Supercharged flavor in a fraction of the time.
The convenience, ease, and (yes!) safety of the modern pressure cooker will put dinner on the table fast—and make it taste as if you spent the whole day at the stove. The test kitchen’s favorite pressure cooker hit all the high notes, easily beating all competing stovetop and electric models.
Fissler Vitaquick 8½-Quart Pressure Cooker
Solidly constructed with a low, wide profile that made browning food easy, this well-engineered cooker has an automatic lock and an easy-to-monitor pressure valve. The only cooker to reach 250 degrees at high pressure, it cooked food to perfection in the time range suggested by the recipes.
EVAPORATION LOSS (0.8 oz) BOTTOM THICKNESS 7.24 mm
The case for cooking under pressure
In a tightly sealed cooker, water molecules are trapped, creating a dramatic increase in pressure. With more pressure, the temperature rises and food cooks much more quickly. Because the pot stays closed, cooking requires much less liquid than usual and flavors concentrate. As a bonus, this method also uses less energy: Once pressure is reached, you cook with the heat turned down as low as possible, and cooking times are shorter.
Even with a lid on, steam escapes, preventing an increase in pressure—and temperature.
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100 Foolproof recipes for cooking under pressure, including:
How we tested pressure cookers
We measured the thickness of the bottom of each cooking pot. Thicker bottoms generally held more heat for steadier cooking under pressure.
We measured the temperature inside each cooker under high pressure for 30 minutes and noted the peak temperature reached. Because temperature is directly related to pressure, this indicates pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure generated by each cooker. Since recipes calling for high pressure are designed to cook at 15 psi, which is achieved at 250 degrees, pots that could reach 250 degrees received higher ratings.
We prepared our pressure-cooker recipes for risotto, Boston baked beans, chicken stock, a meaty tomato sauce with pork, and beef stew in each cooker, rating the dishes’ tastes and textures and the cookers’ steadiness of heating and evenness of browning (which we also checked by making crêpes).
We evaluated shape, size, weight, and handle comfort; the design of locking mechanisms, pressure indicators, and steam-release mechanisms; cleanup; and other features that enhance user-friendliness.
We added 2 pounds of water to each cooker, weighed the whole cooker with the water inside, and boiled it at high pressure for 1 hour, checking the weight at 20, 40, and 60 minutes to determine the amount of water that had evaporated. Cookers with lower evaporation levels rated higher.
The Fissler Vitaquick 8½-Quart Pressure Cooker Bested All Competitors
1. Sturdily built
2. Steady heating
3. Easily monitored pressure indicator
4. Convenient automatically locking lid
5. Pleasure to use
6. Produced perfect finished dishes
7. Only cooker to reach 250 degrees at high pressure