I was introduced to pressure cooking earlier this year by way of the Instant Pot, and eventually started using a traditional electric pressure cooker. Admittedly, I was skeptical about pressure cookers right off the bat; I just didn't quite understand why I might need one. I already have a slower cooker (which felt far safer to use), and while some people sing the praises of this appliance, I didn't know a lot of people who actually owned one. It made me wonder if pressure cookers were a little out of fashion.
It took some time to learn the ropes of pressure cooking, but its ability to radically speed up cooking won me over — big time. It answered my question of how do I get dinner on the table, fast? Pressure cookers may have fallen in and out of favor over the years, but this is one appliance that certainly has a place in today's kitchen.
Why Pressure Cookers Might Feel Old-Fashioned
The more I used my electric pressure cooker, the more I thought about what made this appliance feel out of fashion to me — at first. Pressure cookers fall into two categories: stovetop and electric. This appliance is used around the world and praised for its ability to quickly cook things like rice, grains, beans, and tough cuts of meat, but in the United States, it's just not as common for a variety of reasons.
Think about most of the appliances we use in the kitchen — everything from slow cookers and blenders to food processors and mixers. One of the things they have in common is that they're all intuitive and relatively easy to use from the start. I think we really value that straightforward, ease of use, and unfortunately the same cannot be said for pressure cookers — both electric and stovetop. Once you get past the learning curve, they're easy to use, but it's a little tricky right off the bat.
Pressure cookers have certainly become more sophisticated, though, with electric cookers seemingly stealing the show from their stovetop counterparts. Not only are they more user-friendly, but they're also equipped with safety features not available on the stovetop version.
But even so, it feels like there aren't a lot of recipes developed for pressure cookers. At least not in the same way we see recipes for slow cookers or one-pot meals.
The Pressure Cooker Deserves a Place in Modern Kitchens
While electric pressure cookers are working their way to a comeback, they're still a hugely underappreciated appliance. But why? To me, they seem to be the clear solution to the struggle so many of us face when it comes to cooking: lack of time in the kitchen.
With busy schedules, we have less time to spend in the kitchen or even think about cooking — but it still has to happen, so we're on the seemingly endless search for new ways to make this task faster.
The pressure cooker is the answer to so much of this; it's what popularized the stovetop version years ago. The pressure cooker is the hero of set-it-and-forget-it meals, cooking foods that might otherwise require hours in the oven or slow cooker, in a fraction of the time. And with electric pressure cookers, you don't even have to turn on the stove — it's almost magical — which is exactly why Ariel spent a few days testing out several different electric pressure cookers, including ones that were budget- and beginner-friendly.
Read Our Electric Pressure Cooker Reviews
When we think about set-it-and-forget-it meals, so many of us are quick to turn to the slow cooker. And while that certainly has a time and place, it doesn't solve the problem of getting food on the table fast. It's for this exact reason that some people are starting to push their slow cookers aside, in favor of the faster and more efficient pressure cooker.
More Praise for the Pressure Cooker
When Cambria visited Cook's Country editor Eva Katz last year, Eva happily told us she opted for a pressure cooker over a slow cooker. She uses hers about once a week to make dinner for her family. "It makes the best (and I mean the best) brown rice imaginable. It also makes quick work out of cooking dried beans, stews, risottos, and one of my family’s favorites, Vietnamese pho."
This appliance is the answer to a modern-day dinner dilemma; a way to cook good food, fast. I certainly wouldn't call that old-fashioned.
More on What You Can Cook in a Pressure Cooker
This post was requested by Lattefiele.blogspot.it for Reader Request Week 2015.