Pressure cookers have stormed the beaches of many a kitchen. Better electronics, steam seals, and the lack have driven down the prices of what was once upon a time a more specialized kitchen instrument. Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite pressure cookers, whether electronic or manual, high-end or affordable.
Let’s crack into things.
Top Pick: Ninja Foodi 8 Quart Pressure Cooker
The Ninja Foodi 8 Quart Pressure Cooker, like many of the American manufacturer’s products, is an all-in-one bombshell of a product.
Ninja offers a wide variety of cooking options with their 8 quart pressure cooker. There are dedicated settings for pressure cooking, air crisping, searing or sauteing, baking, broiling, steaming, slow cooking, dehydrating and even yogurt making (which can double as fermentation for other recipes). Some of these features interact with each other. For instance, it’s entirely possible to pressure cook a chicken to maximize moisture then, when finished cooking, flip on the crisping setting to firm up the skin.
Air cripsing, which is Ninja’s compliment to their existing air frying setting, can be done using a reversible rack for 360 degrees of exposure. This is great for chicken and the like, but can also be used to make a quick(ish) side of sweet potato fries, for instance.
For those on the go, or who forgot to defrost dinner in the morning, the Ninja Foodi is able to defrost and cook in as little as 20 minutes depending on factors like portion size.
One warning, however. With all of these features the Ninja has a substantial power draw. For those with older connections be aware that the Ninja Foodi can draw on almost 1800W.
- Feature-rich with a wide variety of settings relating to temperature, pressure and humidity.
- Easy to clean save for the pressure lid. The silicone gasket can take on the faint smell of what you’ve been cooking, but a quick bath in sudsy water takes care of that.
- During crisping any opening of the lid quill lead to an auto-shutoff with cooking resuming after resealing.
- Although the Ninja Foodi sports an extra-large capacity, we were a little disappointed that the crisping basket was only 5 quarts to the cooking pot’s 8. Although by no means a deal breaker, this is something you should be aware of beforehand.
- This is also an absolute beast of a unit, weighing in at 26 lbs. Again, this is less a con and more about underlining that this is a beefy pressure cooker, and will demand extra counter space.
- Nonstick cooking basket rather than 18-10 stainless steel.
The Chef iQ Multi-functional Smart Pressure Cooker brings a lot to the table for just a bit less than the Ninja; with special mention going to its wireless functionality and in-built scale.
Like the Ninja Food, The Chef iQ sports a number of settings such as pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming and the like. Where the iQ differs is in its application of smart technology. The iQ’s scale is designed to weight individual ingredients as they’re added to the pressure cooker. Using the app will, ideally, allow for even more precise control of your cook from the first minute to the last.
As long-time readers might know, digital technology is all well and good provided it doesn’t break the physical product’s ability to function. Fortunately, The Chef iQ works great even without the app. You can even use your phone to remotely control start time through the app.
Finally, the Chef iQ Pressure Cooker operates at 120 volts and 1000 watts.
- The iQ is a genuinely smart pressure cooker. Its app is continuing to be updated at time of writing, as are firmware updates to the machine itself. This is somewhat rare, as often ‘smart’ pressure cookers have little software-side support.
- The smart scale also deserves special mention. If you, for instance, pour in two cups of rice then the unit will tell you when you’ve added enough water to bring fluffy, bright rice straight to your table.
- High build quality and, relatively, small countertop footprint for its size.
- Works best through the Android app rather than iPhone.
- Possible that app or firmware support will worsen over time.
As a brand, Instant Pot abides by the mantra of set it and forget it. The Nova is made with food grade stainless steel, although at 18-8 rather than 18-10. This is different from some of the other items on this list than come with non-stick baskets. Note that there’s a learning curve to working with this more conductive material. If you’re planning to saute make sure to heat the pot gently to avoid burning your ingredients (a quick bit of google-fu will serve you well here).
The Nova’s biggest claim to fame is, without a doubt, its new easy seal lid. No more will we have to reach for our tongs before we let off a little steam. No more shall we risk burned fingers for the sake of dinner. At least, that’s what the manufacturer claims.
Unfortunately, what Instant Pot really means is that the Nova will automatically seal for pressure cooking. It won’t, however, shut off in the same way. After every use you need to make sure to reset the valve. If you don’t then you’ll end up boiling away any liquid in the basket itself and in turn risk damaging the coils and electrical components.
- Compact form compared to other pressure cookers.
- Extremely flexible across a wide variety of cooking methods.
- General fermentation setting, which includes making yogurt at around 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If purchasing through a second hand seller avoid models from 2018 entirely. There was a run of Novas that experienced electronics melting even when unplugged.
- Instant Pot doesn’t have the best customer service reputation if you do run into issues.
Best Features: Yedi 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker
The Yedi 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker is a stylish delight for home cooks, featuring meat specific cooking times and a variety of baking options.
The Yedi 9-in-1 has the full gamut of cooking optison that you would expect (slow cook, saute, steam, pasteurize, yogurt making and the like). Where this unit differentiates itself is through what Yedi calls “microprocessing programs.” These are found on a number of different units Yedi offers home cooks the ability to tweak the temperature, time and pressure levels for these presets. Getting both a one-button option and customization option for advanced use is fantastic for a wide variety of cooks. You can also monitor the pressure levels through the digital display, which is a nice touch for cautious cooks.
A word of caution, however. The safety valve can sometimes become clogged with fine particles of food, like when cooking extremely soft, short grain rice for instance. Keep an eye out, but this is all in all a minor issue. Also, be aware that Instant Pot and Yedi are, at the time of writing, both being distributed by the same manufacturer. This means that, provided the quart sizes are the same, many of the parts are interchangeable. With that said, we found the Yedi to have a number of great bonus features and a slicker overall feel.
The Yedi Pressure Cooker also comes with a bounty of accessories and features. Although some are better than others – the stainless steel baskets are fantastic, but we were amused by the inclusion of over mitts.
For me, one of the cooler features for this unit was its ability to steam and cook simultaneously. This has been a mainstay of rice cookers for a long time. It’s great to see pressure cookers that can run multiple, compatible functions simultaneously. To top it off, the Yedi 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker sports a fantastic 2-year warranty.
- Wide range of customization options across multiple presets.
- Great Accessories, with fantastic customer service.
- Modern design, with a nice bronzed-finish.
- Safety valve can become clogged when working with fine grains.
- The rivet on the top of the tempered glass lid heats up during cooking.
For Steel Stalwarts: Viking Stainless Steel 8 Quart Pressure Cooker
The Viking Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is a classic in every sense of the word. This both is and isn’t your classic pressure cooker. Yes, it looks similar, but the safety features and consistency is heads and shoulders above anything that you would have found even ten years ago.
Built with 18-10 stainless steel, the Viking Stainless Steel 8 Quart Pressure Cooker is truly designed to last. X Even better it’s compatible with every stove type from induction to gas, due in part to the 3-ply base for even heat distribution.
Possibly the best thing about the Viking is that its quick release valve and clamp lid are extremely safe. Although a little complicated to look at the lid snugs perfectly onto the top of the pot without needing to align tabs or the like. Simply put, the Viking Stainless Steel Pressure cooker just works. This is something that is prized in kitchens everywhere, whether at a Michelin Star restaurant or in your dream kitchen.
- Composed entirely of best food grade 18-10 stainless steel, save for bakelite handles and heat resistant components.
- Easy to use yet extremely secure pressurized lid.
- Markings in quarts and litres on the inside of the cooking unit.
- Not compatible with any steam diverters at time of writing.
- Can’t be used for either deep frying or canning.
- Silicone gasket needs to be replaced every 1-2 years depending on use.