I really like the time-saving aspect of a pressure cooker plus it's a fantastic way to cook cheap cuts of beef or wild game and have them turn out tender and juicy. It's also the perfect way to produce your own chicken stock.
Nesco's Pressure Cooker has more function than the average pressure cooking appliance, so I was most eager to take it through its paces.
Nesco Pressure Cooker Reviews: PC6-25
- Nesco® 6 Qt Digital Programmable Pressure Cooker Model PC6-25
- Pressure cook, steam, slow cook, brown, warm
- Multi-functional programmable
- 1000 Watts
- High (10 psi) and Low (5 psi) pressure cooking
- Self-locking lid with automatic pressure release
- Slow cook for up to 9.5 hours
- Browning function
- Automatic go to Warm when cycle complete (except for browning)
- Removable non-stick (dishwasher-safe) cooking insert; capacity 6.34 Qts (6 Ltrs)
- Digital display with delay start up to 8 hours; LED display, soft-touch buttons
- Brushed stainless steel exterior
- Condensation cup
- Cool-touch lid, handles
- Includes steam rack, rice cup and paddle
- Size: 13.25 X 13.375 X 11.675
- 1 Year warranty
How the Nesco Electric Pressure Cooker Performed
This cooker looks very nice and the lid locking mechanism for pressure cooking works very well. It's very user friendly, seems quicker to set up for pressure cooking and the lid locks automatically when pressure builds up - a must-have safety feature. What I love about this appliance is the multi-function nature, which means you can do a lot more in it besides cooking under pressure and not all electric pressure cookers have this variety of preset functions.
I took a few weeks to test this pressure cooker because of all the functions and what stood out the most during testing is the convenience of being able to brown meat, proceed to either slow or pressure cooking and then keep everything warm till dinner is served, all while using one pot. And being able to keep the soup, stew or chili on the brown cycle for a few minutes to boost the temperature and partially cook before changing to slow cooking, is a great way to speed up the overall time, if you are late getting the pot started. I cannot stress how handy that is and the extra functions allow for a wide range of cooking options. I used the Warm cycle often to reheat the soup/stew made the day before. Not having to monitor it like you would a stovetop pot, means you can walk away and do something else.
Pressure cooking can be done at High for meats, vegetables, pasta sauce and so on, or at 5 psi on Low for delicate fruit. Having these two pressure cooking zones is also very convenient. I started out following the time guidelines from the manual, but quickly went by my own experience as time can vary depending whether potatoes are whole or cut, or chicken pieces are partially frozen or smaller than average.
So it does take some experimenting to pressure cook and have the meal ready at just the right time. That is typical of any pressure cooker. However, you can use the Quick Release Steam Method to check the meal or shorten the time rather than naturally reducing pressure which takes longer. Though it sounds time-consuming, pressure cooking is fast and often takes only minutes where the oven would take hours. From prep time to finish, a half hour is often plenty of time to get a pressure cooked meal on the table or a pasta sauce for the freezer.
I was very satisfied with meal results, from slow to pressure cooking, though times do vary slightly from the booklet. I found myself using this cooker much more than I anticipated for other than pressure cooking. Even slow cooked roasted potatoes turned out well, tender, and nicely browned. As for capacity, you can do a 3-lb roast, a whole cut-up chicken or batch of pasta sauce in this cooker, so I find the 6-qt size nice for a couple and ample for family serving.
There are some things to note. I find that a basket would be better for steaming than a rack, but you can sit a small plastic or mesh basket on top of the rack. It's very important to make sure the pressure regulator knob is at the right place - Vent or Seal for each function. It can move slightly when you lift the lid and may need to be readjusted. The only time you would use Seal is when you are pressure cooking; with all other functions, you would Vent the unit. Note that you leave the lid off when browning. The rim channel where the lid sits is hard to reach but should be cleaned well every time.
The lid and gasket should also be cleaned after each use and it does take a minute or two to get the gasket back into its proper place. Cleaning the exterior - nice brushed stainless - is fairly easy and the non-stick finish of the insert speeds up cleaning.
The Nesco Electric Pressure Cooker did perform as I would expect for every function. What I like the most about this cooker over other models is being able to brown, slow cook, steam, warm and pressure cook, all with only one appliance. Though I did cook a good variety of foods in it, there's still lots I'd like to try including steaming rice or cooking apples (recipe book).
For those who have never used a pressure cooker, it's the best way to tenderize a cheap cut of meat and the quickest method to make meals in a fraction of the time needed by other cooking methods. I have used a stovetop pressure cooker for decades and enjoyed the benefits, but once I upgraded to an electric model, I haven't looked back. Pressure cooking is no longer an 'anxious' process when you use an electric model and today's cooking inserts are so much lighter to handle than my old stovetop pressure cookware. There are lots of safety features built into these appliances and you cannot remove the lid unless the pressure has been released. So it's a safer way to pressure cook.
I highly recommend the Nesco Electric Pressure Cooker. It's well made, easy to use and has a number of cooking options. The price is very reasonable given the construction and multi-function, so it offers good value for your money. Note that you should keep the manual for future reference, especially if you only pressure cook once in a while. There are a number of recipes in the manual, but Nesco® also has more recipes on their site.
Also watch the Nesco Pressure Cooker video to see how easy it really is to use this appliance. Note that the glass lid shown on the video is not included with the cooker. Check your cookware lid stock, you might have one that fits for slow cooking and warming. Nesco advises that you can obtain a glass lid for use with their Digital Pressure Cooker, by calling their service line at 1-800-624-2949, or from the Nesco site. A glass lid would be so much quicker to wash after slow cooking or warming foods.