Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Electric pressure cookers are perfect for RVing


By Wolfe Rose
For many RVers, the idea of slow cooking a tender, delicious dinner is extremely appealing. Few things are better after a cool fall day of hiking than to sit down in a toasty RV to a hot bowl of fork-tender stew or a fall-apart pot roast.

The problem for many campers is that setting up the RV close enough to the great hike often involves camping without hookups, and it would be crazy to run a generator all day for a crock pot. Even if you have hookups or were willing to run your generator (or inverter from solar), this sort of long cooking can produce a lot of steam, which is almost never welcome in the confines of an RV. As good as dinner smells, dripping walls destroys the dinner ambiance!

The solution I’ve found to all of these culinary problems came in the form of an electric pressure cooker.  This may seem entirely over-technical for “camping,” but there are many advantages that justify its precious space in the RV.

First, there’s the all-important run-time factor. Instead of running a generator all day, I can get the same tender results in only an hour. Instead of defrosting overnight or cooking a frozen brick of meat for substantially more generator time, local fresh veggies and the frozen meat go directly in the cooker 70 minutes before mealtime instead of 700 minutes for a standard crock pot. That 70 minutes is all it takes for 6 quarts and about 6 pounds of hard-frozen pot roast – enough to feed a crowd. Many dinners only require 20 minutes to cook once prepped. More delicate things like seafood are done almost as soon as they reach pressure!

Next most important, as mentioned above, is humidity management. A pressure cooker releases little if any steam while it’s operating because it only works by being sealed. Once dinner is cooked, I can let it rest, re-absorbing all the moisture into the food, or safely carry the cooker outside to let it vent au naturale – zero steam fogging my windows. I use a lot of onion and garlic in my stew, so it’s nice not gassing us out of the RV with unwanted fumes before it’s cooked.

HOW ABOUT DURABILITY AND CONVENIENCE? My pressure cooker is mostly plastic and aluminum, so unlike a ceramic crock pot, it won’t be reduced to shards after driving country roads. Then there is the convenience of modern electronics. Since my pressure cooker is digital, when I do have shore power I can even set it up to start itself while I’m returning from the day’s activities.

Common RV wisdom dictates that everything in the RV should serve multiple purposes, and this one does. My wife cooks a lot of rice dishes, which can be done in under 10 minutes with pressure. I do ribs in 15 minutes. When we do have shore power, the cooker can slow cook at lower heat and without pressurization, making great cream soups that wouldn’t normally tolerate pressure cooking. Again, no steam from boiling rice or simmering that soup.

Finally, there’s health and budget. Cooking “real” food quickly lets you cook more frozen meats and use local produce instead of eating processed meals to save time and space. Home cooking is better, right? Pressure makes it possible.




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5 years ago

I bought the instant pot and love it. I haven’t brought it on the road with us because of space issues. I am concerned about the steam it lets out when done cooking, but with a fan conviently placed in kitchen area, should not be a problem. We are going on a 2 week trip, maybe I’ll bring it along and see ….. need more recipes!!!

Dennise Ziaja
5 years ago

I call this my “magic caldron”. I can make soup, stew, ribs and even cheesecake. I love i!

Pat Belletto
5 years ago

I wonder if you have tried a thermal pot. i just got one and am experimenting with it for use in the rv.

5 years ago
Reply to  Pat Belletto

I don’t own a thermal pot, so I’m not the expert there — but don’t think it’s the same concept at all. A thermal pot performs slow coo*L*ing instead of slow coo*K*ing. In other words, any additional passive cooking you get is more like letting your roast rest after it’s already 90% cooked.

You have to start by bringing all of your food to a boil (bad for many foods, the same as a pressure cooker’s failing), so it’s not as “gentle” as a crockpot to cream soups and such. Since you’re not actually “cooking” with additional heat, I suspect tougher meats or veggies won’t break down much more than you’ve already done while boiling (?), so the “risk” would be under-cooking if you don’t boil enough.

I assume cooking from frozen is totally out of the question with thermal? One of my favorite tricks is one-button cooking from “meatsickle,” including freezing entire recipe ingredient “cartridges” in a tupperware just slightly smaller than the cooker. With limited prep-space or time, food is still fresh-cooked.

I actually DO cook my prime rib super-hot and then resting in the cooling oven for hours, so I could see thermal working well for a fairly limited number of dishes (too few in RV, but helpful at home?). You will definitely have to let us know what results you get with your thermal pot, what foods work best, and recipes. Did it come across that I like to eat? 🙂

5 years ago

Thanks Joe… I forgot to mention that my cooker has a canning function as well — I haven’t used it because we do high-volume canning when home (we have apple trees and live in farmland, so can many other things in bulk). It’s a VERY good point that fresh produce can be canned for warm storage, since cold storage is so valuable in the RV… thanks!

Joe Gillmer
5 years ago

I use mine for canning fish and whatever is fresh gets turned into jam. And fresh strawberry jam makes great gifts.

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