning the meat or partially cooking the food before sticking it in the pressure cooker. If you do this before adding the meat and vegetables to the cooker with liquids and seasoning, it will make the flavor more explosive when the food is done.
As you can see, cooking with a pressure cooker isn’t that different from traditional cooking. You can cook just about anything in your new pressure cooker as long as you keep these tidbits of information in mind.
A Guide To Using a Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers are a fantastic kitchen essential. Not only do they cook food in a flash, but they also keep all those vital minerals and vitamins that are often lost during other cooking methods. Cooking with a pressure cooker for the first time can be a little daunting. This quick guide to cooking with a pressure cooking will have you cooking like a pro in no time.
How Does a Pressure Cooker Work?
When in use, the pressure cooker will boil the water to create steam. This trapped steam will then cook your food at a much quicker rate, resulting in healthier food for your plate.
It is wise to check your cooker for any cracks. The whole point of the pressure cooker is to trap the steam within. Any cracks will release the steam and can result in burning you when you handle the cooker. Check the locks and the rubber sealing ring for any damage before use.
Water is a Must
Whatever it is you plan on cooking in your pressure cooker, you must always add water. Most pressure cooker recipes will require a certain amount of water to be added. Fill the cooker with no more than 2/3 of water, or the cooker will have no room for the expanding steam. Always check your cooker’s manual before use as cookers will vary with their amount of water needs.
Dry beans, pearl barley, and wheat will need to be soaked for 4 hours before cooked in the pressure cooker. Rice and oats do not require any soaking. Meat can be seasoned and browned directly in the pressure cooker, without the lid, or in a frying pan if preferred. Seafood and fish must be cooked in the steamer basket. Add a little oil to the basket to avoid sticking. Wash all fresh vegetables and fruits before placing in the steamer basket, and let any frozen vegetables and fruits defrost before cooking.
How to Cook with the Pressure Cooker
Once all the food you wish to cook with the pressure cooker has been properly prepared, place the items inside the cooker, and add the correct amount of water. Place the lid on the cooker, and secure it properly. Use your largest burner to heat your pressure cooker on high. The pressure cooker has an indicator to let you know when the pressure reaches its desired limit. Lower the heat, and allow the pressure cooker to cook the food for the required time. The pressure cooker is equipped with a quick release button that will allow the pressure to release slowly. It is important to push this button and allow all the pressure to release before attempting to remove the lid. Carefully remove the lid away from you to avoid steam burning you.
Because there are a variety of pressure cookers, not all will be set up and used in the same way. It is important to familiarize yourself with the manual to understand exactly how your particular pressure cooker needs to be set up in order to properly cook. The manual will contain a water guide for the correct amount of water that is needed for each food item. It will also explain to you how to attach the lid to the pressure cooker properly, and how to remove it once you have finished cooking.