Pressure cookers have come a long way in recent years. If you want to compare prices, features and faults of some of the top pressure cooker brands check out the chart below.
With the new digital pressure cookers, gone are the days of a whistling, spitting, steaming pot at risk of exploding on your stove top. Stove top cookers still exist and have their passionate followers. The main difference between stove top and electric is that the stove top can actually attain a higher psi value and therefore cook even faster.
For me the ease of use of the electric pressure cookers outweighs any perceived advantage of the stove top version.Today electric pressure cookers regulate the time and temperature perfectly and serve as multiple appliances. Who wants to store an electric frying pan, a slow cooker and a pressure cooker, a rice cooker separately when they could store only one?
As you may know from some of my previous recipe posts (Barb -B-Barn Copy Cat Ribs & Tequila Ribs) – I love my pressure cooker! You can make mouthwatering, fall off the bone ribs in an hour! Pot roast in 45 minutes! Vegetables take minutes 3-8 minutes ; Risotto in 8 minutes! Note that cooking times don’t include the time to come to pressure which can vary depending on the power of your unit and how much is in it. My pressure cooker usually takes about 8-20 minutes. So to me the value is in the time savings and ease of cooking foods with longer cooking times like stews, legumes, ribs, rice, potatoes
There are also 2 choices for releasing pressure – quick release or natural release. Quick release is just what it says – you manually move the pressure valve from seal to vent and the steam shoots out until all the pressure is gone. Natural release takes time and during that time the food is continuing to cook (although the cook time in the recipe is the active pressure cooking time).
Some basics about pressure cooking:
- cooking under pressure reduces cook time by up to 70% depending on the psi (pressure/square/inch) your cooker operates at. Most recipes are written for 15 psi which is the American standard for pressure cooking. (Europe is 13 psi)
- studies have shown that pressure cooking retains 90-95% of nutrients compared to 75-90% for steaming, 40-75% for boiling and 53-90% for roasting. The additional retention is attributed to less contact with cooking liquids that would otherwise leach out nutrients, and lower cooking times.
- pressure cooking soaked grains and legumes reduces the amount of phytic acid by 54% compared to 29% for soaked and boiling. Phytic acid binds with minerals and nutrients and prevents your digestive tract from using them so the lower the amount of phytic acid the better. Pressure cooking is also on par with fermenting of pre-soaked seeds for reducing lectin (an anti-nutrient).
- fears of carcinogens formed at high cooking levels do not apply to pressure cooking. The formation of acrylomides tends to take place in dry heat environments like grilling. The moist steam environment of pressure cooking does not lead to their formation.
If I could only have one appliance it would be a new digital, multi functional pressure cooker. I am in the market for a second pressure cooker for a vacation property and even though I am totally satisfied with the one I have been using for about 5 years, I wanted to be sure I will not miss out on any new features. So I updated my research with 2016 reviews and product information.
I was focused on electric pressure cookers only. Stove top ones are available and have fewer features that may burn out and cook at an even higher pressure but the anxiety of having to watch the pressure and manage the burner heat levels is a non-starter for me. I am going for the convenience of the electronic unit.
I started with bestreviews.com‘s 5 Best Pressures Cookers updated November 2016 and pressurecookerportal.com’s Best Pressure Cooker-Reviews and Top Picks 2016 updated August 2016. Note that reviews and prices are as advertised at the time of publishing this post. (Although maybe Cyber Monday will be good to us!) I am not affiliated with any of the pressure cooker manufacturers. Opinions expressed here are my own, however if you are influenced to buy any of the products reviewed through the link on this site I may receive a small commission.
See the chart below to compare prices and features and my observations.
Both reviews ratedInstant Pot as the number one choice.
Bestreviews.com gave Cuisinart 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker[ honorable mention for Best Bang for the Buck.
Pressure Cooker Portal gives 3rd place to thePPC Power Pressure X Large (as seen on TV).
( They gave 2nd place to the Instant Pot 6-in-1 but I disregarded it because it is just a lesser version of the 7 in-1).
I compared these products to the Nesco Digital Pressure Cooker PC-6-25 which I have been using for the past 5 years.
Hopefully this will help you decide which of these popular brands is right for you. I encourage you to review amazon reviews for any model you might be thinking of purchasing for the most up to date information.
Me? For me the psi values are one of the most important features. I believe the complaints about recipe books and cooking outcomes on the models with lower than 15 psi are due to the fact that recipes are written traditionally for psi of 15. For values other than that you have to adjust the pressure cooking time.
I contacted the Nesco company to get their comments on the stopped working/suspected fuse issues noted in many reviews. They could not comment on user reviews and do not encourage consumers to try to repair units themselves.
The Instant Pot clearly has cornered the market currently based on the number of reviewers. And the majority of them by far are very happy with their appliances. If yogurt making is important to you that may sway you to the Instant Pot. If canning is important to you the PPC Power Pressure X Large may be for you. I would encourage you to do you own research on water boiling vs steam canning vis a vis this unit if it is the canning feature that is important to you.
Me? I am disregarding the Cuisinart because I want a multi-functional unit. The yogurt and canning seem to be really the only functions that set any of the units apart. I am still leaning toward the Nesco Digital because of the 15 psi-I have a handy appliance tech shop just a few blocks away so I am thinking I will take a chance on the potential fuse issue.
If anyone has any recommendations based on their experience I would love to hear from you!