Cooking can be a pleasure or a pain, depending on how skilled you are – but in most cases, as long as you have the right tools at hand, it should be easy for you to make a delicious meal. In this direction, pressure cookers have proven to be a marvelous addition for every kitchen, particularly since they take the time out of making a meal.
So, if you often have to serve numerous guests, you’ll want to get a large pressure cooker that can prepare higher amounts of food in just a shorter time. This way, not only will the food not be delayed, but it will also save you trips to the kitchen.
Read on and this guide will provide advice on how to buy the best pressure cooker, along with a couple of efficient suggestions.
What Is a Pressure Cooker and How Does It Work?
In a way that is almost like braising, a big pressure cooker can prepare a variety of foods with the use of steam. That steam will be tightly sealed within a special pot, being forced into the ingredients, therefore allowing you to cook the foods much faster.
The liquid in the pot (water, broth, stock, even wine) is heated within the sealed pot, creating steam. This seal will create a high pressure inside the pot, which will heat the liquid to an even higher temperature. With the lid sealed, you may select the desired pressure for your recipe. You can see that pressure on a digital screen or a gauge.
Due to the constant pressure, you may be able to precisely cook foods without burning or compromising the ingredients. You can cook anything, no matter if it is a meal, baked goods, or canned foods.
Stovetop vs. Electric Pressure Cookers
Pressure cookers can save you quite a bit of time in the kitchen, but what you’ll need to keep in mind is that they come in two types: the stovetop and the electric kind. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, which you carefully need to consider.
Stovetop Pressure Cookers
As their name suggests, stovetop pressure cookers are placed over the stove and look pretty much like a regular pot with a sealing lid. They are the more appropriate choice for browning, and they are faster in comparison to an electric cooker – but at the same time, they require a bit more in terms of attention.
They can also be a bit noisy if they are venting steam constantly as you are cooking. The pressure is more difficult to control as well – and if the heat becomes too high, it might end up releasing steam through the valve.
Electric Pressure Cookers
An electric pressure cooker is slower as compared to stove models – sometimes taking thrice the time to cook the same food. However, it is usually more precise and quite easy to use.
Once you get the sense of how long you should cook the foods in this unit, it should no longer take as much attention (like you would need with a stovetop model). They also usually offer multiple cooking options, such as for steaming vegetables and cooking rice.
Electric cookers are more on the quiet side, and only make some noise when you release the pressure at the end of your cooking session. On the other hand, they are more difficult to clean, as you may not submerge them in water.
Benefits of a Pressure Cooker
Pressure cookers come with various benefits, among which are the following:
When you cook your food traditionally, a lot of the nutrients are lost to some degree during the process – all due to the high temperatures. Pressure cookers operate at lower temperatures, allowing you to maintain more nutrients from your dish. Since the nutrients aren’t going anywhere, the flavor is also stronger.
Don’t Form Harmful Compounds
When you cook certain foods traditionally, at higher temperatures, they often form harmful compounds such as acrylamide – a substance that, in high quantities, may even increase the risk of cancer. With a pressure cooker, acrylamide is still formed but it is in much smaller quantities.
When you cook food with a pressure cooker, the steam remains within the container. This way, since the steam won’t be going anywhere, your food will have double the speed to cook. Plus, combining it with the increased pressure, the average cooking point is decreased by 70%.
Top Large Pressure Cookers Reviewed
Every unit presented here is at least 10 quarts, although many of the cookers are much bigger. Their purpose is to suit large families, catering, and entertainment environments. They have also been rated to be the best of the best for efficiency:
#1: NuWave Nutri-Pot 13QT Digital Pressure Cooker – Best Overall
If you want to feed your family a truly healthy meal every day, then you may certainly want to invest in the NuWave Nutri Pot. This unit was made to cook your food quickly while retaining all of its nutrients.
The NuWave NutriPot includes sure-lock safety systems, convenient cooking functions, and also canning functions. For the price that it is sold at, the Nutri Pot holds comes with convenient features.
- Very easy to use
- Sure lock-system that keeps the lid closed
- Variety of cooking functions
- Scratches easily
The NuWave digital pressure cooker is best for people who are looking for an overall efficient pressure cooker with handy features at a good price.
#2: Instant Pot Duo Nova 10QT Pressure Cooker – Best for Beginners
The Instant Pot Duo Nova is an all-time favorite that can offer precise results, even if you do not have the time or knowledge to fumble with the unit. Made from stainless steel and featuring a non-stick surface, you may easily cook healthy foods in a short time.
The unit features an easy to use control panel that offers you three temperature levels with precise control. Plus, if you have a particular way in which you prefer cooking your food, the unit remembers your previous settings – which makes the unit even quicker and more convenient.
- Intuitive control panel
- Multiple temperature settings
- Remembers previous settings
- It doesn’t come with all accessories
If you are a beginner and have never used a pressure cooker before, this large stainless-steel pressure cooker is for you. Comparing the Instant Pot vs NuWave, the former is easier to use.
#3: Fissler Vitaquick 8.5QT Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker – Best Quality Stovetop Unit
If you like to cook a lot, you know how easily your pressure cooker can get scratched or damaged. This unit can withstand quite a lot of pressure (literally), as it is very qualitative.
This pressure is also a good choice if you prefer cooking over the stovetop rather than plugging the unit. Plus, its removable handles make it very easy to clean.
- Very easy to clean
- The price is affordable
- Easy to use for beginners
- The Euromatic valve may be faulty
This is best for people who prefer the simplicity of cooking over their kitchen stove.
GoWise 12.5QT Electric Pressure Cooker – Budget Pick
If you do not have too much cash on your hands, then the GoWise unit might be right up your alley. This unit sports most of the features brought by an electric pressure cooker, but without dealing too much damage to your budget.
The device comes with a cookbook, a measuring cup, a stainless-steel basket and rack, and a spoon that won’t allow you to damage the interior of the unit. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your pressure cooker for a longer time.
- Very affordable price
- It comes with a variety of accessories
- The Control panel is very easy to use
- The valve may easily come off
Best for: This unit is perfect for those who want a good pressure cooker, but do not have too big of a budget for it.
Zavor EZLock 10QT Stove-top Pressure Cooker & Canner – Best for Home Canning
Some people like to use their pressure cooker for the average meals – but others need them for home canning. In this case, this stove-top pressure cooker is a convenient choice because it can easily seal up to 4 cans.
While spacious, this pressure cooker is quite compact. This makes it a suitable choice for those who have small kitchens but still want a pressure cooker big enough to feed an entire family.
- Safe locking is very easy to use
- Compact yet spacious
- The stainless-steel design is durable
- It is a bit narrow for searing
If you usually have home canning to do, then you may want to try this stove-top unit, as it is very simple to use.
National Presto 10QT Electric Pressure Cooker – Value Pick
Are you looking for a good pressure cooker that not only has a high number of useful features but is also sold at an attractive price? While this unit is not the cheapest, it is still more affordable than most – all while sporting various convenient features.
This pot is wide enough, which allows for sautéing and browning. Plus, the unit is equipped with sensors that can “feel” the actual temperature inside the pot. This allows for precise cooking.
- It features sensors for exact temperature and precise cooking
- The food cooks very fast
- It comes with a very attractive design
- The steam occasionally leaks from the air vent
If you are looking for an efficient pressure cooker that prepares the food very fast and is highly versatile, then this one is for you.
Buffalo 37 QT Stainless Steel Commercial Cooker – Extra Large Pick
If you truly need something to feed an army of elephants with (or, well, at least a bigger family), then you might want to consider this extra large pressure cooker. This 37-quart unit is the perfect choice if you feel like the average 10-quart is not enough for you.
This pressure cooker is very easy to use and is compatible with gas, ceramic, electric, and halogen cooktops (although you should not use it on stoves and induction cooktops). It also comes with two steam racks and a pressure gauge, making it the perfect choice for home canning as well.
- Very large capacity
- It includes very useful accessories
- Heavy-duty design yet lightweight
- The price is quite high for the value
If you have larger gatherings to feed or usually do quite a lot of home canning, then this is certainly the perfect unit for you.
Pressure Cooker Buying Tips
Pressure cookers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which is why you need to consider what features to look for. Here are some comparison points for stainless-steel pressure cookers that will help you make a decision.
Every pressure canner can be used for pressure cooking, but not every pressure cooker may be used for pressure canning. If what you are looking to do is to can broth, meats, and other foods with low acid, then you may want to look for a pressure cooker that also has a caning ability. Otherwise, if canning is not in your interest, a regular pressure cooker should be just enough for you.
Pressure Cooker Size
The pressure cooker sizes are also important to consider. What you need to remember is that, unlike your standard pots, pressure cookers cannot be filled to the top. You must be sure that the food won’t be blocking the unit’s pressure release valve. Think of how much you are planning to cook, and then pick a slightly larger unit.
Just like your standard pots, pressure cookers may be sold in a variety of materials. Aluminum is a good choice, but what you want to be looking for is a stainless-steel pressure cooker. This type of unit is much easier to clean and maintain, and since most stainless-steel units have non-stick surfaces, they are less likely to have your food burn or stick. Plus, stainless steel is less prone to scratches as compared to aluminum, making it the more durable alternative.
Some pressure cookers have just one pressure setting, whereas others have multiple settings. Keep in mind that each type of food that you cook with the pressure cooker may require a different pressure, so you will most likely need more settings. Generally speaking, stovetop units have just one setting – but thanks to recent technology, electric cookers allow you to select the desired pressure from the control panel.
Regardless of what you are cooking, when you are finished, you need to release the pressure from the cooker. Depending on the cooker that you purchase, it may be done in three different ways:
- Quick Release: You turn the steam valve gently, allowing the heat to escape from the cooker.
- Natural Release: You turn the heat off, and then allow the pressure cooker to cool off for about 10-15 minutes before you remove the lid.
- Cold-Water Release: You place the pressure cooker under cold water from the sink (this method is the trickiest and rather dangerous, as the steam may escape from the vents that you left open accidentally).
Before you choose the pressure cooker, make sure that you consider which pressure release types are appropriate for it. For example, if you prefer the cold-water release, then by no means should you get an electric pressure cooker.
More Questions Answered…
What’s the difference between pressure cookers and pressure canners?
Pressure canners are commonly a bit larger in comparison to pressure cookers. They were generally made with more features to retain the heat, as compared to a pressure cooker stainless steel. For example, NuWave vs Instant Pot can efficiently count as canners due to their size, but the Zavor one is certainly the most appropriate unit for canned food.
What can you prepare in a pressure cooker?
With a pressure cooker, you can prepare pretty much anything. Rice is often cooked in just a couple of minutes, whereas tougher foods such as chickpeas or beans take less than an hour. If you take a unit such as the NuWave Nutri-Pot, for example, you may cook pretty much anything.
Can I open the lid of the pressure cooker immediately?
This depends on the unit. For example, while some devices might allow you to ease into opening the lid, the occasional stainless pressure cooker needs to cool down before opening. The more the temperature drops, the easier it will be for you to open the lid.
Large pressure cookers are a great thing to have around in your kitchen. If you want a do-it-all kind of product, then the NuWave Nutri-Pot pressure cooker is generally a great choice.
The Instant Pot is perfect for beginners, whereas the GoWise is great if you do not have too much money on your hands. So, check the options above, analyze their features, and go for the one you find most convenient.