Listen up. If you've never cooked with a pressure cooker (you need to) or even if you have with mixed results, your world is about to change. All-Clad's recent introduction of their PC8-Precision Pressure Cooker is a welcome addition to a marketplace chock full of a number of indistinguishable pressure cookers. At around 300 bucks, it's at the high end price-wise (it's All-Clad, duh). But its handy and intuitive controls and quality construction (it's All-Clad, duh) more than justify choosing the PC8-Precision over the rest of the bunch.
Of course, if you've played around with a pressure cooker, you already know about how you can cook braises that normally take 3 or 4 hours in about a half hour to 45 minutes or that you can cook beans in 10-20 minutes. Basically a pressure cooker can slash cook times by 50% or more on tons of items. You need to get one.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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And if you're going to get one, pay a little extra for this one. Without getting into the logistics of pressure cooking, just know that there are a few phases of the process: getting the cooker to pressure, cooking under pressure, and releasing the pressure. And for the neophyte, the PC-8's "smart-timer" guides you through every step of the process. In fact, it's probably harder to screw something up in this gadget than it is to get it right. So there's that for the newcomer. And for you pressure cooker veterans out there, you are probably familiar with the seals that crimp and become dislodged after a few uses or the struggle of lining up grooves and handles to get the lid on just right. All-Clad has eliminated this frustration with its lid. I swear to God, I opened it and closed it about 30 times (believe me, everyone here in the Test Kitchen saw me do it ad nauseum) the moment I pulled it out of the box.
And while these may seem like small things, they are really what make the All-Clad PC8-Precision a device that can justify its price tag. Because with them, pressure cooking becomes a process that can be seamlessly woven into your regular cooking routine as opposed to just a sort of niche arrow in your quiver. Like I said before: Just get one.
10 things you should never buy at Williams Sonoma
These products are great but they're massively overpriced.Credit: Smeg / Williams Sonoma
Updated September 13, 2019
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
I have a bone to pick with Williams Sonoma. As much as I love their pumpkin spice bread mix and peppermint bark, their prices can be quite outrageous on a lot of the things they sell. Yes, I understand that elite cooking brands like All-Clad, Breville, and Le Creuset do come at a cost. But some of these products are sold at their list price at Williams Sonoma, where other retailers often have them for less—so you’re basically losing money by shopping there if you’re not comparison shopping.
Even worse, their sales can be highly misleading. Often times they’ll slap a high “suggested price” on a product to make the discount look sweeter, when in reality their sale price is still more expensive than the competition. Now, I’m not saying cooking products sold at Williams Sonoma aren’t high quality (we’ve even tested a few of them ourselves and loved them), they can sometimes just be massively overpriced, so you need to shop smart when you head to their store or site.
We dug deeper into some of the most popular products sold at Williams Sonoma to see if they could be purchased at another retailer for a better price. Here at 10 things you should never buy at Williams Sonoma.
Essential Kitchen Tools for the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it is our mission at MetroKitchen to make your Thanksgiving meal effortless. The turkey is supposed to be the centerpiece, and yet it’s the dish most likely to go wrong. Luckily we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves! Here are a few essential kitchen tools from our culinary pros to ensure the best bird of your life.
9 Best Slow Cookers Made for Busy Families
This multitasking kitchen appliance always delivers dinner on time.
Versatile and easy-to-use slow cookers are pretty much a gift from the culinary gods. Whether you're a busy parent who cooks for the whole family or you're constantly on the go and don't have time to meal prep during the week (who does?!), these multitasking kitchen appliances are here to back you up.
The Best Slow Cookers
- Best Overall:Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Runner-Up:Cuisinart Cook Central 6-Quart Slow Cooker
- Most User-Friendly:Crock-Pot 7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
- Best for New Cooks:Crux 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Best for Cooking Proteins:Instant Pot Duo60 6-Quart Programmable Pressure Cooker
- Petite Pick:Crock-Pot 3-Quart Manual Slow Cooker
- Best for Roasting Veggies:Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Best Customizable Slow Cooker:Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker
- Best Value:BLACK+DECKER 7-Quart Digital Slow Cooker
For some quick background: Slow cookers gently simmer and cook your food low and slow over the course of the day, so you can spend just minutes preparing a meal that tastes like you've been in the kitchen for hours. And don't worry, it's completely safe to leave them on while you're gone (although there are a few small exceptions! More on slow cooker safety here).
How We Chose
We asked our very busy Best Products editors to dish out their picks for the slow cookers they actually use at home and would recommend to a friend. Beyond getting our editors' top picks, we also asked them about their favorite features of their slow cooker model as well as their favorite dishes to make during the week. Who knew we were such talented home cooks?
In addition to this feedback from our own team of testers, we also scoured reviews from trusted sites including Good Housekeeping, Food & Wine, Wirecutter, and Business Insider. Factors that we considered in deciding on these top picks include price point, efficiency, temperature control, ease of use, and size.
From petite pressure cookers to an Instant Pot that can literally do it all, these slow cookers are editor-tested and approved. Your days of stressing over meal prep end here.
The Rational Kitchen’s 2020 Gift Guide
If you want to buy someone a popular gift--an Instant Pot, Air Fryer, or toaster oven, for example--you don't need our guide. But if you want to find unique, unusual items, or items that a person wouldn't think to buy for themselves, or something that's totally over the top extravagant, then our gift guide is the perfect place to browse.
We are purveyors of premium quality goods and encourage people to buy the best quality they can afford--these products are not only going to last longer, they're also more enjoyable to use. So know going in that all of our gift suggestions are top quality. Many are also fancy, expensive, and maybe even a little outrageous.
After all, if you're going to the effort of getting someone a gift, it should be as special as possible, shouldn't it?
How about a truffle mushroom for that special someone--we're not even going to tell you how much it costs. Maybe a $100 box of chocolates that are almost too pretty to eat? Or, if you've got a lover of modernist cooking to buy for, how about the complete, 5-volume set (plus recipe handbook) of Modernist Cuisine?
And don't worry if your budget can't handle such extravagance: we have plenty of items under $100, too.
This guide is full of great ideas. If we can help make your holiday shopping even a little less stressful, we'll have done our job.
If you don't find anything here, you can check out our older gift guides, too. There are some repeats (because good quality is perennial), but you'll find new ideas, too.
5 Small Kitchen Appliances That Will Change Your Life
Our experts&rsquo ultimate kitchen tools, plus top-tested picks and new recipes.
Year after year, the GH Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab cooks, chops, bakes and broils with nearly every new kitchen gadget and tool on the market. Here are our experts&rsquo ultimate time- and space-savers and genius go-tos &mdash plus, our top-tested picks and new recipes!
Use a do-it-all multicooker to cook many types of food &mdash from stew to pasta &mdash in one easy-to-clean pot. You can even walk away from it!
- Why it's life-changing: No cooking tool is as versatile or foolproof as a multicooker. It can brown food, pressure-cook, steam, slow-cook, make rice, ferment yogurt, hard-boil eggs &mdash and cook up creamy desserts. Best of all, you don&rsquot have to keep a close eye on it when it&rsquos on. In some cases, it can keep food warm for days. It lets you whiz through meals that take longer on the stove, and cleanup is a breeze
- How it works: Select your desired cooking setting, place food and liquid inside as suggested by the recipe, then press Start. It&rsquos that easy!
- GH Lab Tip: When pressure-cooking without a recipe, use at least 1/2 cup of water or broth. Always make sure the steam valve is sealed so pressure can build and cook food quickly. Don&rsquot forget to factor in preheating time if your recipe doesn&rsquot include it. Use Sauté first for more flavorful meat and veggies.
Best of the Test
In GH Lab testing, the Duo made fluffy rice and melt-in-your-mouth stew that wasn&rsquot mushy. It also earned top marks for ease of use. The new Duo Nova is even easier to use, with a steam vent you don&rsquot have to worry about sealing.
Our pros were impressed that the dials could be adjusted to select pressure levels from 11/2 psi for delicate foods like fish to 12 psi for whole chickens. Easily release the pressure by pressing a button on the control panel versus the lid.
GH appliance testers found the attached air fryer lid perfect for finishing touches like putting finger-licking glazes on ribs and melting cheese on pressure-cooked ziti. It also stood up to our air fryer tests.
There&rsquos not much its larger, bulkier, often more expensive sibling the countertop blender can do that a handheld workhorse immersion blender can&rsquot.
5. All-Clad cookware that was a little dinged up
We never miss a chance to shop All-Clad's factory seconds sales, and neither do our readers.
All-Clad is a big name in the high-end cookware world, and that means it usually comes with a hefty price tag. While we think the pots, pans, and other cooking tools All-Clad makes are high-quality, even naming their skillet the best stainless steel skillet, we also know a little secret: You don't always have to pay full price on All-Clad cookware.
Every few months, All-Clad holds what they call a VIP Factory Seconds Sale in which they offload their lightly damaged cookware at crazy deep discounts. One of these sales took place at the beginning of last month, so we weren't too surprised to find All-Clad on this list. The kind of damage you might encounter is purely cosmetic and the items are functionally sound, but still can't be sold at full price. So considering everything you cook with will eventually have some wear-and-tear, you won't even notice the very minor dings and dents after a couple uses.
The Slow Cooker vs. The Instant Pot
Okay friends&helliptoday, I&rsquom going to get all sorts of controversial.
Some of you will lose your tempers.
Everyone will be on one side or the other.
BUT after a year, I feel like it&rsquos time to finally talk about it openly.
I&rsquom going to tell you my honest thoughts about both the slow cooker and the instant pot.
Just breathe, people. I really hope I don&rsquot offend you. Hahaha!
Okay, about a year ago, I bought myself this&hellip
I honest to goodness don&rsquot think I&rsquove ever discussed a topic more on my blog than whether or not I should buy an Instant Pot. We beat the topic down over here until finally, I decided to bite the bullet and buy one (I bought THIS ONE).
Almost exactly one year ago today, I did an Instant Pot First Timers Review that you can read HERE. I go step by step through my first Instant Pot experience and explain my thoughts using it. Since then, I bet I&rsquove used it around 20 times, and now have a better handle on the whole Instant Pot craze&hellipand today, I&rsquom going to tell you my thoughts on it compared to my slow cooker. To be fair, I&rsquove used my Instant Pot about 20 times and my slow cooker about 2 million times, so clearly I have WAY more experience with one over the other. (Seriously, I&rsquove been using a slow cooker since I was like 10&hellipso there is no way I could EVER put a number to the amount of times I&rsquove pulled it out&hellipit would be INSANE!) That being said, when I was trying to decide if I was an Instant Pot person or not, I was looking for blog posts to spell it out for me, so hopefully, this can spell it out for many of you who are on the fence&hellip
Hi, my name is Shay, and I am a slow cooker person.
(All of you Instant Pot people, don&rsquot leave me&helliphang on just a minute!)
This last year, I&rsquove realized that the reason I am a &ldquoslow cooker person&rdquo is solely based on the time of day when I want to &ldquomess&rdquo with dinner. Slow cooker people mess with dinner (a.k.a. put everything in their slow cooker) in the morning whereas Instant Pot people mess with dinner later in the day (late afternoon/early evening). I have more time in the morning than I do in the afternoon, I like the idea of leaving it and forgetting about it all day verses having to think about it when my kids get home from school, etc., so that makes the slow cooker a much better fit for my life. THAT BEING SAID, I have found that there are perks and advantages of the Instant Pot as well (which is why I still pull it out and use it!)&hellip
INSTANT POT PERKS:
1: I pull the IP out mostly when I think I&rsquom going to make something for dinner and then get lazy/distracted/run out of time/etc and instead of making it on the stovetop, I make it in the IP. For example, today&rsquos recipe is a really easy Instant Pot Sausage, Peppers & Onions that I was going to make on the stove top, but my kids wanted to go out and play, so instead of standing there and babysitting it on the stove, I put it in the IP, set it, left it and went outside. Not having to babysit the stove is a huge perk to the IP!
2: It cuts down on the pots and pans that I use! Instead of having to get a pot out for multiple things, I can typically put it all in the IP (like you can add chicken and rice and they&rsquoll pressurize together instead of cooking them separately). Plus, the IP allows you to sauté right inside the pot, so instead of having to sauté over the stove and transfer it, I can do it all in one thing.
So, there are some perks, but for me, there are also some negatives:
1: It&rsquos harder to clean than my slow cooker. I use two different types of slow cookers. One I&rsquove had for 16 years and still use it all the time. It&rsquos easy to clean out (just soap, water, rinse and dry) or I can use a slow cooker liner (sold where you buy baggies/foil/etc). My other one allows you to brown up things right inside the SC, and that rinses out really well too. The IP has multiple parts and a rubber ring that need to be cleaned, so even though it&rsquos not complicated to clean it out, it just takes longer because there are more parts.
2: Most of the recipes I make in the IP can be made in the same amount of time on the stovetop (now, roasts and briskets cannot, but many of the jambalaya, pastas, chilis, etc can). I actually think many of the recipes can be made faster on the stove than in the IP.
3: It took me a long time to realize this next thing was true, but it is in fact the truth&hellipthe IP is not &ldquoinstant&rdquo. By the time my pot comes up to the correct pressure, cooks and then de-pressurizes, even the easiest and fastest IP recipes can take almost an hour. For instance, today&rsquos recipe only &ldquocooks&rdquo for 10 minutes, but it will take you about 40 to make by the time the pot does everything it needs to do. I am probably super dumb for thinking this, but I thought the Instant Pot would be a little more &ldquoinstant&rdquo than that.
Now, I get a lot of feedback from people when I tell them I&rsquom not a huge IP fan that &ldquobut Shay, you can make a dozen eggs in 5 minutes!&rdquo, and I&rsquove tried this, but honestly, it takes longer than 5 minutes by the time the pot goes up to the right pressure, so I can also make it on the stove for the same amount of time or maybe even less.
So, the good old-fashioned slow cooker (a.k.a. crock pot) isn&rsquot for everyone either! I know some of you have no time in the mornings and/or cannot keep food cooking because you&rsquore gone long days (too long for the slow cooker), so for those of you who fall into that category, I can totally see where the IP saves the day. I am not giving up on my IP!! I still use it and plan on creating even more recipes with it because I know that for some of you, it really does help you out SO MUCH. If you haven&rsquot made any of my IP recipes, try one of these&hellip
If you&rsquore looking for more Slow Cooker Recipes, I have like 5000 😉 . I even have&hellip
&hellipa slow cooker cookbook. Clearly, my heart belongs to the slow cooker 😉 . You can see all of my Slow Cooker Recipes HERE and then make sure you check out these&hellip
So, I would LOVE to hear from those of you who use both and why you use each one each time. I would love to know your secrets, tricks and tips for either the Instant Pot or the Slow Cooker! Please comment and share!! In the meantime, I hope you all have the best Wednesday. xo
More Healthy Cooking Hacks
There are many kitchen hacks that involve food storage, freezing foods, reheating leftovers, and using the right substitutes for unhealthy foods.
Cooking is one thing. Healthy cooking is a whole other challenge.
Preparing meals that include healthy ingredients will help you lose weight, feel better and give you more energy throughout the day to keep disease and infections away.
These healthy cooking hacks can help you plan your healthy diet.
- Substitute avocado or applesauce for butter – The next time you make cookies, try putting 1/4 cup of mashed avocado in the dough instead of butter. You won't notice the difference in taste, yet you'll get more nutrition.
- Substitute steel-cut oatmeal for white flour – Instead of using white flour to make cookies, quick bread, and pancakes, use steel-cut oats in a blender and grind them till they become powder. Replace half of the white flour with oat flour.
- Make chunky soups – If you have little time to make a soup from scratch, then simply add your favorite vegetables to a chicken stock broth to get more nutrients.
- Always keep a jar of nut butter – Nut butters are filled with healthy fats. Spreading it on apple slices or celery sticks is the perfect healthy snack to have on hand.
- Make Dried Fruits – Make your own dried fruit by cutting it into even pieces, and cover it with parchment paper. Now dehydrate them at a low temperature of 160-180.
- Healthy frozen cubes – How many times have you let cilantro or parsley go bad? To prevent this, just chop it up and mix it with a bit of oil, and then freeze it. This way, you'll always have it to throw in soups or whatever you want.
- Freeze Your blueberries – By freezing blueberries, you manipulate the fruit to be healthier. This is because the antioxidant properties found in blueberries are concentrated in their skins. By freezing them, you will make them more available to yourself.
- Mashed Cauliflower – Instead of eating mashed potatoes, you can start mashing cauliflower. It's delicious, yet it doesn't contain so many carbs and calories.
Troubleshooting: My Slow Cooker Black Beans Aren’t Soft! What Did I Do Wrong?!
First thing, take a deep breath and before you leave a nasty comment, a few things: 1) it’s not the recipe. I’ve literally made this hundreds of times successfully, as have numerous readers and friends. 2) it’s probably not you! I’ll explain more below.
Here are common reasons your slow cooker beans didn’t turn out:
- The beans were old. This is a tough one because you never really know how long a bag of beans has been hanging out on that grocery store shelf or in that bulk bin. My advice is to purchase beans from somewhere that has a decent turn over of their products. Dust on a bag is a good clue it’s been there for awhile. And still, you may get a back of old beans despite your best efforts. They may never get soft even if you cook them for three days. Sorry, it’s not you or me, it’s the beans.
- Your slow cooker may not be cooking at the proper temperature or there may be something else going on. (Raise your hand if you’ve forgotten to turn it on or plug it in…just me? Ahem.) Slow cookers wear out. You may have bought a lemon. Your electrical circuit may not be functioning properly. Who knows? If it’s not bubbling under the lid when it’s on HIGH, you’ve got a problem.
- You added salt at the beginning and weren’t one of the lucky ones for whom it didn’t make a difference. Boo! I’m sorry. You can try draining off the water and starting with some fresh water and try again. Or you can cut your losses and remember to save that salt for the end next time.
- Um, it’s not any of those things above. Yeah, well, I’m so sorry I can’t be of more help. Sometimes recipes flop. Don’t throw your slow cooker out the window or sent me hate mail just yet. Give it another try with another bag of beans and see if that helps.