Electric pressure cookers are the hottest small electric appliance out there. But how do you know which one will be best for you? I can help! The From Val’s Kitchen Electric Pressure Cooker Buying Guide has the information you need to know on all of today’s most popular models, listing important features along with my reviews of those models. This guide is frequently updated so please check back often!
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Hve you been thinking about getting an electric pressure cooker? You’ve probably herd of the Instant Pot and some of the other popular models and wondered what all of the hubub was about. I was a bit nervous about electric pressure cookers when they first came out, so I didn’t rush to get one. Once I got my first one I fell in love and there’s been no looking back. Here are some of the things to keep in mind when you are shopping for an electric pressure cooker.
What is an electric pressure cooker?
An electric pressure cooker features an airtight pot where food cooks quickly under steam pressure. Many of today’s electric pressure cookers are multi-functional and serve other purposes such as slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, egg maker and more.
Is an electric pressure cooker safe?
Today’s electric pressure cookers are much safer than the stovetop models of yesteryear. The modern electric pressure cooker is a self-contaned unit that sits on the countertop and plugs into a regular household outlet. Those old horror stories of things exploding all over the kitchen ceiling are a thing of the past, as numerous safety features have been added.
With most electric pressure cookers today, you cannot remove the lid while the unit is under pressure, you have to wait until the pressure has been released. Most models today even have temperature sensors built in that will help prevent food from burning.
Is an electric pressure cooker easy to use?
Yes and no. There is a little bit of a learning curve with electric pressure cookers. They need a little time and patience to get to know. They look a lot more intimidating than they really are.
Many modern models have digital controls that make use and adjustment fairly straightforward and easy to monitor. Just press a couple of buttons and your food will almost cook itself. Using an electric pressure cooker is perfect for busy days and nights where you just donb’t have time to spend an hour standing over the stove.
Does an electric pressure cooker cook really fast?
While using an electric pressure cooker is quick, it isn’t as quick as some folks would have you believe. If you see a recipe that says 2-minute or 5-minute something, chances are it’s baloney and the person that wrote the recipe isn’t counting the time it takes for a unit to get to pressure. How long dos it take for an electric pressure cooker to come to pressure? That depends on a few things, but in general it takes 10-20 minutes depending. The length of time required to come to pressure can be dependent on several things, including how full the pot is, how much liquid there is, the size of the contents, and if the ingredients are cold or frozen. Once the electric pressure cooker comes up to pressure, then the cooking time starts.
Once cooking time has counted down on in electric pressure cooker, the pressure must be released. There are two ways of releasing pressure – manually and naturally. To manually release pressure you open the sealed vent in the electric pressure cooker’s lid and let the steam out. With a natural pressure release, you let the electric preessure cooker sit there sealed until the pressure releases on its own, which can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on what was in there. It is important to know which type of pressure release you’ll need to do before you start cooking, and include that time into your prep.
Many electric pressure cookers even have sensors built in that keep temperature in check and keep you from burning you food in cases where there isnít enough liquid in the pot to build up the appropriate cooking pressure. Instead of continuing to heat on high and burning the food inside the pressure cooker, it simply switches to the keep warm function, allowing you to add liquid and start over.
What are the pros and cons of using an electric pressure cooker?
The biggest upside of using an electric pressure cooker is that it cooks food quickly. Other advantages are that the food stays moist. Using this small appliance also reduces heat in the kitchen when compared to cooking on the stovetop or in an oven. Using steam to cook results in food with deeper flavor, as well as a higher nutritional value because vitamins are not dissolved away. Further, steam cooking results in more colorful food, as the food doesn’t oxidize as a result of being exposed to air. The high temperature of the steam is also known to kill most harmful micro-organisms, making it easier to prepare food safely and even do things like sterilize baby bottles.
The downside of an electric pressure cooker is that is won’t brown things, and it won’t give you food that is crispy or crunchy.
Is an electric pressure cooker worth the money?
Yes. An electric pressure cooker is definitely worth the money if you’re going to use it.
An electric pressure cooker empowers you to make a home-cooked meal without spending hours upon hours in the kitchen. Most meals are almost hands-free and require no intervention once cooking is underway. Cook time for many types of recipes is reduced when compared to other cooking methods such as stovetop, oven and slow cooker. And, an electric pressure cooker will not heat up your house like using the stovetop and oven do.
Many electric pressure cookers are very versatile and can do more than just pressure cook, they can also work as a slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice maker and many other things. For some, this may mean that you can retire some other small electric appliances and free up some room. If you want to reduce the number of appliances on your counter, you may be able to replace your slow cooker with an electric pressure cooker. Most electric pressure cookers have low and high slow cooker settings.
How To Choose The Right Electric Pressure Cooker
Once you decide you’re ready to get an elctric pressure cooker, you’ll find that they’re made by numerous brands and that there is a variety of models. This may leave you wondering how to pick the right electric pressure cooker. There are a few factors to keep in mind when buying an electric pressure cooker.
The most important factor is probably size. You’ll need to consider the size of your family, the size of the meals you cook and if you do things like meal prep or batch cooking.
There are a couple of 2 and 3-quart electric pressure cookers 2 and 3-quart electric pressure cookers out there. This size is pretty limiting and will work best for one or possibly two people.
There are a lot of 6-quart electric pressure cookers out there. 6-quart is probably the most popular size when it comes to electric pressure cookers. It’s the perfect size for a family of 3 to 4 people.
There are a number of 8-quart electric pressure cookers available. These are great for larger families, or if you do a lot of meal prep, freezer cooking or entertaining.
Along with size, you’ll also need to keep in mind any special features you know you will need (or won’t need). Some electric pressure cookers have a yogurt setting. A couple even have a risotto setting. Select models will integrate with your cell phone through an app, allowing you to control functions from your phone.
Another really important feature for some is the material that the inner cooking pot is made of. Some units have a stainless steel cooking pot. Other units have a nonstick pot.
If storage space really matters to you, whether or not the unit has a removable power cord may be important to you. I personally prefer units with a detachable cord as I can put the cord inside the unit when I’m done and they take up less room.
What about all of those buttons?
Almost evry electric pressure cooker has a good amount of buttons on the front. They are what frequently make some people feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Don’t let them. Most of those buttons are there for convenience, and the unit would operate just fine without them. Most electric pressure cookers have preset cooking settings, where the setting will cook for a specific number of minutes. Most electric pressure cookers also let you manually control the time you’re going to cook something for. Instead of trying to remember how many minutes a setting is for or which setting is for 5 minutes, you can usually just enter the cooking time manually on a manual or pressure cook button. This is especially helpful if you adjust a setting and it stays there the next time you use the electric pressure cooker so you don’t cook for more or less time than you thought you were going to.
Ready to try using an electric pressure cooker?
Below are some of today’s hottest and most popular electric pressure cookers. Click on the model name and you’ll be taken to my review of that model.