Best Pressure Cookers of 2018
A pressure cooker is a convenient, handy appliance to have around when you need food fast. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best pressure cooker for your fast-paced lifestyle.
Shopping Guide for Pressure Cookers
A pressure cooker is an incredibly handy appliance to have around when you need food fast. It combines heat and pressure to cook food much more efficiently than you can in the oven. Most are used on the stove top to achieve the desired temperature and pressure. Electric pressure cookers can be used off the stove top and right on the counter.
But do you want a stove top pressure cooker? Or an electric? How big of a pressure cooker do you need? They can range from 3 quarts all the way to 25. If you're feeling confused, don't worry. We're here to help.
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If you know enough about pressure cookers to choose which one you want, check out our top picks above. To learn more about pressure cooking, read on.
Why Get a Pressure Cooker?
If you feel your kitchen is fully stocked with appliances already, you might be wondering why you should add another to the mix. Here are our top reasons why you might want to consider one:
- Capacity: When you're cooking in an oven, you're constrained in a lot of ways. How much can your baking pans hold? How much can your oven hold? In large pressure cookers, you can load it up far beyond your oven's capacity.
- Ease of use: Once you've got your pressure cooker at the right settings, you just simply let it work its magic. No need to check in on it or give ingredients a stir.
- Speed: Pressure cookers get dinner on the table more quickly than other options because your food can cook faster at different pressures. A stew that would usually take 4 to 5 hours on a stove will be done in less than an hour in your cooker.
- Versatility: You can cook plenty of things in a pressure cooker: meat, beans, and much more. An electric pressure cooker can do even more. For example, the Instant Pot has as many as 14 programs built-in to make cooking rice, eggs, or producing yogurt as easy as possible.
- Durability: A quality stove top pressure cooker could be useful for decades. Since they don't require electronics, you won't have to worry about it burning out. Electric pressure cookers, on the other hand, have a shorter lifespan.
Pressure Cooker Features
Depending on what features you're looking for, there's a pressure cooker for you. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a pressure cooker:
- If you're a serious chef, look for a stainless steel—rather than aluminum—pressure cooker.
- Pressure cookers have come a long way in terms of safety. But if you want to be extra careful, look for one that has fail safes in place when you're cooking.
- Some pressure cookers come with canning racks—a great feature if you buy fruits and veggies in bulk.
- Electric pressure cookers come with programs already built-in, such as slow cooking, sautéing, steaming, and more.
Q. What's the easiest pressure cooker to use?
A. Electric pressure cookers tend to be easier to use. All you have to do is press a button to bring them to pressure. But you will likely have to sacrifice size, and they tend to cost more.
Q. It's my first time pressure cooking. What are some easy recipes to try out?
A. We highly recommend simple soups and stews if you're just starting out. They require dumping all the ingredients into your cooker and bringing everything to pressure. You don't have to worry as much about things becoming over- or undercooked.
Q. What should I expect to pay for a pressure cooker?
A. You can find a quality, 6-quart pressure cooker for under $50. We highly recommend not going too much lower than that because a cheap pressure cooker can be dangerous. For an electric cooker, expect to pay between $80 and $140. For large stainless-steel cookers you could pay more than $200.