Pressure cookers need no introduction – we’ve all seen those steam-belching home appliances cook up everything from delicious eggs to some exquisite French cuisine on special occasions. Chances are, many of us still have those home appliances, now in decrepit state due to usage beyond their service periods. While these products might still provide us with the boiled eggs, their weakening states mean that they cook food poorly and can even pose health hazards. Thankfully, with prices steadily coming down and companies offering longer warranties and more features to stay ahead of the competition, there is every reason to choose a new pressure cooker. Indeed, modern cookers can steam, brown and boil a wide range of foods, and if you go for some of the higher end models, you can try out food canning as well.
However, given that any pressure cooker made in 2019 would be superior to the sturdy warhorses in your mother’s kitchen, deciding which products to buy can be very confusing. To let you spend more time cooking and less time reading pressure cooker reviews, we’ve carried out the market survey, found the top products and provided detailed reviews of the 10 most popular pressure cookers for 2019.
These are available in 3 sizes:
- 4-5 Quart – suitable for one or two people.
- 6 Quart – suitable for small families. Most recipes assume this size.
- 8 Quart – suitable for larger families and making stock.
Detailed reviews of the 10 most popular pressure cookers
1. Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker
This dual-pressure electric pressure cooker has 14 cooking programs for poultry, meat or stew, beans or chili, steaming, sautéing, making porridge, making yogurt, pasteurizing, preparing rice, preparing multi-grain dishes, preparing fermented rice (Jiu Niang), slow cooking, and automatic warming. You can choose from three temperature settings for sautéing and slow-cooking. The programs are controlled by a built-in micro-processor, so you don’t even have to watch the cooking time to be sure that your food is prepared correctly and not over-cooked. The high pressure setting reduces cooking time 70%, but use the low-pressure setting to avoid overcooking delicate foods.
The bottom of this durable food grade 304 (18/8) stainless steel cooking pot is composed of three-ply stainless steel. This pressure cooker is UL and ULC certified and comes with ten safety mechanisms, a stainless steel steam rack with a handle, a manual, and recipes written in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese. This one is ideal for those who are looking for the best pressure cooker. The control panel is large and easy to use, and the exterior of brushed stainless steel resists fingerprints. The seal does not allow steam to escape, nor will this pressure cooker heat up your kitchen. You can choose the five-quart size, the eight-quart size, or the 10-quart size.
2. All-American 41-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker
This pressure cooker is designed for canning rather than cooking. It uses a metal-to-metal seal rather than gaskets so that the seal does not allow even steam to escape, but it has an automatic overpressure release. The geared steam gauge can be set to 5 psi, 10 psi, or 15 psi. This is the best pressure cooker and is made of hand-cast aluminum with a satin finish.
You can choose among sizes from 10-1/2 quarts to 41-1/2 quarts. The 10-1/2 quart model holds seven pint jars or four quart jars. The 15-1/2 quart model holds 10 pint jars or seven quart jars. The 21-1/2 quart model holds 19 pint jars or seven quart jars. The 30 quart model holds 19 pint jars or 14 quart jars, and the 41-1/2 quart model holds 32 pint jars or 14 quart jars.
3. MIU France Stainless Steel Professional 8-Qt. Pressure Cooker
You can use this pressure cooker on gas, electric, induction, or halogen stovetops. It has two cooking levels. Level one cooks slowly at low pressure for delicate foods. Level two uses higher pressure and reduces cooking time by two-thirds. The cooking pot is composed of impact-bonded stainless steel which ensures rapid and even heat distribution. The lid is designed with a fully automatic locking system that will not allow it to open while the pot is pressurized. This pressure cooker should be washed by hand and not placed in the dishwasher.
4. Fagor Premium Electric Pressure and Rice Cooker
5. Magefesa Star 6.3 Quarts Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
6. Presto 01365 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker – Deluxe
There are many advantages to this pressure cooker. One of the best is that you are able to cook meals like braised meats in only 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re a busy mom, being able to cook a really healthy and tasty meal is insanely great. Normally you would have to cook a pot roast for five hours but you can cook it under an hour with the pressure cooker. And, if you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s great for cooking vegetables because it comes with a steam basket so you can cook your vegetables and still retain all their nutrients. The pot is really easy to clean and saves you time and money in the long run.
7. Prestige Deluxe Aluminum Pressure Cooker
The features on the Prestige Deluxe are great if you’re new to pressure cooking. The 2-in-1 safety device really makes it the best pressure cooker and will help you know how much pressure has built up inside the so there is no guessing. It’s also easy to make entire meals with the pot which is a great time saver and it measures up to 5 liters for cooking in large amounts. On busy nights, it’s so nice to have something that will cook your meal quickly so you can have something on the table when the kids are complaining they are starving.
8. Concord 8-Quart Pressure Cooker
One of the best things about the Concord 8-Quart is that it can be used for pressure cooking and also for canning. If you’re not a serious canner or can small quantities, then this size canner will be perfect for you. It’s awesome to be able to use all the vegetables in your garden or make some jam and jelly for the winter. You can also save money by making your own salsa and pickles instead of buying them at the store. It cooks very quickly which also helps conserve gas and electricity by cooking in a fraction of the time it would take normally.
9. Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
The Presto 01781 is great if it’s a week night but you still want to cook a nice family meal. If you grow a lot of fruit and vegetables or like to hit your local farmer’s market, this cooker is great for making preserves and jams. You can also use it to make tomato sauce, pickles or salsa depending on what you like. Because of its size and the amount you are able to can, this is the best pressure cooker and a great canner for someone experienced that is serious about canning. The Presto is safe and versatile and is capable of canning hundreds of pounds of food. If you’re new to canning, the air vent/cover lock is a great feature that only allows pressure to start to build once the cover is closed properly and then keeps the cover from opening again until the pressure is lowered. You never have to guess if it’s safe to open.
Presto 01745 16-Quart pressure Canner and Cooker
This canner is perfect for someone starting out or for someone who doesn’t want to can a ton of food. It also has the air vent/cover lock safety feature so you only have pressure when the lid is closed correctly and you cannot open it again until the pressure is reduced. The Presto 16-Quart can also double as a water bath canner for pickles, jam or jellies and salsa. It’s a sturdy piece so you can use it on your stove top for either canning of cooking. It’s an excellent pressure cooker and canner for someone just getting started or for the experienced cook.
No matter what your comfort level, there is a pressure cooker and canner designed just for you. Take your time looking at the different options and decide on what features you need and you’ll be cooking and canning like a pro in no time!
Pressure Cooker Buying Guide
Indeed, many of the poorest products today offer better performance as compared to the best ones in your grandmother’s generation. Hence, the standards, as well as the features to look for, have to be changed to keep up with the times. To make your work easier, we’ve brought together the most relevant features that a great cooker should have in 2019.
Secure Cover Locking System
Products like the Instant Pot 1000-Watts 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker come with a secure cover locking system that verifies when the lid is firmly secured and there are no openings through which steam can escape. Without this feature, the steam would escape or worse, there would be spillage of liquid content. In products with LED indicators, the secure locking system is also a cue for the indicator to start displaying the cooking time, etc. Combined together, these ensure that the product will work only when all chances of mishap or poor cooking have been eliminated.
Cooking Pot capacity
While most products come with a capacity of 4 or 6 quarts, there are some, like the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Family Style Pressure Cooker Stockpot 8 Quart, that offer 8 quart capacity. These sizes, in simple words, mean the capacity of the cooking pot to hold liquid. Since substantial amount of space is required to hold the steam, only half of this capacity can ever be mobilized. However, recipes are constructed keeping this limitation in mind, so if the recipe says you need 6 quart capacity, it means you need a 6 quart cooker (and not 6 quarts of actually usable space). In general you should choose:
- 4 quarts if you live alone or are a couple who typically cook no more than one meal per day in the pressure cooker. Full meals of a limited quantity can be cooked provided complex procedures are not involved.
- 6 quarts, if you have one or more children, and need to use the cooker regularly to cook one or more meals. 6 quarts are the minimum size to be used for cooking complex dishes.
- 8 quarts, if you have a large family, or prefer to use the cooker for purposes like creating stock and small scale canning.
Great capacities are used almost exclusively for high pressure canning, and would be useless unless you wish to cook for a large gathering on a regular basis.
Pressure cookers typically come with either aluminium or stainless steel construction. You should choose – Aluminium if you have a very constrained budget, and do not use the pressure cooker for anything more than the occasional meal for yourself or your small family. Aluminium tends to be cheap and a good conductor of heat, but brittle, prone to denting and pitting and difficult to use with foods with high acidic content. Stainless steel, if you want a truly durable product capable of working for years. Stainless steel is more sturdy, does not interact with acids to a great extent and can therefore handle all types of recipes as well. If budget is not a constraint, this pressure cooker buying guide would unequivocally suggest using stainless steel.
Aluminium made cookers do not need a special base since the metal is a great conductor. However, stainless steel is a weaker conductor, and needs a special bimetallic or trimetallic base to conduct heat efficiently into the interior. Generally, presence of an aluminium plate is ideal for such purposes.
Presence or absence of a pressure regulator is no longer a factor in the modern pressure cooker buying guide, since all products come with good regulators. However, the maximum pressure supported by the regulator should be no more than 15 psi (pascal per inch), and should be able to support Quick Pressure Release mechanisms, as many recipes require this option.
The pressure cooker should have decent handles, preferably a single long primary handle and a supporting handle on the other side. Further, dual LED indicators, such as the one in Emeril by T-fal CY4000 Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart, are useful for greater visibility of the readings.
A few wise words…..
As the above guide shows, pressure cookers have evolved substantially, becoming capable of sautéing, yoghurt making, browning and so much more. Pressure cookers speed up cooking times by approximately a factor of three. However, each product comes with its specialties and trade-offs, so it is important to decide what the requirements of your kitchen are. At the same time, we believe that the Instant Pot electric pressure cookers provide the best combination of convenience, durability and safety for a reasonable price. For some reason, some people refer to these Instant Pot pressure cookers as Instapot.
If you need to cook a lot of food, an 8 quart/liter product will perhaps be better than a 6 quart/liter one. Further, if you’re extremely busy, you might want to check out products with automatic steam release as opposed to manual . When all said and done, however, the fundamentals of pressure cookers – steam release, capacity, ability to lock in nutrients – are equally valid criteria for all products and we’ve rated these products highest based on these. With some confidence therefore, we can claim that the above guide will take you a long way in choosing the ideal pressure cooker for yourself and your beloved family.
How does a pressure cooker works?
A pressure cooker works by heating up water inside a sealed container. The water boils and evaporates into hot steam, which cooks your food.
Pressure cookers are fast because steam can become very hot, cooking food faster than hot water or a pan. Any food that you can cook in a liquid can go in a pressure cooker, so almost anything works.
Food will cook quickly and you will generally not be able to open the cooker partway through to check on it. That means you’ll need to know exactly how long your food needs to cook in advance.
This isn’t that hard to determine, because there are tables online that can give you cook times based on what you are cooking and how much of it you plan to use, but it is important to keep track.
The end result is a delicious meal that cooks quickly and uses less energy, saving you money.
Pressure cooker reviews are very important to understand that these tools are often bulky, so they will take more space than a regular pot, but you can find one in a size that corresponds to your needs.
What are the benefits of pressure cooking?
People often forget about the humble pressure cooking when they plan their meals, and that is a culinary tragedy. Pressure cooking offers several advantages that other cooking methods cannot match. Pressure cookers are fast, efficient, and they preserve nutrients that can be lost through other cooking methods. It isn’t always easy to find recipes that were designed with pressure cooking in mind, but the method’s advantages mean that it’s often worth the effort.
All pressure cooker reviews you read will tell you that by using this kitchen appliance is the fastest way to cook food for large groups of people. A microwave oven can be just as quick when cooking small dishes, but their low capacity means that they fall behind when cooking for more than one or two people at a time. Pressure cookers are fast because they use very little water, which means they can reach their cooking temperature relatively quickly. Overfilling the pressure cooker with too much water can remove this advantage, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cooking. Additionally, pressure cookers can heat food from every angle at once, which also contributes to their speed.
Pressure cooking uses less water and energy than most other cooking methods, so it’s better for the environment and contributes less to utility bills than those methods. Several factors contribute to the method’s efficiency. Pressure cookers rely on trapped steam, which means they function with very little water. Using less water means using less energy to heat it, and the fast cooking speed also means using less energy.
Most cooking methods degrade the nutrients in food over time. Water can leech minerals out of food as it cooks, while vitamins often break down at high temperatures. Traditional cooking methods often involve both of those things, which can lead to serious nutritional loss while the food is prepared. Pressure cooking avoids both of those problems. It uses very little water, and that water evaporates quickly, so most minerals will stay in the food as it cooks. It does cook food at high temperatures, but it does so quickly, which minimizes the time that vitamins have to break down. Every cooking method will lead to some loss of nutrition, but pressure cooking minimizes the damage.
Cooling the kitchen
Traditional stoves and ovens give off a lot of heat because they are exposed to the air. That reduces their energy efficiency, but it can also heat up a kitchen to uncomfortable levels. Cooling the kitchen down takes time that many cooks don’t have, which forces them to work in discomfort. Pressure cookers are very well insulated, so they don’t lose nearly as much energy to the environment while they cook. That makes them a great choice for hot summer days, since they aren’t likely to heat the kitchen up too much.
Eating delicious meals is a real pleasure wherever you are. But eating the same delicious meal, healthier, is even better. The best pressure cooker is not that expensive, taking into account that it will enable you to cook keeping the food’s proteins and minerals.
Safety is a very important factor when deciding which pressure cooker to buy. If you have read all of our pressure cooker reviews then you already have most of the information you need to pick the perfect one for your kitchen. You must remember that the water is boiling inside and the steam produced at high temperatures produces so much pressure that cheap ones may become dangerous to you and your family.
We recommend you highly consider purchasing a stainless steel pressure cooker due to the safety factor mentioned above. If you really understand the risks of using a aluminum pressure cooker, then go on.