Things I Love: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker


I found out that Marcus, my guy at the local Apple store, follows this blog. A few months ago I stopped in to pick up an iPod touch for my oldest son. Marcus made my day by pulling me aside and thanking me for my osso bucco recipe. He told me how much he loved his new electric pressure cooker, and I confessed that I didn't have an electric PC yet.

"What? You have to get one. I already want another one." He turned to Diane: "Will you go get him an electric pressure cooker? Right now. He needs it."

Buy a new cooking gadget? Why yes, I can do that.

I did some research; the Cuisinart 6 quart Electric Pressure Cooker was the best reviewed electric PC on Amazon. I bought it, and now I know why Marcus is such a fan.


Why get an electric pressure cooker?


The Cuisinart electric pressure cooker is great for weeknight, set it and forget it cooking. I put it on the counter behind my cutting board and start feeding in ingredients - brown the meat, saute the vegetables, add some stock, lock the lid, and set the timer. At that point, I can walk away and help the kids with homework. The PC comes up to high pressure, levels off the heat, and starts the countdown timer. When the cooking time is done, the cooker beeps, cuts the heat, and enters a warming mode to start the the natural pressure release. I don't have to mess with watching the pressure valve, adjusting burners, or watching timers. Once the lid is locked, I'm done. I can sit on the couch, ignore the kids fighting over who's turn it is to put silverware on the table, and relax until it is time to serve. I love cooking with self-aware equipment.
*Yes, I know, self aware machines are the first step in Skynet's plan for world domination. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever...until dinner is ready.

The electric PC is perfect for my favorite multitasking trick, making a batch of stock while I clean the kitchen. Before starting the dishes, I put a leftover roast chicken carcass in the pot with a halved onion and a bay leaf. I fill it with water, set the timer, then start filling the dishwasher. An hour later, the dishes are done, I've relaxed with a beverage, and my stock is ready to strain. Easy peasy.

The other great thing is how quiet it is. There is about thirty seconds of escaping steam between boiling and the pressure seal popping up; other than that, it is silent. After years of using pressure cookers that were only under pressure when they were venting steam, I love the peace and quiet.
*Also, you get the benefits of no flavors escaping the cooker - read my post on Heston Blumenthal and sealed pressure cookers.


There are some downsides:

My biggest complaint about the cooker is the size. Most electric pressure cookers top out at six quarts. For most recipes, that's not a big deal, but feeding a family of five I always bump up against the max fill line. (Which is conveniently printed on the pot, another nice feature.)
*There is one 8 1/2 quart electric pressure cooker, but the reviews on Amazon are not encouraging.

I've had a couple of times where I want to make stock, and the carcass wouldn't fit in the cooker. One was a frozen duck carcass, another was the bone from a leg of lamb. Both of these stocks wound up in my larger Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, which swallowed them without any problems.
*And turkey stock? I'm not even going to try. I don't think I could break a turkey carcass down into small enough pieces without a hacksaw.

Another problem is heating time. The electric PC is slower to heat up and cool down than my stovetop PC by about 50%. I did a head to head test between my stovetop and Electric PCs to compare the differences. Two quarts of cold water from my tap took 8 minutes to come to high pressure in the stovetop PC, but 12 minutes in the electric. And, when I turned them off and let the pressure release naturally, the stovetop PC was depressurized after 13 minutes, while the electric took 20 minutes.

Surprisingly, quick release of pressure was equal, even when I cheated and put the stovetop in the sink to use a cold water release. Both depressurized in two minutes.
*This matches my cooking experience; with the electric PC I keep saying "The pressure's not released yet?" while flipping the valve to quick release the remaining pressure so I can get dinner on the table.

My other big concern was the lower "high pressure" in the electric PC. Stovetop PCs usually have a high pressure setting of 15 PSI; electric PCs, including my Cuisinart, consider 10 PSI to be high pressure. Now, the manual for the Cuisinart has cooking times that are about 20% slower, on average, than my usual stovetop timings. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to add that 20 percent. What can I say, I'm used to my normal timings. I haven't noticed any difference in my results. I think the longer heat up and natural pressure release add some extra cooking time under pressure, and the results even out.
*See my pressure cooker corned beef recipe, coming Thursday, for a notable exception. It evens out for shorter cooking times and a natural pressure release, say a half an hour or less. If the cooking time is longer than that, don't forget to add that 20% to the cooking time.

Summary:

I crave soups and stews in the winter. With my stovetop PC, I made one stew a week. I cook two or three soups a week with the electric PC. I know they are quicker with the stovetop PC, but the electric PC is so convenient… They just seem easier to turn out on a busy weeknight.

Highly recommended. (Of course, I also recommend a large stovetop pressure cooker, for bigger meals.)


What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Experiences with another electric pressure cooker? Leave them in the comments section below.

FTC disclosure: All my "Things I Love" posts are about products I use and purchased myself. I did not receive any form of compensation to write this. If you buy something through one of my Amazon links, I do get a small commission. So, put that coffee down. Coffee's for closers only.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Osso Bucco
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock
Things I Love: Pressure Cookers
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

Inspired by:

Cuisinart 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker


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35 comments:

Anna Mitchell Hibbard said...

Love this!!  My Cuisinart pressure cooker is my favorite thing in the kitchen.  Its also one of the few things I've purchased that my husband loves too.
 

Laura @ hip pressure cooking said...

Mike, I love your comparison between the two cookers.  As an expert, and still a mom to a small and medium child, I appreciate you comment about not having to monitor stove-tops.  Even after about 7 years of pressure cooking, I still run in the kitchen in a panic during the chaos of homework, bath-time and dinner.

I've only played with an electric and have not used one in-house like you. Other than the maximum pressure difference,  I think most of the problems you mentioned could be solved by manufacturers  using induction instead of heat-coil as a heat source for digital pressure cookers.  The second thing I would update is the liner - whether new non-stick surfaces are safe or not they are still very delicate and once the liner is shot the whole pressure cooker is, too!  

Back to induction, this is next on my shopping list.  Most of those burners have a timer.  So you can set your stovetop pressure cooker on the induction plate and once it has reached pressure and you lower the heat you can just set the induction timer for the pressure cooking time.  When time's up, the cooker begins natural release like your electric!

Thanks for your careful analysis and comparison!

Ciao,

L

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thank you for the thoughtful response.

And, great minds think alike - as soon as I was done testing, I added a I've got a max burton induction burner on my Amazon wish list.

About the nonstick insert - I meant to mention it in the post. The insert is not attached to the rest of the pressure cooker. It lifts out for cleaning or replacement. That's one of the reasons I went with Cuisinart - I know they'll be around for replacement parts, like a new insert if I wear out the nonstick, or a new sealing ring.
(Parts here: http://www.cuisinart.com/parts/specialty_appliances/cpc-600.html)

Heidi Younggrasshopper said...

You are one of my favorite blogs these days..... I only very recently fell in love with my old fashioned PC now I feel an Electric PC in my near future.... you are a wealth of info as always, thanks :)

Jim Ebbitt said...

Hi Mike. On the "oh-oh" side of things, Cuisinart Canada's site shows this cooker as discontinued! I have decided, based on positive reviews, to order the Instant Pot you were considering in a previous blog. (Instant Pot® 5-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, 6.33Qt, Latest 3rd Generation Technology, Brushed Stainless Steel). I'll try and let you know how it works out. This latest model has sauté settings for browning right in the SS liner.
I love your blog and look forward to each new post. I have tried many of your recipes  and techniques without a single failure!

Mharris62 said...

Yup Mike is correct.  Me being that Marcus
remembers that conversation well.  And yes I am getting another one!
 I might have to purchase this Cuisinart or one that is comparable!
 I just used mine again today and just love it. I enjoy your blog and
mostly enjoy the joy you get sharing your amazing adventures with us!   I read this blog when I want to get inspired or just remove myself from the world for a time. Thank you for your dedication and time doing this!  I look forward to each and every moment you share.

Marcus

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thank you! I'm glad you saw the shout-out in the blog. And, thanks again for the advice - I love the electric pressure cooker. (If you couldn't tell.)

Mike said...

Mike, a pressure cooker is the one thing I still need to add to my arsenal...as always, you make the case quite convincing!  

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Discontinued!?! I hope that's not a sign of things to come. Unless they're replacing it with a larger model - I can only hope.

It's still widely available in the US, so I'm not too worried. It's available everywhere down here.

Please do let me know what you think of the Instant Pot - I'm curious about other models.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Resistance is futile. Join us! You know you want to buy a new toy...

Debbie Wykes said...

I love my PC from cuisinart! I use your brined bean soaking tip nearly every week. Also, I have made turkey broth in it. Squished the bones a bit but I didn't need a hacksaw. Check out Laura's h pressure cooking site to find out how to cook perfect boiled eggs, too. I've cooked gallons of soup, even putting together stuff partly frozen (even the frozen broth) to have it work great. I wish more bloggers were crazy about the PC as us!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You broke down a turkey carcass enough to get it to fit? Holy cow...I'll have to try it the next time I cook a turkey.

Like you, I'm making a lot more beans with the electric PC - it's so easy to make a batch of brothy beans as a side dish, then freeze the leftovers for later.

Laura's PC eggs recipe is on my list of recipes to try...but she's got some other ones that I have to try first. Like her pasta in the PC.

Thank you!

Leesers said...

Mike, here's an idea ... now that you are a little more familiar with this electric PC, how about including the times for cooking in this one? Not all of us have both the stove-top and EPC. I only have the electric!

Every time I try another recipe with stove-top times, I am forced to go back to the instruction booklet and TRY to find something similar and use those times. and don't even get me started on the recipes that have a low - medium - high pressure listed for the recipe. You know now that this EPC does not have a medium.

Thanks for trying this one and begining to "believe."

p.s. I make my turkey stock by saving legs, thighs and wing bones and save in the freezer 'till I have enough.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I will definitely add stovetop vs electric cooking times - check out today's pressure cooker corned beef for an example.

But...

With the electric PC, my usual cooking times have worked when I use a natural pressure release. I think the slower cool down time, where it's still under pressure, make up for the lower "high" pressure while it's cooking.

At least, that's how it has worked for me, especially for recipes with shorter cooking times, less than 30 minutes. Recipes that need longer under pressure probably need more time; I've been adding five minutes to recipes that cook between 30 minutes and an hour, and ten minutes worked for the one recipe that took longer (corned beef), but I'll keep an eye on this and try to come up with more specific timings.

Kevin said...

Just purchased a bon appetit electric pressure cooker to add to my other two. It's 7 quarts and works great in the summer when the temperature is 100 degrees outside. I never thought I would choose the electric over my stovetop. Actually I use all 3!

Marlo Mindi Muzzarelli said...

Just recived this for my birthday!! YAY me! Never had PC stove or electric! So glad I found your sight, doing beans for a party this weekend at my house wish me luck!!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Good luck!

Niteowlz said...

I have this Cuisinart PC & trying to make a pot of beef stew. It goes to pressure beeps 3 times & goes to warm with 00 on the timer before it cooks.??? This really stinks. I have tried it 3 times. Now trying it a 4th time. I have only used this 3 times since I bought it. Guess I will have to call Cuisinart customer service tomorrow. I had an 8 qt oval heavy duty electric pressure cooker I used for 10 yrs. Worked great. Guess I will have to put it on the stove if I cannot get it to work. Bummed for sure.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Wow - does sound like you have a defective unit. Definitely call cuisinart. Let me know how it goes. I've heard good things about their customer service, but I've never needed them. I'd like to hear how they do.

SueM said...

Loved this article. I recently bought from Amazon.ca (I live in Canada) the InstantPot Lux 60 (6-in-1 multifunction electric pressure cooker. Believe Amazon.com also sells it. Ive used it several times now with a great deal of success. What I particularly liked about this one is that it has a stainless steel insert rather than the non-stick pot - the sealing gasket is thicker than some of the other ones I've had. You can buy an extra pot and sealing gasket. It is a 6.33 quart size - but for my needs that is adequate. Also acts as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute and warmer. Has 3 saute and 3 clow cooker termperature settings. Has 10 micro-processor controlled programs: Meat/Stew; Soup, Saute; Poultry; Bean/Chili; Congee, Steam, Multigrain, Rice and Slow Cook.
I have a Presto 6-qt. stove top pressure cooker, but quite honestly I much prefer my InstantPot. Check it out.

Oksana said...

I'm wondering if Stainless Steel Inner Pot from Instant Pot will fit Cuisinart. Did anyone try?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I haven't tried it, but I don't think it will work. The pots are slightly different sizes - the Cuisinart pot is deeper by about a half an inch. The instant-pot seems a little wider, when I set them lid to lid, but it's close.

Oksana said...

I almost bought on. Thank you for saving my money. :)

Marlo Mindi Muzzarelli said...

Just recived this for my birthday!! YAY me! Never had PC stove or electric! So glad I found your sight, doing beans for a party this weekend at my house wish me luck!!

Lawrence Cohen said...

just read this note.

I bought a stainless steel liner from Amazon that fit perfectly .... just used it for the first time

and it worked great! $30 not cheap though.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005YZYYE4/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Annie in Ohio said...

I am seriously considering an electric pressure cooker purchase through Amazon, but I'm not sure which one - the Cuisinart CPC600 or Instant Pot LUX60. So I did a search on google and found your blog. I'm not clear on exactly what the differences are between the two. They both seem to be highly rated. Is there an advantage to the low and high pressure that the Cuisinart has over Instant Pot's one set, low pressure? Are there other pros and cons to each that I should be aware of? You have great recommendations on your blog, so I thought your brain would be the right one to pick, before making my purchase. I read you have both, the Instant Pot purchase was "for your blog". :)

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

The Instant Pot and Cuisinart are both good cookers.

The single pressure setting on the Instant Pot is equal to the "High" setting on the Cuisinart?

The main difference between the two is the insert. I prefer the stainless steel insert in the Instant Pot; the Cuisinart has a nonstick insert. If you prefer one type of pot to the other, let that make your choice.

The instant pot's lid is a little easier to clean; the Cuisinart's front panel is a little easier to use.

Other than that, they're both about the same, performance wise.

Hope this helps, and enjoy your cooker!

Annie in Ohio said...

Thanks for the input. Wow. Your response was amazingly fast. Like the speed in which pressure cookers cook food. :) Another question? About the low setting for the Cuisinart, do you use this and for what types of recipes or food would one use the low setting for?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I don't use low pressure with my pressure cooker. Once in a blue moon I come across a recipe that asks for it, but it's always for something that is better off cooked without the pressure cooker - like green beans.

Tin City said...

I just got my presto pressure cooker from Amazon and it is really good. I'm so excited that I want to share the same 35% discount that I received with anyone who is in the market for a pressure cooker: http://amzn.to/16K0KOI - you will not be disappointed.

Tin City said...

I just got my presto pressure cooker from Amazon and it is really good. I'm so excited that I want to share the same 35% discount that I received with anyone who is in the market for a pressure cooker: www .amzn.to/16K0KOI - you will not be disappointed.

Becka Cason said...

Hey Mike! I just found your site while looking for tips and tricks on EPC. I personally have a Nesco 6 qt, and it generally takes between 6-8 mins to get up to pressure and roughly 1 min or less to release under quick release. I haven't done the natural method (I'm bad, I know.) I love it though, but I'm still learning the times, so the cooking can be wonky. I look forward to cruising your site and seeing what I delve up!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Great! Check out what I've got to share.

Whitney Whitmoore said...

I have a large family and
I just bought an 8qt GoWise PC off of Amazon..... Hoping it turns out to be a good purchase !

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Good luck! I just got one as well. It's too soon for me to have an opinion on it, but I like it so far.

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