CooksEssentials 6 qt. Nonstick Stainless Steel Digital Pressure Cooker
When in doubt, read instructions
I read some of the negative reviews after ordering the pressure cooker and was concerned that I may have made a purchase mistake. Received the unit and cooked spareribs for the first try. They came out only partially cooked. I then read the manual VERY CAREFULLY and the KEY WORD was "PRESET" There are settings already in the pressure cooker and you can use them, or..within 3-5 seconds, extend the cooking time and temperature to meet your personal cooking requirements.
Now, after reading the instructions, everything that comes out of this cooker is Awesome and I'm not even a good cook but my family thinks I am. Thank you for this wonderful product !!
I have used pressure cookers all my life, since a very young child, and I am now 73. The food that is produced is wonderful, but this P cooker is odd. They tried to make it so high tech whereby you can't figure out the timer. I like to do fresh green beans for 3 minutes and for the life of me can not find a way to cook for a very short time like that. For this reason I am still looking for a CE P cooker that is workable.
If anyone has any ideas as to how I can set the time for only a few minutes please comment and I will be looking for your advice. The manual is horrible and perhaps if it were written better I would not be having this issue.
Tricky controls, but I love it!
I have been researching pressure cookers for a bit now. I live a pretty busy lifestyle so I was really looking for something that would give me the results of a slow cooker in a fraction of the time. I wasn't sure about this unit after reading the reviews on the clumsy control panel and cruddy manual, but since that seemed to be the primary reason for negative comments I went ahead and got it because it had the functions and cooking capacity I wanted over some of the other more expensive models. I'm also pretty good at making stuff work so I decided I was up for the challenge.
First the bad news...yes the controls are clunky and the manual is pretty mediocre. That being said, as another reviewer pointed out the included recipe cards are very helpful in figuring out the controls. Also the manual does tell you minimum, maximum, and default cook times for each mode so I was able to figure it out pretty quickly. If you are looking for something that you can just push a button and go this unit probably isn't for you, but if you are willing to be patient and fiddle a little, the results are well worth the effort, especially for the price. We just had falling off the bone spare ribs for dinner in 25 minutes.
I found that if I wanted to adjust the pressure or cooking time, I could select a mode, and manually adjust the pressure and cooking time. However, certain cooking times and pressure settings are not available for all cooking modes. If the cooking mode I selected did not allow me to put in a particular amount of pressure or time I just selected a different cooking mode and noodled until I found one that let me put in the settings I wanted. One trick I learned is that holding the cooking time button will give you different results than just pushing it. Pushing it seems to give you increments while holding it down will allow you to adjust to times between the increments. I'm not sure if that is true for every cooking mode, but it is definitely the case in stew mode.
Someone else also commented that they did not like that it just flashes and doesn't display a count down. It actually does display a count down, but it will not start counting until it has reached the appropriate pressure. Periodically it will just flash. I believe it does this when it is regulating the pressure, because it will make some noises like it is building or releasing pressure and then go back to the count down.
I'm sorry some people have had a bad experience with their cookers, but I love mine. I would definitely recommend it and I'm considering purchasing another one as a gift.
I've used this pressure cooker many times, and it works great.
The valve is loose, unlike my 4 qt where you turn it and it locks down. No way to tell if it is in the correct position for sure...just a hope and a prayer.
Also, if it weren't for these reviews, i would have never known how to make the time go past 20 min. I wish I had tried it out when i received it instead of taking for granted that it would be just as well as the other ones..now it's way past my 30 days and have to keep it...i would have totally sent this one back
I agree with others that the manual is lacking. After messing with the control pad, there are ways to cook longer.
You can hit slow cook or stew and set the pressure to high and adjust the time to whatever you want.
I made corned beef and cabbage last Sunday using the recipe card.
I was frustrated that I could not set the pressure cooker to high using the slow cook method as the recipe card
(which came with the pressure cooker) stated. It seems like you have to hit the cook button
and then the pressure button, then hit cancel, and then hit slow cook and the pressure button.
I don't know if I have a faulty pressure cooker, but I was just glad I got it to work!
The corned beef was so tasty and tender!!
I've made the mac and cheese and beef stew
with the recipe cards and they were delicious!
I even use it to boil potatoes, cabbage etc.
I am happy with my purchase.
PLEASE IMPROVE THE MANUAL COOKS ESSENTIALS!!!!!!
Great chicken but ruins roasts
I have been using this 2 to 3 times a week. It makes wonderful beans, especially boston baked beans. The ribs and pulled pork were amazing. The chicken recipes are so simple and I get three meals from one roaster chicken. Definitely try David's chicken and dumplin recipe - I use low fat bisquick and soups and they taste like I am cheating on my diet! And cheesy pasta recipes with wheat pasta taste like the real thing.
That being said: the instruction book is hard to follow. I wrote out the times listed in the booklet and there is no way to set certain times, even the ones mentioned on the recipe cards.
Also, I noticed there are pin holes in the non stick already that have me worried and the metal inner lid is very thin and easily bends so I take special care removing that and the gasket to wash.
Lastly, I cannot get roasts and my corned beef do not come out right and I've tried several times. I first followed the recipe card and they were complete failures. Tough, chewy, and not even close to being done. Even at 90 minutes it's not long enough. I tried doubling the cooking time but still no luck. I will be going back to the slow cooker method on those.
Terrible Instructions/Great when you figure it out
Yes, it's true, the manual is junk. And some folks are saying you can't cook at certain settings for more than 20 minutes, but there are ways around it. Once I figured it out after playing with the cooker I really do love it. The key was to look at the recipe cards that came with the cooker. I couldn't figure out how to cook something for 60 minutes when I couldn't get the clock to go past 20 minutes! Talk about annoying! Well, the recipe card says to hit the "stew" button, manually set the pressure to high, and then you can adjust the time to much higher settings. OH DUH! So definitely read the recipe cards and pay attention to the instructions, there are clues in there since the manual stinks. I've cooked a half dozen meals in it so far. Last night I cooked Bob Warden's recipe called "The Whole Bird" in his slow cooker book and it was awesome. After getting over the initial frustration I'm actually very happy with this machine. Like they say, it's always easy once you know how!
Like it, don't love it
I am learning to use it, but it was very difficult to understand the instructions. My husband blew food all over the kitchen trying to figure it out. I don't like the way the dial just blinks straight lines across instead of telling you how many minutes are left. I have had to recook several times, because it was not done in the time suggested on the recipe. When I cooked pinto beans, they were hard, so I turned it back on to cook again and then it ran out of water and stuck to the bottom. I am giving it a shot and debating where to send it back or not. I want to give a few recipes a try before giving up. The thing I do like is it being electric. I have one that you have to cook on the stove and it has no timer.
I hesitated getting this because of all the bad reviews, but got it anyway and I really like it! The only negative about it is that you can't cook on high anymore than 20 minutes at a time. It's annoying, but it's not a big deal to me.
Good Value, 4 1/2 stars, instructions lacking!
I agree with some of the other reviewers that the instructions were lacking,but the extra capacity of the 6 qt. over the 4 qt. is worth trying to figure out and experimenting with. The recipes that came with the appliance have turned out great so far, and cleanup is a snap! I made a 3 lb. boneless pork tenderloin with veggies in under 50 min. start to finish, and it was fork tender and tasty!
I replaced my slow cooker with this pressure cooker hoping that I wouldn't have to lug the heavy ceramic insert of the slow cooker and have my meals done faster. While the insert is indeed so much lighter and easier to handle, the time it takes for the meal to be done is not that much faster. Here is the deception in this product, while the cook time MIGHT be shorter than just cooking on the stovetop or in the oven, you have to wait up to 30 minutes for the darn thing to pressure up!! I will say that the meat is indeed very moist and tender and I do enjoy being able to put frozen foods in, set the dial, and walk away like the slow cooker. But don't think you will have a complete prepared meal in minutes!