To speed up food preparation times and obtain quality results without particular effort or culinary skills, you can consider purchasing a pressure cooker, which can be used to cook many foods.
However, and to choose the best, several factors must be taken into accounts, such as materials, capacity, safety systems, and any additional functions.
Here we had listed out the best pressure cookers for you that are listed below.
Pressure Cookers Buyer Guide
The pressure cooker is a very useful tool in the kitchen, which helps to cook the dishes in a short time, thanks to the lid with hermetic closure, which allows them to generate very high temperatures inside.
The basic idea is very simple: the boiling point of water varies according to the pressure, so the higher the pressure, the less time it takes to reach boiling.
The airtight lid of the pressure cookers blocks the escape of air and steam, causing an increase in pressure. To prevent the pan from exploding, there are two valves on the lid, one for cooking and one for safety. If the pressure becomes excessive, the cooking valve will rise and let part of the steam escape.
Aluminium and Security
In an ideal classification of the aspects to be taken into account before buying a pressure cooker, in the first place, in our opinion, there is the quality of the materials with which it is made.
For many years now, stainless steel has established itself as a standard, because it ensures robustness, the ability to withstand high temperatures and no toxicity problems in contact with liquids and foods.
By comparing the prices of the models on the market, you will also notice wide disparities, often related to the size and presence of additional functions but sometimes also to the quality of the steel (or aluminium) used, especially for the thickness of the base.
To allow the exact cooking of food, the pressure cooker must be able to create a temperature of 120 degrees inside it, sufficient for the generation of the steam that contributes to cooking the food. To do this, the lid must close tightly and perfectly, so as not to let the air escape.
Fundamental, also in terms of safety, is the presence of a valve that takes care of managing the internal temperature, intervening if it rises too high, venting excess heat. The fitting ensures that these products are safe and that they can be used in absolute tranquillity.
What Foods to Cook?
On the market, you will find models of all types but, beyond the differences in size and prices, each pressure cooker, including the cheapest models, is suitable for the preparation of a certain type of food.
It is perfect for making soups, boiled meats, risotto, stews, legumes, and roasts with the undoubted advantage of reducing cooking times.
The number of foods, however, is high enough to justify the expense, and often in the sales package of the pressure cookers of the best brands you can find ideas and recipes to help you prepare.
In addition to the speed in the realization of the dishes, a product of this type also guarantees a certain saving in the bill because the cooking takes place, most of the time, keeping the fire to a minimum.
The technological evolution, you can see it by reading our reviews of the best pressure cookers on sale, has also innovated this type of product, present on the market for decades.
In particular, some models show off a display that allows you to customize the type of preparation, adapting it even more easily to the different types of food, to obtain flawless cooking, in perfect times.
The last aspect you need to take into account is, of course, the size, which depends on the size of your family. Let’s say that, in principle, couples can opt for a 3/5 litre model while larger families can target 8/12 litres.
How to Choose the Best Pressure Cooker?
We have reported the best pressure cookers of 2020, chosen from the best-selling and best-reviewed. You can also choose others, not included in the ranking. Still, we advise you to always take into account certain factors such as the materials, the capacity, and the functions of the pot before buying it.
Let’s see in detail what are all the elements to consider when choosing a pressure cooker. Also, we shared a video in which they showing how to use the pressure cooker properly.
The first factor to consider is the material from which the pot is made. On the market, there are pressure cookers in stainless steel and aluminium. The latter is less expensive, but also of lower quality because aluminium is less resistant to heat and overtime is damaged faster than steel.
Stainless steel is a very resistant material; it withstands high temperatures without being damaged, and is 100% safe, does not give problems of toxicity in contact with food and liquids.
It is also very important that the pan has a thick bottom, that it does not get holes in contact with the heat of the stove, and that the lid is completely airtight, without letting the air out. Only in this way, the inside of the pan can reach the pressure and temperature necessary to cook food in a short time.
The pressure cooker reaches very high temperatures. To prevent it from exploding, you need at least one safety valve, which lets out excess steam, lowering the temperature. The latest generation pans have more than one valve to regulate the flow of steam and consequently, the pressure.
Like all cookware, even pressure cookers have different sizes. The smallest pots on the market have a capacity of 2 litres, while the largest can reach up to 12 litres. The size must be chosen based on the intended use.
In general, for a single person, a pot of a maximum of 3 or 5 litres is sufficient. For a family of three or more, however, you need more capacious pots, over 5 litres, especially if you want to cook in abundance and then freeze the dishes. Keep in mind, however, that a very large pot can be used without problems even for cooking in small quantities.
Types of Use
Different types of cooking are possible with the pressure cooker, namely:
- Liquid, to prepare broths, soups, and soups;
- Stewed, to cook meat of all kinds, which remains so soft and tender, but also stewed vegetables and risotto;
- Steam, using a special basket, for cooking vegetables, rice and meat;
- Roasted, to cook the meat, which must first be stewed and then browned with oil or butter, to obtain a crispy crust and a soft pulp inside.
Compared to steaming or baking, the times are much shorter. For example, to cook a whole chicken in the oven, it would take about an hour, with the steamer half an hour, while with the pressure cooker, it takes twenty minutes.
Sliced potatoes, which in the oven should cook for at least half an hour, would be ready in just 5 minutes with the pressure cooker.
In general, the pressure cooker is perfect for preparing boiled meats, soups, stews, risottos, roasts, and for cooking legumes. The advantage, in addition to the cooking speed, is also economic savings because it is enough to keep the fire to a minimum, without consuming a lot of gas.
As you have already noticed from the ranking of the best pressure cookers, some newer models are equipped with an electronic display, which allows you to adjust the temperature and, in many cases, to choose the most suitable cooking mode based on the type of food.
A classic pressure cooker is already a valuable aid for cooking everything quickly, and the most technological is undoubtedly the best choice for those who want to simplify things further.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does the Pressure Cooker Work?
The pressure cooker is a very advantageous element for cooking dishes with long waiting times because it allows you to halve them thanks to the temperature of 120 degrees it reaches.
For its operation, it is first necessary to consider the capacity and how much water to insert inside according to the food to be cooked: it goes from 250 ml up to the filling of the pot itself.
At this point, close the tool with the cooking lid with the specific hooks, which must be firmly above it; to remove it, you will simply have to perform the reverse action. Once the time has expired, just let the steam out of the buttonhole, and the food will be ready.
How much water does it take to prepare potatoes?
The times for cooking potatoes vary according to their size: they are certainly shorter if they are already cut into cubes, compared to the whole and larger ones.
To ensure perfect cooking, it is also important to take into account the amount of water to be added since potatoes tend to absorb it; therefore, we recommend that it just exceeds the volume of the food so that the level is not too high.
As always, after this initial procedure, just press the button for cooking and leave it until the whistle of the pot; once finished, you will certainly have more succulent and tender potatoes.
Who Invented the Pressure Cooker?
You will be surprised to know that the first patent of the pressure cooker dates back to 1679, the year in which Denis Papin, a French scholar, was conducting numerous studies on steam.
Hence the idea of an appliance that he called a digester to help the poor population to better digest the hardest foods, such as meat.
Papin noticed that the power of the steam was able to soften many dishes, so he devised a model with a snap-on lid, which let out excess steam leaving the food cooked and tender.