When you have a pressure cooker in your kitchen, cooking can be fun and fast. It's one of the best appliances to save time and cook healthier meals. Experts also say that stovetop pressure cookers can retain more nutrients than other cooking methods like steaming. Besides, you will love it for the ease of use and cleaning.
Knowing what you need to look for in a stovetop pressure cooker and what features stand out can help you choose the right vessel. This article gives need-to-know-information for using and buying stovetop pressure cookers. Also featured are our top 10 recommendations to accelerate your decision-making!
Jim Quast (JQ) is a lifelong professional restaurant and corporate R&D chef that loves everything food-related and the tools both big and small to make those great food memories. He's a super huge BBQ, grill, and kitchen gadget fanatic. JQ has spent the last 30+ years trying to figure out what works to make your kitchen life easier and fun. If you can use it to slice it, dice it, cook it, smoke it or store it, he's been there checking it out. Food = Life! https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-quast-59769011/
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
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Table of Contents
Stovetop pressure cookers are energy-efficient and are one of the fastest and most comfortable ways to cook a variety of recipes. They can be placed on various stovetop types and come in various capacities and pressure settings to cook a variety of foods.
Besides, stovetop cookers are easy to operate, clean, and maintain. You can easily store them alongside your other pots and pans. Possessing one is going to save you a lot of time that's otherwise spent on cooking multiple foods.
If you are a culinary fanatic, you probably know what a stovetop pressure cooker is. And if you are starting to figure things out about cooking, might wonder what the appliance is going to do and how to choose one. The following guide intends to highlight and teach you important points to look for while scouring through online marketplaces.
Consider how many people you normally cook for before buying a cooker. A cooker with a capacity of 4 quarts or less can serve only two people at a time.
For a family of five, go for a cooker with a capacity of 5 to 7 quarts. A bigger cooker of between 7 to 10 quarts can serve up to 12 people.
You also want to go bigger if you do canning or plan to cook large foods such as briskets or whole poultry, but remember a larger one will take longer to pressurize and wastes energy if it's not full.
Stovetop pressure cookers are mainly available in aluminum and stainless steel. While aluminum can be budget-friendly, it can react with certain foods. It can alter the taste and flavor of the foods being cooked. However, for even cooking, aluminum cookers are the best.
On the other hand, stainless steel cookers are non-reactive to foods. They can be expensive and heavier but are known to last long. Most stainless steel cookers are induction cooktop-friendly too. Apart from durability, they are stain-resistant and corrosion-resistant as well.
If cleaning is a concern, you can also find models with a non-stick interior. They cannot endure high-pressure cooking for long, but they can be tempting for their ease of cleaning.
Not all stovetop cookers are compatible with induction, glass, or ceramic stovetops. A polished cooking base is considered safe for smooth cooktops like glass or ceramic.
Pressure cooker valves are included to maintain consistent pressure inside the cooking pot. Stovetop models have either a spring valve or a weighted valve.
Spring valves are found in the best quality models, whereas, weighted valves are found in budget-friendly cookers. In cookers with spring valves, you can adjust the pressure settings to the desired level. They can go faulty with repeated use. However, they are quiet in operation and retain the pressure until you want the steam to escape.
Weighted valves or jiggle top valves are small weights placed over the air vent of the cooker to release the steam. They can be noisy while in use and allow steam to escape when the pressure limit is reached. Some models with weighted valves release pressure continuously.
A perfectly-locking lid is essential for a cooker to ensure that the appliance is well-closed when there is still pressure inside. The cooker remains locked until the pressure is released safely. It also needs strong handles that are easy to hold to prevent the risk of dropping it.
Some cookers feature a primary and secondary valve for additional safety. The main valve releases the extra pressure. In case it gets blocked or fails, the secondary valve will release the pressure inside the cooker.
Also, look for a lid lip vent, which is a small opening in the lid. In the event of both the main and the secondary valves failing, extra pressure releases from the vent.
When you are convinced of the benefits of a stovetop pressure cooker and the main features to consider, there can be a few other features that you might miss looking for but are essential.
How much pressure is acceptable for a pressure cooker to operate with is measured in terms of PSI or pounds per square inch. Although unofficial, the widely accepted standard for a good pressure cooker is 15 PSI. Some even offer a pressure setting of less than 15 PSI, which helps in keeping the foods firmer inside the cooker.
Stovetop models with spring valves come with high and low-pressure settings. Once the cooking pressure is attained, you can turn the valve to the lower setting. Some select the pressure setting automatically and feature a visual ring display to indicate the current pressure level.
With jiggle top valves, dual-pressure settings aren't available. To cook denser food items like meat or beans, use the burner at a high setting until it releases the pressure. Once it reaches the desired pressure, turn the burner to a simmer.
If using an electric stove, start with a high-heat burner, and once the pressure is attained, transfer the cooker to a low-heat burner.
As long as the pressure is venting inside the cooker, the food gets cooked. Some recipes may not need you to leave the foods inside until the pressure releases.
A cooker with a quick-release feature can be advantageous to you - it's usually a button to release the pressure from the cooker when needed. It saves you from the wait for the pressure to naturally vent.
Some stovetop cookers feature steaming racks or baskets. They come with two or more racks, one on top of another. You can cook multiple foods simultaneously without having to mix them up in one container.
If you are into canning, it's good to have a cooker than can do both cooking and canning. This eliminates the need to have two different appliances for two different tasks.
Not all stovetop cookers are canning-safe. According to the USDA, a pressure canner must be able to hold at least four quart-size jars and have certain venting and pressurization standards.
If you're looking into a home canner, do your research on the safe procedures and equipment you need, and make sure the model you buy is capable of meeting those requirements.
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Multi-Layered Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker｜P25107
Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker for All Stovetops
The Best Induction-Friendly Pressure Cooker with Control and Safety
Aluminum Pressure Cooker｜01241
Lightweight Pressure Cooker with Great Features
Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker
A Very Safe Cooker with Automatic Pressure Setting
Heavy-Gauge Pressure Canner and Cooker｜01781
The Best Choice for Canning and Cooking for a Big Crowd
Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker｜QCP412
Premium Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker with Multi-Safety Features
Pressure Canner and Cooker｜ F0732-2
Pressure Cooker, Steamer, and Canner in One Pot
Practika Plus 4 and 6 Quart Pressure Cooker｜01OPPRAPL46
Combo Cooker to Prepare Dishes Large and Small
Clipso Pressure Cooker｜P45009
A Pressure Cooker with One-Handed Operation
Aluminum Pressure Cooker｜A417-80801W
The Best Basic Cooker with Ultimate Safety
T-fal is reputed for its quality products and this cooker is no different. With a durable stainless steel body, multi-layer base, and secure locking system, it's suitable for a range of cooktops.
The variable spring valve with dual pressure settings helps you to cook a variety of foods at great speeds with a controlled steam release. The steam basket and stand are great additions for cooking and steaming foods simultaneously.
Some users said the pressure indicator didn't pop-up as expected and stopped working. One recommended cleaning the indicator, especially if you have used it for canning, to ensure the proper functioning of the cooker. But for most of the happy reviewers, this was the best they had in a long time!
We loved this for its sturdy build, all-stove compatibility, removable handles, and lock indicator. Apart from that, we loved the convenient water level markings that make it easier to fill without the need for a measuring cup!
The way the pressure valve works to show the pressure buildup inside is impressive - one ring display for gentle cooking and two rings for faster cooking.
There were a few complaints about it leaking from the lid, possibly due to a faulty gasket. Cleaning the gasket immediately after use and air drying separately can help prevent it from stretching.
Most users raved about how they liked the pin-lock mechanism and the glass lid, the top-notch build, the ease of use, and the ease of cleaning.
This multi-purpose cooker is great for beginners or cooking meals for two. The heavy-gauge aluminum body ensures even cooking and durability and the jiggle type weighted valve regulates ideal cooking pressure. There is an air vent with a lock that slides up and locks at the required pressure - it goes down once the pressure is released.
Presto has designed it to work on all types of cooktops except induction. Some users complained of the whistle not going off in the valve and the gasket not fitting inside the lid. Always check if the weighted valve is clean before you use it.
Some reported water leaks - maintaining proper water level should solve the problem. But for most who expressed satisfaction, the product worked fine and was easy to use and clean.
This one is more expensive than others but is highly practical for its advanced safety features. It serves for a variety of cooking tasks, including steaming, boiling, braising, roasting, and more. Besides cutting short the cooking time significantly, it's easy to clean too, thanks to the detachable handles.
There is no way to select the pressure setting; it's automatic, and there's a visible cooking indicator to see the pressure level. It also comes with an impressive 3-year warranty.
Although a few users reported the handles breaking and cracking after a few uses, there were many raving reviews about its quality and what it delivers without needing longer cooking time.
Those with a lot of cooking and canning needs who don't want to spend a lot of time on it would love this wonderful cooker. The heavy-gauge aluminum body distributes heat evenly for faster cooking and the pressure gauge accurately displays the pressure.
The advanced safety system locks the pressure in and the closed air vent prevents the lid from opening until all the pressure is safely released. It comes with an impressive 12-year limited warranty, an assurance to the quality of the product.
Some reported the pressure gauge not working and some reported receiving the product with missing parts. But overall, there were many raving reviews about how it executed a variety of tasks with perfection!
This pressure cooker combines fuel-efficiency along with multiple safety mechanisms for the best cooking experience. There are three safety valves, two safety locks, and a safety vent - all provided to cook with confidence and comfort. It's no surprise it got the ISO 9001: 2000 and Safety Goods Certificate from Japan!
If 12-quart seems too big to handle, go for the 8-quart version of the product. If big is what you look for, especially for occasions like Thanksgiving, you can choose between four other capacities all the way up to 37 quarts!
Some users felt that it's lightweight and could burn the foods while cooking. But for most users, the cooker felt like the finest in the industry. Many reviewers like the ease of use, fast pressurizing, and ease of cleaning, to mention a few.
This suits those looking for strain-free cooking, canning, and steaming. Remove the steamer insert, and the vessel transforms into a large pressure cooking pot with various pressure settings!
There are multiple safety mechanisms, including a pop-up pressure indicator that locks the lid to ensure the cooking process is hassle-free and safe. It's also available in a bigger 20-quart size for bigger needs.
A few users complained of the interior pitting after use. Some agents like vinegar can cause oxidation in aluminum vessels. If doing a vinegar rinse, also rinse with clean water to prevent this from happening.
But many others had a different experience and the vessel was an absolutely wonderful performer for them. Most loved it for the sturdy build, the great safety features, and the ease of use.
You will love this combo to suit your varying cooking needs: the 4-quart pot for a small meal and the 6-quart pot for bigger needs. The extremely durable stainless steel interior and exterior is supported by a visual pressure indicator and five safety features for the most comfortable cooking venture.
Besides saving cooking time, the dual pressure settings can contribute to cooking lighter produce and tougher items without undercooking or overcooking them.
Some users felt the manual is misleading and some received the product with a broken handle. Some reported leaks; keep all the parts clean and the screws intact to avoid leaks. Overall, most happy reviewers loved the performance, the build, and the ease of use.
This sturdy pressure cooker is the best for a medium-sized family to cook and steam their favorite foods in a jiffy.
The encapsulated base contributes to even cooking while the variable steam release valve gives better control of your cooking. What we loved the most is the one-hand operation with open and close buttons for risk-free opening.
Some users reported leaks from the lid and some complained about food sticking to the bottom, so ensure all the parts are tight enough and the water is filled to the recommended level to prevent burning. But for the majority of reviewers, this cooker was easy to operate, cook, and clean.
Regardless of not having sophisticated features, this is a vessel most will love. It's easy and safe to operate with a safety lock and a safety valve to prevent any risks. The long handle stays cool to the touch and the helper handle makes it easy to move it after cooking.
Some users reported leaks from the lid and handle, and some had broken handles after a few uses. The long handle should not be used alone and you should use both handles while transporting the cooker. As a basic cooker, this worked for most users and most loved how fast it cooks and how easy it is to use.
Now that you know how to choose the best stovetop pressure cooker, we have a few product recommendations to make life more comfortable in the kitchen. Just check out the following articles with links to great products that you will love to have in your kitchen!
No. 1: T-fal ｜Multi-Layered Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker｜P25107
No. 2: Fissler ｜Vitaquick｜ FISS-60030006079
No. 3: Presto｜Aluminum Pressure Cooker｜01241
No. 4: WMF ｜Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker
No. 5: Presto ｜Heavy-Gauge Pressure Canner and Cooker｜01781
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