How useful is the low-pressure setting on pressure cookers?
February 8, 2015 2:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for a new pressure cooker. I've noticed that some models, such as the Fagor Duo, give the chef the option of cooking at two levels of pressure -- 8-10 psi and the standard 15 psi. I'm wondering how useful this lower pressure setting actually is.

A little bit about me -- I've used the single-setting Fagor Splendid for many years and been very happy with it.

Have you found the low-pressure setting to be useful? If so, for which foods and in which types of recipes? Have you found it not to be useful? Does the presence of a low-pressure setting compromise the high-pressure setting's effectiveness? Is there anything else I should know?

Many thanks in advance.
posted by jason's_planet to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
I've been using one or another pressure cooker for about twelve years now and have never once used the lower pressure setting. I can't tell that it hurts to have it, but it certainly wouldn't be a selling point for me.
posted by sculpin at 2:14 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I always use the 15 psi - but here is a chart for what you may use the lower setting for...
posted by just asking at 2:34 PM on February 8, 2015

We have the Fagor Chef with two pressure settings and we have never used the low setting. Not once. We've also never noticed that having it affected anything.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 3:23 PM on February 8, 2015

I have owned one for over 5 years and never used the lower setting, though I use mine pretty much exclusively for beans and stews. My understanding, though, is that it is for more delicate items like lobster.
posted by susanvance at 3:57 PM on February 8, 2015

I have the fagor duo, it's great, I never use the low function.
posted by smoke at 5:47 PM on February 8, 2015

Is it capable of frying chicken, I wonder? I've a vague memory of a low pressure fryer on the market some years ago.
posted by cookie-k at 7:06 PM on February 8, 2015

I've used the lower pressure setting on mine once, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it was for.
posted by goggie at 7:51 PM on February 8, 2015

The low-pressure setting is not for frying chicken: there is such a thing as frying chicken in pressure cookers (I think KFC does it) but those cookers aren't the same as domestic ones. Frying things in a domestic pressure cooker (sealed, that is) can be terribly dangerous, leading to an explosion with lots of hot oil being sprayed around your kitchen.

Anyway, I've never used a low pressure setting either, but I read that it's good for making fruit juice out of berries. Do you see yourself buying lots of berries and making them into hot berry juice? If not ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:31 AM on February 9, 2015

hip pressure cooking is one of my favorite pressure cooking sites. As susanvance says, you can cook more delicate things in the pressure cooker under low pressure - fish, eggs, certain vegetables, etc. See here for cooking times. I'm surprised so few people use the low pressure setting. It is quite common in recipes involving vegetables where sometimes it's better to cook them for a little longer.
posted by bluefly at 6:20 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]

The low-pressure setting is not for frying chicken: there is such a thing as frying chicken in pressure cookers (I think KFC does it) but those cookers aren't the same as domestic ones.

This is true now, but in the early days they used to be almost identical to home pressure cookers.

posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:23 AM on February 9, 2015

My pressure cooker has a low setting the manual tells you to use for things like lentils and rice, which I've used it for.
posted by sepviva at 7:21 AM on February 9, 2015

I make hard-boiled eggs in my Fagor on low-pressure setting. Stove off, eggs in basket on stands, half-cup of water, lid on low pressure setting, high heat. Start timer when steam pressure is reached and steam is escaping valve, 6 minutes 45 seconds. Natural release, but eggs go under running water (or ice bath) the second the pressure releases. Perfect every time.
posted by tayknight at 1:42 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

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