Make healthier cooking a breeze.
Pressure cookers are some of the most popular options to help people with a busy lifestyle eat healthier. We break down some of the differences between pressure cookers, multicookers and slow cookers and offer our top product suggestions.
Our top 5 picks for the best pressure cookers
1. Instant Pot LUX60V3 V3 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
The Instant Pot pressure cooker has quickly grown a cult following across the nation — this model in particular has nearly 5,000 customer reviews on Amazon alone. Priced modestly under $100, this fan favorite combines six kitchen appliances into one — it’s a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sautér, steamer and warmer. Instant Pot boasts a 70% faster cook time, making this handy appliance perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle.
- Price: $80
- Where to buy: Amazon
2. Fagor LUX 6-Quart All-In-One Electric Multi-Cooker
This top-rated electric multicooker serves as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker — all in one appliance. This model is available in a four-quart and six-quart option and features a time delay function, auto shut-off function and several preprogrammed cooking functions that make meal prep a breeze.
- Price: $140
- Where to buy: Bed, Bath and Beyond
3. Breville Fast Slow Pro Multicooker
This model, from a trusted brand in kitchen appliances, features 11 cook settings; a color-changing LCD screen that tells you when the cooker is pressurizing, cooking or releasing steam; automatic hands-free steam release; and a three-way safety locking lid. With a maximum capacity of six quarts, this cooker is big enough to make meals for your whole family.
- Price: $245
- Where to buy: Amazon
4. Crock-Pot 6-Qt 8-in-1 Multi-Use Express Crock Programmable Slow Cooker
This cooker from a beloved brand features eight one-touch digital meal settings, four one-touch cook functions, a nonstick cook pot, an airtight locking lid, delay start timer and a keep warm setting — making cooking and clean-up easy as pie.
- Price: $70
- Where to buy: Walmart
5. Cosori 2.1-Qt 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
If you’re looking for something on the smaller side, perfect for cooking for one or two people, this two-quart electric cooker could be just the ticket. Despite its compact size, this appliance serves as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, yogurt maker, steamer and warmer. It features 14 preprogrammed meal settings, a delay timer and a variety of safety functions.
- Price: $60
- Where to buy: Amazon
What are pressure cookers?
Pressure cookers are kitchen appliances consisting of a tightly-sealed large pot, a valve that controls the pressure and a variety of controls, depending on the model.
Most pressure cookers will have a built-in timer, so you can set the pot to start cooking an hour before you get home, making it an efficient kitchen appliance for harried parents or busy people.
How do pressure cookers work?
Pressure cookers cook efficiently with hot, highly-pressurized steam. Pressure-cooker-prepared meals are characterized by:
- High temperatures that make food cook quickly. With the combination of the boiling water and the pressurized steam, the temperature inside the pot will be very hot. This level of heat helps food cook faster.
- Retains moisture. The seal keeps in the steam and stops the liquid evaporating. This makes the food cooked in pressure cookers juicier and more tender, and also means that you need to add less liquid during the preparation process.
- Seals in flavor. Pressure-cookers create a unique flavor when browning meat and caramelizing food because of the extra-high temperature and increased liquid.
Case study: Anna’s experience
I’d read about the Instant Pot for about a year before finally buying the 6-quart Lux. Adjusting recipes was tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it, there was no going back. It makes some of the best rice I’ve ever had, unimaginably tender braises and perfect jammy eggs.
It’s bulky as far as kitchen appliances go, but it’s worth the space. I’m not in love with the preset features — I go online and read about tricks from other users for better results. I also avoid using it to cook fish, vegetables or beans, since getting the timing right is nearly impossible.
Pressure cookers vs. slow cookers
Pressure cookers and slow cookers are often confused. But they cook food quite differently, even if they can look similar from the outside and are both hands-off kitchen appliances.
The first distinction is that pressure cookers cook quickly and slow cookers cook food, well, slowly. Slow cookers also tend to have fewer functions, although multipurpose slow cookers do exist.
While pressure cookers were originally designed to cook meals fast with high heat and compressed steam, better pressure cookers will have slow-cook functions which are ideal for slowly cooking meat you might otherwise break out the slow cooker for.
What are multicookers?
Multicookers are sometimes called all-in-one cookers, and they are truly multifunctional.
A multicooker’s design is similar to that of a pressure cooker, and they work on the same principle: both use a pressurized container with high heat to cook a variety of dishes efficiently.
However, multicookers usually come with additional compartments, inserts and functions depending on the model. Higher-end multicookers can bake bread, slow-cook meat, or steam vegetables.
Some standard features of a multicooker include:
- Multiple functions and lift-out inserts that can replace several small kitchen appliances, including a deep fryer, steamer, pressure cooker, slow cooker and more.
- Most models include a time-delay and keep-warm function.
- The pressure-cook function is efficient, and can cook much faster than a regular pot on a stove or in an oven.
Pressure cooker vs. multicooker
There are no hard-and-fast rules for what makes a better appliance among these two all-stars. These days, many of the features overlap, and high-end multicookers will often cook like a pressure cooker with additional functions.
Multicookers can be pricier, so you should consider how many of the functions you will actually use before investing in an appliance.
Another point to consider is that some multicookers may perform very well for some functions, but come up lacking in others.
Pressure cooker tips
If you’re new to pressure cookers, keep these tips in mind:
- Watch out for steam. You can easily burn yourself. If steam is escaping, adjust the valve and lower the heat until it disappears.
- Be cautious when removing the lid. When your cook time is up, wait a few minutes and remove the lid slowly to avoid burns. If you’re in a rush, run cold water over the top to reduce heat before you remove the lid.
- Pay attention to timers. If your pressure cooker is new, you might need a while to adjust to the cooking times. It’s a good idea to stick to a recipe and the manual until you get the hang of it.
If your aim is to broaden your horizons in the kitchen without spending a lot of time prepping meals, then a high-quality pressure cooker is an ideal kitchen appliance to have at your disposal.
How did we choose these products?
To choose our list of the best pressure cookers, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models available. We considered features such as the size, price, overall features and extra functions.
Frequently asked questions