Holiday Gift Idea: Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker
Photo Courtesy Instant Pot

A pressure cooker is the busy person’s best friend in the kitchen. It automates and accelerates healthy meal prep, and, unlike most people, it’s pretty effective at multi-tasking. (Plus, it doesn’t text while cooking, so food doesn’t over-cook or lose its moistness.) To our friends who are crock pot enthusiasts, imagine getting similar results in less than an hour.

At StyleChicago.com, we can’t think of many products we’ve used more in the past 10 years, which is why it’s near the top of our holiday gift lists. 

Our personal favorite these days is the increasingly popular Instant Pot, which offers multi-functional cooking options (e.g. pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, saute, warmer and steamer) in a variety of sizes (e.g. 3 qt. mini, 5 qt., 6qt. and 8 qt.).


Why use a pressure cooker?

  • Cook Faster – Using a pressure cooker dramatically reduces cooking times.
  • Tenderize Meat – Meat comes out tender every time. It’s similar to a crock pot, only much faster.  
  • Soften Beans Quickly – Ever wish you could black beans without soaking them overnight first? Use a pressure cooker and, from start to finish, you’ll spend less than an hour.
  • Eliminate Defrosting Step – You can cook frozen meat without defrosting it.
  • Improve Taste – The extra high heat used in pressure cooking promotes the caramelizing and browning of the food you cook. This brings out the flavors, creates a rich broth and keeps meat tender.

Use a pressure cooker recipe book

If you are new to pressure cooking, using a healthy pressure cooker recipe book will make your transition to mastering quick and healthy meal prep much easier. Once you have a few basic recipes under your belt, it becomes easier to improvise from there.

How does a pressure cooker work?

A pressure cooker is a sealed pot with a valve that controls the steam pressure inside. As the pot heats up, the liquid inside forms steam, which raises the pressure in the pot. This high pressure steam has two major effects:

  1. Raises the boiling point of the water in the pot. When cooking something wet, like a stew or steamed vegetables, the heat of your cooking is limited to the boiling point of water (212°F). But with the steam’s pressure now the boiling point can get as high as 250°F. This higher heat helps the food  cook faster.
  2. Raises the pressure, forcing liquid into the food. The high pressure also helps force liquid and moisture into the food quickly, which helps it cook faster and also helps certain foods, like tough meat, get very tender very quickly.

Holiday Gift Ideas:
* Holiday Gift Idea: Black Leather Choker
* Holiday Gift Idea: Backpack Purse for the Commuter
* Holiday Gift Idea: Leather Belt & Steampunk Buckle
* Holiday Gift Idea: Made in Chicago Reversible Hats
* Holiday Gift Idea: The Vacuuming Robot Roomba
* Holiday Gift Idea: Hoodie Ponch by Heidi Hess

Cooking Parties in Chicago