Do you want to cook a great meal quickly and not compromise on tenderness? If so, you will be excited to hear just what a pressure cooker has to offer. You are going to love how fast and easy you can prepare a delicious meal.
Pressure cookers have come a long way since they first made their way into American kitchens in the 1930’s. They are definitely not your Grandma’s “old style pressure cooker”. Now equipped with state-of-the-art options, you can cook delectable meals in minutes.
The Best Chart For Pressure Cookers
While many pressure cookers on the market today deliver amazing dishes and offer modern features that operate like clockwork each and every time, there are exceptions to the rule. Which are most likely to give you the best results without headaches or hassles? The chart that we’ve prepared above is a helpful guide to assist you in finding the perfect pressure cooker for your needs.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker is a small kitchen appliance that prepares food quickly and tenderly by utilizing the pressure of steam from a hot liquid. Although the finished product is a lot like that of a crock pot, it cooks very fast instead of slowly. Practically any food can be made in the pressure cooker. They are most popular for cooking juicy meats and tender vegetables but can also be used for canning purposes. Some devices even allow for the making of yogurt. If you love to cook a meal that is cooked to perfection but don’t have time to labor over the stove all day, you will love using a pressure cooker.
What Are the Advantages of a Good Pressure Cooker?
A good pressure cooker will provide a tender and delicious product quickly, 70% faster is the average speed. You don’t have to spend a day in the kitchen for your meal to taste as if you did. Meats turn out moist and juicy while vegetables are crisp and colorful. The convenience of being able to deliver such quality with such speed is what most find most appealing about the pressure cooker.
Another advantage of having a pressure cooker is that you can cook up a healthy meal in much less time than you could otherwise. Because you can make a nutritional meal quickly and conveniently, you are much less likely to grab a bite at a fast food chain or a settle for preservative laden instant food from the grocery store. The longer foods are cooked, the more nutrients are lost. It has been noted that pressure cooked foods are so tasteful, many people use less salt on them which is another plus.
Yet one mroe advantage of having a pressure cooker is that they are energy efficient. Because they cook in much less time than other methods do, they used less electricity. It is estimated that using a pressure cooker saves up to 2/3 of energy usage than with a conventional method.
How Do You Find the Best Pressure Cookers?
The best pressure cookers will have some basic things that you will want to compare as you look through our reviews. You will also find that some have different options than others so you will want to browse through those features as well. The following are some ways that you can separate the good from the best:
- Safety is the most important thing to consider when purchasing a pressure cooker. Look for safety features such as an automatic pressure release or that it will shut off in the event the pressure exceeds the normal limit.
- Reliability is, of course, of concern as well. You will want your device to do what it is supposed to do which is to cook consistently meaning that it will brown uniformly and reach and maintain the correct temperatures. Any add-on features should work properly too such as modes used for slow cooking, cooking rice or making yogurt. In addition, any automatic elements, like remote timers or shut offs, should function correctly as well.
- A pressure cooker should be easy to maintain. If it tends to collect grease in the creases and is too difficult to clean or if the food sticks in the pan, it will become a pain and you won’t use it much. Although nonstick varieties are most convenient, many people are shifting away from them due to health concerns. There are some great reviews on stainless steel ones that can be cleaned fairly easily when you follow the simple cleaning instructions that come with them.
- Do your homework. There are a good number of varieties to choose from including those that are stovetop styles and those that are electric. Once you have narrowed down some of the basics, you can compare devices more closely to figure out which will work best for you.
- Can you get replacement parts? If you intend to keep your pressure cooker around for a good while, you most likely will need to replace a part or two every now and then. It is worth checking to make sure that the manufacturer has readily available parts for sale.
Things Worth Knowing About Pressure Cookers
Years ago, pressure cookers were much more difficult and dangerous to use. Many a hand was scalded due to the awkward steam release and there have even been accounts of explosions. But pressure cookers today are much safer and easier to use and bring better results than ever before.
There are a myriad of options you can get when purchasing a pressure cooker these days. The most modern pressure cookers, known as “third generation”, have such features as smart programming technology where cook settings and times, pressure and temperature can all be pre-set. “Fourth generation” pressure cookers are even more advanced. They come with Bluetooth technology and can be controlled by tablets or smartphones. You can even purchase apps and share recipes online.
There are other features to choose between too. Some double as a rice or slow cooker. Some have the ability to keep food warm or to steam. Still others can make yogurt in addition to the normal functions of a pressure cooker.
When considering a pressure cooker, it is good to take into consideration what use or uses you will most likely need it for. Are you cooking mostly meats and vegetables or are you one who likes to can and preserve as well. Are you cooking for an army, or mostly single servings?
Stovetop vs. Electric is one of the biggest considerations you will face when purchasing this appliance. Electric ones are usually less bulky and many times serve more than one purpose such as being a slow or rice cooker as well. If you need your cooker for extreme high temperatures and pressure, you may want to opt for a stovetop unit. But, some are not recommended for smooth top stoves so again, some research and careful planning are key.
If you do decide to purchase a pressure cooker, there are a lot of tried and true tips that can help you prepare scrumptious meals and plenty of great recipes on sites like Food.com. One big plus about using a pressure cooker is that you can use tougher, less expensive cuts of meat because the device is designed to make even the toughest cuts tender. That means you can save money and still have a great dinner. But, if you want to have an incredible meal, chose cuts that are tenderer to begin with like those that come from the inner areas of the animal.
How Much Do the Best Pressure Cookers Cost?
You can actually get a pressure cooker online, like at Amazon, in the vicinity of $40. Of course, that is for your basic, small, no-frills device but it does work and for some who aren’t looking to go all out, that is good enough. There are also those that have all the bells and whistles and go up to the near one hundred dollar range. A lot will depend upon your intentions with the device, how much you plan to use it and for what. As with most products, you get what you pay for so if you want an average pressure cooker, you can get one for less than $100.
What Do Our Reviews Reveal?
This pressure cooker features a 7 full functions in 1 device. This Instant Pot brand handy small appliance not only cooks with pressure, it slow cooks, sautés, browns, cooks rice, steams, warms and makes yogurt as well. It also has 14 smart programs and a certified 10 point safety device. The 1000 watt cooking pot is 6 quarts and is made with 3-layer stainless steel.
While this pressure cooker is easy to use, very safe and quite functional, it does have one quirk that some find a little inconvenient. There is an insert in the bottom of the pot to assure that it cooks evenly. This can present an issue when cooking things that require pressure from the top such as dishes with pasta and tomato sauce. That being said, most who noted that also stated that it was a minute problem for an otherwise near perfect appliance.
If you are looking for a larger pressure cooker, this Presto brand stainless steel version is priced to sell. It has a capacity of 8 quarts. It has a tri-clad base so it can be used on both smooth top and regular stove tops. It cooks evenly and features a steaming basket for cooking more than one food at a time. There is a steam valve that discharges steam for an automatic cool down and a cover lock that protects against opening the top before it is safe to do so. This product gets a good grade for safety and for price as well.
This Cuisinart brand pressure cooker is a 6 quart version with emphasis on simplicity. It is great for those that are new to the art of pressure cooking. The controls are push-button and it also has a digital display thermostat. It browns, simmers, sautés and warms, has a timer and handles that don’t get hot which is a big plus. The pot is non-stick and safe for the dishwasher.
There have been several reports of the device not working properly or not working at all. Most were quick to add that the problem was handled efficiently.
Although this GoWise USA brand pressure cooker is only available through a third party Amazon seller, it has gotten good reviews and is worth mentioning. It is available in 4, 6 and 8 quart sizes and has a stainless steel pot as well as outer surface. The lid locks into place with the rubber gasket and it has a pressure safety valve, a pressure knob to regulate pressure and other safety features as well. The cooker has a stainless steel rack that comes with it. This device is ETL approved which is a big positive given that a defective pressure cooker can be very bad news.
While there have been some minor issues reported such as the timer not working properly, overall the reviews were quite positive and the safety standards are superb.
With this Instant Pot 1000-watt pressure cooker, you get 6 programmable features. It will cook rice and slow cook, brown, sauté, steam and warm. With a 6-quart capacity, it is fairly large and can accommodate a good size meal. It has 10 built in smart programs as well as an auto-warmer. It is easy to control and has 10 proven safety mechanisms.
About the only complaint of this model has been that it does not cook with extreme high pressure. Some say it seems more like medium or medium high. For those that are not planning to cook with maximum high pressure are who are wary of using a pressure cooker, this may come as a positive attribute.