Pressure cookers aren’t by any means a new fancy kitchen gadget invention. In fact, the first concept of a pressure cooker was invented in 1679 by French physicist Denis Papin. This quick cooking small appliance has gone through many developments over the years and first enjoyed great popularity after World War II with home cooks who were looking for time saving cooking techniques. But interest began to wane with arising safety concerns due to stories of occasionally exploding pressure cookers.
However, in recent years pressure cookers have gone through renaissance brought on by electric pressure cookers that are now available on the market. These third generation pressure cookers are automated stand-alone small appliances, that also do the job of several single-function appliances.
If you are looking to buy a pressure cooker, this guide will show you what to look for and how to decide on the best pressure cooker for your household.
What To Look For In A Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker can be an incredibly useful item. It’s the ideal way to prepare a number of kitchen staples, including rice, beans, and various meats. It can shave cooking time off of popular dishes like mashed potatoes, and will even allow you to cook new dishes you’ve never been able to try before.
With that said, a pressure cooker is a major investment. You will need to shop smart when you make this purchase. Be sure to look for some of these features for the very best pressure cookers.
You have a choice between two major types of pressure cookers – stovetop or electric. While there are many similarities in the functions of the two, mainly that they cook food under pressure to reduce cooking time, there also are differences to consider.
Since electric pressure cookers are automated, programmable and include their own heat source, they require almost no monitoring when it comes to building, maintaining and releasing the cooking pressure.
Stovetop pressure cookers are by comparison faster, more durable and affordable. They come in a range of sizes and can also produce higher heat and pressure (necessary for more advanced pressure cooking techniques).
In the end, your best bet is to match your cooking style with your pressure cooker. Electric pressure cookers are perfect for busy home cooks who value hands-off convenience. How do perfect, easy peel Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs sound?
Stovetop pressure cookers are great for the control-freak who likes to be in charge of every aspect of their culinary creations and anyone looking for just a small pressure cooker.
3. Dual Pressure Settings
While high pressure cooking will allow you to prepare a number of dishes very quickly, it can cause damage to more delicate foods. That’s why you should keep an eye out for pressure cookers that offer multiple pressure settings. You can keep the pressure high when you want to get a meal done fast, and keep it low if you’re worried about your food being damaged.
4. Pre-Set Programs
One of the biggest advantages of owning a pressure cooker is that it makes cooking more simple. You’ll be able to take that one step further if you buy a cooker that has some pre-set programs that are controlled by the digital pressure cooker. If you want to make a soup or ferment some rice, all you’ll have to do is press a button.
5. Multiple Functions
There’s no reason to buy multiple devices when a single device can take care of everything. Look for electric pressure cookers that can double as a rice cooker or a crock pot. Even a not exactly cheap pressure cooker will seem more cost effective if you’re able to use it for a wide variety of tasks.
6. Safety Mechanisms
High pressure cookers work by cooking foods at the highest pressure possible. Because of this, you don’t want any accidents to occur. Look to only buy pressure cookers that have built-in safety mechanisms. They should be able to protect you against kitchen mishaps.
Delayed Cooking Time
While pressure cooking can save you a lot of time in the kitchen, an appliance with a delayed cooking feature can make things even more efficient. Look for an appliance that will let you program your electrical pressure cooker in advance. You can prepare the meal ahead of time and have it cook when you’re ready to eat.
7. The Right Materials
When it comes to appliances, the right material can make all the difference. Look for a pressure cooker made from a sturdy material like aluminum or a stainless steel pressure cooker. You’ll need a durable material if you want your appliance to last.
A high-quality pressure cooker can last for years. Not all pressure cookers can stand the test of time. Sometimes, there are safety flaws. Other times, the pressure cooker is great, but the gasket gives out early and is impossible to replace. Here are 8 of the best pressure cooker reviews that you should consider.
Best Pressure Cooker Comparison Chart
|Name||Image||Type (Stovetop/Electric)||Capacity (Quart)||Price||Rating|
|Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1||Electric||6||$$$||4.7|
|All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner||Stovetop||10 1/2||$$$||4.9|
|Prestige Deluxe Pressure Cooker||Stovetop||3||$$||4.8|
|Elite Platinum Pressure Cooker||Electric||8||$$||4.5|
|Presto Aluminum Pressure Cooker||Stovetop||6||$||4.5|
|Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker||Electric||6||$$$||4.3|
|Power Pressure Cooker XL||Electric||6||$$||4.2|
|Hawkins Classic Pressure Cooker||Stovetop||2||$||4.1|
Price Range: $ = Under $50, $$ = $50-100, $$$ = $100+
Price Range accurate as of May 2016
Reviews of the Best Pressure Cookers
Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi Functional Pressure Cooker Review
- Pressure Cooker
- Rice Cooker
- Slow Cooker
- Yogurt Maker
You might assume that it isn’t the best at any of these things because it does so much, but you would be wrong. The Instant Pot excels in all seven of its functions and easily replaces the need for seven different pots or cookers. The Instant Pot pressure cooker is definitely top-of-the-line as far as pressure cookers go.
At first glance, the device seems a bit confusing to use because there are quite a few buttons on the front and an LED display panel. However, the included instruction manual explains all of the buttons and functions very clearly. It only takes a matter of minutes to start using it for the first time.
There are fourteen different functions included that can be operated using the front panel. These range from cooking rice, to slow cooking, to making a stew, just to name a few.
The front panel also controls the pressure and cooking time. High-pressure cooking greatly reduces the required cooking time. Low pressure, on the other hand, will keep those sensitive foods from being overcooked.
A high-quality sealing ring is used to block air from leaking out of the pot. The ring can be removed and washed with ease. They are also readily available on Amazon and from the manufacturer should they ever need to be replaced.
Elite Platinum Digital Pressure Cooker Review
This Elite pressure cooker is a true multi-functional appliance that performs 14 tasks from pre-browning and reheating, to cooking rice, vegetables, stews and roasts. The 24-hour delay timer makes it very easy to prep meals ahead and come home to a ready cooked dinner.
The interior non-stick pot has a capacity of 8 quarts, which makes this is one of the bigger electric pressure cookers on the market. It also is one of the few that comes with a range of color choices. Aside from the classic color combo of black and brushed stainless steel, the exterior can also be white, red, orange, blue or purple.
One potential downside may be that this pressure cooking small appliance, does not take over the function of a slow cooker. The heater element can only be on or off, not temperature adjusted.
Cuisinart CPC-600AMZ Electric Pressure Cooker Review
The Cuisinart pressure cooker cuts down cooking time by up to 70%. This is another electric pressure cooker that is multifunctional in nature with settings for pressure cooking, browning, simmering, sauteing and warming.
The handles stay cool during use and the non-stick cooking pot and trivet are dishwasher safe for easy clean up.
It has a low and high pressure function (6 and 10 psi respectively). Like other electric pressure cookers, it may take a little longer to build up to cooking pressure, but personally I’ll take this trade-off for the hands-off convenience.
Power Pressure Cooker XL Review
The Power Pressure Cooker XL is probably one of the most know electric pressure cookers due to the infomercial it is featured in. It is a multi-use appliance that can brown meats and even slow cook.
It is important to actually read the manual for this pressure cooker and follow the instructions to ‘season’ it before first use. This will prevent food from sticking to the bottom while cooking.
Booklets to get you started with pressure cooking and home canning are included.
All American Pressure Cooker And Canner Review
This pressure cooker from All American looks powerful and industrial. It’s very durable and made from high-quality, hand-cast aluminum. As the name implies, it’s made entirely in the U.S.A.
The metal-to-metal sealing system keeps operations running smoothly. Everything is held down via side clips and screw-downs. There is a steam gauge and pressure release located on the top. Settings can be adjusted to allow for 5, 10, or 15 psi.
What is interesting about the All American pressure cooker is that it does not require a gasket to operate. Gaskets tend to be the weakest link in most pressure cookers. It can be tough to replace a gasket once a pressure cooker has ended its manufacturing life cycle. With this particular model, there is never any need to replace a gasket. The large capacity of 10-1/2 quarts makes this also a fantastic canning pressure cooker.
Presto 01264 6-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker Review
Unlike most electric pressure cookers, this stovetop model could be considered a cheap pressure cooker. In fact, with its 6 quart capacity this Presto pressure cooker is indeed a very economical choice.
Made from aluminum, is very light and will distribute heat fast and evenly. This model is easy and straightforward to use even for entry-level pressure cooker users. The Presto pressure cooker also comes with a 12-year limited warranty.
One downside is, that it cannot be washed in the dishwasher and may need some harder scrubbing to get truly clean.
Prestige Deluxe Hard Anodized Pressure Cooker Review
Prestige has found the perfect balance between ruggedness and comfortableness. The pot itself uses hard anodized aluminum that is unparalleled in the market. It makes the pot strong and durable, thus extending its lifetime and the lifetime of the gasket.
At the same time, the handles are designed to be comfortable and ergonomic. It allows for a smoother grip and firm handling while moving the cooker.
Aside from its hard anodized aluminum, the Prestige Deluxe has a couple of additional safety features. The controlled GRS safely releases excess pressure if the vent should become blocked. The pressure indicator will rise when there is pressure and lower when there is not, which lets you know at all times the pressure inside the cooker. Finally, the product conforms completely to all International Quality Standards.
It’s a 2 and 1/2 liter pressure cooker. Not the biggest on the market, but just big enough to serve one or two people. The non-stick surface makes cleanup extremely easy.
Hawkins Classic Aluminum Pressure Cooker Review
Hawkins is a classic in the world of pressure cookers. It has been a long-time household name for good reason. The Hawkins pressure cooker is simple, elegant and effective.
Instead of heavy lids and locking mechanisms, the smart design features a light aluminum pot with an elliptical lid that pressure locks to the device.
This 2 quart version is perfect for one or two person households, but there are also bigger models of up to 12 quarts available.
The Best Of The Best
These pressure cookers are the best of the best on the Amazon market. They are bestsellers and have all been rated highly by customers, are made of high-quality materials, keep safety as a priority and have an above-average lifespan.
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