According to a survey taken in 2016, 78% Americans think that eating meals require cooking from scratch. Nothing beats freshly cooked food at home and most people know that pressure cookers are their best bet at cooking mouth watering food.
While a majority of people love to be in the kitchen and cook delicious food for themselves and their families, there’s a lot involved than just having cooking skills.
American people spend about 35.4 minutes per day in the kitchen on average to cook food, says Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 Time Use Surveys. This means that cooking at home sure is common.
Now let’s come to the point. Pressure cookers. They are your magic containers that convert raw food into cooked food by building up steam. Pressure cookers are a first choice for people, especially older people, because they cook food quickly, require minimum hassle and offer safety compared to regular pots.
This article will help you reach the pressure cooker which is best for you in every way. Commonly, there are two types of pressure cookers used around: stainless steel and aluminium.
When it comes to aluminium pressure cookers, they aren’t costly but do have shorter lifespans. They may be lighter but can easily catch stains. Stainless steel pressure cookers on the other hand are durable and offer tremendous safety. They may be expensive but serve their purpose well for most people and are a commendable choice to pick when it comes to pressure cooker.
Who the heck invented this amazing device, anyway?
A Frenchman by the name of Denis Papin created the pressure cooker in the 1600s. He called the pot the “Digester”. I, personally, think that name is disgusting haha! However, it would be centuries before the pressure cooker was renamed and revamped into the amazing little pot that you now see lining the shelves of big box stores.
Check out this fun video on the dynamics of how the pressure cooker works:
How does a pressure cooker work?
Pressure cookers will raise the boiling point of the water inside of the pot. So, when your cooking something moist, like soup or veggies, the steam’s boiling point reaches around 250 degrees.
This level of heat is much higher than the normal 212 degrees that you’d get in the slow cooker or stove top.
Due to the high-level of pressure, liquid is forced into your food resulting in it cooking faster. This encourages otherwise tough pieces of meat to tenderize rather quickly.
I don’t know about you guys and gals but I am completely sold on the pressure cooker. It really gets the job done well. I love popping my food into the cooker on a busy day and having dinner cooked surprisingly quickly.
Why Buy A Pressure Cooker?
Cooking is a technique that goes way back to the 17th century. People used to heat food and eat with their families. Now, since technology has reached newer heights, we have easier ways to cook food that saves us time and money. Hence, pressure cookers are the perfect fit to make food in minutes.
Here’s why you should get a pressure cooker:
Cooking seems easy and non-cooks think that all it involves is adding ingredients and heating them. That’s not it, timing plays an important role as well.
Older pressure cookers came with several risks, it was common for them to explode or malfunction, but today’s products are safe to use.
There are even pressure cookers which work on self timers and stop on their own once the food is cooked; some of them make a whistling sound once the food is prepared so you can take care of it.
Pressure cooker saves you time. What takes an hour to get prepared can be made in 15 minutes with the help of a pressure cooker, that too without compromising on taste.
Better At Retaining Nutrients
According to research, cooking food in pressure cookers is healthier as pressure cookers help retain important vitamins and nutrients. This is because they do not let heat escape, all the vital nutrients remain inside.
Also, since food is prepared quickly with the help of a pressure cooker, as a result there is less evaporation and hence less loss of nutrients.
Other than saving you time, they help preserve energy too. Alternatives such as microwave ovens can do a good job as well, but they use a lot of power that does not only add up to the cost, but is also not eco-friendly.
Preserves Flavor Of The Food
According to reports, pressure cookers help retain taste and provide you with delicious meals. This is because they help retain liquid, which contain most of the taste. As a result, you get to enjoy good food that is also prepared in les time.
There’s no limit to cooking diverse recipes in a pressure cooker because you can regulate the temperature of the cooker according to your needs and the type of food you’re cooking.
A good pressure cooker preserves the flavor of the food which is being cooked in it.
Pressure cookers provide you the benefit of of keeping your kitchen counters clean because you won’t need extra pans and containers, something that is very common when you use traditional cooking methods.
Cleaning pressure cookers is also very easy and you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing them with detergent, unless it is made up of aluminium. However, still, pressure cookers require far less maintenance than other means of cooking and require less cooking appliances.
Check out this video on how to clean a traditional pressure cooker:
Let’s get to know about the types of pressure cookers that contain all the above mentioned traits:
Types Of Pressure Cookers
Mainly, there are two kinds of pressure cookers being used around the globe. Let’s have a look at each in detail:
Electrical Pressure Cookers
These type of pressure cookers offer an easy cooking experience and are perfect for people who love cooking but have less time on hands. They use electrical power and can work on their own, removing the need for you to stand next to it.
These cookers can regulate the temperature according to what’s best for the type of food that is being cooked.
Apart from that, they use less energy than ovens and other electrical food preparing appliances and prepare much more tastier food too. The reason behind it is simple. Electrical pressure cookers do not allow heat to escape the cooker which is why nutrients are kept inside and stopped from evaporating.
Also, for this reason the kitchen remains cool as there is no heat adding to the temperature. This makes it comfortable to stand and work in the kitchen.
Moreover, electrical pressure cookers require less cleaning as there are minimal chances of spilling or staining the kitchen counters since they are enclosed while food is being cooked.
There’s also a timer built in electrical pressure cookers that let you manage them timely.
- Easy cooking.
- Energy efficient.
- Built in heat source and timer.
- Low PSI.
- Takes up good amount of counter space in the kitchen.
Stovetop Pressure Cookers
Unlike electrical pressure cookers, stovetop pressure cookers do not operate on their own power source and need to be heated on a stove. Their biggest benefit is their small size as they take less space than electrical pressure cookers and can be stored easily.
In addition to this, they also cook meals a lot quicker than electrical pressure cookers. This is because they don’t have motors or electrical components in them that take long to start up. However, they require you to be by their side and keep an eye on the cooker at all hours as they contain no autoregulation technology. You will have to manually regulate the temperature and keep an eye on the food to turn it off when it’s done.
They are far more resilient than electrical cookers, especially the ones made in stainless steel. They last for years and do not catch stains easily.
- Easy to store in places.
- Faster than electrical cookers.
- Lasts long.
- High PSI.
- Manual operation
Now that we know how important it is to have a pressure cooker at home and how the two types of pressure cookers help prepare tasty food in much less time and with ease, let’s go deeper into the details and narrow down on the best pressure cookers:
Things To Look For While Buying A Pressure Cooker
There are many factors that need to be kept in mind when it comes to buying a pressure cooker. While there are a plethora of manufacturers making tonnes of different pressure cookers, you need to be smart enough to pick the best one. Here’s how you can do it:
PSI (Pounds Per Inch)
PSI is the amount of pressure a pressure cooker uses to cook food. Fifteen PSI is the unofficial pressure cooking standard because most of the recipes require to be cooked on this PSI for amazing results.
You should look for pressure cookers that have higher PSI. When it comes to electrical pressure cookers, they do not have higher PSI’s. At max, they’ll reach to 10-12 PSI. On the other hand, stovetop pressure cookers do reach 15 PSI which is why they are said to cook delicious food more quickly.
Pressure cookers vary in prices depending upon their type, material, brand name, size of the cooker and the accessories they come with etc. Normally, they range from $40 – $350. However, stovetop pressure cookers are cheaper compared to electrical pressure cookers.
Before buying one, make sure you do your homework. Hit Google and visit top review sites to learn about the most reliable and durable pressure cookers which are also fair in price.
Lastly, make sure you stay in your financial budget because pressure cookers can be costly and might disrupt your monthly budget. So choose wisely by keeping all factors in mind.
While 15 PSI is the standard, you should opt for pressure cookers that let you adjust PSI according to your requirements.
Sadly, not many buyers are aware of this factor, but being able to adjust pressure can give you great results as some dishes are better cooked on low pressure while some are better cooked on higher.
Being able to adjust pressure allows you to get your desired taste and enjoy best flavors.
Many pressure cookers come with 4 or more settings. They are:
Low: 6 – 8 PSI
Medium: 8 – 13 PSI
High: 13 – 15 PSI
It is vital that pressure cookers offer low PSI too because they are ideal to cook sea food, make veggies crispy and cook rice. Many pressure cookers are labelled as multi cookers as they function both as slow and fast cookers.
Some models have options which are labeled as warm, brown, steam, slow cook etc. Make sure you inquire about these pressure settings before you decide to buy a pressure cooker.
Capacity And Size
Another important aspect to look into is the capacity and size the cooker offers. It depends upon how big your family is. Size of pressure cookers are often measured with respect to how much liquid can they store. Here’s how you can break it down:
- For Singles/Couples: A pressure cooker that can store under 5 litres is the right choice for a single person or a couple. You can easily cook meals for two in this sized pressure cooker.
- Average Family (3-5 members): 5 – 7 litres capacity of a pressure cooker is ideal for an average family. It would take up less space in the kitchen and can even be stored in cupboards.
- Large Families (6 – 9 members): For larger families, a pressure cooker that can capacitate from 7.5 up to 10 litres is the ultimate choice. You won’t be needing to use two separate pressure cookers or cook twice in the same cooker if you have a cooker that can store up to 10 litres.
- More Than 10 Members: You will need pressure cookers that can capacitate more than 10 litres of water. These pressure cookers are big in size, but are easily available.
Material (Aluminium Vs Stainless Steel)
These two are the most common types of materials used in making pressure cookers. If you want to have a pressure cooker that can last long and is highly durable then you should go for stainless steel. However, keep in mind that they are expensive and heavy to carry.
On the other hand, pressure cookers made from aluminium are lighter and less expensive. However, they are prone to stains and have comparatively shorter lifespan than stainless steel.
The opinion on taste seems to be divided too. Many people believe that stainless steel provides better taste, however most reports indicate that the taste is not much affected by the material.
Our Recommendations For You (Best Picks)
Now that you are well aware of pressure cookers and things to consider when buying one, let’s have a look at some of the best pressure cookers out there. We have compiled this list after thorough research, and it’s a mix of different types of pressure cookers.
This pressure cooker holds the title of best selling cooker as it offers 7 functionalities. Namely, slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker, salute, pressure cooker and a warmer. It’s also the right size and can store 8 quarts.
You can choose from 14 smart programs and cook your favorite dishes without any trouble. You can operate it with an app or simply use the one touch controls.
It is highly durable as it is made up of stainless steel and also has temperature regulating settings.
Extremely safe to use thanks to the many safety features it comes with.
People who are avid canner users should consider the All American 21 ½ quart pressure cooker canner as it has many amazing features.
It should be noted that it is suitable for large families, dinner or even hostings as it can prepare meals for more than 15 people at once.
It is quite heavy and a bit costly too but there are many benefits associated with it.
The canning seal is safe.
It can hold 19 pint jars.
A pressure gauge is attached to it that lets you read the pressure.
Also, it is made of high quality and is said to be durable as well.
This is the ultimate cooker that saves you 70% time and cooks you delicious food for upto 10 people.
It is composed of stainless steel and special triclad that makes the cooker heat fast.
Supports both manual and automatic pressure handling thanks to the regulator steam release valve.
Plus, there’s a cover lock indicator that notifies you if the pressure is not suitable.
Also, you’ll get a 64 page recipe book along with to help you with making tasty dishes.
Made up from 18/10 stainless steel and can store 3 to 4 pint jars for canning. It is composed of stainless steel, however, there’s a bit of aluminium inside the pot which is why it is light and absorbs heat like a pro.
People who are always concerned about the safety of pressure cookers should turn to this cooker. There are 5 safety features in this cooker including automatic safety lock, spring loaded precision valve etc.
It comes with a 10 year warranty and can save up to 70% of energy consumption.
This beauty offers various options including brown and white rice, reheat, vegetables & fish, chicken, beans, stew, beef, soup, desserts, potatoes, pork and ribs and browning food.
This cooker can prepare food for a family of 6 members as it is a 6 quart cooker.
Also, it has a 24 hour delay timer that lets you cook at a later time too.
This is an electrical pressure cooker designed to prepare delicious food for a family of 6 as its a 6 quart cooker.
This cooker is 7 times more efficient that regular stovetops cookers.
Also, you can choose from a variety of pressure adjusting settings including low or high pressure, browning, salute, simmer and warming.
The pressure countdown is displayed with LED lights and the elegant black design makes it appear more alluring.
It provides 6 different pressure settings that let you cook various dishes on different pressure.
It is suitable for average families having 3 to 5 members as its a 6 quart electrical cooker.
The energy it consumes is very low and it also works automatically once it starts cooking food.
Also, the 18/10 stainless steel makes it very durable and long lasting.
Fagor Duo is a highly recommended pressure cooker for large families as it can prepare food for up to 9 members.
The body is made up of stainless steel which doesn’t let the heat escape and cooks delicious food.
There’s an auto pressure release function which promotes its safety and can be used by anyone at home.
The stay cool handle it comes with is handy as it doesn’t get hot and you can easily carry the cooker.
9. T-fal CY505E 12-in-1 Programmable Electric Multifunction Pressure Cooker with 25 Built-In Smart Programs
This pressure cooker is amazing for an average family as it is a 6 quart pressure cooker with 25 built-in programs to help cook diverse dishes. With 12 automatic functions to support rice cooking, salute, browning, reheat, soup making and many more.
It is extremely safe to use thanks to its secure lock lid which traps the heat inside.
This is one of the most preferred choice of users due to many reasons. It comes with 3 safety features: secure lid lock, hands free steam release and a safety valve to manually release heat as well.
Other than that, you can choose from 11 different pressure cooking settings according to the recipe you’re making. Once, you are done cooking, the warm feature activates and keeps the food warm before you serve it.
A highly recommended cooker for an average family of 3 – 5 members.
This pressure cooker is pricey though because of the technology and automatic features.
So, these were the things that you should keep in mind before purchasing a pressure cooker.
Look at our top 10 picks above, and pick one that fits you the best. We recommend you to go for stainless steel cookers if budget is not an issue.
updated 04/14/2019 Jessica faidley