Pressure Cookers For Dummies - Tom Lacalamita - E-Book

Pressure Cookers For Dummies E-Book

Tom Lacalamita

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The stress-free way to cook under pressure In today's "hurry-up" society, pressure cooking is an attractive means of preparing consistent, convenient everyday meals. Increasing health concerns coupled with a continuously rising cost of living have made pressure cooking more popular as a way to save money and eat healthier at home. This revised edition of Pressure Cookers For Dummies includes all new recipes and refreshed content. Pressure Cookers For Dummies gives you the lowdown on the different pressure cooker options that are available to make sure you get the pressure cooker best equipped to suit your needs. It includes delicious recipes for dishes such as soups, chilis, and stews; roasts and poultry; rice dishes; beans; vegetables; and desserts, jams, and compotes. It also offers a wealth of recipes for those on vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free diets. Pressure Cookers For Dummies offers tips on adapting your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker plus several comparison recipes made the traditional way. Every recipe Includes preparation times, cooking times, and nutritional information. * Updated expert advice on choosing the best pressure cooker for your kitchen, including coverage of electric cookers * Explanations on how pressure cookers work and tips on adapting your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker * Shows you how to use pressure cookers to create vegetarian, vegan, special diet, and sustainable dishes with flavor and zest; and incorporate ethnic dishes into your pressure cooker repertoire * Includes fun, tasty, and easy recipes for holidays and other occasions that the whole family will enjoy If you're a new or seasoned cook, Pressure Cookers For Dummies gives you everything you need to make the most of this time-saving appliance.

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Pressure Cookers For Dummies®, 2nd Edition

Visit to view this book's cheat sheet.

Table of Contents

About This Book
Conventions Used in This Book
What You’re Not to Read
Foolish Assumptions
How This Book Is Organized
Part I: Stress-Free Cooking under Pressure
Part II: Making the Best and Safest Use of Your Pressure Cooker
Part III: Preparing Delicious Recipes in Your Pressure Cooker
Part IV: The Part of Tens
Part V: Appendixes
Icons Used in This Book
Where to Go from Here
Part I: Stress-Free Cooking under Pressure
Chapter 1: Cooking with Pressure 101
Not Your Parents’ Pressure Cooker
What Makes a Pot a Pressure Cooker?
Surveying What’s Out There
Get Cookin’!
Presenting six steps to cooking in your pressure cooker
Adapting your favorite recipes
Chapter 2: The Pressure Cooker: Fact versus Fiction
Dispelling Fears about Pressure Cookers
A pre–WW II timesaver
The untimely demise of the pressure cooker
Design changes: A safer, more convenient product
Looking at the Benefits of Using a Pressure Cooker
Fixing food fast
Making cooking convenient and clean
Saving energy
Offering multifunctionality
Doing food deliciously
Keeping nutrients in and contaminants out
Chapter 3: Exploring Modern Pressure-Cooker Options to Find What You Like Best
Putting Price First
Picking the Stove or the Plug
On the stove
With a cord
Beyond Pressure: Exploring Other Features of Electric Cookers
Slowing it down: The slow-cooker program
Fluffing it up: The rice program
Part II: Making the Best and Safest Use of Your Pressure Cooker
Chapter 4: Understanding How Pressure Cookers Work
The Science of the Pressure Cooker
The Nuts and Bolts of Stovetop Models
Looking at the pot and its cover
Relying on the ever-important rubber gasket
Regulating pressure (and safety) with valves
Examining the Cord, Plug, and Buttons of Electric Models
Guidelines for Easy Pressure Cooking
Letting Off Some Steam
Natural-release method
Quick-release methods
Doing a Trial Run
Chapter 5: Pressure Cooking Basics from Start to Finish
First Things First To Get Cooking Under Pressure
Keep it clean
Inspect the gasket
Check the valves
Fill the pressure cooker properly
Look, listen, and smell
Surveying the Three Ways to Cook in a Pressure Cooker
Introducing Stop-and-Go Cooking
Scenario I: The long and the short of it
Scenario II: Soup versus stock
Looking at the High and Low of Pressure
Determining whether your cooker has reached high pressure
Maintaining pressure
Now You’re Cooking
Is it done yet?
Opening the pressure cooker safely
A Primer on Pressure Canning
Having the right equipment on hand
Knowing how long to cook
Walking through the steps
Diving into pressure canning
Keeping Your Pressure Cooker Squeaky Clean and Shiny
Storing Your Pressure Cooker
Help Is But a Phone Call Away
Chapter 6: From the Pot to the Pressure Cooker
Preparing the Best Ingredients for Pressure Cooking
Meat and poultry
Fruits and vegetables
Dried beans, legumes, and grains
Adjusting Liquids
Filling the Pressure Cooker
Determining Cooking Times
Converting Favorite Recipes for the Pressure Cooker
Part III: Preparing Delicious Recipes in Your Pressure Cooker
Chapter 7: Spoon Foods: Stocks, Soups, and Great Grain Dishes
Stocking Up on Stocks
Making stock
Using and storing stock
Acquiring the key ingredients
Soup under Pressure
Discovering the Goodness of Grain
Chapter 8: Fork-Tender Stews
Flavor, Flavor, Flavor: The Makings of a Great Stew!
A cut above the rest: Selecting your meat
Browning your meat
Sautéing and deglazing
Season away!
Adding the veggies
Stews: Meals of Convenience
Chapter 9: Enjoying Roasts and Prime Poultry Any Day of the Week
Producing Fabulous Results in Half the Time
Recognizing That Not All Cuts Are Created Equal
Making the most of beef
Picking pork
Looking at lamb
Perusing poultry
Keeping Meats Out of Hot Water (Or Other Liquids)
Is It Done Yet?
A Roast in Every Pot
Chapter 10: Dried Beans and the Pressure Cooker: A Match Made in Heaven!
Beans: A Powerhouse of Good Things
“Dried” Doesn’t Mean “All Dried Up”
To Soak or Not to Soak? That Is the Question
Overnight soaking
Quick soaking
Getting the Hang of Cooking Beans
A Potful of Beans Is a Cook’s Best Friend
Chapter 11: Vegetables: Nature’s Nourishing Bounty
Saving Time and Nutrients
Steaming Your Vegetables
Eat Those Veggies!
Chapter 12: Dynamite Desserts and Fabulous Fruits
Using the Pressure Cooker as a Hot Water Bath
Cheesecakes, Custards, and Other Tasty Treats
Fruit Sauces, Chutneys, and Sparkling Jars of Fruit
Chapter 13: Recipes for Special Diets
Exploring Some Common Special Diets
Discovering the Protein Punch of Beans
Adapting Existing Recipes
Pressure Cooking for Special Diets
Part IV: The Part of Tens
Chapter 14: Ten Problems and How to Handle Them
The Cover Won’t Close
The Cooker’s Pressure Won’t Rise
Your Cooker Is Leaking Steam
The Safety Valves Went Off
The Pressure Indicator Doesn’t Rise
The Cover Won’t Open
Your Food Is Underwhelming
Your Food Is Overcooked
Your Food and Pot Are a Charred Mess
Your Stovetop Pressure Cooker Is Less Than Shiny
Chapter 15: Ten Tips for Great Pressure Cooking
Keeping It Safe
Determining What a Pressure Cooker Can Hold
Using Enough Liquid
Intensifying Flavors by Searing and Browning First
Cooking under Pressure at High Altitudes
Building the Right Amount of Pressure
Releasing Pressure without Burning Yourself
Avoiding the “Too Hard” Scenario
Avoiding the “Too Soft” Scenario
Keeping It Clean
Part V: Appendixes
Appendix A: Recommended Cooking Times Under Pressure
Appendix B: Metric Conversion Guide
Cheat Sheet

Pressure Cookers For Dummies®, 2nd Edition

by Tom Lacalamita

Pressure Cookers For Dummies®, 2nd Edition

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774

Copyright © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Published simultaneously in Canada

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Library of Congress Control Number: 2012946053

ISBN 978-1-118-35645-6 (pbk); ISBN 978-1-118-41223-7 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-41222-0 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-41224-4 (ebk)

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

About the Author

Tom Lacalamita is a bestselling author of eight appliance-related cookbooks. Nominated for a James Beard cookbook award, Lacalamita is considered to be a national authority on housewares and has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows across the country, including Good Morning America, CNBC, and NPR. With a passion for food, cooking, and all sorts of kitchen gadgets, Tom is also a spokesperson for various food and housewares manufacturers.

Author’s Acknowledgments

A book is an ongoing process that starts with an idea that continues to develop with the inspiration and the guidance of many individuals. I want to thank my family and friends for always providing me with the inspiration to cook and nurture them with my food. I thank Gary for so many years of support and encouragement and Cristina for always wanting me to cook for her. I sincerely thank the Dummies editorial and production team, especially acquisitions editor David Lutton and my project editor Jen Tebbe, two of the best editors I have had the pleasure of working with. Their calming demeanor and wisdom proved invaluable during this endeavor. The final product that this book became would not have been possible without the invaluable contributions made by the following people: copy editors Christy Pingleton and Danielle Voirol; Liz Bray, the technical editor who made sure that I conveyed clearly and precisely every nuance involved in pressure-cooking; Emily Nolan for her honest opinions and excellent input on the new recipes added to this revised edition, as well as Patty Santelli for the accompanying nutrition analysis.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Vertical Websites

Project Editor: Jennifer Tebbe

(Previous Edition: Suzanne Snyder)

Executive Editor: Lindsay Sandman Lefevere

Copy Editors: Christine Pingleton, Danielle Voirol

(Previous Edition: Tina Sims)

Assistant Editor: David Lutton

Editorial Program Coordinator: Joe Niesen

Technical Editor: Liz Bray

Recipe Tester: Emily Nolan

Nutritional Analyst: Patty Santelli

Editorial Manager: Christine Meloy Beck

Editorial Assistants: Rachelle S. Amick, Alexa Koschier

Art Coordinator: Alicia B. South

Cover Photo: © Agefotostock / Pixtal

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Sheree Montgomery

Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, Erin Zeltner

Proofreaders: Melissa D. Buddendeck, Melissa Cossell

Indexer: Ty Koontz

Illustrator: Elizabeth Kurtzman

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director

Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


The pressure cooker is one kitchen appliance that’s long been misunderstood and underappreciated. Maligned for decades and the brunt of endless jokes and unwarranted stories, this kitchen wonder survived for years, once truly appreciated only by people in the know. Today’s sleek, fast-cooking pressure cookers, however, have safety valves and other features that make them totally safe and easy to use — a far cry from the pressure cookers in use decades ago.

Wouldn’t you like to have savory, delicious, homemade beef stew cooked in less than 45 minutes, compared to 90 minutes of simmering and stirring the old-fashioned way? What about nutritious dried beans or legumes that normally need to simmer up to 2 hours but can be yours in less than 20 minutes? Have I whetted your appetite yet? By cooking with a pressure cooker, you can have these fast-and-tasty foods and more.

About This Book

Chances are, you’ve never used a pressure cooker, or if you have, you may still have some questions or a few misconceptions about this gadget. So join me as I demystify pressure cookers and explain how they really work and what to expect as far as delicious, home-cooked foods are concerned. In fact, I share with you some of the all-time-best pressure-cooker recipes I know.

Conventions Used in This Book

A 6-quart pressure cooker can easily handle all the recipes in this book, even the two pressure-canning recipes in Chapter 5 (all the recipes in this book were developed and tested in 6-quart, stainless-steel pressure cookers). Just be sure to check with your pressure cooker’s manufacturer before canning to make sure your unit can and will reach 15 pounds per square inch (psi) under high pressure.

With that out of the way, it’s time to highlight some specific recipe-related conventions that apply throughout the book:

Vegetarian recipes are marked with a tomato in the Recipes in This Chapter list, with the exception of Chapters 12 and 13, in which all the recipes are vegetarian. The fact that a given recipe is vegetarian is also included as a Note at the end of a vegetarian recipe (except in the aforementioned chapters). Sometimes a recipe can be made vegetarian with a simple tweak or two. For example, some otherwise meatless recipes may call for chicken stock; by replacing it with vegetable stock, the recipe becomes vegetarian. These types of alterations are included in the Vary It! comments that you’ll see at the end of these recipes.

If you’re following a vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free diet, these recipes have you covered too. Notes following the recipes indicate when recipes are vegan, gluten-free, and/or dairy-free when prepared as directed. If a recipe can be made vegan, gluten-free, and/or dairy-free by altering the recipe (for example, by replacing butter and cheeses with vegan equivalents), you’ll find this information in the form of a Vary It! at the end of the recipe.

Temperatures are all in Fahrenheit. (If you prefer working in the metric system, turn to Appendix B for help converting temperatures to Celsius.)

All eggs are large.

All dry ingredient measurements should be level. Spoon the ingredient into the appropriate-sized measuring cup and level off with the blunt edge of a knife. You don’t need to pat down the ingredient (more is not necessarily better than less).

Pepper should always be in the form of freshly ground black peppercorns for maximum flavor.

I recommend using kosher salt because it doesn’t contain additives and therefore has a “cleaner” taste. Unless you’re on a sodium-free diet, judiciously salt your food to taste as it cooks rather than at the end, except for beans and dried legumes, which should be salted only after they have cooked.

I’ve also employed the following general conventions to help make reading Pressure Cookers For Dummies, 2nd Edition, even easier:

Boldface denotes key words and phrases in bulleted lists. It also indicates specific action steps for you to take.

Italics are my way of pointing out words I’m defining or emphasizing.

Monofont lets you know that you’re looking at a web address.

What You’re Not to Read

Of course, I think all the material in this book is valuable, but if you’re pressed for time, you’re welcome to skip over the sidebars. Sidebars are gray-shaded boxes filled with interesting yet nonessential information.

Foolish Assumptions

Naturally, I made some assumptions about you, my dear reader, as I was writing. And now I confess them to you:

You don’t necessarily already own a pressure cooker. Perhaps you’re planning to use this book as a guide to find out more about pressure cookers before taking the plunge and purchasing one. If that’s the case, you’re certain to find everything you need to know about the many different kinds of pressure cookers out there so you can make an informed purchase.

You do own a pressure cooker and you want to get more comfortable using it. Rest assured, this book will get you started with pressure cooking. Who knows? You may never want to cook anything that’s not under pressure again!

You enjoy cooking quickly. Yes, everyone has to eat in order to survive, but some folks — like you and me — actually get a kick out of the cooking process, especially when it doesn’t take all day to prepare a delicious meal.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into five parts, and each part consists of two or more chapters chock-full of information that will get you pressure cooking quickly and successfully, each and every time. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to find in each part.

Part I: Stress-Free Cooking under Pressure

After giving you an overview of the wonderful world of pressure cooking, this part dispels all the many misconceptions surrounding the pressure cooker. It also provides you with some insight into the different types of pressure cookers available (stovetop and electric) so you can pick the right one if you don’t already own a pressure cooker — or if you’re looking to upgrade to a more modern unit, like an electric pressure cooker that boasts slow cooking and rice cooking under pressure. As a bonus, I even give you some recipes designed to take advantage of an electric pressure cooker’s slow cooker and rice cooker programs.

Part II: Making the Best and Safest Use of Your Pressure Cooker

In this part, I fill you in on exactly how pressure cookers work, what to expect as far as features and benefits when cooking under pressure, and why today’s new models and styles (including electric pressure cookers) are safer and easier to use than ever before. I share with you some of the tricks I’ve learned along the way for getting the best results with the least amount of effort, as well as how to adapt your favorite conventional recipes for the pressure cooker.

Part III: Preparing Delicious Recipes in Your Pressure Cooker

Quick, delicious, homemade food is what pressure cooking is all about, and those are the results (not to mention the compliments) you’re bound to get when you make any of the 97 recipes found in this part. As I compiled recipes for this book, I envisioned how I use my pressure cooker for maximum benefit, as far as convenience as well as from a healthy diet perspective.

Then I organized the recipes as you would expect them to be arranged in any well-organized cookbook. Chapter 7 presents dishes that you would eat with a spoon (think soups and grain dishes such as rice and quinoa). In Chapters 8 and 9 you find the meat dishes, specifically stew recipes and roast and poultry recipes. Then comes Chapter 10, with its recipes that highlight those other great sources of protein — beans and dried legumes. Chapter 11 is home to vegetable dishes, including some yummy sides, and Chapter 12 rounds out your meal with some truly delectable desserts. Last but not least, Chapter 13 explores a wide range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes because, hey, who isn’t following a special diet these days (or at least trying to eat less meat)?

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Years ago, it was common practice for people to pick up the phone and call Mom with their cooking questions. You can still call Mom today, but you’ll probably get her voicemail while she’s out playing tennis, taking a class, or hitting the outlet stores. Instead, check out my Part of Tens, where I give you invaluable tips and troubleshooting hints.

Part V: Appendixes

Today, everyone is in a rush and no one has time to spare, so when in doubt and cooking under pressure, refer to Appendix A for recommended pressure-cooker cooking times. Also be sure to check out Appendix B for handy metric and other conversion information.

Icons Used in This Book

Icons are symbols or pictures that represent or convey an idea. I use four of them throughout this book wherever I think an idea or concept should be stressed for your benefit.

If you own (or plan to buy) an electric pressure cooker and want to be sure to review the information that’s specific to this type of pressure cooker, keep your eyes peeled for this icon.

If you recall nothing else from this book but the information flagged with this icon, you’re in good shape.

Simply stated, this icon points out tips or shortcuts I’ve picked up over the years that I share with you to make your pressure cooking more fun and less of a hassle.

When you see this icon, I’m warning you about a potential problem or pitfall. Rest assured, I wouldn’t warn you without also telling you how to avoid or overcome the problem.

Where to Go from Here

Although the beginning is usually a good place to start, feel free to start reading whichever chapter (or section) is of the most interest to you. For example, if you’re looking for a great pot roast recipe, turn to Chapter 9, which contains information about making roasts and other large cuts of meat in your pressure cooker. Wondering how to make quick-and-easy jams and chutney for holiday gift-giving? Then be sure to check out my recipes in Chapter 12.

Because I hope that you’ll soon rely upon your pressure cooker for quick and easily prepared foods, I suggest you become well acquainted with your pressure cooker and your pressure-cooker manufacturer’s documentation to better understand how it works. Naturally, I’m proud of all the information I’ve compiled in this book and hope that you’ll take the time to read most of it. If you don’t initially, that’s okay, too, because I know that you’ll like the recipes so much that, before you even realize it, you’ll have ultimately read almost everything, from cover to cover! Or, if you’d like, you can start anywhere and read as little or as much as you want at a time. After all, it’s your book.

Part I

Stress-Free Cooking under Pressure

In this part . . .

Chapter 1 is your crash course in how to maneuver through the world of pressure cooking. In Chapters 2 and 3, I tell you exactly what a pressure cooker is, how it works, and why you should use one every day when you cook! I also fill you in on how the pressure cooker has changed in the past 70 years, making it one of the fastest and safest methods of cooking. You find out what to expect in terms of new sizes and features, too.

Chapter 1

Cooking with Pressure 101

In This Chapter

Cooking under pressure in the 21st century

Discovering how pressure cooking works

Checking out the various pressure-cooker options

Whipping up great food in a fraction of the time

Although much maligned, in reality the pressure cooker is the harried cook’s most valuable friend in the kitchen. Besides the fact that it cooks up to 70 percent faster, it can also save you money and cut down on kitchen cleanup because you do all your cooking in a totally closed and sealed pot. In this chapter, I present you with some very convincing arguments for why everyone needs to be cooking under pressure — more so today than ever before.

Not Your Parents’ Pressure Cooker

I’m sure you’ve heard the story of a friend of a friend who experienced an exploding pressure cooker and wound up cleaning split-pea soup off the ceiling for a month. But come on, that was back in the 1940s! The modern pressure cooker is a far cry from what your parents and grandparents used in the past. Sleek and sophisticated, from stovetop to electric models, more pressure cookers are available for today’s cook to choose from than ever before.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!