Pressure cookers are a good way of cooking food fast. These kitchen appliances can boil almost any king of food material by using steam heat generated from water in the food contents inside it. It captures this steam in a sealed interior to produce pressure (hence, the name) which, along with the heat, cooks the food. It is a common belief that pressure cookers destroy nutrients. However, this is only a myth. Pressure cooking actually keeps in more nutrients by not allowing any evaporated ones to escape, as it retains steam. Pressure cooking is also safe and there is no production of harmful compounds — another common myth.
The best pressure cookers on the market offer durable, high-quality construction and numerous features for various cooking needs. Our pick of the top pressure cookers includes the following contenders:
Pressure cookers with high-quality and heavy-gauge steel are your best bet for reliable cooking. Most pressure cooker manufacturers clearly label the box on the bottom of the unit with the type of material used. Many brand name cookware manufacturers use quality materials by default, which often increases the final price. When considering a pressure cooker made with stainless steel, opt for one that has "18/10 Stainless Steel," or 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. This combination ensures stain and corrosion resistance, durability, and shine.
Type and Size
Buyers can choose between non-stick and traditional pressure cookers. We recommend avoiding non-stick pressure cookers because the surface does not last as long. Pressure cookers also come in various sizes, with some of the most common sizes including four quart and six quart pressure cookers. It is possible to find smaller and larger sizes - up to seven or eight quarts. When debating which size to buy, consider the number of portions you typically prepare as well as your storage space and budget. With this in mind, most customers opt for the six-quart pressure cooker.
For best cooking results, look for a pressure cooker capable of reaching 15 psi (pounds per square inch). Such pressure cookers achieve the optimal standard for most pressure cooker recipes. Another useful feature is an accurate indicator to let you know when the pressure cooker reaches that level, such as a colored marker or pop-up indicator. Other features include a quick release option and a way to vent excess steam.
Pressure cooker prices vary widely, although most start at around $60. Prices can easily jump to over $200. The price varied depending on the cooker's construction, type, size, and features. You may find yourself spending more money for a high-quality stainless steel pressure cooker that offers just a few features, or you could spend less for a lower quality pressure cooker that has lots of features but does not have the same quality construction.
Nina is a longtime gourmet chef, interior designer/decorator, and events planner. She has accomplished all of this in addition to maintaining a stellar career as a healthcare executive, where she helps alter the course of people’s lives via preventive care and healthy living. Nina’s hobbies include learning new recipes, planning and executing amazing dinners to impress local chefs, and hiking around the world.
The Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker is a dual-purpose pressure cooker that also doubles as a boiling-water canner for preserving jams, pickles, salsa, fruits, and jellies. The product features a heavy-duty aluminum construction, which is much less durable than cookers made out of stainless steel. Several owners told us that the cooker has difficulty maintaining an even temperature because it takes a while to cool down after the heat is lowered. As a result, most satisfied users primarily use this pressure cooker for canning rather than cooking.
True to its name, the T-fal P25107 Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe PFOA Free Pressure Cooker is a stainless steel pressure cooker. Stainless steel provides increased durability and longevity over aluminum. Several owners we surveyed told us that they greatly appreciated how well this product holds up compared to previous pressure cookers that they had used.
The All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner features durable, hand-cast aluminum construction with a satin finish. The thick walls on this product help to evenly regulate the temperature inside, ensuring that the heat does not build up too quickly. Owners that primarily use this product as a canner note that its heavy-duty aluminum construction does a good job when cooking, but it does add a lot of extra weight and bulk.
The Cuisinart CPC-600AMZ 1000-Watt 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker features a brushed stainless steel construction which gives the exterior a high-end, modern look. It does a good job of regulating the interior temperature and cooking food evenly. It is worth noting, however, that this unit can get quite heavy, especially when it's completely full.
Brushed, finger print-resistant stainless steel surrounds the exterior of the Instant Pot, making it an extremely durable appliance. The inside consists of a 3-ply bottom inner pot which is also made of stainless steel - a huge health benefit compared to pressure cookers with non-stick coatings on their interior.
The 23-quart capacity of the Presto makes this pressure cooker a great choice for consumers who frequently can or cook large amounts of food. Its extra-large size works especially well for big canning jobs, although a few owners complained about the capacity being slightly lower than advertised. The product has a warp-resistant construction, but the surface is not non-stick, which is another gripe among customers.
Its 6.3-quart capacity makes the T-fal P25107 a suitable option for individuals and families. Many users rely on this cooker to make stews, soups, and dishes with large amounts of vegetables or chicken. The cooker has a generous amount of room, surrounded by a traditional surface which offers lasting performance and easy cleaning and maintenance.
An enormous 21 1/2-quart capacity makes the All American pressure cooker a good choice for shoppers needing a larger unit. Many owners appreciate the space, which holds up to 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars, although a few owners told us that the quarts don't fit properly for canning.
With its 6-quart capacity, this Cuisinart pressure cooker is another popular choice for many households. The product works well for making soups, stews, and side dishes, as well as desserts such as cheesecake and custard. It is a bit large and bulky, however, and does require extra storage space around the kitchen. We found clean-up to be easy, despite the fact that its surface is not non-stick.
A 6 quart capacity makes the Instant Pot an optimal choice for larger households that want to have the flexibility of cooking or canning a variety of dishes. Satisfied owners tell us that they purchased this pressure cooker specifically because of its size and convenience.
Stay-cool handles and a strong-lock steel lid are some of the Presto's most notable features. Owners also enjoy the deluxe pressure dial gauge, which regulates pressure at various altitudes. At least one user told us that the gauge is one of the pressure cooker's best features, reliably regulating temperatures even at higher altitudes. For safety reasons, we recommend using a jar lifter instead of the cooker's tongs in order to get a secure grip when removing jars.
A variable control operating valve and over-pressure gasket release windows are among the features users most enjoy on the T-fal P25107. The variable control valve cooks at 10 or 15 PSI for various recipes. Other features include a pressure indicator and a safe opening and closing system, as well as a multi-base layer which evenly distributes heat and prevents warping. We really appreciate the steam basket and stand that come with the cooker - it's obvious that the manufacturers have thought every detail through in this fine machine.
The All American pressure cooker's features include an exclusive "metal-to-metal" sealing system for a steam-tight seal, a geared steam gauge, and an automatic overpressure release. We especially like the fact that this pressure cooker requires no rubber, plastic gaskets, or rings - this is sure to extend the product's life.
The Cuisinart features push-button controls, a precision thermostat, and an easily readable display. Customers enjoy pressure settings for cooking, browning, sauteing, simmering, and warming. A timer, cool-touch handles, and non-stick dishwasher-safe cooking pot and trivet round out the cooker's list of features. Potential buyers should be aware of the many complaints regarding the red float valve on this unit, which tends to stick for many users, forcing them to tap on the float through the plastic cover to get it loose.
The Instant Pot offers a Swiss Army knife of features. Owners can choose from one 14 pre-programmed smart settings which are designed to prepare your favorite dishes instantly with the press of a button. The pressure cooker also features a patented microprocessor which monitors the temperature and pressure and will automatically adjust the heating intensity during the cooking cycle in order to yield consistent results.
The Presto canner and cooker has a price tag of $94, which is a solid deal given that the cooker matches the performance of several pricier units on the market. Closely following the manufacturer's instructions results in a well-rounded product that cooks and cans precisely and reliably - however if you aren't careful you may run into some issues such as uneven temperature control. A few users mention the added hassle of having to periodically replace the rubber gasket and emergency plug, but we found this to be a minor and tolerable inconvenience given the savings you inherit by investing in this low-priced model.
Satisfied customers really like the T-fal's $69 price tag. You get a quality stainless steel product with a variable control operating valve, over-pressure gasket release window, and a pressure indicator. We love the fast cooking times and consistent results that this pressure cooker delivers, and given its high-quality, durable construction, it is an extremely good deal for the price.
A price tag of $199 makes the All American pressure cooker/canner the most expensive on our shortlist. For the price, you get a large 21-1/2 quart capacity and features that include an exclusive "metal-to-metal" sealing system with no gaskets. Owners of this product rave about its outstanding quality and longevity, saying that they have had this product for years and expect it to last for many more. Users also praise the hassle-free maintenance that the cooker provides thanks to its lack of gaskets.
With a price tag of $71, the Cuisinart pressure cooker is the second most expensive product on our list. Its 6-quart cooking capacity, durable stainless steel construction, and long list of features - including cool-touch handles and settings for cooking, browning, warming, sautéing, and simmering - make it an attractive choice. However, several customers we talked to experienced issue with its durability, noting that the construction began to wear away after several uses. The sub-par customer service of Cuisinart also left a few customers dissatisfied.
A price of $99 puts the Instant Pot on the higher end of the spectrum. That being said, for the features and performance it offers, it's a good deal, and the owners we surveyed found it to be well worth the investment. After all, you are paying for the quality of construction materials, so you may even end up saving money in the long run.
The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is the best pressure cooker available on the market today, and it's not even close. A price tag of $99 understandably rattles many potential buyers, but the cooker's high customer ratings, superb performance, durability, and longevity make it well worth the added cost.
A generous 6 quart capacity offers more than enough room for canning or cooking. The cooker's stainless steel construction is both extremely durable and regulates temperatures very well. And to separate it from the pack even more, it includes a variety of features that make your favorite meal just a button away. All in all, this is the best pressure cooker available, and it earns our highest recommendation.
The Cuisinart CPC-600AMZ wins our "Best Bang for Your Buck" award. Heavy-duty construction, dependable cooking quality, and a generous set of features makes this product a notable contender among the pricier models on our list, and not surprisingly, many owners told us that they couldn't imagine spending their money on any other unit.
With a 6-quart capacity, the Cusinart provides plenty of space for cooking stews, soups, rice, pasta, and other dishes. Its only real drawback is that its durability, but that's a small price to pay for the value that you get.
It is difficult to find a better quality pressure cooker below $100, and if you're in the market for a budget-friendly but reliable cooking appliance, the Cuisinart is by far your best choice.