It's been a busy day. You haven't eaten, your family is hungry, and it's fast approaching 7 pm. Of course, conventional cooking methods are slow. Ever felt frustrated watching water boil? Hours spent simmering, steaming, and stewing—not to mention the mountain of pots and pans you need to clean. Unsurprisingly, this constant battle against time and effort sucks the joy out of cooking.
Imagine being able to cut your cooking hours by 70 percent without compromising on taste or nutrition. We're talking tender, fall-off-the-bone meats and rich, flavorful stews in a fraction of the time. The best pressure cookers make this a reality. We—along with thousands of happy customers—looooove the Instant Pot Duo Multi-Cooker for its fast cooking time, 7-in-1 functionality, and one-pot cleanup.Prefer a more traditional pressure cooker? You'll find another four top cookers below!
The Instant Pot Pressure Cooker takes our top spot for its ease of use and 7-in-1 functionality. You can use this pressure cooker as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer. Moreover, because it slow cooks, it has the functionality similar to a crock pot pressure cooker. It also features an impressive 13 customizable smart programs for cooking a wide range of dishes, from ribs and soups to delicious desserts. By combining these functions into one appliance, you can cut down your cooking time by up to 70 percent.
What’s more, its quick one-touch cooking feature simplifies meal prep. Additionally, the cooker also includes safety features like overheat protection and a locking lid, so you can use it worry-free. The 6-quart capacity is perfect for families of up to six people or for singles who are meal-prepping and batch-cooking. Likewise, for simple clean-up, this cooker has fingerprint-resistant stainless steel sides and a dishwasher-safe lid, inner pot, and accessories. With all this pressure cooker has to offer, it’s the ideal kitchen must-have for those with limited time to cook but want to enjoy the developed flavors of home-cooked stews quickly.
Cuts cooking time by 70 percent
Available in three different sizes: 3-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart
The Yedi 9-in-1 Multi-Cooker offers a wealth of features that make it the runner-up on our list. This electric pressure cooker has instant-touch cooking programs for use as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté pan, and steamer, all in one appliance. Plus, it provides the flexibility to manually input cooking times and set different pressure levels as desired.
Additionally, it includes an expansive deluxe accessory kit comprised of a tempered glass lid (perfect for slow cooking and sautéing), two egg racks/steaming trivets, a ladle, a rice paddle, and cooking mitts. Plus, there’s an extra silicone sealing ring, a stainless steel steaming basket, an inner pot, and a convenient measuring cup. It also features educational materials, including a recipe book full of delicious meals for any occasion, cooking timetables, and cheat sheets to make every culinary endeavor easy. With its easy operation and volume of accessories, this kit truly has everything needed for those looking for a quality pressure cooker.
Multi-functional: pressure cooks, slow cooks, steams, and more
The Presto Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is a 6-quart, multi-purpose pot that works as a conventional pot and a pressure cooker. Moreover, this is a traditional stovetop pressure cooker. Additionally, with a 16-psi pressure regulator, it helps you prepare delicious meals quickly while tenderizing meat. It works on smooth-top, regular, and induction cooktops.
What’s more, the heavy-duty lid locks during cooking, and an inner sealing ring traps the steam inside for safe cooking. Likewise, for additional safety, the pressure regulator automatically maintains the proper cooking pressure, and a cover lock indicator shows when there is pressure inside. This helps ensure that users cannot open the cover until the pressure has been safely reduced. As a bonus, the stainless steel design fits in with any kitchen, and the ergonomic handle makes it easy to handle, even when full of hot food. It also includes a 12-year warranty, so you know it will last for years. Lastly, if you’re looking for a pressure cooker for canning, you may consider Presto’s Canner Pressure Cooker.
On a budget? The Hawkins Classic Pressure Cooker is a great, affordable option. It features a mirror-polished aluminum exterior and a matte-finished interior and base. This pressure cooker’s lid seals from the inside like a jetliner door, and it features easy-to-open and close quarter-turn technology that makes operating it easy.
Moreover, the safety valve is under the handlebar so that when the pressure cooker operates, it safely deflects steam downward. It regulates pressure automatically for faster cooking times, and the shielded valve adds another layer of protection. Likewise, its stay-cool handles make it easy to move around, even with hot contents inside. Plus, it’s available in over ten different sizes. So, with its safety features and ease of use, this affordable pressure cooker is perfect for making nutritious one-pot meals with less time spent in the kitchen and more time around the table.
Looking for a small pressure cooker? The Prestige Pressure Cooker is the perfect little kitchen helper for two. Its compact size is easy to stack with standard saucepans, perfect for kitchens with limited storage space. This particular pressure cooker has the signature silver shine of traditional pressure cookers with a reliable grip that makes the cooker easy to carry.
Moreover, the design has two levels of safety features. First, a metallic safety plug fitted to the lid will release excess pressure if it rises beyond a safe level. The second level is a gasket release system that releases steam through a slot in case of any blockage, preventing any danger of burns or the hassle of a mess. Its 3-liter size perfectly accommodates side dishes and meals for 1-2 people. Of course, this small but mighty pressure cooker can reduce cooking time by less than half, even for frozen meats. With its value price point, polished design, and dual safety features, this is a great choice for those looking to save a ton of time in the kitchen.
Perfect size for two people
Two safety levels
Available in various sizes
Choosing the Best Pressure Cooker: A User's Guide
You Need Fast, Delicious, Easy Meals
Your time is gold. And let’s face it, no one wants to compromise on the quality of their meals after a long day. You need the best of both worlds: meals that are both scrumptious and quick to prepare.
Waiting for water to boil for pasta or spending hours for a stew to simmer can test anyone’s patience. A lot of people end up resorting to fast food or microwaveable meals, which, while convenient, fall short in nutritional value. It’s a compromise on your health and your palate.
Now, imagine cutting down your cooking time by up to 70 percent without sacrificing flavor or nutrition. That’s exactly what the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker offers. Whether it’s tender meats, hearty stews, or vibrant veggies, your meals come out perfectly cooked in a fraction of the time.
7 Benefits of Using a Pressure Cooker
Faster cooking: pressure cookers significantly reduce cooking times by using steam pressure to cook food faster than traditional methods.
Saving electricity: by cooking more quickly, they use less energy, making them an eco-friendly kitchen appliance.
Nutrient retention: the sealed environment of a pressure cooker minimizes nutrient loss during cooking, preserving more vitamins and minerals in your food.
Better flavors: the steam pressure helps intensify flavors, making dishes more flavorful and aromatic.
Less cleanup: the one-pot cooking method reduces the number of dishes used, simplifying cleanup.
Improved safety: modern pressure cookers come with multiple safety features, making them much safer to use than older models.
Convenience: many models offer preset cooking programs and timers, making it easier to cook dishes with minimal monitoring.
How Long Does It Take to Cook a Lamb Stew With Traditional Cooking Methods?
Cooking lamb stew typically involves a slow-cooking process to ensure the meat becomes tender and the flavors melded together. Here’s a basic guideline:
On the stove: you would typically simmer lamb gently for about 1 to 2 hours.
In the oven: cooking lamb stew in a covered pot in an oven or mini oven also requires about 2 hours.
In a slow cooker: for those who prefer to use a slow cooker, setting it on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours is generally the average cooking time.
Lamb Stew in 25 Minutes With a Pressure Cooker
Cooking lamb stew in a pressure cooker significantly reduces the cooking time while still yielding tender meat and a flavorful dish.
Cooking time: you would typically cook lamb stew under high pressure for about 20 to 35 minutes, depending on the size of the lamb pieces and the type of pressure cooker you’re using.
Cooking time: most chicken dishes can be prepared in a pressure cooker in about 10 to 15 minutes under high pressure for chicken pieces, and 20 to 30 minutes for a whole chicken. The exact time can vary based on the size of the chicken pieces and the specific pressure cooker model you’re using.
Using a pressure cooker for chicken dishes not only speeds up the cooking process but also infuses the chicken with flavors and ensures it remains juicy and tender, similar to the effects of long, slow cooking methods but in a fraction of the time. These are my top five favorite chicken recipes to make in a pressure cooker in around 15 minutes.
What You Need to Consider When Choosing a Quality Pressure Cooker
When shopping for the best pressure cooker that suits your needs, several factors should be considered to ensure you choose a model that fits your cooking habits, budget, and kitchen space. Here are some key factors to consider:
1. Type of Pressure Cooker
Stovetop vs. Electric: stovetop models tend to be more durable and can reach higher pressures, which may cook food faster. Electric models offer convenience and precise temperature control, often coming with multiple cooking functions beyond just pressure cooking. This is the case with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker—the “Best Overall” cooker on our list. It combines seven functionalities in one pot: pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and food warmer.
Consider the size of your household and how much food you typically need to prepare. Pressure cookers can range from 3 to 10 quarts. Smaller households may find a 4-6 quart model sufficient, while larger families or those who like to batch-cook may prefer an 8-quart or larger. Personally, I like a 6-quart capacity. I love making a big batch of creamy lemon basil chicken and eating it throughout the week. The flavors are the best on day three!
Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum: stainless steel is more durable, non-reactive, and easier to clean, though usually more expensive. Whereas aluminum models are lighter and conduct heat better but can react with acidic foods and are more prone to dents and scratches.
4. Safety Features
Look for models with multiple safety features such as a locking lid, pressure indicator, pressure release valves, and anti-blockage vents. These features are crucial to ensure safe use. For example, the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker includes over 10 safety features, plus overheat protection and a safe-locking lid.
5. Pressure Indicator and Quick Release
A clear and easy-to-read pressure indicator is essential for monitoring cooking pressure. A quick-release mechanism is also important for safely and quickly reducing pressure without losing heat.
6. Cooking Functions
Many electric pressure cookers offer additional cooking functions like slow cooking, steaming, sautéing, and even yogurt making. Consider whether these extra features are important to you and worth the potential extra cost.
7. Ease of Use and Cleaning
Look for models with intuitive controls and settings. Removable, dishwasher-safe parts make cleanup easier. Non-stick inserts can be convenient but may not be as durable as stainless steel.
Determine your budget beforehand. While more expensive models often offer more features and better durability, many affordable cookers perform well without all the extras.
9. Warranty and Brand Reputation
Check the warranty offered with the pressure cooker. A longer warranty offers peace of mind. Also, consider brands with good reputations for quality and customer service.
10. Accessories and Parts Availability
Some pressure cookers come with useful accessories like steam racks or baskets. Also, consider the availability of replacement parts, such as lids, for the model you’re interested in.
Moreover, if your goal is to cook quick meals throughout the week, consider complementing your purchase with a quality non-stick pan or grill pan for fast, easy weekly meals.
I often find myself short on time but still craving homemade meals. Thankfully, the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is easy to use. And with its quick one-touch cooking, you can whip up everything from tender ribs to tougher cuts of beef faster than traditional methods. Moreover, the option to cook stews quickly means you can prepare those time-honored recipes in minutes rather than in hours. Additionally, its customizable Smart Programs take the guesswork out of cooking, ensuring delicious results with minimal effort. I know you will love your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker as much as I love mine!
Pressure Cooker FAQs
Q: What are the benefits of a pressure cooker?
The advantages of using a pressure cooker include its ability to significantly reduce cooking time, preserve more nutrients, and use less energy than traditional cooking methods. Additionally, pressure cookers are versatile and can prepare a variety of dishes, including meats, grains, beans, vegetables, soups, stews, and even desserts. If you want a pressure cooker for canning, you get specialized canning pressure cookers.
Q: Are flavors improved when using a pressure cooker?
A: Yes, flavors are more intense when using a pressure cooker, as the sealed environment traps steam and aromas, infusing the food more deeply. The high-pressure steam also helps break down fibers in food, allowing flavors to meld better and enhancing the overall taste. This method is especially beneficial for meats and legumes. My go-to weekly dish made in my Instant Pot Duo is 15-minute sriracha chicken.
Q: How long does it take food to cook in a pressure cooker?
It typically takes about 70 percent less time to cook food in a pressure cooker than traditional methods, such as boiling or simmering on the stovetop. However, exact times vary depending on what type of dish you're making and how large it is.
Q: How do I use a pressure cooker safely?
A: Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your pressure cooker, ensure the seal and valves are clear before use, and never overfill it beyond two-thirds capacity to allow safe steam release. Nowadays, manufacturers of pressure cookers almost guarantee safety with their easy-to-follow instructions and safe lock lids.
Q: Is the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker worth the investment?
A: Yes, the Instant Pot Duo Multi-Cooker is a worthwhile investment for several key reasons. It significantly cuts down cooking time, making it a lifesaver for busy lifestyles by preparing meals up to 70 percent faster than traditional methods. Its multifunctional capabilities allow it to replace several kitchen appliances, even a crock pot pressure cooker, saving space and simplifying meal prep. The cooker also promotes healthier eating by preserving nutrients better than many conventional cooking methods, and its energy efficiency can lead to savings on utility bills. With these benefits, it offers exceptional value for under $100 (price at the time of writing.)
Q: Is the Ninja Pressure Cooker also a quality cooker?
A: Yes, the Ninja Pressure Cooker is indeed a good option. It offers 9 versatile functions, including pressure cooking, air frying, searing/sautéing, and baking. Moreover, its TenderCrisp Technology allows you to quickly cook ingredients with the pressure cooking function and then give them a crispy, golden finish using the air fryer. At the time of writing, the Ninja Pressure Cooker is just over $100, making it more expensive than the other pressure cookers on our list.