Pressure cookers come in all sizes from small
2 quarts to large 10 and 12 quart models, and every
size in between. The smaller 2 to 4 quart size models are great for a secondary pot to cook veggie side dishes and small portions of meat. They are not suitable for soups, stews, or foods that foam, froth or expand. The 6 quart size is a good all around choice for serve singles, couples and most families.
See the Capacity Chart to learn the maximum fill levels for all sizes of pressure cookers.
The size you choose may depend
on the number of serving portions needed or the appetites of your family members. Other things to keep in mind might include the kind of recipes or foods you like to cook, and planning for large batches of food for Once A Month Cooking. If storage or stove space is an issue, that too, will influence the size consideration. One last observation that applies to any large, fully loaded pot is the weight, and this may pose a hardship for those with physical limitations. Finally, the last, but not the least, consideration, is the price.
To get the maximum use out of a pressure cooker, buy the largest size you can afford. I do not recommend buying anything smaller than a 5 quart for your primary use pressure cooker, and a 6 quart or larger is even better because it allows for a wider range of cooking options so you can get the full potential out of your pressure cooker investment.
Here are some
things to consider:
Listen to your Mama, bigger is better... at least when
it comes to pressure cookers. The 6 quart size is the most versatile and a good size for most recipes.
The capacity of a 7 or 8 quart size will
allow you more versatility to use my PIP cooking technique or the other cooking methods used in today's modern pressure cooker.
The larger sizes permit cooks to use more accessories inside
the pressure cooker,and cook larger, bulkier foods like
whole chickens, rib roasts, large meat roasts, racks ribs and
whole ears of corn.
- If you like to cook ahead, or plan to use bulk or Once A Month Cooking (OAMC}, then the larger pressure cookers
will let you cook in quantity and freeze
the extra portions.
- Let me mention the importance of diameter. As a rule the diameter of the pot increase with the size. The larger diameter pressure cookers will accommodate a wider variety of accessory inserts and bulkier foods. At a minimum, look for at least a 7 inch diameter.
- One thing to consider when deciding
to purchase any large size pot is the filled
weight. If you are a small person,
or you have a few years on your frame (like
me) and the disabilities to match, then
a heavy pot can be a chore to move. Certainly
stainless steel is heavier than aluminum,
and if you have accessories in the pot as
well as food, that adds to the weight.