Sizes/Brands Pressure Cookers

The most important feature to me, besides safety, is the quick release capability.  My cookers all have that option.  I do not believe, from reading about the newer model Presto cookers, that they have the quick release capability.  The 100 Anniversary model is the only Presto I’ve ever seen that has the quick release option so if that’s important to you, and it is to me, you might want to do a little more research.

I also much prefer the stainless steel over the aluminum pots.  The Kuhn Rikon pots are stainless steel with an aluminum core in the base, which supposedly helps it heat more quickly.  Presto does make a stainless and an aluminum pot.  The aluminum costs less but I don’t like the feel of it.

It’s also important to have a handle on each side.  Most have a large handle on one side and a smaller handle on the opposite side.  Some do not have the smaller handle but if, for any reason, the pot needs to be moved while still under pressure, it’s real nice to have both handles to help steady the pot while moving it.

Why do I have three (four actually) pressure cookers?  I don’t need three.  I’m not even counting the fourth one because it’s a very, very old aluminum pot and doesn’t have the quick release pressure capability and it has the old fashioned jiggler top, which I don’t like as much as the newer pressure regulators.  I haven’t tossed it (of course!) but I haven’t used it in forever and wouldn’t use it without changing out the gasket.

My 6 quart Presto cooker is no longer available. It was a 100 Anniversary model that I purchased in 2005.  It looks a bit different from the current models.  I bought this one because, at the time, we had two residences and my old cooker (the one I no longer use) was at one house and I was always needing it at the other house so I went to some local store and bought a second one, not even realizing it was an anniversary model and without knowing what a great pot it was.  I’m so glad to have that one.

The pot on the right is the Presto 6 quart.  The pot on the left is the 3.5 liter Kuhn Rikon.  You can see the difference in size.   The 5 liter Kuhn Rikon looks just like the pot on the left but is a little larger and a little smaller than the Presto on the right.

I kept hearing how great the Kuhn Rikon cookers were and because the 6 quart Presto is a real big pot just for doing enough dried beans for a meal or two, I next bought the 3.5 liter Kuhn Rikon.  I use the pressure cooker at least twice a week for dried beans and the 3.5 liter is perfect!  I can also cook a small whole chicken and a small roast in the 3.5 liter.  I loved it so much that I also got the 5 liter Kuhn Rikon.  There’s hardly a meal around here that doesn’t involve using one of those cookers.

If you’re one of those who’s afraid of the pressure cooker, there’s nothing I can tell you except I’ve been using pressure cookers and canners for 30 years and have never come close to having an accident.  The newer pots have overpressure plugs that will blow before the pot explodes.  I’ve never had one blow.  The pots are safe but I’m not going to try to talk anyone into getting something they’re afraid to use.

Which pot is right for you?  If price is a deciding factor, go with a lower priced pot.  In the end, they all do the same thing.  If you can afford the Kuhn Rikon, and you can only get one, go with the 5 or 7 liter.  I’ve never used, nor have I even seen the 7 liter and it’s way bigger than I would ever want but if you cook for many people, you might like it.  The Presto 6 quart is bigger than I need most of the time.  I’m not one who believes you always get a better product if you pay more but in this case, I love the Kuhn Rikon pots so much more than any others I’ve ever had.

The Kuhn Rikon with the Duromatic top has everything hooked into the top (no pieces to lose).  There are no separate “jigglers” or pressure regulators/indicators.

When cooking, the little gizmo in the top (with the red lines) is horizontal with the black strips on the lid.  The center section rises with the pressure.  (It’s in the risen position in the photo because I have it raised.  There’s no pressure in the pot now.)  The bottom red line indicates low pressure and the top red line indicates high pressure.  To quick release, simply lift up on that center section and turn it (as shown).  The pressure will escape quickly without waiting for the pressure to release slowly, which can take a while.  I mostly always let the pressure release by itself (unless I suddenly remember I forgot to put something in the pot!).

For the Presto, can you see the little “thing” with the blue dot on top?  That’s the pressure indicator and you twist it around for quick release.  It does come completely off and would be real easy for me to lose.

I can hardly imagine day to day cooking without a pressure cooker!


  1. 1


    I have two old pressure cookers, but only have the bottom part of the pans. I use them all the time to boil spaghetti and noodles…lol Have never used a pressure cooker to pressure cook before…

  2. 2


    I have a pressure cooker but am not very creative at finding everyday uses for it. Do you have any recommendations for cookbooks that might give me some ideas? I use mine for soups, short ribs, etc. I’ve not roasted a chicken in it and have no clue how to do so. I also find that tomato based items tend to burn so I’m probably doing something wrong there, too.

    • 2.1


      I don’t think I have any cookbooks specifically for the pressure cooker but know there are some out there. I’ll continue sharing some of the recipes I have and will look to see if I have any cookbooks for the pressure cooker. In most recipes, tomato paste is added after the pressure is done and then just heated in with the rest of the ingredients.

  3. 3


    What a timely post. My husband and I were looking at pressure cookers this weekend. I’m using my grandmother’s and I haven’t been able to find a replacement gasket in the last year or two and it needs replacing. But since all I cook is chicken for the chicken and dumplings, I’m not real motivated to buy a new one.

  4. 4


    I bought the big Presto canner after reading about it on your blog. And then I picked up a vintage 1940s Revere Ware copperclad one at a garage sale which has turned out to be worth its weight in, well, maybe not gold, but certainly copper. 🙂

  5. 5

    Sarah Stevens says

    I haven’t done too much canning in recent years, but I like to make sure that my pressure cookers are also able to be used in canning. Off the top of you head do you know which of these are also of the correct capacity and dimensions for use in canning?

  6. 6


    I’ve got a 3.5L Kuhn Rikon, but I rarely use it because I find it is too small. Most of the recipes I find say I need a bigger pressure cooker. I like to cook less frequently and have leftovers and that doesn’t work with this, even for a family of 4. I’ve thought about getting a bigger one, but they aren’t cheap, so I would need to decide if I would use it enough to justify the price and the storage space.

  7. 7


    When I married her son, my MIL gave me a pressure cooker saying she couldn’t do without one. The only thing I ever did with it was make “porcupines” from her recipe. I’d like to know your answer to Sally’s question above.

  8. 8


    I’m in the market for a pressure cooker and I heard great things about the books by Lorna Sass, so I ordered two. I’ve been trying to hold off buying a pressure cooker until I read what she has to say, but I’m worried my books may be lost in the post. My grocery store had a sale (1/2 price!) on a 6 liter stainless steel pot where the top is thin, bowed stainless steel and clamps up flat into the rim of the pot. I can’t find much information on this kind. I’d like to get it, but it’s still a big purchase and I don’t want to regret it. I’m also looking at the Fagor Duo Combi 5-piece set. It comes with a 4 qt and 8 qt pots and a pressure lid and regular lid that fits both.

  9. 9


    I use mine for soups, sauces including tomato sauce (it does burn sometimes, adding the paste at the end is a good idea), chicken with tomatoes and olives (doesn’t burn), artichokes, other vegetables, and anything that cooks for any length of time. I cook it for 1/3 of the time called for in the recipe.

  10. 10


    I have Mirro with the “jigglers” on top. I prefer these because I will forget I’m cooking unless I listen to the jigglers. I’ve used the ones with lines, and it was stressful! And over Thanksgiving (yes–with ALL the relatives at my house) I overloaded one cooking the potatoes. It didn’t blow the soft plug, but it did release around the gasket all over my stove. Luckily, no one but Ken was in the kitchen, and he quickly shut the door when I started jumping around. No one saw it or knew what happened! Whew! My mother did blow one YEARS AGO cooking beans. My old instructions say not to cook dried beans in it.