Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cooker

I adore my pressure cooker and I much prefer it over my slow cooker. I use my pressure cooker once or twice a week, while the slow cooker gets used only once a month or so.

I generally find the pressure cooker more versatile. Here are the the advantages that I see it has:

a) There isn't a minimum of food that needs to be cooked. You do however need a minimum of liquid. For my very large pressure cooker it is 1 cup.

b) You can brown the food directly in the pressure cooker before cooking, thereby reducing cleanup.

c) You can cook an amazing range of food in it. Obviously there are the traditional stews, but you can also do risotto, cheesecake, custard, and Christmas cake. Risotto is brilliant ... it takes about 7 minutes of cooking and only about 3 minutes of stirring. I'll be posting a risotto recipe soon.

d) You can cook multiple items at the same time. For example, to make a curry I put the curry ingredients in the bottom of the pressure cooker, then I balance a bowl of rice & water on top of the curry. The two take the same amount of time to cook and aren't mixed together during the cooking process.

e) I find the pressure cooker easier to clean than the slow cooker.

f) You can use the pan from the pressure cooker for other things where you need a really big pot - like jam making.

g) I prefer the taste of the things I make in the pressure cooker. It may just be the recipes I am using, but I've had some really big disasters in the slow cooker (and they've always involved a large quantity of food).

h) I like not having to plan so far in advance to cook my food. Sometimes I'm not organised enough to get the slow cooker on in the morning, and sometimes I'm not home at the right time to turn it on. I can't find a reference to double check this ... but I seem to remember that something that take 6 to 8 hours to cook in the slow cooker would take 20 mins to an hour in the pressure cooker.

For further reading, including info on the correct and safe usage of pressure cookers, and how to select a pressure cooker, see: Miss Vickie's. Also see The Pressure Cooker Centre. I'm not affiliated with either of these sites.

As to recipe books, I'd recommend both. :
- Miss Vickie's Big Book or Pressure Cooker Recipes, but Vickie Smith
- Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass (I don't think I've had a single recipe from this book that I disliked)


The Veggie Queen said...

This is a great assessment of pressure cooking versus slow cooking. And since I teach pressure cooking, I couldn't agree with you more, but it's always good to get validation from others.

I have a DVD, website http://www.pressurecookingoline.comand a blog http://www.pressurecooking.blogspot.com. I am going to post a link to this post.

Great information. thanks for sharing.

SarahP said...

Can pressure cookers go through the dishwasher?

The Veggie Queen said...

The pot part can but not the top with the pressure valve, at least not on the modern-style cookers. I always hand wash.

Fiona said...

As The Veggie Queen says, you can dishwasher the pot but not the lid. ... And with the pot part, you'd need to ensure that your pot isn't too tall for your dishwasher.

There is an advantage to getting a tall pot: You can stack things up inside the pressure cooker. Eg Cooking a bowl of rice on top of your curry, or baking a dessert in individual ramekins which you can stack in multiple layers.

Splanky has our old family pressure cooker which I'm sure she let you have a go with. I'd be happy to give you some recipes to experiment with.

SarahP said...

I borrowed mother's for six months and it sat in my spare room and gathered dust. I even had the instructions and it *still* gathered dust.

I have so many appliances already, I don't want to just pick up a new one and not use it. I'm hesitant about pressure cookers because of the fear factor, so "old" is probably not a key word for me LOL

Can Splanky show me how to use it? (I am going to ask her that in ICQ too, just to see if I can make her laugh!)

Fiona said...

You'll make her laugh!

How about the three of us get together and I'll give the two of you a lesson?

Fiona said...

As to the fear factor, I had our old family one checked for safety about 6 months ago (and I don't think it has been used since).

The new ones have a lot more redundant safety mechanisms built in and are a lot quieter. I can show you how to use both the old style and new style safely.

SarahP said...

Sounds like a plan! The kids will outnumber us 2 x 1, you know!


I threatened to post her response here... but I still want her to talk to me, so perhaps not.

Fiona said...


Mistress said...

I ventured to your blog through MPM! I think I will be looking for a pressure cooker now.

What recipe do you use for Curry? I love it but it has to be cheaper to make than to buy.

Fiona said...

Mistress, Sorry I haven't posted that curry recipe for you yet. It is still coming and I'll get it up over the next few days.

Fiona @ Feebeez

Nohemi said...

I also prefer my pressure cooker over my slow cooker but sometimes, my parents want me to cook using the latter. I agree with the advantages that you have here. Anyway, I bet you’re really enjoying using your pressure cooker. With modernized pressure cookers nowadays, it’s a great reminder that we must still consider a high quality and the most energy efficient one. Enjoy cooking. :D

-Nohemi Tutterrow-

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