Updated: June 8, 2015

Pressure Cooker Reviews:

The pressure cookers from the 1970's and 1980's were noisy, spitting pots that often created more mess than great meals. Today, pressure cookers are back in style and have come a long way with more features that make them easy to use and much safer. I had never seen one until my wife showed me at the cooking store the other day. The new pressure cookers have a quick-release option which cooks food even faster and eliminates using excessive water to cool things down. Presssure cookers resemble other kitchen pots but their lids are a bit different. The lids are built to comletely seal the pot so that the contents can boil easily inside the pot. You get higher cooking temperatures and much shorter cooking times because the steam produces an increase in pressure. It all sounds a little too complicated for me, but they do work and the food I've tastest so far is actually pretty good. Pressure cookers come in 4 to 8 quart sizes, but a 6 quart size is what most recipes are made for. You want to choose a pressure cooker that has a detachable pressure regulator so you can adjust the pressure to low, medium or high. A higher temperature on the inside of the pot will decrease cooking time and safety valves vent the steam.
pressure cooker


Buying Guide - A key component of any pressure cooker is a timer. A few additional minutes on most items won't ruin them (like a pot roast) but with veggies and other delicate foods timing can be everything. You'll also want a pot that comes with heat resistant handles, a stainless steel bottom, and a locking lid that can be maneuvered easily. Some users also mention you may want a heat diffuser so that contact between the bottom of the cooker and the heat source is not allowed. For items like baked beans, pasta, and rice, you want to keep scorching and sticking to a minimum and the diffuser will do this. Another feature that is essential is a quality gasket or rubber ring that fits on the side part of the cover. A good seal will trap in steam and heat letting the pressure build. Some advantages to using a pressure cooker are a cleaner kitchen (no splashes or splatters since everything is contained in the pot), a cooler kitchen (heat and steam stay in the pot), they are energy efficient (less time to cook), and you get more nutritional value in your food when compared to other conventional cooking methods. Some general guidelines for using a pressure cooker are: never fill the cooker more than half way with food or 2/3's with liquid, saute or brown foods first for added flavor, don't start counting cooking times until the pressure cooker has reached it's full pressure or PSI, and add ingredients at different times since some items cook faster or slower than others. Most pressure cookers are priced from $40 to $120 with some of the nicer models closer to $200+. The top brands for pressure cookers are from Presto, Fagor, Kuhn Rikon, Mirro, Fissler, WMF, and American. We did research online at top kitchen appliance consumer sites like Cooking.com, Epinions.com, and Amazon.com. After reading product features and customer reviews and feedback, we came up with the results below. If you are ready to buy online, we recommend shopping with Amazon -- they are the most trusted online retailer, with great selection, service, and prices -- we've been doing business with them for more than 10 years. You can view their up-to-date list of best-selling pressure cookers here.

Best Pressure Cooker:

RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon and several other leading cookware website is the Presto 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. Presto pressure cookers literally dominate the top ten listings and this model is no different. The stainless steel pressure cooker has an 8 quart capacity making it ideal for families to use. Owners like the stay cool plastic handles on the side and the strong lock lid with steam vent is another feature that gets positive feedback. The unit also has a pressure indicator and overpressure plug. The rack for steaming food is included and the 12 year warranty is one of the best in the industry. We have used our pressure cooker for tenderizing meats and for cooking chicken, vegetables and fish. The Kuhn Rikon 7-3/8-Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker ($220) is a close 2nd and offers an automatic locking system, a spring loaded precision valve, five over-pressure safety systems, and a solid thermal aluminum sandwich at the bottom for "even browning" and "rapid heat absorption". The Kuhn Rikon is great for meats, soups, stews, risotto, or vegetarian dishes. It's recommended that you hand wash the unit. Comes with an incredible 10 year warranty. Owners say it's quiet, efficient, and the food tastes great. See all Kuhn Rikon models here.

Larger Pressure Cooker:

If you are looking for a larger, more industrial strength pressure cooker, consider the award winning All American pressure cookers. Get sizes from 10 1/2 quarts to 25 quarts and up to 41 1/2 quart pressure cookers that do canning as well. The most popular model is the All-American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner (see the photo to the right). This pressure cooker/canner can hold up to 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars and the 3 setting pressure regulator valve is included. What do you get for the money ($200) - a well built cooker made from hand-cast aluminum and it's very durable. There are no gaskets on the All American pressure cooker as it is designed with "metal to metal" sealing so you get a steam-tight seal. Pressure settings include 5 psi, 10 psi, and 15. Another top seller is the Presto family, from 4 quarts to 23 quart sizes -- view lineup here.

Electric Pressure Cooker:

Looking for an electric pressure cooker? We suggest going with either the Cuisinart, Deni, or Wolfgang Puck models. The Cuisinart CPC-600 is top rated and the most popular of the bunch while the Wolfgang Puck 5-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker gets superior reviews from owners. The Deni 9700 (5 Quarts) is better than the 9780 model which is 8 1/2 quarts. All the quality electric cookers we looked at were priced at $100+ meaning you will probably pay more for an electric version compared to the standard pressure cookers. You can browse the best selling electric pressure cookers here.

Pressure Cooker Recipes and Cookbooks:

The one thing that was blatant when reading reviews about pressure cookers is that most of us don't know how to cook with them or follow recipes too well when using them. Many come with recipes and cookbooks that make them a little easier to use, but we highly recommend venturing online or to your local bookstore to buy a pressure cooker cookbook. You can find some great recipes online at Recipebazaar.com and Amazon lists the Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker ($17) by Lorna J Sass as one of the sellers. Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes is another excellent book by Vickie Smith that sells for less than $15.