A pressure cooker can make flavorful food in minutes. They work by applying pressure that raises the boiling point of water, which can decrease cooking time significantly. Steam is trapped inside the sealed cooker, resulting in increased pressure. They come in both traditional stovetop and electric varieties. Stovetop pressure cookers are simple, low-tech cooking options. They usually offer low and high-pressure settings depending on how tough the food is that you plan to cook. They come in a variety of sizes to suit different needs. Electric pressure cookers can be quite multifunctional. They are obviously higher tech than their stovetop counterparts, with numerous buttons. A big benefit with the electric variety is since they are automated, you can set it and forget it. Steamer baskets allow you to cook different foods in different layers within the pressure cooker.
When deliberating between pressure cookers, there are a number of aspects to contemplate. The first, of course, is whether you prefer stovetop or electric. We've included both options in our review. Size is also an important consideration – are you a single who will be using this for yourself, or do you have a large family you'll be cooking meals for? We also wanted a pressure cooker that was relatively easy to clean. The best stovetop pressure cookers will have a clear pressure indicator. For an electric cooker, you want something that has an easy-to-use interface. Some have more advanced features and versatility than others, which may be of personal interest to you. Functionality, durability, and budget also influenced our decision when choosing the top pressure cookers to recommend.
The Instant Pot Ultra 6 Quart pressure cooker is an electric pressure cooker that measures 13 inches by 12.2 inches by 12.6 inches. The interior of the pot measures 6.2 inches by 9.4 inches. It weighs 11.6 pounds. It has a digital interface with a knob on the bottom, as well as cancel and start buttons. It can cook your food and then hold it at temperature. You can set a delayed start time of up to 24 hours. It has a number of safety features, such as anti-blockage vent, safety lid lock, sensor for lid position, automatic temperature control, pressure controller, temperature monitoring, and a quick release button. It comes with a steam rack with handles for easy lifting, recipe booklet, serving spoon, soup spoon, and measuring cup. Food turned out as well as other electric pressure cookers tested. It comes with a 1-year warranty. It also comes in an 8-quart option if you need something bigger. The inner pot and lid are dishwasher safe.
Great for Singles: Instant Pot Mini 3 Quart DUO 7-in-1
If you are single, we recommend considering the Instant Pot Duo Mini 3 Quart 7-in-1 pressure cooker (it also does come in an 8-quart size for those who want bigger!). This electric pressure cooker measures 11.4 inches by 10 inches by 11.2 inches and weighs 8.6 pounds. It is a 7-in1 multifunctional cooker capable of pressure cooking, slow cooking, rice/porridge cooking, yogurt making, sautéing/searing, steaming, and warming. This pressure cooker comes with ten safety features, such as smart detection of leaky lid, anti-blockage vent, and pressure regulator. There is not an automatic pressure release, so you need to be careful when releasing the steam manually. The inner pot, lids, and accessories are all dishwasher safe. While there are Instant Pot cookbooks that exist, you can easily just get recipes for free straight from the Instant Pot website.You can choose to add a 3- or 4-year protection plan for less than $10 when purchasing on Amazon.
Another Great Electric Cooker: Breville The Fast Slow Pro Pressure Cooker
The Breville Fast Slow Pro is a 6-quart electric pressure cooker that measures 12.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 14 inches. It has dual top and bottom sensors to optimize temperature and pressure control. In addition to the auto steam release, there is also an auto pulse release where pressure is released in bursts, so as not to disturb the food inside. You can also release the steam naturally. Reviewers felt like it was easy to figure out how to use. The removable cooking bowl can technically be washed in the dishwasher, but to preserve the ceramic coating it is recommended to wash with warm soapy water by hand. To clean the lid, you need to unscrew and remove the sealing nut first, and then wash everything with warm soapy water. Some reviewers noted that the pot retains odors. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
Longest Warranty: Fagor Lux Multi-Cooker, 8 Quart
The Fagor Lux pressure cooker is a multifunctional electric pressure cooker. It measures 13 inches by 13 inches by 16 inches. For safety, the self-locking lid does not open while there is pressure inside the pot. The pressure regulating knob should be turned to the pressure position when pressure cooking. Turn it to steam in order to release the pressure. There is no automatic steam release feature unfortunately. The removable cooking pot is dishwasher safe. Everything else must be washed by hand. There have been some complaints noted that this pressure cooker stops functioning after a while though it works well while it lasts. Luckily, there is a 10-year warranty available from the manufacturer, the longest of any electric pressure cooker we reviewed.
Stovetop Choice: Fissler VitaQuick 6.4 Quart
The Fissler Vitaquick is a high-end stovetop pressure cooker choice. There are certainly cheaper items out there, but you want to feel comfortable and confident in the safety of your pressure cooker, particularly with a stovetop cooker as they are not automated. This cooker comes in a variety of sizes: 2.7 quart, 4.8 quart, 6.4 quart, 8.5 quart, and 10.6 quart. It boasts a "fool-proof" safety lid and has been tested by MET to UL standards. It includes an automatic pressure valve and auto-locking handle with a color display in the handle so you'll know that your pressure cooker is secure. It also makes an audible clicking noise when you secure the lid in the right place. Another safety feature is the main valve automatic steam release, which reduces the pressure in the cooker automatically if temperature and pressure get too high. You can also reduce pressure manually. You can contact the manufacturer for the 3-year warranty when purchasing on Amazon.
Easy-to-Use: Cuisinart CPC-600
The Cuisinart CPC-600 is a 6-quart electric pressure cooker. It may not have all the bells and whistle features of some other more expensive pressure cookers, but it still does a good job. It measures 13.2 inches by 12.2 inches and weighs 12.5 pounds. There is an automatic keep warm feature that activates once pressure cooking is complete. There are three options to release pressure: natural pressure release, quick pressure release, and combination natural pressure release and quick pressure release. It is recommended to use tongs to manipulate the pressure limit valve after cooking so as to limit potential for burns. The pressure limit valve will release automatically if the pressure inside the cooker exceeds the preset temperature. An anti-block cover prevents food material from blocking the pressure limit valve. The cooking pot is not dishwasher safe.
A pressure cooker will reduce your time in the kitchen while providing you with tasty meals. Meat comes out moist and tender, potatoes cook in much less time than baking or boiling, and some electric cookers offer additional functions that can replace other small kitchen appliances you own, resulting in saved space. A stovetop pressure cooker requires more constant vigilance and does not offer as many features, but they could be a good option for some. The one we recommend is optimized for safety. For electric pressure cookers, we've reviewed everything from very simple to multifunctional ones that make yogurt, sterilize, and more. The options for delayed start and warming over long periods of time were nice features we enjoyed. When choosing your pressure cooker, think about what size you want, what features are essential for yourself, and of course, your budget. Durability and warranty should also be prominent in your mind, though most electric pressure cookers we reviewed only had 1-year warranties. Cookers that were easy to clean were also important. Most electric cookers do not have a dishwasher safe pot, but some do. In the end, the Instant Pot Ultra was our favorite pressure cooker overall.