Using Accessories in a Pressure Cooker

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What's on This Page?

The Material Difference

Heat Conduction Properties Of Inserts - Chart

Useful Accessories

Many manufacturers offer different accessories to add more value to your investment by making the pressure cooker more versatile. To see how to use accessory items read about my new PIP (Pan In the Pot) cooking method. See How To Make Helper Handles to make it easier to lift hot dishes out of your pressure cooker.. The following table lists some of the accessories available to compliment your cooker. Check around in your kitchen, you may already have something on hand that will work as well.

The Material Difference

Any type of heatproof dish can be used, but some materials heat better than others. Choosing the right accessory or insert pan for use as a PIP (Pan In Pot) insert, can affect the cooking time as well as the results of the finished recipe. Any type of ovenproof dish can be used in the pressure cooker, remember the inside temperature of a pressure cooker operating at 15psi is 254°, well below that of most oven temperatures.

Metal containers will heat faster than any other materials, and metal dishes may provide a slight amount of browning, making a more appealing presentation. Stainless steel is the first choice because it is non-reactive, indestructible, light weight, and easy to clean in the dishwasher. Aluminum pans are a second choice because it is reactive with many foods, and don't forget to look for suitable substitutes right in your kitchen.

Glass or ceramic containers and specialty items like the earthenware Japanese Ohsawa Pots, will absorb heat slower and heat unevenly, which means foods will take longer to cook. When using nonmetallic dishware, plan to increase the cooking time by five to ten percent to allow for the extra thickness and slower heating properties. Avoid using fired clay bowls, especially foreign imports, where the applied glazes may not be food-safe.

Whichever container you choose, it should be positioned on top of a rack or trivet and not placed directly on the bottom of the pressure cooker. Depending on the type of food, PIP insert containers can be coated with a spritz of nonstick cooking spray, or lightly buttered to prevent food from sticking. My recipe directions will state if the water level must either be below the dish, where heat is transferred by the steam, or if water will reach partially up the side of the dish where heat transfer occurs by conduction.

QUICK GUIDE TO HEAT CONDUCTION PROPERTIES OF INSERTS

MATERIAL

HEAT PROPERTIES

PRO & CON

Copper - bowls, molds, pans, pudding basins, bundt pans

Accepts heat faster than any of the metal, heats evenly; loses heat quickly.

Expensive, the best are tin lined; reacts with some foods, not very durable. Exquires extra upkeep.

Aluminum - bowls, molds, pans, tube, small cake, springform, mini loaf and bundt pans, steamers, separators or dividers, pudding basins, egg poachers

Heats quick and evenly.

Reacts with foods and discolors easily making it difficult to clean. Prone tom dents and scratches. Very inexpensive and available in a wide selection.

Stainless - steel bowls, molds, pans, steamers, separators or dividers, pudding basins, pasta steamer baskets

Heats quickly.

Durable and non-reactive. Wide range of prices.

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Recyclables - disposable aluminum pans, foil packets or shaped bowls, 1 lb coffee cans, cookie tins, assorted empty food cans 

Heats very quickly and evenly.

Aluminum reacts with some foods. Free. Disposable, no clean up. Lots of useful sizes and shapes. Readily available, toss after use, no cleanup, Foil can be shaped for small or odd shapes,

Cast Iron - not generally thought of as an insert pan, but there are small pans and mini kettle-shaped pots

Slow to heat due to its thickness and weight, but once hot, it retains heat well.

Extremely heavy and prone to rust, it reacts to food. Requires extra upkeep. Prices vary. Not readily available in suitable sizes.

Wood - trivets, bamboo steamer baskets, skewers.

Does not transfer heat when wet.

Inexpensive, must be soaked before using, porous, may be difficult to clean, not very durable.

Ceramics, vitrified ceramic, porcelain, other heat-proof glassware - ramekins, custard cups, pudding basins, soufflé dishes, mini bundt pans, quiche, tart and flan pans.

Heats slowly and unevenly; matte finishes increase heat absorption slightly; retains heat extremely well.

Can chip or break, may be the only choice available with certain shapes or sizes. Corningware™, Pyrex™. Wide range of prices.

Stoneware, Earthenware, fired clay - ramekins, custard cups, pudding basins, soufflé dishes.

Heats slowly and evenly, but retains its temperature for a long time.

Avoid glazes that are not food-safe: Wide range of prices.

Useful Accessories

You may want to search around your kitchen and see how main useful inserts you already have on hand that will allow you to expand the types of recipes you can prepare and maximize the full potential of your pressure cooker investment.

Veggie Steamer Trays

Ramekins

Disposable Foil Pans

Separators Or Dividers

Soufflé Dishes

Bamboo Steamer Basket

Springform Pans

Mini Loaf Pan

Mini Bundt Pans

Custard Cups

Pudding Basins

Pudding Molds

Aluminum Foil

Parchment Paper

Trivets And Racks

Ceramic Dishes

Tube Pans

Heat-diffuser

1lb Coffee Cans

Cookie Tins

Pyrex

Clay or Stoneware Dishes

Ceramic Dishes

Charlotte Tins

Small Cake Pans

Large Veggie Cans

Copper-tone Molds

Pasta Steamer Baskets

Mini Bundt Pans

Corningware

Egg Poachers

Pudding Molds

Trivets And Racks

Quiche, Tart & Flan Pans

 

 

Many of these specialty items are in the Pressure Cooker Store.