It’s time to reconsider the pressure cooker. Sales are up more than 25 percent in the past 12 months, according to the market research firm NPD Group. And websites devoted to pressure cooking are another indication that these cookers are gaining a new audience, which is why Consumer Reports bought several models to test.
Top 10 Pressure Cooker
- High Pressure is from 10.2 - 11.6 psi
- Instant Pot
What’s Behind Our Ratings
Since our comparison chart was made according to some criteria, here we’ll present you what’s behind our ratings and what are the most important aspects of this particular cooking appliance.
- Type: there are two types of models, more precisely stove top and electric, and both of them have the same purpose: to cook the food faster than the conventional methods by using pressured heat. The main difference between the two options is the fact that a stovetop unit needs manual regulation of heat, while an electric unit comes with a built-in heating mechanism.
- Material: the material used to manufacture them is very important and usually, they are made of aluminum or stainless steel. The aluminum is a great heat conductor and it’s slightly cheaper than the stainless steel, but due to the fact that it’s light weighted, it can be less durable. On the other hand, stainless steel is more expensive but is stronger and more durable and it isn’t susceptible to stains as the aluminum. Unfortunately, the stainless steel is not such a great heat conductor.
- Capacity: the capacity of a product represents the liquid capacity of the unit, including the extra space necessary for the steam that builds up as a result of the pressured heat. Usually, a cooker with a 4-quart capacity is recommended for one or two people, a 6-quart one is suitable for average families with 3 or 5 members, while an 8-quart model is the best choice for larger families with more than 6 members.
- Functions: there are some cookers, especially the electric ones that can do more than just pressure-cooking or pressure-canning. These models can also, cook rice, steam, brown, simmer, make yogurt and so on. Additionally, they can also keep the food warm until you are ready to serve the meal.
- Pressure levels: in order to cook a certain food accurately, you have to know the pressure recommended for that particular food because otherwise, you won’t achieve the desired results. Most recipes need a level of 15 psi (pounds per square inch). However, if the cooker has a pressure level of 12-13 psi it will need 10% more cooking time, while a pressure level of 8-9 psi will require 20% more cooking time for the same recipe.
- Features: the features of a pressure cooker are important characteristics that are meant to help you during the cooking process. Therefore, it’s very important that a certain model provides safety systems, as well as other innovative features that will ease your cooking experience.
Things That You Should Know about These Appliances
- This is a great kitchen pot that is meant to help us cook the food more quickly. In comparison with the traditional cooking pots that are boiling the water in the open air, the air within the closed pot is withdrawn and thus, the internal cooking temperature rises up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Usually, the traditional cooking method can only produce a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, so the food requires more time to be completely prepared. Since the higher temperature speeds up the entire cooking process, you will be able to cook the food much faster and the result is that you will spend less time in the kitchen.
- Pressure cookers have greatly improved in the last decades, is much safer and easier to use, preventing excessive pressure built-up while keeping the lid locked. Also, these heavy-duty pots are not used only for cooking, but they can also be a great help for those who want to can their own food.
Benefits for the User
Now let’s see what are the advantages of using pressure cookers and why it’s a great alternative to the traditional cooking methods. Read the lines below and find out more interesting things about the utility of this kitchen tool.
- Time-saving: when cooking with it, the food will be prepared 70 percent faster than the traditional cooking methods, being, in fact, the fastest way to cook a healthy meal. At the same time, all you have to do is to put all the ingredients in the pot and in the meanwhile do something else. Therefore, you will be able to save more time and enjoy your meal much quickly.
- Energy efficient: due to the fact that it takes less time to prepare the food, less energy is used. According to some tests, you will be able to save up to 40 present on an electric or gas stove and up to 70 percent in a conventional oven. Consequently, the bills will be lower and you will save more money which is a great thing for your budget.
- Healthier food: another great advantage is the fact that you will eat healthier food every time. Since the unit consumes less water in the cooking process, it’s also able to retain more vitamins and minerals, thus your food will have increased nutritional value.
- Less mess and heat: in comparison to the stovetop or oven cooking, this type of cooker will keep the heat and pressure inside the pot, so there would be less mess and heat in the kitchen while cooking. Therefore, after the meal is ready you won’t have to cool down the kitchen or clean the mess. Also, there will be less cooking smell, so your house will be able to maintain its fresh smell.
- Safer food: with its help, you won’t have to worry about any possible bacteria or germs that may exist in the food. Just as the dishwasher uses high water temperatures to sanitize the dishes, so the high heat in the pot will be able to deliver safe food every time.
- Space-saving: great advantage of using this appliance is the fact that it’s a versatile unit that can be used for preparing a wide range of meals. Moreover, you don’t have to use different kitchen pots or pans whenever you want to enjoy a more complex meal because it can prepare different foods without mixing the flavors. Therefore, with the help of one pot, you will be able to prepare the entire meal.