How to Use a Cook's Essential Pressure Cooker

How to Use a Cook's Essential Pressure Cooker (Image: siims/iStock/GettyImages)

Created specifically for QVC, Cook's Essentials kitchenware includes electronic pressure cookers. The Cook's Essentials pressure cooker line is available in sizes ranging from 2 to 10 quarts. Whether you're cooking for a busy family or a crowd, an electronic pressure cooker allows you to pop baby-back ribs, beans, rice or pot roast into this tabletop appliance and have a tasty meal in less than an hour.

Unlike a stove-top pressure cooker, which requires extra attention to ensure it remains at an even temperature, you can busy yourself in the kitchen and around the house while your meal cooks.

Before You Use Your Cook's Essentials Pressure Cooker

Before you use your pressure cooker for the first time, read the entire manual. Wash the removable parts in dish liquid and hot water. Do not immerse the housing. Allow the parts to dry completely before putting them back in the base.

The rubber gasket must fit properly inside the lid. You can check the fit on the gasket by filling the removable inner pan two-thirds full with water. Secure the lid and run the unit on high for 15 minutes. Release the pressure, and when it is completely cool, open it and pour out the water. Clean the inner pot again.

Preparing for Cooking

Before preparing the recipe, put the removable inner pan inside the pressure cooker housing. Plug in the pressure cooker. Add the ingredients according to your recipe, and unless the recipe says otherwise, be sure to add 1 1/2 cups of water, stock or other liquid.

Don't fill the inner pan more than three-fourths full, and if cooking beans or rice, one-half full. After you check the gasket, close and lock the lid. Set the pressure regulator knob on "pressure." On some models, the knob may say "airtight" and "exhaust."

Setting the Pressure When Cooking

Your recipe should indicate the pressure setting. After you press the "setting pressure" button on the control panel, use the "+" and "-" buttons to increase or reduce the pressure. High, or 15.0p, is the default setting. Medium is 7.5p, and low is 2.5p.

After setting the pressure level, set the cooking time and then press the "start/stop" button to begin cooking. When the cooking time ends, always allow the steam to completely exhaust before opening the pressure cooker. Use caution because the steam is extremely hot.

Using the Brown Function

Follow the Cook's Essentials quick cooker instructions when browning meats. Add the oil to the inner pan and then press the "brown" button. Set the browning time using the "+" and "-" buttons. You can set it by the minute from one to 30 minutes.

Press the "start/stop" button to begin the browning cycle. The temperature for the "brown" setting is 329 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the oil heats, you should pat the meat dry to avoid spattering. Add the meat to the oil. Do not put the lid on the pressure cooker. When the meat is browned, press the "start/stop" button to turn off the pressure cooker.

Using the Steam Function

Steaming rice or vegetables requires additional items mentioned among the cook's tools in the pressure cooker manual, which are not included with the unit. A small rack or basket is needed to hold vegetables, fish or rice above the required 1 1/2 cups of water inside the inner pot.

Add the ingredients on top of the rack or basket and in the case of rice, into a bowl placed on top of the rack. Rice is generally a one-to-one ratio of rice and water.

Press the "steam" button. Some units have a cooking mode button. Press it until the green indicator next to "steam" lights up. Set the time and then press the "start/stop" button.

Pressure Canning Instructions

While the manufacturer's manual may provide instructions on using the pressure cooker for home canning, the National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend using a multi-use electronic pressure cooker for canning. The NCHFP directions for pressure canning apply to stove-top pressure canners, not cookers, and are not transferable to your electronic unit.

Recipes for the Cook's Essentials Pressure Cooker

When seeking recipes for your Cook's Essentials pressure cooker, don't overlook recipes designed for Instant Pots, which are also electronic pressure cookers. Oven recipes may also be adapted. Use the time chart in the manual.

Alternatively, once the pressure cooker comes to temperature, you should allow 12 to 20 minutes for potatoes or rice, 25 to 40 minutes for a whole chicken, 30 to 50 minutes for ribs or 60 to 90 minutes for a pot roast depending on the amounts in the cooker and the size of the items.

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