The Complete Guide to Pressure Cookers

The Complete Guide to Pressure Cookers

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We asked the team for their best tips on their stove-top pressure cookers used in conjunction with a thermo-cooker/ Thermomix and to help us answer some of the popular questions relating to electric pressure cookers vs. stove-top pressure cookers and also the benefits of pressure cooking compared to slow cooking.

Why use a stove-top pressure cooker?

Modern stove-top pressure cookers are a fantastic tool in the kitchen as they:

  • Save 70% of cooking time
  • Retain almost all nutrients
  • Save 80% of energy costs
  • Enhance flavour from cooking under pressure
  • Melt-in-the-mouth texture
  • Are extremely safe (up to 7 safety features)

Getting home after running around all afternoon with the kids or caught in traffic after work, you can have a nutritious meal on the table in minutes by cooking under pressure. 

Of course, your pressure cooker can’t prepare your food for you, so it tag-teams really well with your Thermomix or thermo-cooker. The preparation, and perhaps also the sweating of onions, garlic etc can all happen quickly while you’re bathing the kids. Then you can pop the food into your 7 litre pressure cooker for a fast, nutritious, delicious dinner. How fast? Risotto or Spanish rice in 8 minutes. Butter chicken in 10 minutes. Lamb shanks in 40 minutes (not 2 hours). Mashed potatoes in 6 minutes. Cheesecake (yep – that’s right) in 20 minutes.

Key tips to using your Pressure Cooker

  • The pressure comes from steam so you need to have at least 1 cup of liquid in the pot.
  • Lock the lid! This is the first safety feature of the best Pressure Cookers – it will not come to pressure of the lid is not locked.
  • Bring it to pressure on medium-high heat. As soon as it is at pressure (usually shown with a pressure indicator), reduce the heat to low. Once it is at pressure, the energy required is minimal. If you are using an electric stove-top, move the cooker to a small element.
  • Most dishes are cooked on the highest pressure setting. The lower pressure settings are mainly for soft fruits as the turn to mush otherwise.
  • Go and have a glass of wine – you don’t need to watch it. If there is a lot of steam being released (another safety feature), turn the heat down further.
  • To reduce the pressure and unlock the lid once the cooking time is up, either
    • remove the pan from the heat and it will naturally drop the pressure after about 10 minutes (this is best with meats as they “rest” so are even more tender). or
    • Gently run cool water over the edge of the pan which reduces the heat quickly which reduces the pressure.

Electric vs Stove-top Pressure Cooker

Stove-top Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers cook fast, nutritionally, with enhanced flavour due to cooking under pressure (doh!). While there are benefits with both stove-top and electric pressure cookers, the primary benefit of cooking under pressure is reduced with electric pressure cookers as they only achieve half the level of pressure.

Pressure cookers vs Slow cookers

These two cooking devices have some overlap with some of the styles of cooking eg braises although the pressure cooker has a wider range of foods it can cook – it can steam, it can cook cakes, it is better for rice. If you’re organised in the morning, a slow cooker can work well. If you’re like most families (picture morning chaos), cooking quickly once home ensures you eat healthily every night.

  Pressure Cooker Slow Cooker Rice Cooker
Pot roast YES YES  
Stews, curries, other braises YES YES  
Steamed fish & veges YES   YES
Stock YES YES  
Soup YES YES  
Boiled eggs YES   YES
Rice YES   YES
Porridge YES YES YES
Risotto/Spanish rice YES    
Puddings/Cheesecake YES    


Suggested cooking times

In general, cooking times with meat or chicken are reduced by about 70%. You can cook with frozen meat but add 15 minutes to the usual Pressure Cooking time. The times given depend on the quantity being cooked. The lower amounts are for 1kg.

  Approx. cooking time (minutes)
Beef, mince or meatballs 10-15
Beef, pot roast 35-40
Beef, ribs or osso bucco 25-30
Lamb, cubed 10-15
Lamb leg or shanks 35-45
Pork, roast 50-60
Pork ribs 20-25
Chicken, cubed or breast 8-10
Chicken, roast whole 25-30
Chicken drumsticks 10-15
Butter chicken 8
Risotto/Spanish rice 8
Potatoes 6
Lentils 15
Dumplings 4
Pears 8
Cheesecake 15


Using your Stovetop Pressure Cooker for Skinnymixers Recipes

Many of the Skinnymixer recipes can be made in conjunction with a pressure cooker.  A pressure cooker is really useful if needing to increase the quantity of a dish or free up your thermal cooker for another dish.

Using a pressure cooker is really good at taking cheaper cuts of meat and turning them into tender meals, quickly.  It’s also fantastic for cooking root vegetables and steamed rice – and plenty of other uses I am yet to explore!

Skinnymixers Thermomix Recipe Ideas:

Any of the curries, pie fillings or soups in the books or on the Recipe Index

I could go on and keep listing – but I’ll let you discover them for yourself!  As we find more recipes that will work in the pressure cooker we will be making notes on the recipes