Before there were microwave ovens, there were pressure cookers. These were the fastest means of cooking, provided you had a water base. Anything that you would normally boil on a stove, you could pressure cook and have food cooked in 70 to 90 percent less time. Plus, boiling evaporates as it cooks and with this evaporation goes many vitamins and minerals in the food. But since a pressure cooker is sealed, all of the health benefits in the food remain as well as better taste since none of the flavor molecules can evaporate either.
All pressure cookers work on the principle of using high temperature steam. In a sealed container, as water boils it gives off steam; since the steam has nowhere to go, it raises both the pressure and the temperature inside of the vessel. A higher pressure compresses the steam tightly against anything being cooked, which enhances heat transfer and a higher temperature ensures cooking goes faster.
There are many types and sizes of pressure cookers available, and this list will comprise the many best cookers for a variety of situations. Smaller 4 to 6 quart sizes are best used for a couple or a small family, 8 to 12 quart sizes are family sized units that can also be used for light canning duties, and big-dog 20-plus quart sizes have enough capability to feed a large group of people, or are capable of doing the fall harvest canning chores. Choose which type would best fulfill your needs, and although pressure cookers are made to last, check the individual warranties included in the listing.
Every pressure cooker on this list will not have a non-stick coating since many studies have indicated that under pressure, non-stick coatings gradually flake off and into your food. Each of these pressure cookers will also be capable of reaching between 9 psi and 15 psi, which is the ultimate pressure for optimum cooking, they will all have a quick release pressure valve for safety, and they will all be manufactured with long-lasting, stainless steel or similar durable materials.
The Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is the perfect sized for large or small meals. It is fully automatic, keeping the steam inside at the exact right cooking pressure. It will bleed off excess pressure automatically, there is a push-button pressure release valve for safety, and it comes with a 12 year warranty.
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If you're just looking to get into pressure cooking, the Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker can't be beat. It's completely automatic, and the easiest to use pressure cooker on our list. This stove-top cooker gives you the convenience of cooking for a couple of people, yet it's also large enough to cook a sizable meal for an entire family. With this manual pressure cooker, you'll need either a timer, or a watch to regulate how long your food needs to be cooked. However, you can also do the trial and error method, checking the food inside until it's cooked to delicious perfection.
This unit automatically cooks food at 15 psi, and it will bleed off pressure if it gets too high. A simple push button valve lets you release the pressure before opening the cover, so you'll never have to worry about over-pressurization. Simple, easy and effective, if you are just getting started or you want a convenient way to make meals at any time, the Presto 6-Quart can't be beat. It comes covered by a 12 year manufacturers warranty as well.
All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner is as close to an original pressure cooker that there is. The large pressure gauge on top easily lets you see the exact pressure inside, and the weighted pressure regulating nut pops off at the desired pressure your have set. This is old school cooking and canning that can't be matched. Read Full Review
For many, this stove top pressure cooker will bring back memories of Grandma in the kitchen, but if you are into canning and pressure cooking, nothing is better than the All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner. This same design has been in production since the 1930's, and it has proven its worth countless times in kitchens across the country.
The All American is made out of thick aluminum, and it comes with six sealing nuts for maximum sealing capability with no gasket needed. It comes with a pressure regulator weight over the valve, which will automatically release at 5, 10, or 15 pounds of pressure, depending on how you set it. By manually removing the weight, you will release all of the pressure inside. There's also a large easy-to-read pressure gauge sitting on top; it's an old school feature to be sure, but nevertheless remains highly effective.
This unit's 21 quart capacity allows you to make pressure cooked meals for any family or family gathering, and it also allows you to can fruits and vegetables with the best of them. Although it is the most expensive unit on the list, don't let the one year warranty fool you. Many users report their unit is still cooking flawlessly after decades of heavy-duty use. For canning and cooking all-in-one, you can't do better than the All American Pressure cooker.
The Fagor 670041960 LUX Multi Cooker, 8 quart is the most versatile pressure cooker available. It will cook a variety of foods, from rice, to yogurt, it acts like a slow cooker and has two pressure settings, one at 9 psi and one at 5 psi. It is self powered electrically, so you won't need a stove top, this unit comes with a 10 year warranty. Read Full Review
If you want the most advanced and the most versatile pressure cooker here, choose the Fagor 670041960 LUX Multi Cooker, 8 quart. This digitally automatic pressure cooker is electrically powered, so you don't need a stove to use it. The Fagor Multi Cooker is versatile enough that it can be used as a high, 9 psi, or low, 5 psi, pressure cooker. To release the pressure, just turn the handle on a top-mounted valve.With 12 pre sets, it will make rice, act as a slow cooker, simmer, make risotto, and yes, it will even make yogurt.
The digital control panel lets you punch in the time and the pressure you want, and the cooker will do the rest. It even comes with a setting that will keep your cooked food warm for up to 12 hours, and a time-delay cooking function of up to six hours. Although stainless steel on the outside, this unit comes with a removable ceramic and food container; this makes for the easiest cleaning selection here, bar none. Although not inexpensive, the versatility of this Fagor Multi Cooker sets it apart and comes with a solid 10 year manufacturers warranty.
GoWISE Stainless-steel Cooking Pot/ 6-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker is the best bang for the buck unit on this list. It has 10 presets that allow you to set and forget on many kinds of food types. It cooks at 13 psi in pressure cooker mode, and it comes with a one year manufacturers warranty. Read Full Review
If you are looking for the most bang for the buck in a pressure cooker, you have to consider the GoWISE Stainless-steel Cooking Pot/ 6-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker. It has very similar features to the Fagor above, yet it costs much less. This do-it-all GoWise digital electric pressure cooker makes it easy to punch in cooking times on the display panel. It pressure cooks at almost 13 psi, has a handle-operated pressure release valve on top, and is incredibly versatile.
There are 10 presets which include rice, meat, slow cook and poultry, to name a few, and the stainless steel food container is removable for easy cleaning. You can also manually punch in any time you desire for pressure cooking too, and there is a 12 hour delay timer that you can program as well. Although the one year warranty isn't very reassuring, the unit price is less than half that of the Fagor Multi cooker; this means if you want to check out what a multi pressure cooker is all about, you don't have to spend a bunch to do so.
The T-fal P45007 Clipso Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Cookware, 6.3-Quart has a one-handed cover release that beats all of the others. It will need to be used on a stove top, and has a high pressure of 13 psi for fast cooking. The automatic pressure release valve can be manually turned to release pressure quickly, and it comes with a one year warranty. Read Full Review
If you value safety and ease of access over any other feature of a pressure cooker, than the T-fal P45007 Clipso Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker Cookware, 6.3-Quart will meet your needs. The stove top heated T-fal Clipso, is pre-set to only allow cooking pressure up to 12 psi. Although you may know T-fal as a type of non-stick coating for pots and pans, the inside is pure stainless steel with no coating. The variable release steam valve allows you to slowly or quickly release the steam, and the one-hand cover handle makes removing the top the easiest of the bunch. It even comes with large extended grab handles so that your hands will never get close enough to be burned. The T-fal Clipso manual pressure cooker is more expensive than other manual cookers, and you'll need a timer to regulate cooking times. This unit won't cook as fast as a 15 psi manual cooker, but if safety and convenience are at the top of your list for a manual pressure cooker, none are better than this selection. This pick also comes covered by a one year warranty.