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Pressure Cooker Buying Guide

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 24, 2024

Imagine effortlessly cooking delicious and healthy meals in a fraction of the time it takes with conventional cooking methods. Pressure cookers offer just that – a time-saving and versatile kitchen appliance that can elevate your culinary skills. In this pressure cooker buying guide, we will explore the ins and outs of pressure cookers, helping you find the perfect fit for your kitchen and cooking style.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand pressure cookers’ features and safety considerations to find a model that fits your family size, cooking needs, and preferences.
  • Consider key factors such as materials used for heat conductivity, durability & ease of cleaning when selecting a pressure cooker.
  • Research reviews and recommendations to help you find an ideal appliance with accompanying accessories & replacement parts for easy operation & maintenance.

Understanding Pressure Cookers: The Basics

Pressure cooking is a game-changer in the kitchen. Pressure cookers rapidly and efficiently cook food by leveraging steam pressure to push the temperature beyond the boiling point, forcing liquids into the food. The tight seal of a pressure cooker enables the build-up of high-pressure steam, raising the temperature inside the pot and providing a faster cooking time than conventional methods. This rapid and effortless preparation of meals make the top pressure cookers an excellent alternative to slow cookers, allowing you to easily pressure cook your favourite dishes.

If you’re new to pressure cooking, you may be wondering about the safety aspects of these appliances. Modern pressure cookers are designed with safety features to minimize risks. For a safe cooking experience, use the natural release method with delicate foods, add sufficient liquid, and steer clear of overfilling the cooker.

As you explore the world of pressure cookers, you’ll discover electric and stovetop models, each offering unique advantages. Pressure cookers can revolutionise your cooking style from cooking beans to tenderizing meat and even baking bread. Here are the key features you should evaluate when buying a pressure cooker.

Key Features To Consider When Buying A Pressure Cooker

operating a pressure cooker

1. Type Of Pressure Cookers: Electric vs Stovetop

The two primary types of pressure cookers are electric and stovetop. Electric pressure cookers offer a speedy, effortless, and convenient alternative to conventional cooking methods, preventing overcooking or burning food. They allow you to set specific cooking times and temperatures and utilize other cooking methods such as slow cooking and sautéing.

On the other hand, stovetop pressure cookers boast:

  • Shorter cooking times
  • Higher maximum pressure
  • Increased versatility
  • Greater control over the cooking process

When choosing between electric and stovetop models, consider your preferences, cooking style, and the amount of control you desire over the cooking process.

2. Size And Capacity

The size and capacity of a pressure cooker are vital in determining which one best fits your needs. Consider your family size and the types of dishes you plan to prepare. For example, a larger pressure cooker might be more suitable if you frequently cook large meals or entertain guests. On the other hand, smaller pressure cookers are ideal for couples or individuals with limited storage space.

Some popular pressure cooker models like the Instant Pot Duo Nova 7-in-1 come in various sizes, offering options to suit different household sizes and cooking requirements. Consider the size and capacity when selecting the perfect pressure cooker for your kitchen.

3. Material

Pressure cookers are commonly made from stainless steel or aluminium, with each material having its own set of pros and cons. Aluminium pressure cookers provide rapid cooking with minimal oil use and a lightweight design. However, they tend to warp in high temperatures and are not as durable as stainless steel models.

Stainless steel pressure cookers are renowned for their:

  • Durability
  • Ability to tolerate high pressure and heat
  • Suitability for quickly cooking tough ingredients
  • Ease of cleaning

They are also easier to clean than their aluminium counterparts.

When choosing a pressure cooker, consider the material’s impact on heat conductivity, cooking performance, durability, and overall quality. Some materials, like stainless steel, are better at retaining heat and maintaining a consistent temperature, making them a desirable option for many home cooks.

4. Safety Features

Using a pressure cooker safely is of utmost importance. Modern pressure cookers come equipped with built-in safety features, such as:

  • A lock
  • Pressure release valve
  • Pop-up indicator
  • Gasket

These features help regulate and release pressure, preventing potential hazards.

Among all the pressure cookers, stovetop pressure cookers, also known as stovetop pressure cookers, can achieve higher temperatures and pressure than electric models and come with multiple safety valves and interlock lids for added security.

When purchasing a pressure cooker, always look for models with comprehensive safety features to ensure a safe and enjoyable cooking experience.

5. Material Options

Some pressure cookers, apart from those made of stainless steel and aluminium, are crafted with copper. Copper pressure cookers boast:

  • Fast cooking
  • Reduced ol usage
  • Lightweight design
  • Excellent heat conductivity
  • The ability to cook sensitive foods with ease

Consider each material’s advantages when selecting a pressure cooker, keeping in mind factors such as heat conductivity, durability, and ease of cleaning.

6. Pressure Indicator

the pressure indicator on a pressure cooker

The pressure indicator, which shows the pressure level inside the cooker, is a key feature. This enables monitoring and regulating pressure throughout cooking, ensuring it remains within safe parameters.

Pressure indicators come in various forms, such as a gauge or a pop-up indicator. When selecting a pressure cooker, ensure it has a reliable and easy-to-read pressure indicator to guarantee safe and efficient pressure cooking.

7. Ease Of Use

When buying a pressure cooker, it’s important to consider how easy it will be. User-friendly features and controls can make pressure cooking more convenient and enjoyable. Some important factors to consider include:

  • An advanced control panel
  • Intuitive controls
  • Versatile cooling modes
  • Safety mechanism
  • Compact size
  • Ease of cleaning

Considering these factors will help you choose a pressure cooker that is easy to use and meets your needs.

The design of a pressure cooker may include:

  • Clear and easy-to-read pressure indicators
  • Intuitive controls for adjusting pressure and temperature
  • A secure locking mechanism to ensure safety during cooking

A well-designed electric pressure cooker can greatly enhance its ease of use, making it the best choice for many.

Ultimately, choose a pressure cooker that is easy to operate and maintain, allowing you to focus on creating mouthwatering dishes for your family and friends.

8. Cleaning

Properly cleaning your pressure cooker will enhance its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Clean the pressure cooker with hot, soapy water after each use, rinsing and drying it thoroughly. Additionally, a deep clean should be conducted every couple of weeks to maximize the lifespan and efficiency of the pressure cooker.

Some effective methods for cleaning and maintaining your pressure cooker include:

  • Using vinegar or lemon juice to remove deposits

  • Using food-safe metal cleaners, such as Kuhn Rikon’s Swiss cleaner, for a ‘showcase shine’

  • Regular inspections and proper care to extend the lifespan of the pressure cooker and ensure its effective operation.

9. Price

Pressure cookers usually cost between £30 and £80. Factors that contribute to the cost of a pressure cooker include:

  • Material composition
  • Brand recognition
  • Features
  • Size
  • Market demand
  • Accompanying accessories

Remember that a higher price tag does not necessarily mean the pressure cooker is more durable or efficient. Instead, consider factors such as materials used, construction quality, and design features when evaluating the value of a pressure cooker. By doing so, you can find a pressure cooker that offers the best value for your budget and meets your specific cooking needs.

10. Brand & Warranty

When buying a pressure cooker, selecting from a reputable brand is important because it can suggest the quality and reliability of the product. Reliable pressure cooker brands include:

You should also check out the warranty coverage for your pressure cooker. Pressure cookers generally come with a warranty period of up to three years, covering any faulty materials or workmanship related to the cooker. Different brands may offer distinct warranties, so it is important to examine the specific warranty details for each brand before making a purchase.

11. Accessories & Replacement Parts

A wide range of accessories and replacement parts for pressure cookers are available, including:

  • Silicone sealing rings
  • Steamer baskets
  • Springform pans
  • Egg bite molds
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Air fryer lids
  • Sling racks
  • Stainless steel inner pots
  • Valves
  • Gaskets
  • Seals
  • Lids
  • Handles

Essential accessories for a pressure cooker include silicone sealing rings, steamer baskets, springform pans, egg-bite moulds, and kitchen tongs.

Having replacement parts readily available can prolong the life of your cooker and ensure its functionality. Over time, components such as the gasket, safety valve, or handles may become worn out or damaged. With replacement parts on hand, you can easily substitute these components and continue using your pressure cooker without purchasing a new one.

Pressure Cooker Recipes And Meal Ideas

tender beef pieces with vegetables in a brown bowl

The versatility of pressure cookers enables you to create a vast array of dishes. From savoury entrees to delectable desserts, the possibilities are endless. Some popular pressure cooker recipes include:

  • Beef stew
  • Cauliflower curry
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Salmon with lemon-dill sauce
  • Turkey chili
  • Asian pork cabbage bowl
  • Moroccan chicken and cauliflower stew
  • Greek lemon chicken soup
  • Turkey taco soup
  • Thai red vegetable soup
  • Chicken, tomato, and spinach pasta

Pressure cookers can even prepare desserts, such as cheesecake and rice pudding. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even bake bread in a pressure cooker by following a simple recipe.

With a pressure cooker, meal prep becomes a breeze, enabling you to create healthy and delicious dishes quickly. Say goodbye to long cooking times and hello to effortless, flavourful meals while also having the option of using a slow cooker for those low and slow recipes.

Pressure Cooker Buying Guide: Summing Up

In conclusion, pressure cookers are a valuable addition to any kitchen, offering versatility, speed, and convenience in meal preparation. By considering factors such as type, size, material, safety features, ease of use, and price, you can find the perfect pressure cooker to suit your needs. With the help of reliable reviews and recommendations, you can make an informed decision and elevate your cooking game with this fantastic kitchen appliance.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What To Look Out For When Buying A Pressure Cooker?

When buying a pressure cooker, look for features such as a steam-release valve, locking mechanism, pressure indicator, pressure settings, and size. Make sure the product is of high quality so you get optimum performance.

Which Pressure Cooker Is Best To Buy?

For an electric pressure cooker, the Instant Pot Pro 6-Quart Multi-Use Electric Pressure Cooker is the best choice for most people, offering 10-in-1 functionality and advanced settings. For stove-top cookers, the sturdy Kuhn Rikon Duromatic is a great option. For a good value all-in-one cooker, the Pressure King Pro 14-IN-1 multi cooker is ideal.

What Size Of Pressure Cooker Do I Need?

A 6-litre pressure cooker is the most popular and suitable size for most recipes. If you’re looking to cook larger pieces of poultry or meat, a 9.5-litre size is necessary.

What Are The Qualities Of A Good Pressure Cooker?

A good pressure cooker cooks food quickly and efficiently, preserving vitamins and minerals and intensifying the flavour. It also requires less energy than conventional methods.

Can I Cook Rice In A Pressure Cooker?

You can cook rice in a pressure cooker – it’s an ideal appliance for making rice and other grains and legumes.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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