Electric Pressure Cooker are all the rage. They shorten cooking time and its pretty much hands off. However, the issue with these cooker is the temperature. They cant get hot enough to develop a proper sear. This sear gives food a maillard reaction developing more flavor and brings your food to a different level. In order to do this, you need to do it with a Stovetop Pressure Cooker. They go directly over flame for much better performance. The Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker has minimal loss of steam and can reach higher overall temperature.
What is a Stovetop Pressure Cooker?
A Stovetop Pressure Cooker is a pot with a lid and gasket. Since steam cant escape, pressure increases and raising the overall temperature. Without this lid, the maximum temperature is usually around 212 degree Fahrenheit. It varies depending on where you are relative to the sea. With a pressure cooker, it can reach temperature of 250 degree plus.
Because it can cook food at a higher temperature, food is cooked a lot quicker. Its also useful for people who live in elevated area.
How to Use a Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Exact instruction on how to latch and lock a pressure cooker will vary depend on the model. However, generic instruction still applies. Before you cook, check to see that the valve moves freely. If food is trapped, it can stops the pressure valve from operating. This can lead to over pressure and possibly damages.
To start using the pressure, begin by preheating the pot. Once its heated, add oil and sear the food. This is a important step in cooking. It caramelize the sugar compound of food and develop new flavor. Cook your remaining ingredients then fill with the appropriate liquid.
Put on the lid and lock. Raise the heat to high until the pressure builds. Once the pressure builds to the temperature rating, I recommend letting it stay there for around 1 minute more. Then lower the temperature. If you lower it right away, the pressure might drop and you will have to reheat it again. Once its done, you can leave it on a slow simmer.
If you find that the pressure keeps dropping, check the gasket is properly seated. If its cracked you need to replace it.
I recommend storing the pressure cooker with the lid off. When not in use, do not add pressure to the gasket. This will prolong the life of the cooker.
Are Pressure Cooker Safe?
Modern Pressure Cooker have a lot of safety feature installed. There is usually a over pressure valve that releases in case the temperature rises too high. Most modern pressure cooker will have many release valve on it so the chances of exploding is low. The handles usually latch on to prevent the lid from exploding as well. Thats not to say there is no risk, its just that its greatly reduced.
What to Cook?
Stews, Braises, Beans and even spare rib can be cooked in a pressure cooker. They greatly reduce the cooking time of food. I like to make chicken stock in it as it traps in all the moisture. This usually produce more flavorful broth and it extract the gelatin quicker. Thicker cuts of meat like shanks will be reduces to shreds quickly. All the gelatin will be dissolved into the liquid and add thickness.
Another popular use of a pressure cooker is canning. Usually you need large 10 qt plus size to fit the jars in. I recommend using a pressure cooker over a pot so that it can kill all the bacteria.
For pressure cooker, the bigger the better. The stated qt size is not the actual amount you can fill. Usually it will be at 75% or lower of the max capacity. It needs room to build pressure and overfilling it can be dangerous. As such, getting the biggest one that can fit your place is a good idea. I find that the 8 – 10 qt models are good choices.
Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker. The prices and configuration will vary. Choose one that best suits you.
Fissler vitavit Pressure Cooker Set of 6 (Best Overall)
Fissler products are known for their quality and durability. Perhaps one of their better product is the pressure cooker. They reach the highest temperature and has the lowest rate of liquid loss. Controls are easy to use and all you need to do is latch it on. Its also one of the few German made cooker on the market.
Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Hotel Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker (Best Alternative)
Kuhn Rikon is another giant in the pressure cooker market. While its not made in Germany, it is made in Switzerland. This hotel grade is built to a higher standard then their normal model. With 5 safety features, the chance of it blowing up is lower. This model is big enough for canning food.
All American 921 Canner Pressure Cooker (Best for Canning Food)
This bomb looking pressure cooker is the best for canning food. There are screw on knob for maximum security. There is also a easy to read gauge so tell the exact temperature. You can even set your desired temperature for the proper cooking temperature. Best of all, this model is made in America.
Presto 01370 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker (Best Buy)
While those other cooker are the best in the industry, they are kind of expensive. Presto has been making pressure cooker for over 50 years. You can even find some vintage one on Ebay. However, this modern one is safer with more safety features. At 8 qt its big enough for your everyday cooking task.
A Stovetop Pressure Cooker is miles better than a electric pressure cooker. They can reach higher temperature and it can sear food for better flavor. The best overall is the fissler model. However, those by Kuhn Rikon are good alternative. If you want one for canning, then go for the All American one. Its large and you have adjustable cooking temperature. But for a affordable option, presto is a good choice.
Looking for a rice cooker? Check out our article on the Best Rice Cooker.