Why My Pressure Cooker Scares Me (& How I’m Getting Over It)

When I wrote about cooking beans from scratch a few weeks ago, I got some helpful input from readers that cooking beans in a pressure cooker might be more efficient than cooking them on the stove top. Additionally, I have read numerous posts from JL about her experiences using this appliance to make easy, delicious-sounding recipes (she even has a whole section of pressure-cooker recipes!).

I was first introduced to the pressure-cooker a few years ago in one of my food science classes. My professor at the time raved about her experiences which prompted me to buy one. The problem was that I got the stove-top version that was so noisy and violent-sounding that I was always nervous something would go awry and the top was going to blow off and cause me massive bodily harm.

That version went to Goodwill pretty fast. Then, I saw the electric version at Costco about a year or so ago and decided to try it again. While it is still fairly noisy and anxiety-producing for me when it is coming up to full pressure, it is A LOT easier to use than the stove-top version. (If you haven’t ever used one, I would encourage you to read the directions carefully just to make sure you use it right.)

I still have never used mine consistently and decided to give it another go last night, this time cooking the beans and vegetables together to make a one-pot meal. I had two cups of beans that I had soaked overnight.

After draining and rinsing the beans, I poured them into the pressure cooker pot. Next, I gathered my vegetables. two small heads of cabbage and one large onion:

I chopped them up into large chunks and put them on top of the beans in the pot. My last ingredients were about a half-teaspoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of dried oregano. I also added about four cups of water or enough to cover the beans.

I set that baby on high pressure for eight minutes and look what happened…

Dinner!!! The beans were tender but not overcooked and the veggies were soft. I made a very simple topping of tahini mixed with lemon juice and served the mixture over some leftover brown rice:

I am so happy I tried using the pressure cooker again and can’t wait to put together some real recipes. My first big change would be to only use one cup of dried beans instead of two to leave room for more vegetables. This experience is very exciting because I am fully aware of how busy life can be and this is one way to make a healthy meal with a tiny bit of planning and minutes of preparation (although you have to allow time for the cooker to heat up and cool down). What about you…have you used the pressure cooker and are you as enamored as I am?

P.S. While I have admittedly fallen in love with my pressure cooker after last night’s experience, I maintain a healthy fear of it until further notice. 🙂



  1. VeganPossum says

    I am still a bit uncertain about them too. I still have scary childhood memories of our stove top pressure cooker that seemed like it was going to explode! I need to get over the fear though as I cook a lot of beans. That’s pretty amazing it cooked everything in 8 minutes.

  2. says

    Awesome post! I’ve been humming and hawing over getting a pressure cooker for AGES because I am such a neurotic and paranoid cook. I know these are not the pressure cookers of the old days (where the likelihood of kitchen explosion was much higher) so I’m trying to get over it and try one of the new models. Might have to get out there and try it…especially when it comes to beans. I feel like I spend half my life boiling beans…anything that can cut down on that would be a lifesaver!

    • says

      Hi Mary, I think the PC might be the answer you’re looking for. I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily my beans cooked last night and the clean-up was easy, too.

  3. Stephanie says

    I have always been afraid if them, but the electric ones I don’t worry about at all. I love my Fagor multi cooker and how I don’t even have to plan overnight and soak the beans! I’d love to see more nutritarian recipes for the PC.

  4. Paul says


    I own the exact same pressure cooker and love it. It’s all I cook my rice and beans in. I’m ordering an Instant Pot IP-LUX60 and will do a review on it soon at the Cook to Live Forum. Wish me luck!


      • Paul says

        You will never go back. Taste and time are better. Most things in life are a tradeoff. You have to give up something to get it back. except for the price, an electric pressure cooker has no tradeoff. It’s just saving, space, time cost convenience. Like any other tool you just have to learn how to use it well.

        Paul B

        • Paul says

          wow… this is kewl I have this funky red angry faced avatar… lol I guess I ‘d better get my real face up there before people think I’m Robocop.

          • says

            Perhaps the Internet sensed you were feeling like a angry red triangle today? I can’t remember how to load a real photo, maybe through your e-mail account?

  5. says

    I’m so proud of you!!! My pressure cooker…okay cookerS are my best friends 🙂 I haven’t purchased canned beans in ages! And grains, oh my the grains I cook up in minutes!

    I can’t wait to see what you create — I know this is just the beginning!

    Finally, all credit for my pressure cooker obsession goes to our very own Gena of Choosing Raw!

    • says

      Thanks JL! I must have started reading Gena’s blog after she talked a lot about the PC. In that case, thank you to both of you brilliant ladies. 🙂

  6. says

    I’ve been meaning to get a pressure cooker for the past year but kept thinking of appliances I thought I needed more. First it was the stand mixer, then Vita-Mix, now juicer. Having fully blown my appliance budget, I’m hoping I can find a gently used one that someone was nervous about. 🙂

  7. Shirley says

    Well I have to say I am an avid pressure cooker girl there is nothing healthier and faster than this method and I have two pressure cookers a breville and a cuisinart I would not purchase anything other than the cuisinart it is the best for the money


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