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Our Top 3 Electric Pressure Cookers
Risotto in 6 minutes, an entire pot roast in 60 minutes, raw chicken to fully cooked, juicy chicken in as few as 15 minutes - pressure cookers can rapidly cook foods that usually take hours.
Pressure cooking is nothing new, and no, Instant Pot didn’t invent it. Your parents might have had a large, archaic-looking aluminum pot with locks and gauges on the top that would whistle and steam. That’s an old-style pressure cooker that, back in the day, was used a lot for canning the seasonal harvest (many people today still use older-model pressure cookers for canning). Modern pressure cookers, or "multi-cookers" because of their multiple cooking functions, have been digitized and updated, to cook more kinds of flavorful foods faster.
Curious about what makes pressure cooking so popular? Click here to jump to everything you need to know about pressure cooking. For a review of our top three favorite pressure cookers, keep reading...
Folks who want control, and folks who prefer to delegate. The Breville Fast Slow Pro Cooker has variable pressure settings from 1.5-12 PSI, so you can control creating the perfect recipe. Or you can select one of the preprogrammed cooking cycles from the extremely easy-to-use LCD Control Panel to cook your risotto, stock, or desserts.
- Variable pressure settings - Choose from 1.5 to 12 PSI, increasing in 0.5 increments.
- Easy-Locking Hinged Lid - You won't have to find a place on the counter to set the lid while you load the cooker or dish up meals, or worry about misplacing it
- LCD Controls - These are the easiest to use of the pressure cookers we tested. The settings are simple to understand and navigate
- Dedicated Safety Button - Allows the safe release of pressurized steam - no more exploding pressure cookers!
- Recipe Book Included - With real recipes you can actually make in your real kitchen
- Nonstick vs. stainless steel. The 4.5-qt. cooking vessel is a nonstick pot. I would rather have a stainless steel pot at this price point
- Sans Yogurt - This pressure cooker doesn't offer a yogurt function like other multi-cookers have
- Hefty price tag - The Breville Fast Slow Pro Cooker is pricier than a the typical pressure cooker
Quick Specs: 1100 Watt | 4.5-Qt. Bowl | Steamer Basket
Chef Austin's Thoughts: The LCD and control knob interface are my favorite things about the Breville Fast Slow Pro. They make customizing settings and choosing preset settings easy to understand. There's no guesswork to knowing if your food is cooking or not - the screen changes from blue when you're choosing settings, to orange to indicate that the settings are finalized and the cooking has started. The hinged lid frees counter space while cooking and keeps the unit together when not in use. The Breville includes two temperature sensors, one in the top and the other in the bottom, to ensure it is operating at the correct pressure and temperature, making this the most accurate pressure cooker we tested.The Breville Fast Slow Pro really lives up to its name; after using it, I feel like a pressure-cooking professional and Breville made that possible.
Folks wanting a dead-easy pressure cooker. The LUX LCD's control panel is easy to understand and use compared to models with pop-up buttons.
- LCD Interface and Control Panel - Easy to navigate and understand
- Stainless Steel Cooking Pot - Great for searing and making pan sauces
- Cooks Fast or Slow - Can work as a slow cooker for traditional recipes
- Yogurt Function - Incubate your own yogurt at home
- Limited Options - This pressure cooker has only High and Low heat settings
- Unimpressive Extras - The included recipe book is just O.K. - the recipes are uninspired and lack photos plain and has lack of photos
Quick Specs: 1000 Watt | 6-Qt. Stainless Steel Bowl (8-Qt. Model also available) | Steamer Basket
Chef Austin's Thoughts: The Fagor LUX LCD strikes a balance between usability and functionality. It's not as customizable as the Breville Fast Slow Pro but is as easy to use, with its LCD interface and control dial. Like the Breville, the screen colors change when you finish entering settings to show the unit has started cooking. The stainless steel bowl is great for browning and creating a fond (those yummy, caramelized brown bits in the bottom of the pan that you get from browning) for making delicious sauces and gravies. This model also works as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, egg cooker, and even a yogurt maker. Once you try homemade yogurt, you'll never go back to store-bought yogurt - the difference is that dramatic.
Those wanting an inexpensive option as an introduction into the world of pressure cooking. Replaces manual pressure cooker, rice cooker, and steamer appliances in your kitchen, cutting down on clutter.
- Comparable Performance - Does just as good of a job cooking as the Fagor LUX LCD
- Sensible Settings - The preset functions are for foods that I and most folks actually make. Dedicated brown rice and white rice buttons
- Safety first. Like the other pressure cookers, it feels safe while using it, the lid's locking mechanism is clearly labeled and easy to use
- Accessible & Affordable - Relatively inexpensive if you're not wanting to invest spend a lot of money on a pressure cooker
- Non-stick pot. Stainless steel is preferable
- Limited use. Does not double as a slow cooker
Quick Specs: 1000 Watt | 6-Qt. Bowl (8-Qt. Bowl also available)
Chef Austin's Thoughts: If you want to get into pressure cooking, the Fagor Premium Pressure Cooker is the our most inexpensive option. You get the benefits of cooking more flavorful foods faster, but without a few of the features that the LUX series offers. The biggest drawback I found between the Premium Pressure Cooker and the LUX LCD Multi-Cooker is that the Premium doesn't have a slow cooker or yogurt functions. The Premium also has push-button controls, versus the more user-friendly LCD interface and dial controls, like the LUX LCD sports. But if these are features that don't catch your interest, then the Premium Pressure Cooker from Fagor is a great appliance that cooks up risotto in 7 minutes or an entire chuck roast in an hour, just like its pricier cousins.
Chef Austin's Top Pick
The Breville Fast Slow Pro gave me everything I was looking for in a multi-cooker. Breville is known for making quality products and they delivered on the Fast Slow Pro; this sturdy appliance performs like a commercial-quality machine, the user interface is very polished, and it the Breville Fast Slow Pro was the easiest multi-cooker to understand and operate of those we tested. The LCD interface and control dial are what make this pressure cooker shine. The buttons are easy to press and the dials makes it easy to navigate the presets and customize the settings. You won't get frustrated by the eight variable settings when customizing a recipe, and you won't burn yourself when you press the Steam Release button. All of this is complemented by an actually helpful cookbook with quality recipes and explanations on how the multi-cooker cooks your food. The Breville Fast Slow Pro is the total package. It can help make you a pressure-cooking expert, and that's why it is my top pick.
Everything You Need to Know About Pressure Cooking
So, in a nutshell, how does a pressure cooker work?
A pressure cooker creates a sealed environment from which steam cannot escape. This increases the maximum temperature that liquids can reach, which is generally 212° F (the boiling point for water), to temps up to 248° F.
The sealed environment cooks food with the trapped steam, at a higher temperature than can be reached on a stovetop. The pressure created inside the cooker is evenly pushing that steam back into the food to cook it.
The benefits of cooking at temperatures higher than water’s boiling point are dramatic impressive.
Faster cook times - Pressure cooking can cut down cooking times by 70%. Risotto can be cooked in as few as 6 minutes
More moisture retained - The cooker's sealed environment keeps moisture in, so foods don’t dry out. For example, pressure cookers can make perfectly moist chicken breasts every single time - no more chewing through and choking down dry, over-cooked chicken
More concentrated flavors - Like the steam, the flavor isn't escaping - it's being pushed back into the food. Pressure cookers make more flavorful stocks, soups, and other foods by preventing aromatics from escaping the cooking vessel
Safe - Modern electric pressure cookers are monitored by a internal computers to stay within safe pressure zones, so the days of the infamous pressure-cooker explosions are firmly in the past
Replace other kitchen appliances with a multi-cooker. A modern pressure cooker can do the same jobs as an older, non-electric pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a steamer, and a rice cooker. That's less clutter in your kitchen thanks to a small appliance that's easy and efficient to use
Pressure Cookers Excel At Cooking:
Steamed Rice - White or brown rice is just five 5 minutes away, with no crunchy granules grains spoiling the batch left over
Risotto - Perfectly creamy in a mere 6 minutes, no stirring required
Bone Broth & Stocks - 60 minutes to nutrient-dense, incredibly flavorful bone broths
Beans - From dried beans to baked beans in 20 minutes
Beef & Pork - Fork-tender short ribs or pot roast in a fraction of the time of it takes a slow-cooker
Chicken - Always-moist chicken breasts or fall-off-the-bone thigh meat in as few as 15 minutes
Desserts - Spongy bread pudding and thoroughly cooked custards, with all moisture retained
Slow Cooker recipes - Convert your slow-cooker recipe to cook faster in a pressure cooker
About the Author:
Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.