Pressure Cooker Sizes: 6qt vs 8qt vs 10qt

Pressure Cooker Sizes
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Pressure Cooker Sizes

Which Pressure Cooker Sizes to Choose From?

When you are deciding on which pressure cooker sizes to buy, you need to ensure that what you choose is the best possible option. Whether you choose a small 2.8 qt pressure cooker or go for a 10 qt model or any size in between, or even larger will depend upon your cooking needs and how much you need to cook at any one time.

So how much can you cook in a 2.8 qt pressure cooker? This has a pot diameter of 7 inches and is often described as a mini version. This size will suit you if you generally cook for yourself or if there are only two people to cook for.

As a rough guide, this is sufficient for ¾ cups of dry rice (146g). You can also cook smaller cuts of meat, vegetables and more. The only downside to using a 2.8 qt pressure cooker is if you need to cook more than the capacity of this small pan can cope with.

You don’t want to stuff the pressure cooker to the brim with food because this will interfere with cooking efficiency.  You don’t want to have to cook twice because this will cancel out any advantages of using the pressure cooker in the first place when it comes to cooking speed and convenience.

A 10 qt pressure cooker is big. As a general rule, this size and over are big enough for cooking for up to 15 people. Ideal if you entertain or have a large family but not very practical if for most of the time you are cooking with the pressure cooker ¾ empty. Doing this is not only expensive it may interfere with the final result of the food. You need a minimum amount of water for any pressure cooker to work so trying to cook a small piece of meat in too much water could mean that you end up boiling rather than braising.

A 6 qt pressure cooker is suitable for cooking for large families. You have plenty of space and should be up for cooking for 3 to 7 people. A 6 qt pressure cooker is big enough for cooking a large bird, such as a turkey or chicken. An 8 qt pressure cooker is an extra option.

Although choosing the right size of a pressure cooker is important, in our opinion, it is always best to go for something slightly larger than your needs than buying something too small. The keyword here is “slightly” because it is not a good idea to make your choice between 2.8 qt or 10 qt.  These sizes are at the opposite end of the scale but you have plenty of sizes in between such as 6 qt and 8 qt models.

Once you start using your pressure cooker you may find that bulk cooking in advance for the freezer is the best option, rather than cooking from scratch every time. If you get the pressure cooker bug you may feel that a bigger pressure cooker is necessary. However if you generally only use your pressure cooker to cook for two people, going too big is not a sensible option.


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