My experienced judgment is--buy one of these pressure cookers. I've made soup, stew, cooked chicken, steamed vegetables, browned meat, and so forth. Here's what I like:
- Unlike traditional pressure cookers, the Power XL does not emit steam during cooking. The pressure is apparently regulated by a temperature or pressure control that provides just the right pressure. If you don't want to wait until the steam pressure goes down as the unit cools, you can let the steam off manually at the end of the cook cycle.
- The cooking timer is built in. No need to set a separate timer and listen for the beep before you take the cooker off the stove. Instead, you set the timer on the cooker and it automatically switches to Keep Warm when the cook time is over.
- It's easy to clean. The internal pot comes out of the cooker shell and is non-stick lined. It can be put in the dishwasher or done in the sink.The internal pot is light weight and easy to handle.
- It's really flexible. Cook rice, brown rice, roasts, stews, soups, vegetables (the steamer function works great).
I use the Power Pressure Cooker XL about once a week. It has always produced a great meal.
What I would change:
- My greatest complaint is the lame and skinny cookbook that comes with the cooker. But it is the basic instructions that should be included. Example:
- Be aware that cooking times listed on a recipe reflect the time to cook AFTER the cooker has been pressurized. The time needed for the cooker to heat up and produce enough steam to pressurize the vessel can range from a few minutes to 20 minutes or more. Thus, "Steam vegetables in 3 minutes," means 3 minutes after the 15-minute warm up to steam.
In a word, you need to experiment with settings and cooking times (using the adjustable time button) to get the results you want. I made a delicious beef stew by setting the cooker to 30 minutes.
I must say I'm glad I broke my old pressure cooker (handle), which had been in the family for at least 30 years. I am very happy with this cooker.
Full disclosure: I purchased the Power Pressure Cooker XL at retail (while looking for a conventional model), and at no point was given any incentive or asked for a positive (or any other) review. Your experience may vary.