I absolutely love my pressure cooker and use it quite often. That said I know I should use it more but, like us all, I am a bit stuck in my ways with some things. It is a great way to cook perfect rice and there are so many one-pot meals you can easily cook quickly in a pressure cooker. If you don’t have one yet then you need to consider one so read on.
What is a pressure cooker and how does it work?
A pressure cooker is an appliance that utilises steam pressure to cook food quickly. It consists of a tightly sealed pot with a valve that regulates the pressure inside.
When heat is applied to the pot, the liquid inside the pot begins to boil and produce steam. As the pressure builds up, the boiling point of the liquid inside the pot increases, which speeds up the cooking process.
The high pressure also helps to tenderise tough cuts of meat and break down complex carbohydrates in beans and grains, making them more digestible.
Pressure cookers are commonly used to cook rice, stews, soups, and many other dishes.
Why you should use a pressure cooker
A pressure cooker is a great tool for cooks of all levels and is probably one of the most versatile and efficient tools you can have in your kitchen. It can help you cook meals faster, saving time and energy making it a great choice for busy home cooks. It also allows you to cook food at a higher temperature than you would normally, so the flavours are more intense and the textures are more tender.
Pressure cooking requires less water, so you can reduce the amount of liquid in your recipes without compromising flavour. And because the cooker is sealed and pressurized, you can be sure that all the nutrients are locked in and nothing is lost to evaporation. All of these benefits make pressure cooking an ideal way to create delicious, nutritious meals in a fraction of the time.
If you’re looking for a pressure cooker here is a selection of different models that are currently on the market. They cover all budgets and family sizes. There are stove-top pressure cookers as well as electric pressure cookers. Both work in a similar way and cooking times should be around the same length.
5 pressure cookers to consider – stove-top
There are so many pressure cookers available it is hard sometimes to choose one so here are a few you might want to start by looking at.
This 4-litre (22cm diameter) Stainless Steel pressure cooker is ideal for cooking delicious, nutritious meals. It has two cooking pressure levels: 50 kPa for gentle cooking and 90 kPa for faster cooking. It has a water-level indicator to ensure proper filling, a pressure-indicator valve for safe opening and Bakelite handles.
All parts of the pan are suitable for washing in a dishwasher except for the lid. This pressure cooker is suitable for all heat sources including induction, flame, and ceramic stovetops. Other sized pressure cookers are available separately.
This pressure cooker from Tower has a 3L Capacity and a 20cm Diameter, it has two cooking pressures – 70 and 100 kPa. It is made from polished Stainless Steel, has Phenolic stay-cool handles, and a removable 60-minute timer and includes a steamer basket and stand.
It is not suitable to be put in a dishwasher but is made from easy clean materials and is suitable for all hob types.
This 6-litre pressure cooker can be used to create delicious meals 70% quicker than using normal cooking methods. This big pressure cooker is perfect for families as it can cook 8 -10 healthy servings in one pan.
This cooker comes with a separator, divider and wire trivet, which can be used for all your cooking needs. The cooker features a multi-functional locking safety handle which is heat-resistant and it also displays a visual pressure indicator.
This pressure cooker from Tefal offers two cooking programmes. Users can choose between vegetable and meat and fish modes. Each mode makes sure the right amount of pressure stays in the pot for desired results.
The cooker comes with a steaming basket, which allows you to cook other ingredients at the same time as what is being cooked in the main section of the pot. The 6-litre capacity means you can cook for up to six people at once.
This pressure cooker has 5 safety features including a mechanism that stops pressure from building inside the pan.
This 5-litre / 22 cm diameter pressure cooker can be used to cook a variety of foods and meals. It will easily produce up to 5 servings. It has many features including an advanced, spring-loaded valve that will accurately reflect the internal pressure within the pan.
It is very quiet thanks to its valve as it eliminates any of the noise/hissings that are usually associated with pressure cookers. It is designed for optimal safety as its automatic locking system prevents the removal of the lid whilst pressure exists within the pan.
The cooker is crafted from premium-quality stainless steel that is rust, corrosion and chip-resistant. Thanks to its Superthermic aluminium base the cooker boasts rapid absorption and even distribution of heat and is compatible with all stovetops.
5 pressure cookers to consider – electric
I love this pressure cooker, it is great value and the preset menus help you to cook a variety of foods at the click of a button. It has a 5.5-litre capacity and comes with an easy-to-follow instruction booklet. If you have plenty of other gadgets and don’t need a multicooker then this is a great way to have an easy electric pressure cooker. Especially for beginners who have never used a pressure cooker before.
The crockpot is one of the larger electric pressure cooker brands but from what I understand and have read this model is very similar to the Amazon basics model above. I guess if you prefer the Crockpot brand this might be perfect for you but otherwise it isn’t a great deal different. It has a 5.6-litre capacity and is a perfect worktop size.
Many recipes call for an Instant Pot as this is probably the most common and well-known brand of electric pressure cookers. That said most of the recipes can just as easily be made in any of the other pressure cooker brands. The only thing to be aware of is that the settings you use are similar to those asked for in the recipe and the capacity is adequate.
The one-touch programmes, like the other models above, are simple ways to cook the foods you are most likely to need for example, stew, porridge, soup etc. This model also has functions to steam, saute and slow cook.
This Tefal electric pressure cooker and multi cooker again is a similar design and has similar functions to the others. This model however has 25 one-touch programs. With a 6-litre capacity, you are likely to be able to easily batch cook or cook for a large family and all the accessories go into the dishwasher!
This Ninja Foodi is a few models later than the one I own and love. They are quite big gadgets so it is well worthwhile just measuring and checking the space you intend to place it in (being sure to check there is space to open it).
The Ninja Foodi does a lot more than pressure cooking, the one gadget can also steam, saute and slow cook like some of the models above but not only that! This model also has an air-frying function, grill function, and bake function, and it can even make yoghurt!
Whilst this gadget is more expensive than the other options of course you have a few gadgets in one here and might then not need to buy an air fryer or other gadgets. Do remember though that with separate gadgets you can make different dishes at once, with the Foodi you would have to make them in turn.
Recipes to make in your pressure cooker
So many recipes can easily be made in your pressure cooker, you will soon be an expert from a whole chicken to a bolognese you will soon be making all sorts! Here are some recipes specifically designed for pressure cookers to help you get started.
- Pressure cooker vegetable curry
- Brown sugar garlic chicken in the pressure cooker
- Easy meals with canned foods in the pressure cooker
- Turkey chilli pasta
- Pressure-cooked broccoli and cheese soup
- Garlic mushroom and prawn spaghetti
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Hi, I’m Jen Mellor; I live in Nottingham, UK. and use my knowledge and experience in weight loss and confidence to help you become your own cheerleader and best friend. I am usually seen wearing colourful leggings and love to wear bright colours. Wear what you love, and be proud of your style and choices!