Kitchen Fodder – Testing the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker

Kitchen Fodder – Testing the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker

Just to set the record straight…

No, I wasn’t given one of these units to test and make nice about…

No, I wasn’t contacted by QVC or Cooks Essentials to test their cooker…

No, Left to my own devices, I probably would not  have ever considered buying one of these things…


It all started as an innocent text message from a friend in Taiwan; thinking he could use it to make braised pork belly. “What can you tell me about these things… have you tried it?”

Not only had I never heard of it, the whole idea of nuclear cooking and highly pressurized impact plastic frightened me ….  more than a little.

But, being the gadget whore that I am, I decided to buy one and see what it would do.

The Basics

Considering a decent stove top cooker will run you $45.00 to $65.00, the $50.00 price tag (including tax, shipping, and that worrisome “handling”) for the CooksEssentials thing will hit you right at fifty bucks.

It comes in a variety of colors. I bought a purple one.

They provide you with additional pressure gaskets and release valves, in case yours deteriorate over time. Which, considering the intense heat of a microwave oven, I can imagine they probably will fail within a year. Although, I’ve used mine about a dozen times and everything is holding up like new.

There are 4 separate safety valves on the cooker, so chance of bodily injury are pretty low.

It can be used as a non- pressurized steamer and they include a steamer tray in the kit. This gives it double-duty in the kitchen… and equipment that can be used for more than one task is always a winner in my book.

There is also an available “meatloaf sleeve” which I did not opt in for. Personally, I like my meatloaf roasted, and steaming one to hell and back just didn’t flip any triggers for me.

They provide you with 2 recipe books ( actually it’s just one book – one with pictures and one without) for a variety of typically Slow-Cooker recipes that can be prepared in under an hour. And while all the ones I tested were very easy and tasty –  Although, there is a recipe for pressurized Mac & Cheese that I have no intention of ever trying… I just can’t get my head around cooking noodles in a pressure cooker.

Finally, it takes a bit of fiddling to do most things. There are adjustments to time and power levels, depending on the wattage of your microwave. They do provide you with conversion charts and formulas for adjusting things to fit your oven. And, the majority of the recipes have you cooking / adding ingredients / cooking and changing power levels during the process.

I’ve chosen four recipes to share; each one to show what the cooker is capable of. As we do more recipes, We’ll add them on at the bottom – so they’ll be easier to see all in one place.

Braised Beef Back Ribs

Back Rib Title

Jane’s 8 Hour Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti 2

Mexican Chicken

Mexi Chicken

A Pot of Dried Beans


Since the initial test – here’s what we’re been working on:

Curried Beef & Lamb Meatballs


Corned Beef & Cabbage


Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese



2 thoughts on “Kitchen Fodder – Testing the CooksEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker

  1. Toby, honestly I find this scary. Microwave + pressure cooker made from highly pressurized impact plastic sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. But it looks like you made it through 4 dishes without any calamity. I am waiting to read about it 🙂

    1. Phong, the “thinking” about it is worse than it actually is. Considering the # of release valves the pressure really doesn’t get anywhere near as high as a stove top cooker. Working with the combination of medium pressure and the microwaves is why it works so well..

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