The best electric pressure cooker
After helping the kids with their homework and squeezing in a workout at the gym, getting a home-cooked meal on the table at the end of a busy workday can be a serious challenge. That's why electric pressure cookers have become so popular. Because they use built-up steam pressure to cook your food, you can prepare meals in as little as half the time more traditional methods would take. Concerned about healthy eating? An electric pressure cooker also allows food to keep more of its nutrients than other forms of preparation. And many home cooks find that the finished product tastes better, too.
Thinking of giving pressure cooking a try? Keep reading our shopping guide to find the best electric pressure cooker for your kitchen. We've also included reviews of specific products, such as the Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1, which isn't only a pressure cooker but also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and warmer.
Considerations when choosing electric pressure cookers
Electric pressure cookers vary in size, so think about how much food you normally need to cook at a time before you make your purchase. Most pressure cookers on the market have anywhere from two to 12 quarts of capacity. If you cook for one to two people, a smaller model can work well. For a family or a party, you should look for a pressure cooker that can hold at least six quarts.
Keep in mind that larger pressure cookers require a lot of storage space and take longer to heat up than smaller models, which can stretch out the cooking process.
All electric pressure cookers allow you to pressure cook your food, but some models offer additional cooking functions. You can find electric pressure cookers that also work as slow cookers, as well as some that function as steamers, sauté pans, rice cookers, and/or yogurt makers.
There are some safety concerns with pressure cooking, so it's important to choose an electric pressure cooker with key features that will protect you and your family. Most models have a locking lid that prevents the appliance from opening during cooking and releasing scalding steam that can cause burns. They usually have a vent for safely releasing excess steam, too.
You should also look for an electric pressure cooker with handles that stay cool to the touch and a pressure sensor to alert you if the pressure inside gets too high.
Most electric pressure cookers are made of aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum models typically cost less, but their lightweight design means they aren't as durable. While a stainless steel pressure cooker costs more, it's a better investment, because it will last longer.
Check out the handles on any electric pressure you're considering, too. They should be made of heavy-duty plastic or other non-conductive material to avoid accidental burns.
Ease of use
If you're new to pressure cooking, you definitely want a model that's as user-friendly as possible. Look for a cooker with easy-to-use controls on the front, as well as an owner's manual that clearly explains all the functions and how to use them safely.
Ease of cleaning
You can find some electric pressure cookers that have a nonstick liner to aid easy cleaning. However, some owners find the lining can chip and scratch over time, especially when exposed to the high temperatures of pressure cooking. If you opt for a model with a nonstick liner, check it periodically to make sure there aren't any chips or other damage.
Some models come with a stainless steel liner that's dishwasher-safe. These make keeping your cooker clean very easy and also save you from worrying about flaking.
Some electric pressure cookers feature a convenient timer that automatically turns the appliance on. You can add your ingredients to the pressure cooker and then set the timer to turn on at a specific time, so your meal is ready exactly when you want it.
You'll typically spend between $50 and $200 for an electric pressure cooker. A small, beginner model will have a price tag of about $50 to $75, while a versatile, multipurpose model will generally cost over $100.
Q. Is it safe to use an electric pressure cooker?
A. If you follow the guidelines outlined in your pressure cooker owner's manual and operate the appliance properly, you shouldn't have any safety issues. Be careful not to overfill your cooker and avoid adding oil to it to prevent accidents.
Q. What can I make in an electric pressure cooker?
A. You can make most recipes that you typically prepare with conventional cooking methods. Stews, soups, beans, meats, chicken, and vegetables are all good candidates.
Electric pressure cookers we recommend
Best of the best: Instant Pot's Lux 6-in-1
Our take: A multipurpose pressure cooker from a trusted brand. Can also slow cook, steam, prepare rice, and perform other functions.
What we like: Six-quart capacity for preparing family meals. Pressure cooker function is easy to use. Sensor monitors pressure for safety and performance.
What we dislike: More complicated than you may need.
Best bang for your buck: Cosori's Electric 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker
Our take: A high-quality pressure cooker that performs similarly to many pricier models.
What we like: Can perform eight functions but still carries an affordable price tag. Six-quart capacity is suitable for families. Touch panel with 16 user-friendly preset buttons.
What we dislike: Some users report units breaking down after just a couple of months.
Choice 3: Breville's Fast Slow Pro
Our take: An excellent electric pressure cooker with a slow-cooker function for added versatility.
What we like: Features 11 preset pressure cooker options, as well as a custom setting. Cooking bowl has a PTFE- and PFOA-free ceramic coating. LCD display is large and easy to read.
What we dislike: Pricer than much of the competition.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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