Pressure Cooker Tools
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(For an explanation of these recommendations, see: What Pressure Cooker Should I Buy. )
My favorite pressure cooker is the 6 quart electric Instant Pot IP-Duo 60. It has the best combination of size, convenience, useability, and support.
If you are looking for a stove top PC, and can pay for the best, I recommend the Kuhn Rikon Family Style Stockpot – 8 to 12 quart. For the best combination of price and useability, get the Fagor Duo in 8 or 10 quart size.
Sure, you can use pot holders. Or a kitchen towel, if you roll like a professional chef. But these pinch hands are my favorite kitchen find over the last year. The make it easy to grab the lip of an electric pressure cooker pot and lift it out of the pressure cooker base. (They’re also great for the oven – I use them with baking sheets and cast iron pans all the time.) And, because they’re waterproof, they protect my fingers even if I accidentally dip them in the stew while I’m lifting the pot.
Flat edged wooden spoon
Before locking the lid on the pressure cooker, most recipes need a stir and a scrape of the bottom of the pan to make sure nothing’s sticking. (Sticking means, eventually, burning. If something is stuck before the pressure starts, it is likely to burn from the heat at the bottom of the pot.) A flat edged wooden spoon gives me lots of contact with the pan.
OXO Saute Paddle
Scooping food out of a deep pressure cooker pot is much easier with a ladle. I have a sturdy stainless steel ladle for my steel pots, and a nylon ladle for my nonstick pots. Then I saw the Nessie ladle on Amazon when I was writing this post. How can I pass up a cute Nessie ladle? I can’t. I ordered two.
Nessie Soup Ladle
A lot of pressure cooker recipes benefit from de-fatting. Scoop the solids out of the pressure cooker, pour the liquid in to a fat separator, and wait – the fat will rise to the top. The spout at the bottom lets you pour out the liquid and juices, leaving the fat in the strainer.
OXO 4-Cup Fat Separator
For weeknight dinners, I pull the pot out of my pressure cooker and plop it on the table. Dig in – dinner is served. Of course, to do this, I need a trivet to protect the table. I use these colorful potholders from Le Creuset.
Le Creuset Potholder
Spare pressure cooker pot
A second inner pot for your electric pressure cooker is useful to have on hand. Need to pour chicken stock through a strainer? I have a pot that I know is the right size to hold everything. Kids forgot to clean the pot? Fill the dirty pot with soapy water to soak overnight, and pop the second one in the cooker.
Instant Pot 6 Quart Inner Pot
If you have a stove top pressure cooker, the non-pressure lid fits the pressure cooker pot, making it easy to use as a regular stove top pot. (I do this a lot – my massive Kuhn Rikon 12 quart pressure cooker is also the largest pot I own. I reach for it when I need a large pot of boiling water.) The lid is also useful for an electric cooker – when I need to simmer a dish, but don’t want to use the pressure lid. Also, I have a cover that fits the pot exactly when refrigerate it overnight – my favorite way to defat stews. (You should see how much fat rises to the surface of a short rib stew.)
Instant Pot Glass Lid
Collapsible vegetable steamer
When I want to use my pressure cooker as a steamer, or add a layer of potatoes and carrots without submerging them in the liquid, I pull out my collapsible vegetable steamer. (It also makes a convenient strainer when I’m pouring out chicken stock.)
Fine mesh strainer
A fine mesh strainer is all-around useful in the kitchen, for rinsing and straining. It is a key piece of stock-making equipment – I pour all my stocks through my fine mesh strainer, to filter out any small pieces and clean up the stock.
Oxo 8-Inch Fine Mesh Strainer
A timer is critical if you’re cooking with a stove top pressure cooker. (Not so much with an Electric PC, with their built-in timers). I like this one from Polder. It’s easy to use, hangs from my neck by its lanyard so I can wander around the house while the pot is under pressure, and a magnet on the back lets me stick it to my range hood when it is not in use.
Polder Clock, Timer, and Stopwatch
2 quart Pyrex measuring “cup”
This 2 quart “measuring cup” is my workhorse bowl in my kitchen; I use it for brining, soaking, mixing – you name it. The fact that it has measurements on the side, a handle, and pouring spout are all bonuses.
Pyrex Prepware 8-Cup Glass Measuring Cup
I love my pressure cooker, but stews and chilis come out a little thin, because there’s no evaporation. That’s where my stick blender comes in – I scoop out a cup or two of beans, purée them, and stir them back into the chili as a thickener. I ruined a nonstick pot with an all-metal stick blender; I bought this Breville Immersion Blender with a plastic lip on the bottom of the stick to protect my nonstick pots.
Breville Immersion Blender
I’m working on my own pressure cooker cookbooks; please be patient! While I do that, here are books from authors that are friends of mine to tide you over: