The humble pressure cooker has really thrown off its dated reputation and is now the must-have fast cooking kid on the kitchen block. From stews, roasts and soups, to rice and even desserts, the latest models steam ahead when it comes to delicious food. And they are pretty healthy too, ensuring your food holds on to all that flavor and goodness while cooking food in super-quick time. And the one-pot approach saves you energy and creates minimal mess.
Whether you prefer the more traditional stovetop cooker or fancy a multi-function electric cooker to widen your cooking horizons, we take a look at some of the best pressure cookers to get you hot under the collar.
The Best Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot Duo is a pressure-cooking wizard, providing seven different ways to cook delicious food. As well as a conventional electric pressure cooker, the Duo is also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer. Add in a sauté pan and a yoghurt maker and it’s easy to see why the Instant Pot Duo is our best pressure cookers top pick. The design’s not too large but can cater for up to six people, making it the perfect choice for a busy family or the batch cooking lover. And it’s intuitive to use, thanks to the one-touch control pad complete with neat pre-programs, such as porridge, bean chili and soup. There are decent safety features too, including overheat protection and safety lock and the outer stainless steel is fingerprint resistant. For hassle-free pressure cooking that can multi-task like a pro, the Instant Pot Duo simply steams ahead.
Seven appliances in one
Cooking capacity for up to 6 people
Fingerprint-resistant outer casing
24-hour timer for delayed cooking
14 pre-programmed cooking modes
- BrandInstant Pot
- Weight11.8 pounds
If cooking and canning is your thing, or you’d like to get started, then the Presto is worth a look. This pressure cooker and canner is well priced as a versatile, durable stovetop device. First up, it has a really large capacity – 23 quarts to be precise – and while it is sizeable it’s pretty easy to handle and maneuver. It works well as a traditional pressure cooking pot and has all the key features you would expect, including easy read pressure dial gauge, release valve and air vent/cover lock for safe and controlled cooking. The whole pot is made from heavy gauge aluminum for even cooking and there is plenty of inner space for canning vegetable, meats, fruit and seafood. It also comes with a handy canning rack and a large recipe book to keep you pressure cooking and canning inspired!
Large 23-quart capacity
Made from heavy gauge aluminum
Easy read pressure dial gauge
Includes canning rack and recipe book
- Weight12 pounds
For price, versatility and ease of use, the Crock-Pot 8 in 1 scoops our Best Value title. At six quarts, it’s not the largest capacity pressure cooker in our review but for the price you’ll certainly get lots of use. Ideal for singles, couples or a smaller family, this Crock-Pot is steam-powered convenience. You get four different functions so you can also slow cook, brown, sauté or steam, along with eight different programs for different styles of meals, from stews to yoghurts. Plus there is a delay start timer and keep warm mode. The inner cooking pot is non stick and also dishwasher safe and the control pad is well thought out and really intuitive to use. For everyday pressure and slow cooking, this is one of the leading Instant Pot competitors and offers great value, without taking up too much counter space and with the reassurance of the renowned Crock-Pot brand.
Slow Cook, Pressure Cook, Brown and Sauté
8 pre-set meal functions
Airtight locking lid and delay start timer
Non-stick and dishwasher safe pot
- Weight18 pounds
If you like the idea of a pressure cooker but also want to cook crispier food, then the Ninja is the ideal solution as it also works as an air fryer. Using ‘TenderCrisp’ technology, this smart pressure cooker fast-steams your food, and can then add a golden finish using its crisping lid. This makes the Ninja Foodi perfect for those family roast dinners, creating a lovely moist joint or chicken that’s golden crispy. Best of both worlds! The Ninja is not cheap, but you do get a lot of functionality – as well as air frying, it is a pressure cooker and slow cooker than can braise, bake, steam and broil. Add in a 6.5-quart ceramic-coated non-stick pot and digital touch pad as well as a frozen to crispy function to fast-forward on the thawing and you have what could be the best electric pressure cooker for the money.
6.5-quart pot pressure cooker
Slow cook, braise, bake and broil
Crisping lid for a golden finish
Ceramic coated non-stick pot
- Weight25.8 pounds
If you want a straightforward stovetop pressure cooker but with all the style and innovation of modern models, then this pot from T-fal shouldn’t disappoint. The price is good, less than $80 and the build is reassuring solid without looking dated or clunky. You get a 6.3-quart capacity and a durable stainless-steel construction. The side handles are substantial and comfortable to grip, and you also get a one-handed system so you can safely open and close the lid. The whole pot is clear and easy to use, from the pressure valve to the securely locking lid. What we also like about the T-fal Clipso is that if you whip off the gasket and pressure valve, everything else can be popped straight into the dishwasher for convenient cleaning. That’s sure to boost its top pressure cooker ratings!
6.3-quart capacity; stainless steel pot
One-hand opening and closing
Encapsulated base for even heat distribution
Steam basket and stand
- Weight7.7 pounds
With a busy life, sometimes you need a cooker to match, which is where the Breville Fast Slow Pro steps up to the plate. One of the more expensive pressure cookers in our review, you get a high-performing pressure-cooking machine for your money. First up, it’s a very good electric pressure cooker, offering precision pressure thanks to the dual sensors. But for when you want to slow things right down, simply switch to the slow cooking mode. There’s also a keep warm function and 11 different pressure cook settings so you can fine tune your recipe for the most delicious meal. The Fast Slow Pro is practical too, thanks to the wrap-around ‘moat’ which catches condensation for fuss free cleaning. Add in a three-way safety system and hands-free steam pressure release and when it comes to choosing the best programmable pressure cooker, the Fast Slow is certainly in the running.
Choose from slow to fast pressure cooking
11 cooking settings plus keep warm mode
Wraparound moat catches condensation
Three-way safety locking lid
- Weight14 pounds
The functionality on the Mealthy MultiPot is impressive and almost makes you feel you have your own kitchen guide on hand. The LCD display screen is sizeable and makes it simple to use. There are 14 easy touch programs depending on how you want to cook – from steam and stew, to slow cook, simmer, bake and sauté. You also get the option for a manual pressure cooker mode for when you want to take total control of the cooking time. The stainless steel pot offers a 6-quart capacity so good enough for the average family. And there’s an added twist as you can cook two different meals at once, with the main pot, and added steamer basket. As well as the expected safety features, you also get an extra wide steam vent handle to keep your hands safe when the pressure is released. A mobile app, with a wealth of recipes and advice, is also included with this smart instant pot.
6-quart instant pot with steamer basket
14 easy touch programs
Manual pressure cooker option
Extra wide steam vent handle
- Weight14.95 pounds
Constructed of stainless steel, the Cuisinart’s cooker is safe and efficient, plus really easy to use. The cooker comes with variable pressure and temperature settings which allow you to make various classic dishes or customize them to your liking. There are also five cooking settings, including browning, simmering, sauteing and of course, low and high-pressure cooking. All in all, a solid budget digital pressure cooker.
With several adjustable cooking programs, this cooker can help you make various healthy, flavorful dishes quickly and easily, including roasts, stews, soups, even cheesecake! There is also a Keep Warm function to keep your food warm long after it has been cooked. The pot is non-stick and dishwasher safe and it comes with a trivet, allowing you to make several dishes at once. Importantly, the cooker is equipped with a precision, a digital thermostat which makes cooking quick and easy even for beginners.
Stainless steel pot, 6-quart
5 cooking settings
Keep Warm function
Lock lid for safety
Comes with a trivet and recipe booklet
- Weight12.57 pounds
If you like your rice cooked to perfection, then our premium pick could be for you! Using a combination of pressure cooking and induction heat, the Zojirushi tailors the steam level so you can get your rice just right. With settings for white, mixed, sushi, porridge and brown rice, you will wonder how you ever lived without this rice cooker wonder. Yes, it’s expensive, but the tech comes up with the goods and should leave you rice-happy. You can even choose the umami setting which extends the soaking and steaming for a subtle flavor or opt for the scorcher setting for when the recipe calls for a crispy finish. The pot is infused with platinum for a superior non-stick finish and the LED display also has enough programs and settings to keep you coming back for more. Definitely one for the rice lover.
Non-stick platinum infused pot
Combines induction heat and steam pressure
Multi-menu rice cooking program
Pressure control and back-up valves
- Weight13 pounds
Ideal for the busy kitchen, there seems very little the Instant Pot Ultra cannot do. From pressure cooking to sauté, rice cooker, slow cooker and steamer, you can also add egg cooker, sterilizer and yoghurt/cake maker to its CV. This multi-tasker from Instant Pot provides a 6-quart pot, that should work for most families or batch cookers. The LED panel is clear, plus you get a central dial for manual, precision control. Inside a microprocessor monitors the pressure, while a roll call of 11 safety features, including a steam pressure release reset button, gives you extra peace of mind. The outer casing is fingerprint-resistant and with additional accessories – steam rack, serving spoon, measuring cup and recipe book – the Instant Pot Ultra can be a smart family buy.
10-in-1 function pressure cooker
Fingerprint-resistant stainless steel
Manual dial for precision control
Steam pressure release reset button
- BrandInstant Pot
- ModelUltra 60
- Weight11.83 pounds
Best Pressure Cooker Buying Guide
Features to Look for in a Pressure Cooker
Here are the key things to consider when choosing a pressure cooker:
Size – your available kitchen work surface area should play a major part in your final pressure cooker decision. Pressure cookers come in a range of shapes and sizes, from mini cookers offering around 1.5 liters of capacity to larger machines of six liters or more. The capacity and size of your pressure cooker also depends on how much food you intend to cook. If you're batch cooker or have a big family, then a larger sized model is going to be your best bet.
Construction – you want a cooker that's constructed for its pressurized job. Stainless-steel outer and inner pots are the most durable and will have a thicker base than an aluminum design, but they will be heavier. Many pressure cookers also have non-stick coatings for easy cleaning although this can scratch over time.
Cooking programs – you want your pressure cooker to be versatile but also cook the meals you want to prepare. Look at the cooking programs the pressure cooker offers to ensure you are getting what you want and will use. Slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, sautéing and ‘keep warm’ are the basic settings to get you started.
Ease of use – your new pressure cooker may look a little high tech, but it should be intuitive to use. Look for clear displays and controls, easy to remove inner pot and folding handles. Cleaning your new pressure cooker is an important consideration too so look for a cooker that has easy to remove parts for fuss-free washing.
Safety – the pressure cooker should also have sufficient safety features to give you peace of mind as you pressure cook. Look for a locking lid, safety pressure valves, clear visual pressure indicators and an auto-shut off function as standard.
What are the Benefits of Pressure Cooking?
If you've wondered what a pressure cooker could add to your kitchen, then here are the best reasons to buy one:
Food retains more nutrients – with its steam cooking food quicker than conventional methods, a pressure cooker can help your meals retain more of those essential nutrients. Regular steaming or boiling can leach water-soluble vitamins and minerals out of food, but with a pressure cooker, less water is used, and the shorter cook time leaves in more goodness.
Food is tastier – the longer food is cooked the more likely it will lose its appetizing color and flavor, which are both key to an enjoyable meal. A pressure cooker will blast your food with steam, enabling it to retain those brighter colors and the airtight pot design means flavors will develop faster and richer.
Saves time and energy – using steam pressure is a very efficient way to cook and as it's a one-pot approach you will find prep time is easier and quicker. A pressure cooker is also energy efficient, thanks to both the pot’s insulated design and the super-quick cook time, compared to other cooking methods.
Less cleaning – that one-pot approach also saves you time and hassle once mealtime is done as you only have one main pot to clean.
Different Types of Pressure Cookers
Pressure cookers come is two main types:
Stovetop - with a simpler design, stovetop pressure cookers are a cost-effective way to boost your steam-cooking power and can be used on both gas and electric ranges. The functions are more limited than electric and they need to be manually adjusted to get to the maximum pressure, and then manually released. Stovetop pressure cookers come in a wide range of sizes, including super-large 20 quart+ and are simple, affordable and fast.
Electric – with more functionality plus a host of safety and automatic functions, electric pressure cookers are more versatile than the stovetop, but they can be more expensive. Electric pressure cookers are also versatile, efficient and intuitive to use, and often go beyond the basic pressure cooking to offer other ways to speed and even slow cook your food, including baking desserts. Some also include an air fryer for crisping food or a precooker to brown ingredients. However, electric pressure cookers do tend to cook a little slower than the stovetop.
What's the Difference Between a Pressure Cooker and a Pressure Canner?
While you can use both a pressure cooker and pressure canner for straightforward pressure cooking, a pressure canner is much larger and needs to also include a pressure gauge so you can safely cook low acid foods, including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish inside their jars or cans. An ordinary pressure cooker which does not have this pressure gauge should not be used to can foods, however pressure cooker/canner models are on the market.
To summarize the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner:
- A pressure cooker uses pressurized steam to speed up the cooking of food
- A pressure canner uses steam to generate a high heat to safely cook and can low acid foods.
Top Rated Pressure Cooker Brands
With so many products to choose from, you want to get the best - and most reliable - pressure cooker for your money. Consumer recommendations are key, so it's no surprise that some of the leading kitchen equipment brands are coming out as the top rated. If you're looking for a new pressure cooker then Prestige, T-fal, Crock-Pot, Breville and Instant Pot amongst others are currently getting rated in the latest pressure cooker reviews and cover a range of styles, functionality and budget.
Pressure Cookers FAQ:
Q: What is a pressure cooker and how does it work?
A: A pressure cooker using the principle of steam pressure to cook your food. Simply put, it consists of an airtight and sealed pot with steam inside, which builds up to a high pressure, cooking food much faster than conventional cooking. A pressure cooker works by using a valve that controls the level of steam pressure inside the pot. This highly pressurized steam works in two ways:
- Raises the boiling point of water inside the cooking pot. Typically, the heat of wet liquid in food has a limit of the boiling point of water, which is 212°F. But with the pressure of the steam, this boiling point can be raised up to 250°F, which will cook food much faster.
- Increases pressure inside the pot, which forces liquid into food. This extra moisture inside foods such as tough cuts of meat or large meat joints means it cooks and tenderizes faster.
Q: What are the Best Foods to Cook in a Pressure Cooker?
A: While pressure cookers are good for most food, their particular strength is in cooking food that would otherwise take a long time using more conventional methods; foods like tougher cuts of meat, delicious beef stew, beans, whole chicken or large joints of meat. Food and recipes that would benefit from stewing, braising, boiling or steaming can work well with the speedy approach of pressure cooking.
Q: Does a Pressure Cooker Turn Off Automatically?
A: It depends on the type of pressure cooker you have. Electric pressure cookers come with a timer and automatic switch off when the cooking time is complete. Stove top pressure cookers have a release valve that requires you to manually release the pressure once the timer has gone off to effectively stop the cooking and take them off the heat.
Q: Do Pressure Cookers Kill Bacteria?
A: Pressure cookers do kill many forms of bacteria because they cook food at a higher temperature than boiling water. At - and beyond - the boiling temperature of 212F/121C, most viruses and bacteria simply cannot survive. Many bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning, including salmonella, campylobacter, listeria and E.coli, can all be killed off by pressure cooking, as long as the food you are cooking is taken to the right pressure and heat. But not all bugs are killed by pressure cooking alone, which is why straightforward pressure cookers are not suitable as canners.
Our Top Pick
Well-priced and with an impressive seven cooking functions in one, the Instant Pot Duo is one of the electric pressure cookers on the market. It cooks, steams, sautés and warms, as well as transforming into a rice cooker and even a yoghurt maker. Perfect for busy families, it is easy to use too, and comes complete with a host of pre-programmed cooking modes to make your life even easier. Excellent value and sure to become one of your favorite kitchen gadgets.