Advantages of Ceramic Pots and Pans

Benefits of ceramic pots and pansWhen we think of cookware we often think of the sets of metal pots and pans that you find in every kitchen store.

Copper, aluminum and steel are the most commonly recognized materials used in contemporary cookware. There is, however, another type of cookware that is equal to or even better than its metal counterpart.

This better-than-metal cookware is ceramic cookware.

This article will present several ways that ceramic cookware outdoes traditional metal pots and pans.

Safe construction

Most metallic cookware is constructed using harmful, often toxic, chemicals. This is especially true in the case of non-stick cookware.

Teflon, while considered safe to use, does in fact contain many harmful and toxic elements. While these elements are safe under normal conditions, there are still times when these toxins can become dangerous.

Extremely high heat can cause toxins in non-stick cookware to leach into food, or to simply release gasses into the air.

Flaking can cause the non-stick material to actually get into food, resulting in people ingesting harmful chemicals and compounds while eating.

Ceramic pots and pans are free from these materials, thus providing a safe, healthy way to cook food.

Versatility

Ceramic cookware, unlike its metal counterpart, is highly versatile. Due to the fact that ceramic cookware is free of metal, it is almost always microwave safe.

Additionally, ceramic pots and pans are also refrigerator safe, meaning that food can be safely stored in the very container it was cooked in. This is not only convenient, but it is an ideal way to maintain the full flavor of the food you prepare.

Furthermore, ceramic cookware can double as serving pieces. Thus, you can use the very same dish you cooked in as a serving dish, saving on cleanup and improving presentation by eliminating the need to transfer food from one dish to another.

Better heat distribution

Metal cookware, especially modestly priced sets, can tend to have issues regarding heat distribution.

Some pots can be too thin, thus overheating contents on the bottom while contents on the top remain cold. Additionally, cheaper metal pots and pans can have hot spots—specific points that heat up faster than the surrounding area.

These hotspots will cause food to heat unevenly, resulting in burning and sticking, which adversely affect the flavor of the food and the cleanup process afterward.

Ceramic cookware is renowned for having even heat distribution. This is due to the heat conducting qualities of the materials, as well as the manufacturing methods. This means that foods are cooked evenly and thoroughly.

Additionally, ceramic cookware maintains heat better than metal, enabling you to serve out of the same pieces that you cooked in.

Dishwasher safe

Most of us only break out the cookware when we entertain guests. That said, many times we spend more time cleaning up than we do actually enjoying the meal that we made.

Ceramic pots and pans are almost always dishwasher safe, meaning that cleanup is fast and easy. With ceramic cookware you can load up the dishwasher and simply push a button.

It, however, you have to hand wash your ceramic cookware, you still have an advantage.

Ceramic is totally safe for soaking, thus you can soak stuck on food overnight, making cleanup fast and easy even without a dishwasher!

Conclusion

From versatility to safety, ceramic cookware can prove to be head and shoulders above its metal alternative in many different ways.

Not only can ceramic pots and pans provide healthier cooking conditions, but they can seriously reduce your need for additional serving pieces and storage containers.

Healthy, attractive and versatile, ceramic pots and pans are a definite plus for anyone shopping for reliable and enjoyable cookware.

Best Pressure Cooker Reviews in 2016

Best pressure cookerAre you yearning for a good home-cooked meal but just don’t have the time to indulge yourself?

Well then, you should probably keep reading this guide and find out about the best pressure cooker for you and how it can help transform your life.

Let’s face it, gone are the days of chipper homemakers who could do wonders with a handful of ingredients and plenty of time  to prepare them. We’re all constantly rushing from obligation to obligation and often find ourselves without time to eat a meal properly, let alone to prepare it that way.

Having said this, there is a way to help speed up cooking and make even elaborate meals even during the week, and it comes in form of a pressure cooker. The idea behind it is very simple – increasing the pressure water is kept under increases its boiling point, cutting the cooking time by up to three quarters.

What product to choose though?

Both TV and the internet abound with commercials of models that can promise unrealistic results. This is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the legwork and test some of the more talked about devices ourselves. What you are reading now is the distilled guide that came about after a lot of strenuous testing.

In it we bring you electric pressure cooker reviews as well as those of stove top variants.

We’ve divided it into three segments.

First we talk about the more expensive models that offer various cooking options. Then we look at more affordable alternatives that still do a fine job of preparing meals quickly.

Lastly, we decided to include some general guidelines you’ll want to consider before committing to any one model. By the time you’ve read through this section you’ll have a more solid understanding of what to look out for.

Are you ready to taste some of your grandma’s cooking again?

NameCapacityDimensionsWeightTypePrice
All-American 10-1/2-Quart10.5 qt13 x 14 x 14 in14.8 lbs.Stove top$$$$
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-16 qt12.6 x 13 x 12.2 in12 lbs.Electric$$$
Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Model7 qt9 x 14 x 8 in6.6 lbs.Stove top$$$$
Power Pressure Cooker XL6 qt14 x 12.5 x 12.5in9 lbs.Electric$$
Kuhn Rikon 3344 Stainless Steel7 qt9.75 x 16.13 x 9.25in7 lbs.Stove top$$$
Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-16 qt12.6 x 11.8 x 10.2 in14.6 lbs.Electric$$
Presto 01781 23-Quart23 qt15.1 x 15.4 x 14.8 in5 lbs.Stove top$$
Presto 01370 8-Quart Stainless Steel8 qt17.4 x 11 x 10.5 in9.5 lbs.Stove top$
Cuisinart CPC-600 6-Quart6 qt12.2 x 12.2 x 13.2 in12.6 lbs.Electric$$

Premium Pressure Cooker reviews

1. All-American 10-1/2-Quart

4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)

Pressure cooker reviewsA top of the line cooker is a great tool when cooking a somewhat larger quantity of food as fast as possible, but why stop there?

Wouldn’t it be great if your model was on par with commercial-grade ones and could preserve goods as well as cook them? All-American know exactly what you’ve been thinking and have come up with the 10-1/2-Quart, which acts as both a cooker and a canner.

Making preserved foods under pressure is the right way to go since it is the safest and most effective way to tightly seal the preserve jars as tight as you’d come to expect from factory-made products. The 10-1/2-Quart is a great boon in that regard because its innovative sealing technology ensures that it is always tightly sealed.

Unlike other models that use a rubberized gasket to form an airtight seal, the 10-1/2-Quart has a metal to metal seal. This is achieved through a series of positive action clamping locks which align the lid with the cooker’s base, forming an airtight seal that steam can not escape through. Since there is no gasket involved, it is also easier to open.

Everything you decide to cook in the 10-1/2-Quart will be done evenly and in a short time thanks to its heavy-duty aluminum build. The aluminum causes heat from the stove to circulate evenly throughout the cooker’s base and sides, so you won’t find yourself with food that has burned edges and a raw center anymore.

The pressure settings are variable. You can adjust it to be at either 5, 10 or 15 psi depending on the type of food you’re preparing and speed with which you wish to do so.

Safety is of paramount importance of course, and the 10-1/2-Quart takes care of that with 2 different automatic safety features – a safety control valve and an overpressure plug that do not allow excessive steam build-up past the specified settings.

You can always tell how much pressure is being applied thanks to a pressure gauge on its lid. Also featured is a solid bakelite handle that won’t get hot during operation and you can use it to safely open the cooker up.

This is a great canner if you don’t have a whole lot of canning to do but still want a model which isn’t too small. It can hold up to seven pint jars or four quart jars, so if you have a smaller garden and want to make sauces or preserves from your own vegetables the 10-1/2-Quart will help you get done in just a few batches.

This was hands down the best pressure cooker we’ve worked with. What impressed us the most was its innovative approach to providing an airtight environment that makes cooking / canning easier and actually opening the thing up afterwards less of a hassle.

If you enjoy the benefits of pressure cooking and do some canning on the side now and again, this is the model you’ve been looking for.

2. Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1

4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)

Best electric pressure cookerHaving a heavy-duty cooker is great, but buying one just for the odd time you plan on taking advantage of its capabilities seems like a waste.

Especially if you live in a smaller apartment you need all the space you can squeeze out of it, and what better way is there to accomplish this than to make use of appliances that have more than one function.

Enter the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1, a jack of all trades that surprisingly does an excellent job in almost all of them.

The manufacturer definitely wasn’t pulling our leg with false advertisement – this pot really has seven different functions which are all worth mentioning.

Apart from acting as a pressure cooker, it can function as a slow cooker, a yogurt maker, warmer, steamer, rice cooker and sauté pan all in one. That list alone sounds pretty impressive, and one can honestly get a little bit overwhelmed when first encountering the Instant Pot. If you get the optional cake pan, you can even bake a cake with this thing!

The manufacturers are well aware of this, so they’ve included a somewhat basic yet sufficient manual that explains all of its features and how to use them. You’ll even get a recipe booklet containing a handful of dishes as well as useful info on different things to look to for like optimal water to ingredient ratios etc.

Since this is an electric model after all, expect its performance to be a bit lower than that of a stove top model. Since it can’t reach the 15 psi pressure most recipes are written for, you’d best adjust the cooking time by adding a few minutes to the given recommendation.

The pot is made out of stainless steel which is durable and resists scratching. A handy measuring line has been etched inside so you can always tell the quantity of ingredients currently in there.

There are 14 different programs you can choose from and 7 different cooking methods. We especially enjoyed the Instant Pot’s warming function that lets you keep what you’ve cooked warm until dinner time, or up to 99 hours.

Another fantastic and convenient setting allows you to delay cooking. Just set it up to 24 hours in advance and the pot will begin cooking when you want it to.

You’ll also never have to fuss over it while it’s making that yoghurt or cooking rice since it has 10 different built-in safety features that allow you to set everything up and forget you’re actually cooking until the time comes to shut the pot off.

We must admit that this is the absolute best electric pressure cooker in terms of versatility we’ve seen so far.

Sure, since it is an electric model it might not be up to the standards of some kitchen aficionados that expect nothing but the very best, but given its multitude of diverse capabilities and the fact that it essentially replaces seven different gadgets makes the Instant Pot a wonderful purchase for college students, small apartment dwellers and anyone else that wants to save space while getting so much from just one product.

3. Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Model

4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)

Electric pressure cooker reviewsOK, maybe our last entry was a bit outlandish in terms of what it can accomplish, so for now we’ll be returning to good ol’ single function cookers. Speaking of outlandishness, here’s a model by renowned Swiss pot & pan makers Kuhn Rikon that looks like it came from a high-tech, stylish future.

The Duromatic Top Model is aesthetically peculiar, yet quite pleasing. Its dome-shaped lid is minimalistic and smooth save for a few concentric circles in the middle that break up the monotony. Sharp, more angular handles are in stark contrast to the lid and pot, forming an elegant dichotomy.

All of this would be beside the point if the attractive design didn’t house impressive technological advancements that make this model one of the safest and most effective ones we’ve tested.

It has a metal on metal seal similar to the All-American model reviewed above, but this is kept in place by a silicone gasket that expands as the contents of the cooker heat up, providing a tightly sealed environment you can cook meals in 2-5 times faster than with a regular pot.

Safety is the Duromatic’s top priority and is reinforced by a  number of systems and redundancies. First there’s the primary over-pressure release valve that activates if the cooker reaches pressures exceeding 17 psi.

If that is clogged pr fails for some reason, a secondary valve’s silicone stopper pops out and releases excess pressure until it normalizes. The Duromatic’s lid has a small nub that makes sure it is placed correctly. If it isn’t the nub prevents pressure build-up.

As far as actually knowing what the pressure is and being able to maintain it, the Swiss have come up with an elegant yet very durable solution. The pressure indicator is unconventional, but does a great job.

It takes form of a screw at the cooker’s lid. Once pressure starts building, it rises slowly until it reaches a red line, indicating a low setting that you can already cook with.

If you keep applying the heat it will reach a 2nd red bar which means maximum pressure has been reached. This method is surprisingly intuitive as it lets you quickly adjust the flames when needed in order to keep the pressure just right.

After you’re done using it, the cooker should be washed by hand. Since it is made from durable stainless steel this shouldn’t pose much of a problem, even if you end up burning your food due to a too high setting or not enough liquid.

We were thoroughly satisfied with the Duromatic’s performance and rank it among the best pressure cookers without hesitation. Its durable build and impressive safety features will keep you cooking with confidence, and its unique yet stylish appearance will certainly turn a few heads next time you have friends over.

It is a bit on the expensive side, but the quality you get when purchasing it makes the price well justified.

4. Power Pressure Cooker XL

4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

Best pressure cookersYou’ve probably seen the commercials for this cooker already. In them the manufacturers claim that you’ll be able to cook foods up to 75 percent faster with the push of just one button.  Does this sound too good to be true, or is it a worthwhile product?

Well, the answer depends on who you ask really. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at the cooker itself. It certainly does claim a lot. For example, you can throw your ingredients into it with minimal prep time.

Even foods that are frozen solid can be cooked right out of the freezer, which saves time and effort. Operation is straightforward too. You just press a button, choose one of the predefined settings and wait for the food to be done. You can use it to cook soups and stews, for sautéing, cooking rice and canning as well.

Once the food is prepared, the cooker automatically goes into the “Keep Warm” mode where it keeps the food warm until you’re ready to eat.

There’s also a delay timer like we’ve seen with Instant Pot’s model where you just pop all the ingredients in, set it to a time in the near future and come home to an already cooked meal.

One difference we can definitely get behind that sets this model apart from previously reviewed ones is the fact that you can remove its stainless-steel inner pot and safely clean it in a dishwasher, reducing maintenance time and getting it operational again faster.

Some customers have voiced concerns over the company’s practices however. Many of them have more to do with technical details such as delivery and honoring the 60 day warranty, but some customers also claim that it doesn’t quite live up to the hype, losing pressure and coming with vague directions.

On our end, we couldn’t find any major faults with its operation. Sure, it might not be the best Pressure cooker we’ve tested, but nothing indicates that this is an overall bad product. If the commercials appeal to you, we recommend you try it out and if it fails to meet your expectations you can always return it.

5. Kuhn Rikon 3344 Stainless Steel

4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

Large pressure cookerAnother pointy model from Kuhn Rikon, the 3344 Stainless Steel comes with most of the features we’ve seen in the other model, and is a bit cheaper.

There isn’t much to distinguish the two models apart from different dimensions and the fact that this model is a little bigger. The design is basically the same with a signature domed pointed lid and the metal pressure indicator we’ve talked about as well.

You can use this model for canning, but given its size you’ll have to be content in using only quart jars to store your preserves in. If you don’t have that many jams or sauces to make each year, then this will be sufficient.

Safety plays an important role in the production of the 3344, and the silicone gasket as well as the multiple safety valves and pressure release systems are in place to make cooling with it a pleasant and safe experience.

In a nutshell, the 3344 Stainless Steel is a solid product that scores high when it comes to pressure cooker ratings.

Its superior Swiss make and abundant safety features mean that it is ideal for everyday use and for more complicated cooking exploits alike, so you can’t go wrong whether you’re just in it for a meal that is cooked faster or an enthusiast that wants to experiment in their own kitchen.

More Affordable Pressure Cookers

1. Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-1

4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)

Electronic pressure cookerIf the IP-DUO60 is just a tad too rich for your blood, but you still want a great electric model, then this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Sure, it doesn’t have the yoghurt-making option, but something tells us you’ll live through it. Other than that, the six other uses are still there and working as intended.

You’ll even get some additional utensils with this model – a soup spoon, a rice paddle and a measuring cup, which is considerate and will help you keep true to recipes you’ve wanted to try out. Speaking of which, you’ll also get  a practical booklet with some recipes to get you started.

These have been tailor-made for use for pressure cooking, so you can get a feel what it is to work with one if this is your first model.

There are three different temperature settings, each appropriate for different cooking methods. The warming feature and delayed cooking timer make a return as well, allowing you to make some oatmeal before you get up in the morning or keep dinner warm while waiting for your roommate.

You can accomplish this via an intuitive control panel that is clearly visible and easy to use.

All in all, we are thoroughly satisfied with the  IP-LUX60 6-in-1 and award it the title of best electric pressure cooker in the affordable category. It basically covers all of the important selling points of its more expensive counterpart, and at this price really demonstrates top value for the money.

2. Presto 01781 23-Quart

4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)

Top rated pressure cookersSo far our best pressure cooker reviews have concentrated on models that are great for cooking a family meal and for a few canning jobs per year, but we know that that sometimes isn’t enough.

Whether you’re going to a chilli cook-off or in the habit of preparing enough preserves to get a small town through the winter, this 23-quart model from Presto is exactly what you need.

At a whopping 23 quarts, this model is large enough to accommodate 6 large mason jars at once. One would expect it to weigh a ton, but it is made out of aluminum which keeps it light but firm enough to resist deformation.

Presto didn’t leave anything up to chance when it comes to safety though – the  01781 has a steel lid that features an air vent / cover lock that prevents it from opening until the proper pressure has been reached.

It is kept tightly closed off with an inner seal, and an overpressure plug helps prevent burning yourself while you handle it. To be sure that it is operating at the right pressure setting, you can always take a look at the large pressure gauge on the lid.

What can we say, the 01781 23-Quart certainly is humongous, and that alone should be enough to secure it a place in the guide as a best rated pressure cooker.

If you add t that its solid safety features and really low price, you end up with a great choice for all your large-scale cooking and canning needs.

3. Presto 01370 8-Quart Stainless Steel

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Best stovetop pressure cookerGiven how we liked their 23-quart behemoth, we’re pleased to say that presto offer normal-sized cookers as well, our favorite being the 01370.

It is another one of those versatile models that satisfy many preferences. Need a meal for two or a banquet for 8? It has the capacity to take it. Want to can as well as cook? Check. Want all of that done safely? You bet!

Unlike the bigger model, this one is wholly made from a three layer construction that has stainless steel on the outside and aluminum in the middle. This type of build is  optimal for spreading the heat evenly throughout the whole cooker and can be used either on gas or electric stoves.

A cool accessory you get with the 01370 is a stainless steel steaming basket you can place inside the cooker and prepare two meals at the same time, making it even quicker than the competition.

Presto have topped all of this off with a generous 12-year limited warranty, ensuring that you’ll be cooking with glee for a very long time.

Ultimately, we recommend the 01370 as a solid cooker that has all most of the hallmarks you’d expect from more expensive alternatives. It is roomy, has a quality build and won’t break the bank. What else could you want?

4. Cuisinart CPC-600 6-Quart

4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)

Programmable pressure cookerWe’ll finish off our best pressure cooker reviews off with a model from Cuisinart. Best known for their high-quality pot and pan lines, Cuisinart have taken a foray into electric cooker territory as well, and the CPC-600 is an interesting final result.

Right off the bat, it doesn’t boast as many different cooking capabilities as the models from Instant Pot. You can use it to either brown, simmer or sauté your food, which is perfectly fine if you only need your basics covered.

Apart from that, it has a warming function and a delayed cooking timer, which is always a nice feature that puts electric cookers ahead of stove top variants.

Its inner pot can be easily taken out and is dishwasher-safe. It also has a non-stick coating that prevents food from clinging to it and makes cleanup easier.

To  increase safety, the CPC-600 comes with handles that are cool to the touch, so you can leave your oven mits behind when opening it up. You’ll also get a handy trivet you can place it on, keeping your surfaces from warping or discoloration due to the heat.

All in all, the CPC-600 is a fine electric cooker that has been made with a specific set of tasks in mind. If this is enough for you, you’ll find that it functions quite well and has the potential to serve you faithfully for a good long while.

Add to that its reasonable price and host of satisfied customers online, and the CPC-600 becomes a product worthy of your attention and hard earned cash.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Making a Purchase

Pressure cooker ratingsReading through all of these stove top and electric pressure cooker reviews has certainly given you a lot to mull over, hasn’t it?

To make sure you get a model you’ll be satisfied with, here are some other factors you should keep in mind:

Electric vs. stove top – We’ve seen top pressure cookers of both varieties, but what exactly sets them apart?

Stove top models can be bulkier and  generally have more safety features in place to prevent mishaps, which makes sense since they’re dependent on your input and care. They are great for canning though as the space the biggest ones provide is ample enough to seal many jars at once.

Electric variants on the other hand tend not to reach as high a pressure as stove top ones, but they do make up for that with handy features such as warming your food or having timers that let you set them for later use.

Not to mention these are rarely used solely for one task. In the end it comes down to your particular needs, so choose a type that can satisfy them the best.

Safety is key – it almost goes without saying, but a key point to look out for when choosing your next cooker is the number and quality of safety features it has.

Since water boiled in this way can reach temperatures of almost 250 degrees Fahrenheit, not to mention the fact that a model with poor safety can be a ticking time bomb with all that pressure build-up, it is in everyone’s best interest if you invest a little bit more into a model that has ample backup valves or other safety systems that make sure it is always operating as intended and will cause minimal problems even if it exceeds its recommended pressure point.

Materials matter as well – The best safety system won’t matter that much if the food you are preparing gets burned due to a poorly constructed cooking surface.

We find that the best combination is a tri-ply sandwiched approach where aluminum is encased inside two layers of stainless steel, similarly to high-quality regular pots and pans.

The aluminum ensures heat is spread out evenly while the steel outer and inner layers deal with scratching and eliminate corrosion. Avoid models that come with non stick coatings though since these can easily be damaged.

Conclusion

So, what is the best pressure cooker? As you’ve seen by now, we do have our favorites, but that doesn’t mean that other products we’ve reviewed are any less viable. In fact, it largely boils down to your lifestyle and the changes you want to make to it.

Not everyone has a state-of-the-art kitchen where a new device will just fill up one niche spot and be used for its one specific purpose. Sometimes you have to get the most out of a given situation and then a more versatile model is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Regardless of which model you end up buying, we’re sure that now you’ll be able to go about it with more clarity and purpose. We’re sure you’re already picturing some of the old favorites you’re dying to recreate, but why stop there?

Most models come with their own basic recipe books you can adopt and expand on. You might even try a whole different cuisine now that you’ll have more time for it. A healthier lifestyle becomes a great choice as well.

In the end, the sky’s the limit. All you need to do is pick out the ingredients and have your new cooker do the rest.

Using a Pressure Cooker for Canning

Canning with a pressure cookerCanning is a wonderful way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables for use all year long. This is a wonderful exercise for any avid gardener, who wishes to enjoy their garden’s yield long after it has stopped producing.

Ordinarily, canning can be a tricky, time-consuming project, which makes many people avoid the task. However, pressure cookers and canners can make the process of canning faster and simpler.

This article will present several easy to follow steps that will help you to successfully can your fresh veggies using the pressure method.

Now you can enjoy your green beans all year long!

Step 1: Use the proper heat source

You will need to use a large capacity pressure cooker/canner for this process. The average size recommended is at least 6-8 quarts.

Using a larger cooker is necessary since you will need to place your jars on a rack in such a way that none of them touches the sides of the cooker.

Needless to say, the average three-quart cooker won’t hold enough jars to justify the effort. With such a large cooker, you will need to use the largest heating element on your stove.

This will help ensure that the cooker heats evenly, thus cooking the contents evenly without burning them.

Never place your cooker on multiple elements, as this will result in hot spots that can burn some of the contents of the cooker.

Step 2: Add water

To start with, you will want to add between two and three inches of water to the cooker. You won’t want to use too much, but at the same time you will want to be careful to not allow the cooker to boil dry.

If the water is almost gone, add another two inches and continue the process.

Step 3: Place jars in the cooker

Place your cooker’s rack into the cooker before putting your jars in. You want your jars a good few inches off of the base to allow the heat to circulate properly.

If your cooker didn’t come with a rack, use a metal rack that will fit into the cooker without touching the sides.

Placing the jars on the bottom of the cooker can also result in the jars becoming cracked or damaged due to the direct heat from the stove.

Step 4: Begin heating

Turn your heating element to the highest heat, maintaining this heat until the vent port begins to release steam.

Keep heating on the highest setting, allowing steam to escape for a full 10 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, place a weight onto the steam port, thus preventing any more steam from escaping.

The cooker will achieve the necessary pressure in about 3-5 minutes from this point.

Step 5: Maintain pressure

Once the proper pressure has been achieved, turn the heat down to the necessary level that will maintain the desired pressure.

Make sure that the pressure neither increases nor decreases during the cooking process.

Step 6: Finishing

Once you have cooked the contents for the prescribed time (as per recipe), then turn off the heat and allow the cooker to depressurize before removing your jars.

Refer to your manufacturer’s manual for any special instructions regarding this step.

Conclusion

Just as pressure cooking can make cooking easier by reducing the amount of equipment and even time needed, so too it can make canning faster and easier.

There is some debate as to whether pressure cookers can be used for canning, so be sure to consult your manufacturer’s manual to make sure your model is safe for the process.

Simple Ways to Bake Cake with a Pressure Cooker

Baking a cake in a pressure cookerPressure cookers can cook all sorts of foods, providing dishes ranging from fish to pasta, and every imaginable type of meat.

The simplicity of using a pressure cooker has caused a recent surge in pressure cooker sales, as well as an increase in pressure cooker recipe books and blogs.

There is, however, some debate as to whether or not a pressure cooker is capable of baking cakes. While it is not recommended on a regular basis, it is possible to do so.

This article will present six easy to follow steps on how to bake a cake in a pressure cooker.

Step 1: Choose a simple recipe

As with any experiment, it is best to keep the first attempt simple. Choose a cake recipe that requires few ingredients and few steps to bake.

You want your first recipe to be simple so that you don’t lose too much time and effort if your first attempt isn’t quite successful.

The more familiar you become with how your pressure cooker performs in this area, the more complex your cakes can become.

Step 2: Use the right size cooker

Using a 3 liter pressure cooker should be sufficient, but a 5 liter cooker is preferable. Larger cookers can be used, but 5 liters is the most recommended size.

Step 3: Prepare the cooker

The rubber gasket and the whistle will not be necessary in the baking of your cake. Thus, remove the gasket and do not use the whistle. Also, unlike other recipes, do not add any water to your pressure cooker.

Additionally, if your cooker came with a stand, place that stand inside.

Otherwise, place something else inside that will raise the cake off of the bottom of the cooker, allowing for a more even heat distribution during baking.

Step 4: Preheat

You will need to preheat your pressure cooker just as you would a regular oven.

Place the lid on the cooker, without the gasket, and put on a high heat for 2 minutes. Also, remember to NOT add any water.

Step 5: Place cake pan inside

Assuming you have prepared your cake batter as per the recipe, put the batter into a cake pan, making sure the cake pan is small enough to fit into your pressure cooker without touching the sides.

If the pan touches the sides, this will affect how the pan heats, and could potentially burn parts of the cake.

Step 6: Bake

The final step is to set your pressure cooker to bake your cake. Once you have set the cake pan inside the cooker, close the lid and heat on a medium setting for 5 minutes.

After it has heated for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to a low setting. Your cake will simmer at this setting for approximately 45-60 minutes.

Conclusion

There are concerns over the strain baking a cake can have on a pressure cooker. However, as long as you don’t do it very often, there is no real danger inherent.

Following the six steps in this article will help you achieve a perfect cake, each and every time.

The Pros and Cons of Pressure Cooking

Pressure cooking pros and consPressure cooking is a culinary phenomenon that is on the rise.

This is largely due to the fact that pressure cooking brings convenience to otherwise complicated meals.

It is the perfect middle ground between microwave cooking and conventional oven cooking.

In an attempt to move away from unhealthy, prepackaged foods, pressure cooking provides an opportunity to enjoy healthy, tasty meals without the overwhelming prep time and clean up time that normally comes with them.

This article will present several pros and cons of pressure cooking, and thus help you decide whether or not pressure cooking is right for you.

Pro 1: Saves time

It can be argued that our modern culture is going through a process of finding balance when it comes to eating.

Whilst microwaves offered the convenience of both time and simplicity, the truth is that instant, pre packaged meals are devoid of any significant nutritional value, as well as any real flavor.

Pressure cooking helps restore a balance between the convenience of a microwave and the nutritional and flavor value of conventional cooking, allowing you to cook real food in less time than conventional cooking requires.

Pro 2: Convenient prep and cleanup

One of the best arguments for pressure cooking is the simplicity of preparation.

Most meals simply require the ingredients being dumped into the cooker, then brought to the proper pressure and temperature, and then allowed to cook. It’s that simple. And the lack of pots and pans means that cleanup is equally as quick and easy as the prep work.

Now, not only is the cooking time reduced, but so too is the time needed before and after cooking, thus allowing a person with even the most demanding of schedules the ability to cook healthy, tasty food on a daily basis.

Pro 3: Environmentally friendly

Another great pro for pressure cooking is the fact that pressure cookers use less energy than conventional ovens. This means that you can cook really good meals every day without it costing extra on the power bill.

As well as saving energy, pressure cookers don’t heat up the kitchen like conventional ovens. While a good hot kitchen may be nice in the winter, it is far from pleasant in the summer.

By reducing energy used and heat created, pressure cookers are clearly more efficient than their conventional counterparts.

Pro 4: Nutrition

The vast majority of conventional cooking is done using uncovered pots and pans.

This method has been proven to allow the nutrients of the foods being cooked to escape in the rising steam, leaving food less nutritious and less flavorful.

Pressure cooking keeps the steam contained, thus, foods maintain their nutritional content as well as their full flavor. This means that you get the most from the food you cook in terms of both health and taste.

Con 1: Flavor

The flavor of certain dishes is dependent on the ingredients blending during a long cooking process.

The reduced cooking time of a pressure cooker means that certain dishes may not have the full flavor that they would with conventional oven cooking.

Additionally, certain meats gain flavor as they are ‘reduced’ during cooking, allowing their fats to soak into the meat and provide extra flavor.

The fast cooking time of meats means that a pressure cooker is not ideal for those particular recipes.

Conclusion

While this article was written in an unbiased manner, it is clear that the results of the research heavily favor pressure cooking over conventional cooking.

There are certain foods that will always be best prepared using a conventional oven, or even a barbecue, but for the most part, pressure cooking will provide highly nutritious, very flavorful meals with minimal prep, cleanup and energy usage.

The Basics of Using a Pressure Cooker Properly

Using a pressure cooke properlyPressure cookers are becoming more and more popular, largely due to the many benefits that they can offer.

In addition to reducing cooking time, pressure cookers can save energy and reduce the heat output in your kitchen.

Additionally, cooking in a pressure cooker has been proven to help foods maintain higher nutritional values, as well as preserving their true flavors.

That said, it is critical to understand how different cooking with a pressure cooker is to cooking with a conventional oven.

This article will present some basic tips to help you use your pressure cooker properly.

Tip 1: Never cook dry

Whilst a pressure cooker will retain more moisture than a conventional oven, it is still very necessary to always add liquid when cooking.

It is recommended that you use a minimum of 1 cup of liquid (water or stock) when cooking, but if a recipe calls for more then be sure to follow the recipe.

The real key is to never fill your pressure cooker more than half way with liquid. If you wind up with too much liquid, simply leave the cooker uncovered and boil off the excess liquid. Once the level is half way or less, then you can cook normally.

Tip 2: Use the right amount of food

In addition to never filling your pressure cooker more than half way with liquid, you should never fill it more than two-thirds full with food.

This ensures that there is enough space in the cooker for the steam to build, thus creating the pressure that you need.

If you overfill the cooker, then it will be unable to perform properly.

Tip 3: Always reduce the temperature

In a way, cooking with a pressure cooker is a lot like boiling pasta.

When boiling pasta, you bring the water to a boil, add the pasta, then reduce the heat and let the pasta cook in a slow, gentle boil.

Similarly, you want to start the pressure cooker on a high heat, thus creating the steam and pressure needed. Then, reduce the heat so that it is hot enough to maintain the pressure, but not so hot as to continually increase the pressure.

The lower heat is the temperature that cooks your food.

Tip 4: Time is relative

Just as conventional oven recipe times may not be quite right for your particular oven, so too, pressure cooker times may be a little off.

The general rule is that a recipe time will be too short, never too long.

If your food isn’t quite finished at the stated time, close the cooker, bring it back to the required pressure, and cook for a few additional minutes. Repeat this process until your food is done.

Tip 5: Read the manual

As with any other electronic device or appliance, different models will behave in different ways. Thus, the first thing you want to do is read the manufacturer’s manual that comes with your pressure cooker.

The information in the manual will help you understand the nuances unique to your cooker, and thus will help you be able to use it more effectively.

Conclusion

Using a pressure cooker can be a fun and rewarding experience.

The five tips in this article will help make sure you get the best out of your cooker each and every time you use it. Bon appétit!

Best Pots and Pans Reviews in 2016

Best cookwareDo you have a passion for cooking but your hardware isn’t up to snuff?

If you want to find out what the best pots and pans to buy are today, stick with this review so your food doesn’t stick to the surface!

Cooking is an art form, and we aren’t just talking about the numerous breathtaking displays one can create with it. We’re thinking more along the lines of the subtle yet precise nature in which food is prepared.

For a dish to turn out just right or exactly the way grandma used to make, you’ll need a steady hand, focus and a knack for combining the right ingredients with precise timing.

All of your hard work can be for naught though if you don’t have the tight cookery to actually prepare the food in. This is where we come in.

The guide you are reading is taking a look at some of the finest cookware for hobbyists and professional chefs alike.

We’ve sifted through a host of products and have rounded up those that stand out into our best pots and pans reviews for your convenience.

We’ve divided the guide roughly into three parts.

First we’re showcasing premium cooking products that are sure to produce mouth-watering results.

Then we’re turning our attention to more affordable, but nevertheless enticing cookery that will get the job done right a a reasonable price. We’ll bring it home by outlining some additional factors you might need to ponder over before deciding on what set to call your own.

Once you’ve absorbed all the information in the guide, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what a quality set of cookware is all about and will be able to pick out the one that suits your needs and budget the most.

So let’s get cooking, shall we?

NameNumber of PiecesMaterial ColorRatingPrice
All-Clad 401488R10Stainless SteelStainless Steel4.8$$$$
Anolon Advanced Bronze 8267611Anodized AluminumBlack4.6$$$
T-fal C836SC12Stainless SteelStainless Steel4.4$
Cuisinart MCP-12N12Stainless SteelSilver4.3$$
Rachael Ray Cucina 1634412Aluminum + PorcelainAgave Blue4.2$$
T-fal E765SC12AluminumGrey4.8$
Paula Deen 1251315AluminumAqua Speckle4.5$
Cook N Home NC-0025012Stainless SteelSilver4.1$
Vremi VR004615AluminumBlack4.0$
T-fal A821SA10AluminumCharcoal4.0$

Premium Cooking Pots and Pans

1. All-Clad 401488R Stainless Steel Tri-Ply

4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

Best pots and pansIf there’s anything that frustrates professional chefs and housewives alike it’s the sensation you experience when taking a bite from your favorite dish only to discover that it is well done on the outside but leaves a lot to be desired in its center.

If this is an all too familiar sight, getting the 401488R will make unevenly cooked dishes a thing of the past.

This is a 10 piece set which contains an 8 quart stockpot, a 3 quart sauté pan, 2 and 3 quart sauce pans as well as 8- and 10-inch fry pans.

All of these items except the fry pans come with their own lid as well. The lids are flat and made of stainless steel, as are all of the handles which are secured by stainless steel rivets.

It’s secret lies in its specially engineered tri-ply construction.

Two layers of stainless steel are wrapped around a core of aluminum, making the heat spread out evenly throughout the cookery. The aluminum core extends all the way to the sides, ensuring that food is heated equally no matter where it is in the pot.

You can use this line on any type of range, including induction, and you can even place it in the oven to cook more elaborate dishes.

Once you’re done, you can simply put the cookware into your dishwasher, or wash it by hand.

Since most of the cooking surfaces aren’t non-stick (although there are options for those as well), a thin coat forms whenever you use one of the pans to cook or fry something.

Some vigorous scrubbing on your part or soaking the pan for a while before cleaning and it will be good as new in no time.

Even though the surfaces aren’t explicitly nonstick, the starburst finish means that food will have a harder time sticking to them than to a completely flat surface, and it ensures that the inner layer does not react with your food in any way.

We’ve found that the 401488R is simply the best pots and pans set out there right now. Its high quality make and the sturdy materials used will ensure that the set will last you for a life time if cared for properly.

It might be a bit pricy, but keep in mind that you are getting a professional-grade set that will evenly cook your food and make it taste great as well.

This might just be the last set of cookware you’ll ever buy, so why not make it count?

2. Anolon Advanced Bronze Hard Anodized Nonstick

4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)

Best pots and pans to buyStainless steel sets are all fine and dandy, but what if you’d like cookware that is equally efficient at preparing your food but sports a different kind of elegance and refined design?

If you have to have that set that works great while also looking sophisticated and at home in any high-end kitchen, then look no further than the Advanced Bronze set from Anolon.

With this set you get a 12-inch shallow grill pan, 8- and 10-inch open skillets, an 8-quart lidded stockpot as well as 1.5-and 3-quart lidded sauce pans. Each piece has a SureGrip handle made from stainless steel and silica.

They conform themselves extremely well to your hand and are oven-safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The lids are shaped like domes and are made of glass that is resistant to shattering.

The bronze finish seals the deal as it makes the whole set look elegant and at the forefront of aesthetic trends in cookware design today.

This set is constructed from hard anodized aluminum which grants it exceptional hardness and durability while being an excellent conductor of heat due to the aluminum core.

Another unique fact about it is the special nonstick formula used in the interior. It is called DuPont Autograph 2 and extensive testing has shown that it is one of the most durable coatings on the market today, being resistant to scratches and oven-safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use metal utensils while stirring or otherwise handling your food without the fear of the coating being damaged or food being contaminated.

The Advanced Bronze set has a few minor drawbacks. It can not be used with induction stoves and isn’t suited for dishwashers either, so you’ll have to wash it by hand and let encrusted stains soak for a while before washing.

While the unique interior coating prevents scratching marvelously, caution is advised when handling the pots’ outer surface as the beautiful finish is susceptible to scratching and easily marred by scratches.

These minor annoyances aside, the Advanced Bronze are some of the best non stick pots and pans we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.

Their superior coating will make cooking your 100th meal exactly as exciting and rewarding as cooking your first, and their unique appearance will give you a nice topic to discuss whenever you have dinner guests over.

3. T-fal C836SC Ultimate Stainless Steel

4.4 Stars (4.4 / 5)

Pots and pans reviewsThere’s something about copper we find particularly enticing.

Not only does it have a unique color that adds a touch of natural elegance to your cookware, it is also a highly effective heat conductor, which means the heat will travel as quickly as possible from your stove through the pot to your food with minimal energy loss and with great results.

T-fal, who have been on the market for over 60 years now, continue to impress with their high quality products, this time with the C836SC cooking set.

This is a 12 piece set that includes 1, 2 and 3 quart sauce pans, a 5.5 quart covered dutch oven, an 8 inch and a 10.5 inch fry pan as well as a stainless steel spoon and slotted turner.

The oven and sauce pans have glass lids that allow you to watch the cooking process and intervene as needed. They also have vents which will let out steam and prevent the lids from moving when the water inside is boiling.

The handles are ergonomically designed and feel very comfortable when gripped. There are internal measuring marks that allow you t add the exact amount of ingredients you need at just the right time.

The great thing about this set is the aforementioned copper used in form of heat channels on the bottoms of the cookware. This augments the already impressive heat distribution we’ve come to expect from a stainless steel / aluminum core design.

The set is lighter than a comparable one made from cast-iron, but is strong, resistant to warping and able to cook meals quickly at the same time.

The items in this set are dishwasher safe and can be used on any type of stove as well as in the oven at a maximum temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some users have complained that the nonstick surface tends to come off rather easily, but this is something you can avoid if you take care of and use the set properly.

All in all, T-fal’s C836SC are top rated pots and pans that are sure to help you prepare your food safely and adequately while looking fabulous at the same time. If durability, great results and stylish design are what you are looking for, this set has your name written all over it.

4. Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro

4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)

What is the best cookware?Cuisinart are known for their excellent quality products which are still rather accessible. Their newest development, the MCP-12N line is a fine example of the no nonsense, good quality results approach the company takes when making all of their products.

The set is made up of an 8 quart stockpot, 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 8- and 10-inch open skillets, a 3-1/2-quart covered sauté pan as well as a steamer insert with lid.

The handles ensure a tight, slip-free grip while being cool to the touch. They do look a bit basic, but get the job done flawlessly. Flared rims on the pans and pot ensure that you can pour liquids out of them without spilling a drop.

The lids are also made from quality stainless steel and as resistant to corrosion as the rest of the set.

All-Clad have held the patent for various stainless patents until about a decade ago when other companies were finally permitted to imitate it. As one might expect, this has led to a host of cheap knock-offs that were advertised as the real deal.

Luckily, companies like Cuisinart took advantage of the new technology and came p with their own less expensive but nevertheless reliable product lines.

The MCP-12N line showcases the best of what stainless steel has to offer – even heat distribution, an appealing mirror-like shine, top performance under varying conditions and the ability to be safely cleaned in a dishwasher.

All things considered, these were some of the best pans for cooking that we’ve encountered while writing this guide. The uncompromising quality coupled with a great value are what makes this set worthy of your serious consideration.

5. Rachael Ray Cucina Hard Porcelain

4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

Top rated cookwareWhat if all that shiny steel isn’t your thing though?

What if you want a sturdy cookery set that will cook your food to perfection but which looks cheerful and elegant as opposed to sterile and serious?

It looks like the hard porcelain Cucina line from Rachel Ray is just what the doctor ordered.

With this set you’ll be getting a 1- and 3- quart covered sauce pan, a 3-quart covered sauté pan, 8.5- and 10- inch skillets as well as a slotted turner and spoon combo.

The Cuchina line comes in an assortment of bright colors ranging from agava blue to pumpkin orange. The lids are made of glass and have sturdy stainless steel handles that are covered in rubber of the same color as the cookware.

This is a non stick set where the pieces are comprised of three layers. The inner layer is similar to steel sets and is made from highly conductive aluminum that ensures an even spread of heat. The outer layer is hard enameled porcelain that makes this set light and easy to handle.

Customers have voiced complaints about several issues however. The bigger one stems from the fact that the set is thin due to its porcelain make. This means that it isn’t as durable as its stainless steel alternatives. The nonstick coating is susceptible to scratching, so use wooden utensils while cooking.

Another complaint of smaller importance is that the spoon and slotted turner are made from nylon and are of a low quality, but this shouldn’t be a factor that makes or breaks the deal for you.

In a nutshell, the Cuchina is a good set of pots and pans for everyday use and its place among other top rated cookware is certainly deserved.

If you don’t plan on using it for heavy-duty cooking every day of the week, and if you like your cookware to reflect your own colorful personality, then this set should serve you just fine.

Top Rated Affordable Pots and Pans

1. T-fal E765SC Ultimate Hard Anodized

4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

Good pots and pansWe all make mistakes, and especially if you are just starting on your journey to become a kitchen wiz, you’re bound to cut your fingers a few times or make a soggy bread roll or two.

Luckily, T-fal have engineered the E765SC Ultimate, a set which will at least make sure that you always know when the cookery has reached its ideal cooking temperature.

The 12 piece set comes with a covered stockpot, 3 covered sauce pans, 2 sauté pans, a skillet and a solid spoon. You’ll keep your cool when handling the pots as the silicone handles do not conduct heat and will keep you from injuring yourself.

The tempered glass lids will ensure that you can always take a look at what’s cooking without lifting them up and compromising the temperature.

The unique thing about this set is its innovative thermospot heat indicator in form of a circle in the middle of each piece.

Since the Anodized aluminum make ensures that hat is transferred quickly and efficiently, the spot will turn completely red once the pot or pan has been adequately preheated, allowing you to start cooking at an optimal temperature every time.

If you’re into this whole new food science thing either of its pans will be the best saucepan for the nerd within you.

Once you get cooking its titanium-based scratch-resistant surface will ensure that cooking even with metal utensils don’t pose much of a problem. Taking a look down below reveals that this set features warp resistant bases which allow for the heat to circulate and warm your food from all sides.

You can clean it in a dishwasher and cook with it using an oven, but this set is not suitable for induction stoves.

As we’ve seen above, anodized aluminum sets are not dishwasher-safe most of the time, making this one a positive exception. Most of the time the pans are so easy to clean though that you simply won’t bother.

When all is said and done, its sturdy make, elegant look and, above all else, the innovative heat spot feature make this set by T-fal the best pots and pans for the money.

They’re ideal for introducing newcomers to the world of cooking as well as being a solid, comprehensive set that is sure to last you a very long time. We’re convinced, and you should be too.

2. Paula Deen Signature Nonstick

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Best cooking pansIt looks like celebrity chefs have a thing for porcelain cookware. We can’t blame them – there’s nothing like a colorful cookery set to spruce up your kitchen and cook you a fine meal at the same time.

Paula Deen has decided to make her set a bit more accessible, but how does that bode for its quality?

This 15 piece set contains a 6-quart stockpot, a 2.75-quart sauté pan, 1- and 2-quart saucepans, 8- and 10- inch skillets as well as a 5 piece measuring spoon set.

It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty that ensures you’ll have a stress-free time when cooking, at least as far as the integrity of our cookware is concerned.

The dual riveted handles with soft-touch grip make for stable use, but the rivets tend to be where grime accumulates making the set somewhat harder to clean. The glass lids have color coordinated copper knobs which you can easily use to pick them up and work with your food.

The set features a non stick, scratch resistant surface which prevents tough stains and makes cleanup both easy and hassle-free.

The aluminum core makes sure everything is cooked quickly and evenly while the enameled porcelain finish provides a colorful and visually attractive style while being perfect for everyday use. You can use the set in an oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is not dishwasher safe.

As with the other ceramic set, problems arise due to the thin construction and ceramic enamel that can compromise durability. This might not be the best pans for cooking in the guide, but a good mix of substance and style for an affordable price make it a worthwhile choice.

3. Cook N Home 12-Piece Stainless Steel

4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

Best stainless steel cookwareDo you have your sights set on a stainless steel cooking set, but don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of cash on the very best lines?

The folks over at Cook N Home know how you feel and have come up with a cookery line that boasts most of the features you’d expect from a more expensive product while managing to retain a good balance of quality and price.

With it you get three casseroles of 1.5-, 2- and 3- quarts respectively, a 1.5-quart covered sauce pan with lid, a 5.5-quart covered stock pot and a 10-inch covered fry pan.

Unlike every other set in the guide, each piece, even the frying pan, comes with its own lid, which is very practical and a nice, considerate touch.

The manufacturer claims that the set isn’t suited for use with induction stoves, but satisfied customers claim that they’ve been using it without much trouble, adding to the set’s overall value.

In the end, this set features the best stainless steel pots and pans for people on a budget. It is a functional, practical and cost-effective addition to any kitchen and will prove to be worth much more than you paid for it.

4. Vremi 15 Piece Nonstick Cookware Set

4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

Best pots and pans setSingles love cooking as well, and nothing impresses the ladies quite like a man that can whip up a home cooked romantic dinner.

If you’re the type of person that’s just started living on his or her own, or have a small household where people aren’t too fussy about the range of cookware you’ve amassed, then this 15 piece set by Vremi will satisfy all your needs and then some.

You’ll get a stockpot, 2 frying pans, 3 sauce pans and a versatile 5 piece kitchen utensil set which should satisfy all of your basic grabbing, stirring and serving needs.

The set is available in a stylish all black coat that is resistant to scratching and looks classy, or you can also opt for a multi-color option where each piece is of a vibrant and unique color that is sure to brighten your kitchen up the moment you display the pieces on a rack.

As one would expect at this price range, the overall build is a little thin making the set prone to disfigurement if handled carelessly. Nothing a little common sense wouldn’t mitigate though.

They are also best cared for by cleaning with soapy water and by hand rather than using a dishwasher because it can damage the coating and leave spots.

Bottom line – these are good pots and pans and for this price tag they’re practically giving them away. Get your set before the stock runs out (pun somewhat intended).

5. T-fal A821SA Initiatives Nonstick

4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

Top rated pots and pansWe’ll wrap our reviews up with another entry from T-fal. The A821SA Initiatives line might not have all the bells and whistles its thermo spot cousin does, but it is nevertheless a quality product line that offers versatility at a great value.

You’ll get 3 frying pans with diameters of 8”, 9” and 11” respectively, 1- and 2- quart saucepans, 5- quart dutch oven and a steamer insert. All the pieces are treated with a nonstick coating that makes food preparation and cleanup easy. The aluminum base serves as a fine conductor, meaning that your food will be ready in no time.

What can we say, this is a functional, what you see is what you get cookery set that does what it’s supposed to and can last years with proper care.

It certainly isn’t the best set of pots and pans, but hey, a the three frying pans allow you to make multiple pancakes at once, and we’re suckers for a good pancake!

Things to Consider before Making a Purchase

Best cooking potsNow that you’re better informed about what the best pans to cook with are, you might already know which top rated cookware you want to buy. Still, take a moment to consider the following factors before committing to anything.

Materials matter! – As we’ve seen, the best pots and pans sets are also made from the best materials, be that stainless steel, copper or aluminum.

It might be a truism, but the heavier it is, the better. And with good reason too as today’s sets are heavy because of their multi-layer construction which ensures well-rounded cooking.

The best materials are also the most resistant meaning that you are getting sturdy pots which might cost more upfront, but also might end up saving you money in the end because of their longevity.

Consider giving that extra dollar now to save yourself the headache down the road.

To stick or not to stick? – That is certainly the question. Depending on the quality of the product, having or not having non stick coating can be either a good or bad idea.

It isn’t as confusing as it sounds really. Some high-grade products don’t have a non stick coating, but still manage to be stick-resistant due to the manner in which they were made.

Other lines boast cutting edge coating that can’t be touched by metal utensils. On the other hand, even expensive coating can suffer scratches rendering the pan useless.

Consider what type of food you’ll end up preparing the most an go for a surface option that accommodates that.

Can it take the heat? – Another thing to keep in mind is that not all the products in the guide are suited for every type of stove. As we’ve seen, man of them aren’t suitable for use with the newer induction technology.

Most can be used in the oven, but the temperatures they can be exposed to vary as well.

Finally, some lines can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher, so you’ll have to spend more time cleaning them by hand or even soaking them beforehand to get the more stubborn leftovers off without damaging your pan.

If you have a fondness for the latest technological developments, like cooking roasts, casseroles and the like, or if you don’t have time to wash your pot by hand every time you use it, pay close attention to the limitations each line has.

Conclusion

That was certainly a lot of info to digest! We’re sure however that by doing so you’ve gained a much clearer picture of the best pots and pans to buy for your particular needs and cooking aspirations. As we’ve seen, the range of materials, production quality as well as a whole host of design and color options are all present to make your choice that much more difficult.

So what is the best cookware? Well, we’ve picked our favorites in both categories, but there are many more factors to consider. Maybe you are loyal to a brand you’ve been using for years and have discovered we’ve put one of their newer products on the list as well, or maybe you just love the colorful sets celebrity chefs have been producing recently.

Whichever set you end up buying, your imagination and perseverance will ultimately decide how much enjoyment you’ll get out of it, so put your apron on, heat your stove up and start making culinary magic. Bon appetite!

How to Remove Caramel off Pots and Pans

Removing caramel off pots and pansCaramel can be almost as much fun to make, as it is to eat.

Unfortunately, it can be almost as messy to make, as it is to eat.

Once caramel hardens to your pots, it can seem an impossible task to get your pots completely clean.

Fortunately, there are a few methods for cleaning hardened caramel from your pots that are as easy as they are effective.

This article will present a few of the most popular methods, listing easy to follow steps for each one, thus giving you the secrets to quick and easy cleanup each and every time.

Method 1: Freezer method

Anyone who has made caramel knows that there are certain elements of chemistry at work in the process.

Simple ingredients turn from one texture to another, as if by some sort of alchemical magic.

Once caramel hardens, scrubbing is completely ineffective.

Never fear, the same chemistry that created the problem also provides the solution.

Carmel becomes very brittle in cold temperatures. Thus, to remove hardened caramel you can use the following freezer method:

  • First, remove as much caramel from the pan as possible through soaking and using a kitchen chisel.
  • Once you have removed all that will come out, place the whole pan into your freezer. Give the pan a full two hours in the freezer in order to ensure that the caramel is completely frozen.
  • After the two hours, remove the pan and use your kitchen chisel to remove the caramel. The brittle caramel should come out easily.

Method 2: Hot water method

If you are fortunate enough to clean your pot before the caramel has completely solidified, then the hot water method may be enough for you.

This method is designed to prevent the caramel from becoming rock hard, using hot water to dissolve it as much as possible.

The steps for the hot water method are:

  • Fill your pot with enough hot water to cover all of the caramel residue. Let the pot soak for an hour.
  • Empty the water from the pot. This should remove most, if not all of the caramel. If any caramel remains, repeat the process using even hotter water.
  • In the event that caramel residue still remains, fill your pot with enough water to cover all the caramel, then place on the stove and bring to a medium high heat. Be careful to not allow the water to boil. Simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes, before emptying and cleaning. This should remove all but the hardest of caramel residues.

Method 3: Club soda method

This method is best for when you have just finished making the caramel, while the pot is still warm.

Using club soda will help prevent the caramel from hardening, and thus save you considerable hassle.

The steps for the club soda method are:

  • Fill your pot with club soda while it is still warm.
  • Allow the pot to soak in the club soda for 15 minutes.
  • After soaking, but before dumping the club soda out, scrub the pot with a scrubby pad.
  • Finally, empty the pot of the club soda and the caramel remnants. Remove any remaining caramel with a damp cloth.

Conclusion

These three easy methods for cleaning caramel from your pots and pans will give you options for the various stages of cleanup.

As well as helping you to remove rock solid caramel residue, these methods will help you prevent the caramel hardening in the first place.

Now, you can make caramel with greater peace of mind!

How to Prevent Burning of Pots and Pans

Preventing your pots and pans from getting burnedCooking can be very rewarding and very enjoyable when everything goes well.

However, when things don’t go well, then cooking can become nothing short of a nightmare.

One of the worst things to go wrong is when food gets burned.

Not only is the flavor of the food ruined, but the smell of burnt food lingers and the cleanup of burnt pots and pans is far from fun.

This article will present six easy to follow steps that will enable you to prevent the burning of pots and pans, thus helping to ensure that your cooking experience is a pleasant one.

Tip 1: Use good quality cookware

One of the main reasons that pots and pans burn food is that the pots and pans aren’t well made.

Cheap designs, poor materials and shoddy construction can all contribute to poor cookware performance.

When pots and pans are too thin, the food in them can easily become scorched.

Additionally, poorly designed pots and pans can result in uneven heat distribution, causing certain places to become too hot while other places aren’t hot enough.

The solution to this is to always use well-designed, good quality cookware.

Tip 2: Use non-stick cookware

Pots and pans that do not have non-stick linings can easily burn food if you aren’t careful.

For the most part, these pots and pans are best left to professional cooks who know their business.

For the average cook, non-stick cookware is a good way to avoid scorched or burned food.

It is vital, however, to make sure that you use good quality non-stick cookware, as lesser quality pieces will cause more problems than they fix.

Tip 3: Ensure your stove is clean

In many cases, the burning of a pot or pan occurs not on the inside, but on the outside.

Glass stovetops need to be constantly and carefully cleaned before use, otherwise any food particles or residue can burn between the stove and your pot, causing damage to your pot as well as the terrible, lingering smell of burnt food.

Always make sure to thoroughly clean and dry your stove before cooking.

Tip 4: Ensure your pots and pans are clean

Just as a dirty stove can result in burning your pots and pans, so too will dirty pots and pans.

A good tip is to clean off your pots and pans before each use, just as you clean off your stove.

This will prevent particles and residue burning between the pot and the stove, potentially causing damage to both items.

Tip 5: Don’t add food to a cold pot or pan

Food added to a cold pot or pan is more likely to stick, and subsequently burn, than when it is added to a pot or pan already heated.

This is especially true when using oil to season a pot or pan, as in the case of cast iron cookware.

Only when the oil is warm can it create a protective layer between the pot and the food.

Cold oil can soak into the food, leaving the pan unprotected.

Tip 6: Remember to stir

Many foods, especially sauces and soups, do not heat evenly in a pot.

The contents at the bottom of the pot are necessarily hotter than the contents at the top, as they are closer to the stove.

Thus, sauces that are unstirred can scorch at the bottom while the top is still coming to temperature.

Constant stirring of sauces, soups and other foods will help them to heat evenly, preventing scorching or burning.

Conclusion

The six tips presented in this article will help you to keep your pots and pans from burning each and every time you cook.

In addition to these steps, always remember to follow recipes carefully, using the correct temperatures and times as these are carefully calculated to prevent the scorching and burning of your food.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Cleaning a cast iron skillet easilyCompared to all the modern cookware options, cast iron may seem to be a relic from the ancient past.

The truth of the matter, however, is that cast iron is one of the most versatile, reliable and long-lasting forms of cookware available.

Each pan is made to last a lifetime, without nonstick linings that tend to disintegrate over time.

Additionally, cast iron heats uniformly, and can go from oven to stove, and vice-versa – attributes not many modern sets can lay claim to.

As long as a cast iron skillet is well maintained, it can provide high quality results for a lifetime.

Here are the best methods to clean and maintain your cast iron skillet.

Light Cleaning

Cast iron is highly susceptible to rusting, thus, water is its number one enemy.

If your skillet has minor food debris, such as crumbs or remnants that can be easily removed, then avoid using water.

Instead, simply pour a little vegetable oil (or olive oil, depending on preference).

Next, take a cloth or paper towel and wipe the pan out until all food particles and oil are gone.

This not only removes the food, but it also keeps the skillet well seasoned (oiled).

Moderate Cleaning

Sometimes your skillet will have residue that oil and a towel alone won’t clean.

The best method for cleaning a skillet under these circumstances is to use cornmeal or sea salt.

The coarseness of these ingredients will provide an abrasive nature to the cleaning.

Using a cloth or paper towel, scrub the pan with the salt or cornmeal, loosening the food residue from the pan.

When the pan is clean, be sure to rub down with a thin coat of oil, keeping it safe from rust.

Heavy Cleaning

For instances when there is food that is really stuck on – either as a result of burning or the pan not being well seasoned, then more drastic measures are called for.

Place the skillet in the sink and run hot water into it.

Next, use either a piece of steel wool or a non-abrasive scrub pad (the sponges with plastic netting on them) to remove the food residue.

Once the pan is clean, rinse it and remove from the sink.

Be sure to dry your skillet THOROUGHLY.

Any water, even moisture in the air, can cause a cast iron skillet to rust.

One trick to drying a cast iron skillet is to put it on the stove for a few minutes on a low heat.

This will evaporate all water safely and thoroughly.

Finally, rub down with oil.

Seasoning

This article has referenced the use of oil on a cast iron skillet after each method of cleaning.

This may seem counter intuitive, as most of us consider an oily pan to not be clean.

The truth of the matter is that a thin coat of oil, well massaged into the skillet, is essential to keep it from rusting.

Dry cast iron will rust even from humidity, let alone actual water contact.

Therefore, it is essential to rub some oil into the pan after each use.

This is what is called ‘seasoning the pan’.

Conclusion

Cleaning a cast iron skillet is simple, albeit a bit bizarre compared to what we are accustomed to.

Still, once you understand the reasoning behind it, and you experience how the pan looks and feels after such a cleaning, then it will make better sense.

One cast iron skillet, well cleaned and well seasoned, can provide delicious, home cooked meals for generations.

Happy cleaning, and happy cooking!