Hussain al-Kwawahir was arrested at the Detroit airport Saturday after the cooking equipment was found in his luggage and his passport allegedly was found to have had a page removed, NBC News reported.
Al-Kwawahir made an initial court appearance Monday on charges of altering a passport and lying to customs officials, the network said. He wasn't named in any terrorism-related counts.
Pressure cookers were used to make the two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon last month, killing three people and injuring hundreds more.
Al-Kwawahir flew into Detroit from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He allegedly told authorities he didn't know a page was gone from his passport. After initially allegedly saying the pressure cooker was a gift for his nephew because he thought they weren't sold in the United States, al-Kwawahir said it was to replace one that had broken.
U.S. officials told NBC federal agents tracked down the nephew, who attends the University of Toledo in Ohio, and said he does cook with a pressure cooker.