One of the most ingenious inventions in cookware, pressure cookers are essential in every kitchen. The upgraded electric pressure cookers are far superior to the old, rattling versions that your grandma used to own.
The best electric pressure cooker will cut down huge chunks of the cooking time to get dinner quickly to your table. So, if the idea of cooking one-pot dishes, stews, and braised meat in one-third the time excites you, you will enjoy our picks.
Table of Contents
- What is a Pressure Cooker?
- What is the Best Pressure Cooker?
- Top 8 Best Pressure Cookers for 2020 Reviews (Consumer Reports)
- #1. Best Pressure Cooker For 2020: Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure, Slow Cooker, Air Fryer and More
- #2. Best Rated Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Duo Electric Pressure Cooker
- #3. Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker: Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- #4. Best Programmable Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Smart Wifi 8-In-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
- #5. Best Automatic Electric Pressure Cooker: Breville Bpr700bss Fast Slow Pro Multi Function Cooker
- #6. Best Microwave Pressure Cooker: Nordic Ware Microwave Tender Cooker 2.5 Quart
- #7. Best Pressure and Slow Cooker Combo: Crock-Pot 8-Quart Multi-Use XL Express Crock Programmable Slow Cooker And Pressure Cooker
- #8. Best Pressure Rice Cooker: Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer 1.0 Liter, Stainless Brown NP-NVC10
- How Does A Pressure Cooker Work?
- How To Use A Pressure Cooker?
What is a Pressure Cooker?
If you think of pressure cookers as pots full of water, rattling on the stove, ready to blow off any minute, think again. But then, what is a pressure cooker exactly?
Pressure cookers are airtight containers that use steam build up to cook food quickly. The steam keeps the food moist and tender, opening a whole world of possibilities in the kitchen for you.
We have some very impressive electric cookers in the market today, and their food compares to the best traditional pressure cookers as they work on the same principle—a steam pot with lots of steam buildup inside, which cooks food faster and tastier.
But wait. Don’t they say that longer cooking times mean more flavor?
Well, slow cooking has its advantages, but the pressure cookers lock in the flavor-rich moisture of the food, so the aroma stays inside the pot while cooking. That means enhanced flavor and lesser cooking times too. Makes sense?
These cooking vessels can cook large pieces of meat (80-90 minutes), perfect stews, curries (chicken takes around 10 minutes), vegetable recipes (potatoes take 4-8 minutes), and excellent soft boil eggs for salads in half the time than a regular pot. You can even cook puddings and cakes, so the possibilities are endless.
Many pressure cookers double as instant pots that unite the electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and yogurt maker in one handy vessel.
They come in a range of sizes, from very small to huge pots. However, going any smaller than 5 liters won’t be very useful.
What is the Best Pressure Cooker?
Today’s pressure cookers are super comfortable and safe to use. They are way more reliable than the older versions, as long as you follow the few basic rules that eliminate the chances of food exploding out of the cooker.
These vessels can brown meat and sautee veggies in a matter of minutes. If you don’t lock the lid on, you can slow cook your food like in any other pot.
What’s interesting is that pressure cookers are known to retain more vitamins and minerals than simple steaming or microwaving.
However, you will have to pick the right one for your needs to get the most out of it. Here are some features to look for in a pressure cooker.
# Quiet Float Valve
The more advanced stovetop and electric cookers won’t fill your entire house with whistling sounds or clanking metal noises. The electric ones have a weighted float valve which quietly turns the heating element on and off to regulate the internal pressure.
As the cookers are fully sealed without steam pouring out of them like crazy, you don’t have to deal with food smells filling up the whole house too. Plus, the seal makes these units more energy-efficient than traditional cookers.
# Stainless Steel
The best stovetop pressure cookers are made of stainless steel rather than aluminum. Cheaper materials are soft and reactive with acidic substances such as lemon or wine, so they can change the food’s flavor.
Apart from that, look for cookers without non-stick coating as it can be damaged very quickly by the cooking utensils and start scratching off.
# Pressure Settings
A good cooker has at least two pressure settings, a high setting to cook meat to the bone, and a low setting for eggs, veggies, and desserts. The simpler versions have a switch on the lid to choose between pressures while the electric cookers have a touch button.
# Safety Features
Safety features make pressure cooking reliable and safer to use. Before getting a cooker, look for some of the necessary safety features such as overheat protection and a safety lock for maximum security.
# Ease of Cleaning
Low maintenance cookers will be easier to clean and maintain over the long run. Generally, stainless steel cookers require less maintenance compared to the aluminum ones which are softer and catch rust quickly.
Top 8 Best Pressure Cookers for 2020 Reviews (Consumer Reports)
#1. Best Pressure Cooker For 2020: Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure, Slow Cooker, Air Fryer and More
Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 is similar to the famous Instant Pot, combining the abilities of a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a steamer, a broiler, an air fryer, and more.
The stainless steel construction gives it a sleek and stylish look. The interior has a ceramic non-stick coating which adds to the durability; however, some users might not prefer the non-stick inner pots.
The TenderCrisp technology quickly cooks food tender from the inside, and the air fryer gives it a crispy texture on the outside. With two lids to carry out cooking, it provides the benefits of a pressure cooker and an air fryer in one unit. However, the crisping lid has to stay open while using the pressure cooking lid.
The Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 has an electronic display that displays the time and temperature of the pot. It also indicated when the cooker reaches full pressure to start cooking.
What’s cool is that it shuts down on its own once the timer has stopped, so you don’t have to stay in the kitchen to keep a check. Plus, It has passed 14 levels of safety to earn the UL safety certification so that you can be at peace while using it.
The design of the pot is wider and shorter than others, which makes it ideal for making desserts such as creme brulee and pies. You can find more recipes in the included recipe guide.
- Pressure and crisping lids
- TenderCrisp technology
- Easy to use buttons and presets
- Wider cooking area to make individual portions
- Safety features
- Some users might not prefer non-stick interior
- Bulky design with non-removable crisping lid
- Hot air releases from the back
#2. Best Rated Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Duo Electric Pressure Cooker
One of the best pressure cooker brands today, Instant Pot, has come up with the Instant Pot Duo which combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, browning tool, yogurt maker, and food heater all in one. It’s fully sealed interior locks the flavors inside for perfect cooking inside out.
The pot has a 3-ply stainless steel bottom for durability and no health issues. It also has built-in temperature and pressure sensors that ensure precise cooking. The touchpad with a red LED display makes it easier to use as you can see the timer from the other end of the room.
A notable feature of the yogurt maker is the 24-hour option exclusively designed to make Jiujiang, a Chinese fermented rice dessert. You will also find other useful features such as the Keep-Warm setting which maintains a constant temperature to keep food warm until it is ready to serve.
In slow-cooking mode, you can adjust the temperature of the pot between high, low, and warm to use it as a slow cooker. The pressure float valve in the lid rises to flush out the steam when the pot fills with pressure.
The Instant Pot Duo has ten built-in safety features and patented technologies to eliminate common dangers.
- Stainless steel inner pot
- Precise temperature control
- Touchpad with red LED display
- Adequate safety features
- Hard to see the float valve rise
- Comes with limited accessories
- See also: The Best Pellet Smokers For 2020
#3. Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker: Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Presto 01362 is one of the best stovetop pressure cookers with luxurious stainless steel construction and a heavy-duty lid that saves time and energy in the kitchen. It can cook three to ten times faster than traditional cooking methods while preserving flavors and nutrients inside the pot.
The pressure cooker features a lightweight design and a simple steam release mechanism with a pressure regulator that automatically maintains proper cooking pressure inside the pot. It also has an overpressure plug that lets the steam out in case of heavy steam build up.
It works on regular, smooth-top, and induction ranges as well. Whichever heating system you use, the tri-clad base with a layer of aluminum packed between two layers of stainless steel ensures even heating throughout the cooker.
The unit can handle pretty much all basic meals, including large chunks of meat, chicken, fish, and vegs. However, we did notice that the veggies turn a little too soft while pressure cooking, which might be a turn off for some users.
In terms of safety, the cooker has minimum features, including the lock indicator that indicates pressure build up inside the cooker, stopping you from opening the lid.
- Stainless steel construction
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Heavy-duty lid
- Tri-clad base for even heating
- Dishwasher safe
- Limited safety features
- May catch rust over time if not cleaned properly
#4. Best Programmable Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Smart Wifi 8-In-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot Smart Wifi 8-In-1 is integrated with modern technology, which makes cooking fun and easy. This electric pressure cooker can be used as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, cake maker, steamer, saute pot, and food warmer.
The most appealing feature of the Instant Pot is it’s compatibility with Wifi and Alexa. It puts the control of the smart pot in your hands through voice with Alexa and the Instant Pot app. You can check the cooking progress and receive instant alerts on your mobile for ease of use.
Apart from that, the stainless steel inner pot is made with a 3-ply bottom for durability and healthy cooking. The 12 previously set Smart Programs let you set the ideal temperature for different dishes with the touch of a button. You can cook tasty soups, rice, desserts, and more without worrying about the heat anymore.
You also get advanced safety features, including overheat protection, anti-black shield, thermal, and lid leak control, which makes it safe to use.
The Instant Pot 8-in-1 is the best programmable cooker for tech-savvy people looking for cool technology in their kitchen. Although this one is one of the higher-priced cookers, its advanced technology and safety features make it worth the extra dollars.
- Easy handling over Wifi
- Stainless steel inner pot
- 12 Smart Programs
- Advanced safety features
- Some learning is required to operate the system efficiently
- No time indication for pressure buildup
- Wifi dependency might limit usage
- See also: The Best Gas Grills For 2020
#5. Best Automatic Electric Pressure Cooker: Breville Bpr700bss Fast Slow Pro Multi Function Cooker
Breville Bpr700bss is a multi-functional cooker with a stainless steel body for strength and durability. It allows you to choose between fast and slow cooking to create a variety of dishes such as rice, soups, saute food, and a lot more in less time.
This automatic cooker provides precise temperature control for better results. You can control the temperature and pressure inside the cooker while also being able to choose between auto quick, auto pulse, or natural pressure release.
Another unique feature is the altitude pressure adjustment, which lets you program your current elevation in the cooker so that it can adjust its time and temperature settings to match the place.
The fully interactive LCD lets you control every option of the pot, making it digitally efficient. The colors on the LCD change based on the on-going function of the cooker, such as releasing steam. Also, the control knobs make it super convenient and easy to use.
The Breville bpr700bss comes with a higher price tag, but what bugged us was the lack of yogurt maker. Other than that, it is the best electric pressure cooker out there that displays quality and efficiency from the very first time you cook.
- Precise temperature controls
- LCD and knobs for easy adjustments
- Pressure release options
- Slow pressure buildup
- Lacks yogurt making function
#6. Best Microwave Pressure Cooker: Nordic Ware Microwave Tender Cooker 2.5 Quart
If handling heavy stovetop cookers is not your cup of tea, here’s a better option for you. The Nordic Ware Microwave Tender Cooker is a microwave accessory that works as a pressure cooker by building steam inside.
It can roast up to 3lbs of meat at a time, giving out a tender and juicy meal in 30 minutes or less. Not only that, but it is also ideal for roasting veggies and cooking soups. The cooker seals in moisture and natural juices to give your food an enhanced flavor without letting it dry out as it would in a microwave.
A heavy-gauge, non-stick construction ensures even heat distribution for perfect performance. The riveted silicone handles make it comfortable and safer to handle, but you still have to let it cool for at least 15 minutes after taking it out of the microwave.
The Nordic Ware Microwave Tender Cooker is oven safe to 350 degrees Fahrenheit so you have a lot of meal choices.
- Easy and safe to handle
- Doesn’t dry up food
- Fits all settings
- Prone to stain
- It takes more time to cook than a stovetop pressure cooker
#7. Best Pressure and Slow Cooker Combo: Crock-Pot 8-Quart Multi-Use XL Express Crock Programmable Slow Cooker And Pressure Cooker
Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker cooks meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods. You can use the cooker to steam, brown, saute, boil, or simmer to make large meals for up to 10 people at a time.
It is very similar to an Instant Pot, with dense steel construction and a heavy-duty lid. The stainless steel belt around the exterior makes it look sleek and modern enough to fit any contemporary kitchen.
The control panel with buttons at the front makes it easier to control temperature and pressure, and a bright blue LED display glows in the middle for easy readings.
The pot has two steam valves on the lid with a small Bobber valve that rises up when the cooker reaches the ideal pressure level. It also works as a steam release valve to remove extra vapor pressure from inside.
Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker lets you prepare various pressure-cooked meals, and choose between fast cooking to eat sooner or slow cooking to wake up to a delicious breakfast the next morning. Plus, the dessert program is exclusively designed for steam-baking cakes and puddings.
- Super affordable
- Stainless steel construction
- Two steam valves
- Bright LED display
- The sealing ring can take odors of food
#8. Best Pressure Rice Cooker: Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer 1.0 Liter, Stainless Brown NP-NVC10
The Zojirushi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker & Warmer is the most versatile and intelligent rice cooker in the market. Its advanced AI technology learns and adjusts cooking cycles for you, so you get perfect meals every time.
The cooker has a superior induction heating technology with multiple cooking functions, including options for white rice, mixed rice, sushi rice, and quick cooking. It automatically selects from the three adjustable pressure settings to go with your chosen function, such as keeping the rice warm or heating.
When you use the Steam-Reduce setting to lessen the heat inside the pot, it cuts down to 50% of the regular steam, which means longer cooking with better results. Similarly, the Umami setting extends the cooking time for ideal results. You can also choose the Scorched setting to toast the bottom of the rice very lightly.
The platinum infused, non-stick interior allows the rice to absorb water more quickly to enhance the taste. You will also find many safety features, including the pressure-control valve, an inner lid filter, and a pressure indicator on the control panel, to seal the lid lock while pressure-cooking.
- Compact design
- Variety of speed settings
- Perfect for everyday usage
- Limited use
- Requires maintenance
How Does A Pressure Cooker Work?
If pressure cookers have managed to impress you by far, you must be curious how they manage to create such flavorful dishes in so less time.
So, how does a pressure cooker work?
Every pressure cooker works with the same rule, steam pressure.
It is a sealed pot with valves on the lid to control the steam. The cover on the top is usually heavy, with a rubber ring seal to airtight the container thoroughly. When the liquid inside the pot heats up, it accumulates steam.
Since the steam can’t escape outside, it builds up pressure inside the vessel, raising the temperature above the boiling point, depending on the cooker type.
The boiling liquid is forced inside the food to help it cook faster and remain tender at the same time. Once the food is cooked, you have to wait for the steam to release before opening the lid.
Sounds easy, right?
A good cooker can reduce the cooking time by a whopping one-third, thus consuming lesser energy too. Some newer versions have the option to maintain the heat inside even after you turn off the cooker.
How To Use A Pressure Cooker?
As complicated as they might look, pressure cookers are no rocket science.
With electric cookers, all you have to do is plug them in and tap a button or two to start cooking. The regular stovetop cookers have to be operated manually, but they are no less user-friendly.
If you are new to pressure cooking and not sure how to use a pressure cooker, you can do a quick water test to get to know your new cookware. Here’s how:
- Add two to three cups of water into the pot and lock the lid.
- Select the shortest cooking time from the control panel or start a timer in your watch for stovetop versions.
- Let the cooker heat up and build pressure inside.
- After a while, observe the pressure slowly releasing from the valve or release it yourself.
- Now, you are all set to try out real food items in the next go.
All in all, if you are looking for ways to cook food faster without losing any of the precious aromas, a pressure cooker might be a good option. It is ideal for people who want food quickly on the table as this magic pot cuts the cooking time to one-third of the traditional methods.
You don’t even have to fill the pot to the brim or wait for hours to start cooking, as it takes less than five minutes to start building pressure inside. We hope our pressure cooker reviews will help you pick the right cookware for your cooking needs.