How to Choose the Best Electric Pressure Cooker

How do you choose the best electric pressure cooker for your home? What features and functions should the best pressure cooker have to suit your needs? Read our guide an make an informed choice.

The best electric pressure cookerWhen it comes to saving time in the kitchen without sacrificing flavour or quality, there’s no match for the electric pressure cooker.

This kitchen appliance has revolutionised how we cook at home, providing a one-pot solution to prepare various dishes ranging from soups, stews, risottos, to even desserts.

However, with an array of choices on the market, finding the perfect electric pressure cooker can be daunting.

Fear not, for we’ve crafted this comprehensive guide that will make your decision-making process as easy as pie.

Let’s delve into how to choose the best electric pressure cooker for your culinary adventures.

Understanding Electric Pressure Cookers

Electric pressure cookers have seen a dramatic rise in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. They’re multifunctional, efficient, and a real game-changer for those leading busy lifestyles, looking to reduce time spent in the kitchen.

But what exactly is an electric pressure cooker, and how does it work? Let’s delve deeper.

Anatomy of an Electric Pressure Cooker

To understand an electric pressure cooker, it’s essential to become familiar with its main components:

  • The Outer Body: This part houses the heating element. It’s typically made of stainless steel or durable plastic. Some models have a digital control panel here for easy programming.
  • The Inner Pot: This is where the food is placed for cooking. It’s a removable container, often made from stainless steel or non-stick material. It’s crucial because it comes into direct contact with your food.
  • The Lid: Equipped with a sealing ring, it ensures the pot becomes a sealed environment, trapping steam and pressure inside.
  • Pressure Release Valve: This critical safety feature allows the controlled release of pressure once cooking is complete.
  • Sealing Ring: It’s a silicone gasket that forms an airtight seal between the lid and the pot.

The Magic Behind the Pressure

Electric pressure cookers work on a simple principle: the pressure inside an enclosed vessel increases as you heat it. This increased pressure raises the boiling point of water, allowing food to cook at higher temperatures without becoming dry or losing nutrients. The high-pressure environment also forces liquid into the food, helping it cook faster and allowing flavours to develop more deeply.

The Electric Advantage

Electric pressure cookers stand out from their stovetop counterparts because they are self-regulating and offer advanced features.

Cooking chicken counter top electric pressure cookerThey have built-in sensors and microprocessors to regulate the temperature and pressure inside the pot, making them safer and more convenient.

Most models come with a digital interface that allows you to adjust settings and select different cooking modes. This means you can set your cooker with a press of a button and let it do its magic while you go about your day, no supervision required.

Versatility at Its Best

Besides pressure cooking, these ingenious appliances often come with multiple cooking functions, which can include slow cooking, steaming, sautéing, and even baking. They can replace several kitchen appliances, saving you counter space and money.

To sum it up, understanding an electric pressure cooker is the first step towards mastering its use. It’s a versatile and convenient kitchen tool that makes cooking quicker, easier, and more enjoyable. Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of these devices, you’re well on your way to choosing the best electric pressure cooker to meet your culinary needs.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Pressure Cooker

Size Matters

Size is more than just about the physical space the cooker occupies on your counter. It fundamentally influences the amount of food you can prepare at one time. But how do you determine the right size for your needs?

Electric pressure cookers are generally measured by their total liquid capacity, usually ranging from 3 litres (quarts) to 8 litres or more. However, you never fill a pressure cooker to its maximum capacity, so consider that a 6-litre pressure cooker gives you about 4.5 litres of cooking capacity.

  • Small-sized Cookers (3-4 litres): These compact cookers are perfect for individuals or couples who don’t need to cook large quantities of food. They’re also a good choice for those with limited kitchen space.
  • Medium-sized Cookers (5-6 litres): This size is the most common and fits the needs of most families (3-5 people). It allows you to cook a reasonable amount of food without taking up too much counter space.
  • Large-sized Cookers (7-8 litres and above): If you have a large family, frequently host gatherings, or enjoy meal prepping for the week, a large cooker is a wise choice. It lets you cook in bulk, saving you time and energy in the long run.

When considering size, think about your daily cooking habits and needs. Remember, it’s better to have a bit of extra capacity rather than not enough.

Exploring Functions

The versatility of electric pressure cookers lies in the range of functions they offer.

Versatile and easy to use electric pressure cookerWhat makes them unique is their ability to combine several appliances in one, freeing up space and reducing clutter in your kitchen. Here are some common functions to look for:

  • Pressure Cooking: This is the main feature. It cooks food quickly by raising the temperature above the boiling point of water under sealed conditions.
  • Slow Cooking: This feature allows your electric pressure cooker to work as a slow cooker, great for stews, braised dishes, and tenderising tough cuts of meat.
  • Sautéing/Browning: This feature lets you brown meat or vegetables before pressure or slow cooking, adding depth to the flavours in your dish.
  • Rice Cooking: Some models offer settings specifically for cooking rice or risotto, automatically adjusting time and pressure for optimal results.
  • Steaming: A quick and healthy way to prepare vegetables, fish, and more. Some models come with a steam rack for this purpose.
  • Yogurt Making: A handy feature for those who enjoy homemade yoghurt. It maintains the perfect temperature for fermenting, ensuring great results every time.
  • Keeping Warm: This function keeps your food at a safe and palatable temperature after cooking, perfect for those occasions when you can’t serve the meal immediately.
  • Delay Start: A function that allows you to set the cooker to start at a later time. It’s an excellent feature for having a meal ready when you come home after a long day.

Remember, more functions mean greater versatility but also a higher price. Choose a model with the features that match your cooking style and needs to ensure you’re not paying for functions you’ll rarely use.

Material

The material of the inner pot can influence not just the durability and maintenance of the appliance, but also the quality of the food cooked. There are two common types of materials used:

Stainless Steel: This material is favoured for its durability and robustness. Stainless steel pots don’t chip or peel, and they are typically dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean. However, food might stick to the bottom if the pot is not properly greased, which could require a bit more effort to clean. Stainless steel also provides even heat distribution, ensuring all your food is uniformly cooked.

Non-stick: Non-stick pots are popular because of their ease of use and clean-up. Food rarely sticks to the bottom, making them easy to clean, often with just a wipe. However, they are generally not dishwasher safe and require more careful handling to prevent the non-stick coating from peeling or scratching. Over time, the coating may wear off, requiring replacement.

Each material has its pros and cons, and the choice between them depends on your personal preferences and cooking habits.

Controls and Ease of Use

The usability of an electric pressure cooker largely depends on its controls and interface. Modern electric pressure cookers come with digital interfaces that give you control over cooking times, pressure levels, and cooking modes. Here’s what to look for:

  • Intuitive Controls: Look for a model with an intuitive control panel that is easy to navigate. The buttons should be clearly labelled, and the display should be easy to read. Complicated controls can be frustrating and may deter you from using the appliance.
  • Pre-set Programs: Many electric pressure cookers come with pre-set programs for common recipes like soups, beans, poultry, or rice. These settings automatically adjust the temperature and pressure for optimal results, which is a great help for beginners or those who prefer hassle-free cooking.
  • Adjustable Settings: More advanced cookers offer the ability to manually adjust cooking time, pressure levels, and temperature. This feature is great for more experienced cooks who want more control over their cooking.
  • Delayed Start and Keep Warm: A delayed start feature allows you to program the cooker to start at a later time. The keep warm function keeps your food at the right temperature until you’re ready to serve. Both of these features add to the convenience of using an electric pressure cooker.

Remember, simplicity is often the key when it comes to controls and ease of use. A pressure cooker with complicated controls might offer more versatility, but if it’s too complicated to use, it might end up gathering dust in a corner.

Safety Features

An electric pressure cooker is a robust kitchen appliance that operates under high pressure, making safety features an absolute necessity.

Safety features of an electric pressure cookerHere are some of the essential safety features you should look for:

  • Locking Lid: This is a critical safety feature that ensures the lid locks in place when the pressure is high, preventing accidental opening under pressure.
  • Pressure Release Valve: This valve is used to manually release pressure before opening the lid. Some models offer an automatic release feature for extra convenience.
  • Pressure Indicator: This feature visually shows whether there is pressure inside the pot. It’s a handy way to know when it’s safe to open the lid.
  • Overpressure Protection: In case the pressure exceeds the safe limit, this feature triggers the release of excess pressure to prevent accidents.
  • Automatic Shut-off: In the event of a malfunction or overheating, this feature automatically turns off the cooker, offering an added layer of protection.
  • Cool-touch Handles: These ensure that the cooker’s handles remain cool to the touch, preventing burns when moving the appliance.

While most modern electric pressure cookers come standard with these safety features, it’s important to check them before making your purchase.

Brand and Reviews

The brand of the electric pressure cooker can give you insight into its quality, durability, and customer support. More established brands generally have a track record that can provide assurance of the product’s quality.

Furthermore, user reviews can be incredibly helpful in understanding the real-world performance of a product. They give you a glimpse into the experiences of individuals who’ve used the pressure cooker in various settings. When considering reviews, look out for comments on:

Performance: Does the cooker cook food evenly and quickly? Are there any issues with maintaining pressure?

Durability: How well does the cooker hold up over time? Are there any common problems reported by multiple users?

Ease of Use: Is the cooker intuitive and straightforward to operate? Are the instructions clear and easy to follow?

Customer Service: If the product develops a problem, is the brand responsive and helpful in resolving the issue?

Bear in mind that no product will have 100% positive reviews, but a pattern of similar complaints may be a red flag. Look for products with a high average rating and a large number of reviews.

Conclusion

Choosing the right electric pressure cooker may initially seem like a daunting task, but armed with this information, you’re ready to make an informed decision.

Remember, the best electric pressure cooker for you will ultimately depend on your unique cooking needs, preferences, and budget.

Happy cooking!

Recommended Electric Pressure Cookers

Taking into account the advice above, analysing buyer opinions, and the available offerings, we recommend the following models of Electric Pressure Cookers that offer excellent value for money.

Recommended Product No. 1
Instant Pot DUO 60 Duo 7-in-1 Smart Cooker, 5.7L - Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté...
  • HEALTHY COOKING WITH CONSISTENT RESULTS: The classic Instant Pot Duo adjusts pressure, temperature, time, and heat to cook food up to 70% faster than other methods and deliver consistent, delicious results every time
  • CONVENIENT AND CUSTOMISABLE: The Instant Pot Duo can remember the way you like to cook, and which smart programs you use most often. ‘Set it and forget it’ freeing you to do other things while your dinner cooks safely and quickly
  • 13 ONE-TOUCH SMART PROGRAMS: Revolutionize the way you cook with one touch programs: Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Slow Cook, Sauté, Rice, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Multigrain and Poultry. Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook
Recommended Product No. 2
Drew & Cole Pressure King Pro Electric Pressure Cooker 3L - 700W - Chrome - 8-in-1 Multi Cooker with...
  • QUICK & EASY TO USE: Fantastic for small families, couples or individuals. With a pre-set feature your pressure cooker allows you to cook all of your favourite meals at the click of a button up to 90% faster than traditional cooking methods. This easy to use machine makes cooking delicious dishes simple.
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Because PKP cooks super-fast with pressurised steam, it saves money on your energy bills! In fact, it uses at least 66% less energy than the average oven (approx. 2100W).
  • SIMPLY SET AND FORGET: The Pressure King Pro creates the same slow-cooked tenderness and taste that you want but in a much shorter time with a lot less effort! Why wouldn't you choose this product?! Simply turn it on in the morning and your food will be done by the evening ready for you to enjoy!
SaleRecommended Product No. 3
COSORI Electric Pressure Multi Cooker 5.7L, Recipe Book, 9-in-1, Steamer, Rice & Slow Cooker, Sauté...
  • BBC Good Food Recommend: Tested and recommended by professional organizations --"This model from Cosori is a great example of an appliance which performs a wide range of functions to a high standard"
  • QUICK MEALS: Pressure cook meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods or use as a slow cooker for stews and soups
  • 9 Machines in 1: Pressure Cook, Rice, Steam, Oatmeal/Porridge, Stew/Broth, Bean/Grain, Meat/Poultry, Yoghurt, Cake, Slow Cook, Sauté, Sous Vide, Keep Warm
SaleRecommended Product No. 4
Tefal All-in-One 25-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Multi Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steam, Reheat, Stew,...
1,760 Reviews
Tefal All-in-One 25-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Multi Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steam, Reheat, Stew,...
  • Save time: All-in-One whips up pressure-cooked dishes faster than conventional methods, while locking in all the nutrients and natural flavours, for healthy and delicious meals in minutes.
  • Simplify meals: With 25 one-touch programs (more than any other pressure cooker) All-in-One slow cooks, steams, browns and more, allowing you to prepare a range of dishes with minimal effort.
  • Set and forget: A 24-hour delay timer means you can choose when cooking starts. Add your ingredients, set the timer, and All-in-One will do the rest. It even keeps food warm once cooked.
SaleRecommended Product No. 5
Tefal Turbo Cuisine Electric Pressure Cooker, 10 Programmes inc. stew, steam, bake, slow cooker,...
  • Cook better: Tefal Turbo Cuisine combines high-speed pressure cooking for 3 times faster cooking with a spherical cooking bowl for 360° heat circulation for juicier and more tender results, every time. Up to 3 times faster compared to traditional cookware using gas or electric stove
  • Do more: With 10 programs, this one-pot wonder can replace up to seven appliances. Stew, brown, steam, bake, or slow cook. Make soup, porridge, yoghurt, or rice. Or experiment with manual mode. Pressure cooker, Dutch oven, slow cooker, rice cooker, yoghurt maker, steamer, and egg cooker
  • Take it easy: With just one simple dial, Turbo Cuisine is incredibly easy to use. Turn to pick a program, adjust the time or temperature, or set a delayed start so your food is ready when you are
SaleRecommended Product No. 6
Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker [OP500UK], 9-in-1, 7.5L, Electric Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer,...
  • Family-size capacity
  • The pressure cooker that crisps – TenderCrisp Technology
  • Multiple Cooking Functions: Pressure Cook, Air Crisp, Slow Cook, Steam, Sear/Saute, Bake/Roast, Grill, Yoghurt and Dehydrate
SaleRecommended Product No. 7
Neo Stainless Steel 6L 8 Function Electric Pressure Cooker Multi Cooker
  • Large 6L capacity. Made from Stainless Steel outer casing. Removable non-stick coated cooking pot for easy cleaning made from durable aluminium.
  • Easy-to-use digital control panel. Blue LED digital countdown timer lets you know when your ingredients are ready.
  • 8 one-touch digital functions as well as cancel and keep warm functions
SaleRecommended Product No. 8
NINJA Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker 6L [OL550UK] Electric Pressure Cooker, Air Fryer,...
5,088 Reviews
NINJA Foodi 11-in-1 SmartLid Multi-Cooker 6L [OL550UK] Electric Pressure Cooker, Air Fryer,...
  • ENERGY-SAVING: Save up to 65% on your energy bill* (*testing and calculations based on recommended cook time for sausages, using air fry function versus conventional ovens).
  • THE NEXT GENERATION OF MULTI-COOKERS: Discover even more exciting ways to cook your favourite meals, with 11 cooking functions under 1 SmartLid.
  • 11 VERSATILE FUNCTIONS: Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Grill, Bake, Dehydrate, Sear/Sauté, Steam, Slow Cook, Yoghurt, Steam Air Fry, Steam Bake.

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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