August 17, 2022

Pressure cookers have exploded in popularity as of late, as many people working from home have been spending more time in the kitchen —unless you’ve relied on meal kits or cookie delivery services to keep you afloat.

With so many on the market — that all look the same, to be honest — the best pressure cooker to buy is based on your budget, preferred size and how tech-y you’d like it to be.

With a good model, you can create flavorful meals in a pinch, from braised roasts to creamy stews. And, with a good set of knives and a walnut cutting board (one of our favorites), you’ll be ready to prepare, cook and entertain like a pro.

Not to mention, pressure cookers pair well with some of the best air fryers and woks to complete your kitchenscape. Plus, most are on sale ahead of Amazon Prime Day 2022.

Before you’re ready to go full-send on a new multipurpose cooker, it’s important to know some of the basics on the handy-dandy appliance that’s getting all the love.

What is a pressure cooker?

First things first. A pressure cooker is essentially a large pot with lots of steam. Since it’s super-steamy, the pressure cooker — true to its name — builds up high pressure which, in turn, makes your food cook faster.

How does a pressure cooker work?

We’re giving it to you straight with no physics class required.

As a steamy sous chef of sorts, a pressure cooker will raise the boiling point of water (typically to 250 degrees F). As a result, the pressure is raised and more water enters the pot. This helps tougher foods, like thick meat, become nice and tender.

How do I use a pressure cooker?

First, add your food and liquid to the pot, ensuring the pressure setting is to your preference.

For electric pressure cookers: select the cooking program and time. Once pressure builds up, the screen on your pot will display the cook time countdown.

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For stovetop pressure cookers: Place the pot on the stove, select the pressure setting of your choice and make sure the heat is on high. Once things start heating up, change the heat to low and start your timer based on the required cook time.

Be sure to note that you can’t assess flavor or adjust your food along the way. So, it’s important you follow your recipes to a T. But, you can quickly reduce the pressure and open the lid for good measure. Keyword — quickly.

Amazon
  • Capacity options: 3 Qt. ($69.99); 6 Qt. ($89); 8 Qt. ($99.95)
  • Dimensions: 11.8″ x 10.5″ x 11″ (3 Qt. size)

Let’s start with the pressure cooker with the most acclaim: the humble Instant Pot. Wearing seven hats — a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer — it certainly boasts time-saving tricks to make life easier.

What’s more, it has 13 customizable programs that can be activated with just one touch. It also has 10 built-in safety features, including overheat protection and a safe-locking lid.

As the perfect gadget for up to three people, it’s wonderful for small families and meal prepping. But, if you like the functionality of the Instant Pot and prefer a larger size, 6-quart and 8-quart options are also available.


Chef iQ Smart Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 13″ x 13″ x 13″

Yes, aside from pressure cookers being convenient, they can also be smart.

The Chef iQ Smart Pressure Cooker boasts 10 cooking functions, 18 features, a built-in scale and access to more than 600 recipes with the paired Chef IQ app. Plus, it comes with a convenient steam rack to cook larger foods like fish and whole vegetables, along with a basket for smaller ingredients.

Noteworthy about this model is its auto pressure release function to, without fail, release steam at the end of pressure cooking for both convenience and safety. Especially great for new cooks and those who will be using a pressure cooker often, Chef iQ gets five gold stars.


Wolfgang Puck Programmable Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 7 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 14.5″ x 19.6″ x 17.9″
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Enter the industrial king of the pressure cooker family: Wolf Gourmet. This quality option (with a beautiful red knob, of course) is a deluxe option because of its LCD screen that displays every detail of the cooking process. So, you can receive temperature feedback and cooking duration recommendations to ensure the perfect simmer.

Also, it’s a six-in-one product: slow cooker, programmer, meal timer, sous vide machine, rice cooker and sauté/searer. It’s a pretty foolproof buy, especially if you want an ol’ reliable that’s fit for nearly any recipe — and, one that looks dynamite on your cooktop.


Cuisinart 12-in-1 Pressure Cooker
HSN
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 14.9″ x 13.7″ x 13.5″

Cuisinart’s top-of-the-line pressure cooker is fairly priced at $150 and is clad with 12 pre-programmed settings to help prepared steamed veggies and chicken breast optimally and with ease. It has an easy-to-read LCD screen, too and contoured handles to carry it from counter to table, if so desired.


Crock-Pot Express Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt. ($59.99); 8 Qt. ($101.99)
  • Dimensions: 16.8″ x 16.8″ x 14″

This guide would be incomplete without a mention of the conventional, decades-loved Crock-Pot. The brand’s Express Pressure Cooker offers a wealth of options, from concocting the perfect soup or broth to making decadent desserts.

Due to its oval shape, it’s one of the best for fitting large cuts of meat and gives a more even sear with no stacking required. And, with its easy-clean function, you won’t have stuck-on odors from the pot after use.

And let’s not forget to note its incredible deal right now, along with 15% off its 8-Qt. size.


Breville Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 13.5″ x 14″

Breville’s gorgeous stainless steel shell made the cut, notably for its chimney-like steamer export and built-in, color-changing LCD screen that notes when it’s cooking, pressuring or releasing steam.

With the Fast Slow Pro Slow Cooker, you have 11 cooking settings to choose from, paired with a practical keep warm function so your food is ready to serve without reheating. There’s even a removable cooking bowl to serve — all features making it well worth its $280 price point.

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Presto Electric Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 11.9″ x 12″ x 12.5″

Notable for its high and low-pressure distinctions, Presto’s Electric Pressure Cooker is a solid option. For its high-pressure setting, it’s one of the best for preserving nutrients from meats, vegetables and other healthful ingredients you’re cooking up.

And, its easy-to-use front settings and center timer make it perfect for the once-in-a-while pressure cooker users who are seeking something effective and thoughtless to maneuver.


Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 8 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 16.1″ x 14.6″ x 14.2″

It’s time to bring out the big guns, a.k.a. the Ninja Foodi.

With a generous size and durable makeup, it made the cut because of its TenderCrisp Technology, making ingredients juicy, crispy and golden brown, akin to your air fryer.

The nonstick and easy-to-wash pressure cooker also has a reversible rack for steaming, broiling and crisping up to eight chicken breasts at once. Plus, there are nine functions: pressure cooking, air frying, steaming, slow cooking, searing/sautéing, baking/roasting, yogurt-making, broiling and dehydrating.

And, it comes with 45 follow-along recipes for inspiration.


GoWise Copper 12-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Amazon
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt. ($73.99); 10 Qt. ($100.99)
  • Dimensions: 11″ x 13″ x 9.5″ (6 Qt. size)

Finished in beautiful copper, the GoWise 12-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker is likely your best value for the features. With specialized settings for risotto making and cooking eggs, you’re getting one of the most personalized options for less than $75.

And, if you want the Mama Bear of pressure cookers, it also comes in a 10. Qt size for $100.99.


Insignia Multi-Function Pressure Cooker
Best Buy
  • Capacity option: 6 Qt.
  • Dimensions: 13″ x 12.2″ x 12.6″

With more than 9K raving reviews on Best Buy, Insignia’s Multi-Function Pressure Cooker is one of the more affordable ones on the market at just $60. It boasts 10 preset cooking functions, a 24-hour timer and a keep-warm setting if you’re not planning on serving right away. Not to mention, its locking lid and includes accessories — a measuring cup, rice scoop, soup ladle and more — make this model one of the best values buys.


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