Want to make soups, stews, and one-pot meals in half the time? Get a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers are a genius invention. They can create massive amounts of pressure inside themselves, which raises the boiling point of water and causes food to cook faster. The higher the pressure, the less time it takes to cook. This is extremely useful to those with a busy schedule, anyone with multiple mouths to feed, and anybody who doesn’t like to spend their evenings hunched over a hot stove.
But, the world of pressure cookers can be mightily confusing. There are just so many different features and types of pressure cookers. How are you ever supposed to choose one? Here at Family Living Today, we set out to figure out which pressure cookers were the best of the best. On our search, we took into account size, ease of use, safety, even cooking, durability, and customer review.
The Instant Pot DUO60 easily claimed the top of our list as the best pressure cooker on the market. Not only is it massive, but it also includes an easy to use control panel with 14 different built-in programs. It is extremely versatile as well, with the ability to functions as seven different appliances all in one!
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Pressure Cookers
|Best Overall||Instant Pot DUO60||4.6|
|Runner Up||Mealthy MultiPot||4.8|
|Best Budget Buy||Presto 01362||4.3|
|Best Electric||Mueller 10-in-1 Pro Series||4.6|
|Best Stovetop||T-fal Clipso||4.1|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Instant Pot DUO60
With 7-in-1 versatility, the Instant Pot DUO60 is a cooking machine. Its primary function is as a pressure cooker. However, it can also function as a slow cooker, rice cooker, browning pot, yogurt maker, steamer, and a warmer. That’s seven different functions all rolled up into one machine! This pressure cooker also comes with an advanced, easy-to-use control panel that allows you to switch between functions easily. This control panel comes programmed with 14 different cooking functions to allow you to get started right away. The machine also comes with 3 different temperature settings for the sauté and slow cook function as well as an automatic keep-warm feature.
Customers loved that this pressure cooker came with a delayed ability, which allows you to delay cooking for up to 24 hours. It is just so convenient to prepare everything for dinner the day before, put it in the pot, and program it to start when you need it to. Now you can start cooking before you even get home. Built-in micro-monitors keep track of pressure, temperature, time, and heat intensity to ensure that you don’t have to stand over it while it cooks. Just prepare your ingredients, throw them in, and walk away. This machine will take care of everything else. Unsure what to make? The Instant Pot DUO60 is compatible with Alexa and comes with a free app, which can guide you through hundreds of recipes.
Instant Pot DUO60 Key Features:
- Family Sized
- Easy-to-use control panel
- Delay cooking function
- 14 built-in programs
Our Runner-Up Pick: Mealthy MultiPot
With 9-in-1 functionality, this pressure cooker is a great versatile choice.
Looking for something truly versatile? The Mealthy MultiPot is a programmable pressure cooker that can perform nine different functions in your kitchen. It can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, make cake, pasteurize, make yogurt, cook rice, and warm food. If you have a smaller kitchen or are looking for something that can do multiple jobs at once, this is a perfect option. It even can make 2 dishes at once using the included steamer basket. Now you can make a whole meal for your family or even a larger gathering with only this one machine.
Similarly to our other top picks, this pressure cooker comes pre-programmed with settings to fit whatever you’re making. These include poultry, meat/stew, bean/chili, soup, sauté, cake, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, slow cook, keep warm, yogurt. You can also manually input your settings for maximum control. All of these settings are changed through a simple, one-touch control pad.
The Mealthy company also has a website and mobile app for both Android and iOS that contains a number of recipes and step-by-step videos. If you’ve never used a pressure cooker before or are a generally new cook, we recommend working through one or two of these recipes first to get the hang of using the pressure cooker.
Mealthy MultiPot Key Features:
- 9-in-1 versatility
- 2 dishes in one
- Control panel
- 14 programs
Best Budget Pick: Presto 01362
With all the must-have features, this pressure cooker is great for those on a budget.
The Presto 01362 is a cheaper pressure cooker that still contains all of the necessary features to function well and prepare plenty of meals for your family. Despite the low price, it can prepare everything from chicken to fish to vegetables. And, it can prepare them WELL. Unlike some of the lower budget pressure cookers, this one is at a great price, and it provides a great cooking experience. The only complain many customers had was that the screw holding the handles onto the base of the cooker were low-quality and prone to rusting and breaking. Still, many agreed that the problem was tiny when you took into account how much money is saved with this model. However, it is important to point out that this cooker is not dishwasher safe and should only be hand washed. Putting this machine in the dishwasher can cause the nails to rust very quickly.
Unlike our previous two top picks, this is a stovetop pressure cooker. That means that it needs to be placed on the stove to heat up, as opposed to creating heat on its own. This likely is why it is priced lower than many of our other picks. For many people, they will not find this to be a problem and might even prefer placing a pressure cooker on the stove over it taking up counter space.
Presto 01362 Key Features:
- Pressure regulator
- Stovetop use
- 12-year limited warranty
- Cover lock
Best Electric Pressure Cooker: Mueller 10-in-1 Pro Series
Interested in a pressure cooker that doesn’t take up oven space to operate? Then this machine is your best option.
Electric pressure cookers are just what they sound like – pressure cookers that plug into the wall and use electricity to produce heat instead of being placed on a stovetop. Out of all the electric pressure cookers, the Mueller 10-in-1 Pro Series is one of the best. Like many of our top picks, this pressure cooker is more than just a pressure cooker. In fact, it can perform 9 other functions, including steaming and making yogurt. It also has 19 pre-set programs that allow you to cook everything from oatmeal to eggs to meat. If you need anything done in your kitchen, there is a good chance that this machine can handle it.
Customers loved that it can cook two dishes at the same time using its stainless steel rack. Now, you can move beyond one-pot-dishes and into two recipes in one pot. This is especially handy if you have a large family or commonly host family gatherings. This pressure cooker also contains no PTFE or PFOA and features a 3-ply bottom to ensure that it heats food evenly. Customers also noted that the seal lasted longer than most pressure cookers, which means you can use it longer without having to worry about replacing it or buying a new one.
Mueller 10-in-1 Pro Series Key Features:
- 10-in-1 versatility
- 19 pre-set programs
- Ability to make two dishes at once
- 3-ply design for even heating
Best Stovetop Pressure Cooker: T-fal Clipso
Stovetop pressure cookers require being set on a turned-on stove to heat up. They usually don’t have plugs like many of the electric models, and somewhat smaller most of the time as well. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, get the T-fal Clipso. This machine comes in two versions – stovetop and electric. Both are top-rated, and a great choice, but customers particularly loved the stovetop version because of its ease of use, effortlessness cleaning, and highly-rated safety features. This machine is not only dishwasher-safe, but it also has a stainless-steel construction that adds greatly to its durability. Plus, the machine is impossible to open when in use, so you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally getting burned or pea soup ending up on the ceiling.
Like many of our top-picks, this appliance also comes with a steam basket as well as a stand. Recipes are included as well, though they do not come in an electronic form like many of our other picks. Some customers pointed out that this pressure cooker has no electronic, one-touch interface, which is becoming more common among electric pressure cookers. This might make using the pressure cooker slightly more difficult if you are used to interacting with a control panel. However, if you are upgrading from an old pressure cooker or aren’t electronically inclined, this might make things easier for you.
T-fal Clipso Key Features:
- 3 quart capacity
- Compatible with induction
Who Should Buy a Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker’s primary function is to cook things faster than traditional cooking methods. If you commonly find yourself short on cooking time or avoiding cooking altogether because you just can’t find the time, a pressure cooker can allow you to cook a home cooked meal without shrinking your other responsibilities. Pressure cookers can decrease the amount of time it takes for something to cook by nearly two-thirds in most cases. Something that once took you twenty minutes to cook in the oven can be completed in only minutes in a pressure cooker.
Even if you don’t find yourself short on time, a pressure cooker can still be of use to you. Much like a slow cooker, a pressure cooker has a way of keeping the juices and flavor inside the meat, which leads to tastier, juicer food. If you like a slow cooker but don’t like the fact that it is SLOW, a pressure cooker is a perfect option for you.
Important Features to Consider
To be effective, a pressure cooker should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a pressure cooker for your kitchen:
- Valve release. Every pressure cooker needs some sort of valve release system to release pressure after the cooker is done. The exact system though can differ a lot from pressure cooker to pressure cooker. One of the most common releases is the quick valve release. This release is simply a valve you turn when you’re done cooking. The valve opens a vent, releases pressure, and makes it safe to open the cooker. The next most common valve release is the natural pressure release. To use this, you usually turn the pressure cooker to warm and allow the pressure to decrease naturally. Some models only come with one of these functions, but you preferably want to get a cooker with both to ensure that you can use whichever method is best at the time.
- Size. This depends a lot on your situation and needs. If you don’t have much storage and have a smaller family, you probably want a smaller pressure cooker. A larger pressure cooker might be useful if you have a larger family or commonly cook large meals for gatherings. Most of our top picks come with multiple size options.
- Ease of use. Using a pressure cooker can be somewhat complicated, especially if it isn’t very user-friendly. If you’re used to electronic controls, look for one that has a control panel that has pre-set options, which can be great for newer cooks. If you’re upgrading your older pressure cooker or aren’t very electronically inclined, choose a cooker that allows you to set the pressure option with a knob.
- Cleaning. Preferably, the pressure cooker should be dishwasher safe. This prevents you from having to hand wash it. Plus, pressure cookers that are dishwasher friendly are usually more resistant to rust than those that aren’t.
- Safety features. Once upon a time, pressure cookers were considered unsafe because they could suddenly open (aka explode) and spew burning liquid all over the kitchen. Luckily, pressure cookers have come a long way in the last couple of decades and are now about as safe as any other piece of kitchen equipment. Some pressure cookers have more safety features than others though, so keep a look out for those that promote a host of features to improve their safety.
- Even cooking. Poorly made pressure cookers are notorious for not cooking food evenly, so look for pressure cookers that are specifically designed to heat food evenly. Keep an eye out for obviously cheaply made pressure cookers, especially if they are electric.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pressure cooker and how does it work?
A pressure cooker is a machine that creates steam pressure to cook food faster. It does this by first being completely air-tight, and heating up water inside it. As the water heats up, it turns to steam, which increases the amount of pressure in the pot. Think of it like a teapot, except the steam doesn’t have anywhere the escape to.
This helps your food cook faster in a number of ways. The higher the pressure, the faster water boils, including the water in food. The temperature of your water can also get higher than in traditional cooking due to evaporation. In normal cooking, the heat of your cooking is restricted by the boiling point of water, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. However, with a pressure cooker, the boiling point can get as high as 250 degrees, which can help your food cook faster.
Do pressure cookers make meat tender?
Yes! The pressure in a pressure cooker causes the liquid to stay inside the meat and pushes new fluid into the meat as well. This means that instead of losing all the juices in the bottom of a pan or through the grates of your grill, they care kept securely inside the meat where they belong. This causes the meat to be incredibly tender in far less time than could be achieved with regular cooking methods.
Is it healthy to cook in a pressure cooker?
Unlike some popular opinions, pressure cookers preserve the natural nutrients in food better than most traditional cooking methods. This is because food cooks faster in a pressure cooker, and therefore is in the heat for a shorter period. This can prevent the breakdown of critical nutrients, including things like ascorbic acid and beta-carotene. This means that you will get a higher amount of nutrients from food cooked in a pressure cooker than you would from food cooked traditionally.
Pressure cookers also use less water than many other cooking methods, which prevent vital nutrients from merely being boiled out and washed away. It can also make tough grains more digestible which allows your body to receive more nutrients from them than it normally would.
What foods can you cook in a pressure cooker?
Anything! Some foods will take more exact timing and will probably take a couple of times to get right, like vegetables. However, with the countless pressure cooker recipes online and all the recipes that usually come with the pressure cooker themselves, you can generally find the directions to cook nearly anything you can think of in a pressure cooker, including things such as ribs, soup, cake, and even pasta!
Other Pressure Cookers We Reviewed
We also looked at 20 other pressure cookers while on our search. While these did not make out top 5 list, they’re still the best of the rest and worth considering. All the information you need for comparison can be found in each listing.
- Electric Pressure Cookers
- Stovetop Pressure Cookers
- 8 Quart Pressure Cookers
- Pressure Cookers for Canning
This pressure cooker advertises a 70% deduction in cooking time and emits no steam when cooking, making it a great choice for the busy, growing family!
- 15 pre-set programs
- 9-in-1 versatility
- 6-quart capacity
With 17 pre-set programs and a whole host of manual settings to experiment with, this pressure cooker gives you complete control of your cooking experience.
- 17 Pre-Set Programs
- Delay cooking up to 12 hours
- Stainless steel
This pressure cooker has many advanced features for an extremely inexpensive cost, including 8 different functions, a one-touch control panel, and a delay start timer.
- 8-in-1 functionality
- Digital Control Panel
Customers loved how durable this pressure cooker is. The nonstick coating stays on through heavy use, and the whole machine is exceptionally resistant to corrosion and rust.
- Control Panel
Featuring an easy-to-use display and a 6-quart capacity, this pressure cooker is the perfect choice for the new home chef or those who would rather be anywhere but the kitchen!
- 8 multi-functional settings
- Digital display
- 6-quart capacity
If you’re a pressure cooking pro or looking for a commercial grade machine, this is your best option. With the ability to pressure cook and can, this appliance has everything you could ask for.
- 15 ½ quart capacity
- Metal-to-metal sealing system
- Steam Gauges
The Hawkins Contura Pressure Cooker is compatible with induction stovetops, which is usually something that other pressure cookers fall short on.
- 430-grade magnetic stainless steel
- Extra thick base
- Suitable on nearly every cooktop
Customers loved that this pressure cooker was easy to use, even for those that are not familiar with pressure cookers!
- Works with induction, gas, and electric stoves
- Premium grade stainless steel
- Adjustable pressure gag
Don’t let this pressure cooker’s price tag turn you off. With a solid thermal aluminum sandwich in the bottom, this is one of the most efficient and effective pressure cookers on the market.
- 8-quart capacity
- Five over-pressure safety systems
- Automatic locking system
This T-fal pressure cooker includes key safety features, such as the inability to be opened when pressure is at an unsafe level.
- 10 to 15 PSI
- Secure locking system
- Stainless steel
This multi-functional pressure cooker includes 16 built-in programs as well as an electric display for cook time and pressure, all in one huge 8-quart package.
- 16 built-in programs
- 8-in-1 versatility
- Includes multiple accessories
If you loved our top pick, but want it in a slightly larger size, than the Instant Pot LUX80 is the machine for you. It has the same features as our top pick, but with a large capacity.
- 3 adjustable modes
- 33 inch power cord
- Stainless steel
Featuring an automatic keep warm function and 14 already programmed cycles, this pressure cooker has everything the busy family needs.
- 24-hour delay timer
- Automatic keep warm cycle
- 14 pre-programmed cycles
The MegaChef 8 Quart Pressure Cooker comes with everything you need to get cooking, including condensation cup, measuring spoons, and measuring cups. If you’re stocking a new kitchen, this is a great choice.
- Stainless steel
- 13 pre-set options
- Keep warm function
Featuring a tri-clad base for uniform heating and a steam release valve for effortless, quick pressure release, this pressure cooker has everything you need to cook meals fast.
- Stainless steel
- Steaming basket included
- Quick cool option
Do you love canning? Then this commercial grade pressure canner is what you need.
- Durable and easy to clean
- Pressure indication valve
- Emergency pressure release system
If you’re looking for a smaller pressure canner, you might want to look into this option. It can hold 8-pint sizes jars, while still having all the must-have features.
- 20-quart capacity
- 3 pressure options
- Rust and stain proof
The Mirro Pressure Cooker/Canner has everything the beginning canner needs, including a complete user’s guide and easy-to-follow recipes.
- Can hold 16-pint-sized jars
- 3 pressure options
With an extreme amount of versatility, this pressure canner also functions as five other devices in one, including a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and steamer.
- 6-in-1 versatility
- 10-quart capacity
- Non-stick inner pot
With the ability to hold 16 pint-sized jars, this is the only pressure canner you need for canning. Plus, it features 3 pressure options for maximum control.
- Includes two canning racks
- 3 pressure options
- Polished Aluminum