I love cooking with an electric pressure cooker. Electric pressure cookers have been and continue to sure in popularity. Despite their success, I still encounter a good number of people that don’t know anything about them. Then I come across other people who are just unsure of what they can do. I thought it would be helpful if I put together some of the facts and info that I’ve learned. There is a lot of info so I will be breaking it up into a few different articles. This first article answers the questions I’ve been asked the most about electric pressure cookers, and is ideal for answering questions from folks who have never owned or used an electric pressure cooker. So let’s get started!
9 Things To Know About Electric Pressure Cookers
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What is an electric pressure cooker?
An electric pressure cooker is a self-contained smart pressure cooker that is powered by electric and used on your countertop (or other appropriate work space). Most models, including the Instant Pot, have digital control panels that enable you to program some cooking instructions and walk away. The unit will then bring itself up to pressure and cook your food.
What is an Instant Pot?
Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker, most likely the most well known. An Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, but an electric pressure cooker may not be an Instant Pot. In most cases if you can use one brand or model you will be able to use another as their control panels are similar in nature for the most part. Most of my Instant Pot recipes will easily work in other brands of electric pressure cookers, for example.
Are electric pressure cookers expensive? And are they worth the money?
Yes, an electric pressure cooker can seem expensive. And yes, they are worth the price you pay. Most of the popular electric pressure cookers are multifunctional machines, meaning that they can do many different things. An electric pressure cooker can often also function as a slowcooker, rice cooker, steamer, and stovetop for sauteeing. Some models also function as a yogurt maker! Having one machine that can do so many functions means you can save money and storage space as you won’t need to invest in or replace in other machines.
Will an electric pressure cooker be the right size for me?
Electric pressure cookers come in many different sizes, meaning there is a model for everyone. Folks that are only cooking for one or two with no known interest in things like batch cooking will likely consider a 3-quart or 5-quart model. People that have larger families will likely consider larger 6-quart and 8-quart models. People that enjoy meal prep and batch cooking things like pasta sauce will want to consider 10-quart and 12-quart electric pressure cookers.
Are electric pressure cookers difficult to use?
An electric pressure cooker can be very easy to use. The digital control panel can look a little intimidating to some at first. I do recommend you go through the instruction manual that comes with your electric pressure cooker. In many cases it will walk you through a water test, which is a great opportunity to make sure that your new electric pressure cooker seals and operates properly. Unless you are using the saute function, in most cases you close and seal the cover and walk away.
Are electric pressure cookers safe?
Many electric pressure cookers have many safety features built in. Lids are designed so that they cannot be opened while a unit is operating under pressure. Popular models have pressure regulators to keep pressure under control, preventing excessive pressure from building inside. Some models have sensors that monitor temperature that will help keep food from burning.
Does an electric pressure cooker cook as fast as some people say it does?
No. In most cases, an electric pressure cooker will not be able to make your meal in just a couple of minutes. Some folks will boast about quick meals, for example a 5-minute meal. They are not telling you the full truth. The truth is that the 5-minute recipe you found takes more than 5 minutes to make. It takes time for an electric pressure cooker to come up to pressure, generally anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes (or even more). How quickly your electric presure cooker comes up to pressure is determined by a number of factors including what food is in it, what temperature the food is, how much food is in it, how much liquid is in it, and how full the pot it. Typically my recipes take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure. Only after the unit comes up to pressure does the cooking time start. So my 3 minute roast beef recipe takes more like 20-25 minutes. That’s still a great cooking time folks. Pressure release can also be a factor in how quickly your food is ready.
What can I cook in an electric pressure cooker?
You can cook so many foods in an electric pressure cooker. A quick glance on the internet will yield you all sorts of recipes for electric pressure cookers. Electric pressure cooking is particularly well suited for foods including potatoes, veetables, rice, and meat. You can make eggs in it. You can cook pasta in it. There are settings for soups and stews. You can even make desserts! If asked I’d have to say you can cook almost anything in an electric pressure cooker.
Do you have any questions about electric pressure cookers?
Check out my electric pressure cooker buying guide and see if that helps to answer your questions.
Or, feel free to ask any questions you may have about electric pressure cookers in the comments and I will try to answer them.