After 30 hours of pressure cooking 50 pounds of meat, vegetables, beans and grains, we’ve determined the Instant Pot – DUO60 is the best pressure cooker. We suggest it for its user-friendly, pre-programmed functions, dual pressure settings, 10 safety mechanisms and unique ability to cook meat, rice and beans equally well.
So, why buy a pressure cooker? If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, but still want a delicious home-cooked meal, a pressure cooker is a good investment. It cuts the cooking time for food by about two thirds, meaning you get dinner on the table much more quickly.
Pressure cookers also create less heat in the kitchen, so they’re a great summer cooking they’re a great summer cooking tool. And how does a pressure cooker work? A pressure cooker traps steam to build pressure. This increases the boiling point of water which drastically reduces the cooking time.
Here’s our list of the three best pressure cookers:
#1 – The best electric pressure cooker: Instant Pot – DUO-60
#2 – The runner up: Cuisinart – CPC-600
#3 – The best stovetop pressure cooker: T-Fal- P25107
How did we test?
To test each pressure cooker, we cooked a whole fryer chicken, a beef pot roast, black beans, long-grain rice, and eggs. First, we attempted to use each cooker without referencing the user manual. This gave us a good gauge for its ease of use.
Then, we considered the safety of each machine–examining its lid-locking features and pressure-escape valves. Next, we tested the speed performance of each machine, timing how long it took to come to pressure for each food we cooked.
Finally, we tested if each cooker could replace your other kitchen appliances (like a rice cooker) by cooking rice and other foods and comparing the results. Before going over our top picks, you can check out links in the description below for more detail on each pressure cooker.
The Instant Pot is easily the most popular pressure cooker to hit the market. It is a viral hit with a cult-like following. It stood out from its competitors by creating perfect rice, beans, eggs, and meat—the first time we used it.
It allows you to cook an entire meal in one pot, with user-friendly features that brown and tenderize your food, or simply keep it warm. It also lives up to its claim that it can replace your rice cooker, creating delicious rice that easily surpassed the rice from the other cookers we tested.
Happily, it also gave us perfectly-cooked hard boiled eggs every time. This is something we found difficult to achieve with the other cookers—especially the stovetop models. Sealing the Instant Pot is also a breeze. It even emits musical tones when it’s secure and ready to go.
On the other hand, the other cookers we tested made sealing difficult, often requiring us to line up arrows on the lid and casing. This sealing method is far less foolproof. The Cuisinart, while much simpler in design than the Instant Pot with only three buttons, is still a great investment.
Notably, we loved its instruction manual, which had clear step-by-step instruction and included recipes. One downside of the Cuisinart, though, is that you have to install its pressure valve yourself. We found that it also has to be adjusted sometimes to retain pressure in the pot.
That being said, it has an excellent browning function that had results surpassing even the Instant Pot. It’s also less expensive than the Instant Pot. Sot it’s a good investment if you’re looking for something simple. The T-Fal started on a sour note in our tests, since it has a very poor user’s guide.
Regardless, this stovetop model is a good option if you prefer your pressure cooking to be hands-on. It’s constructed of heavy-gauge stainless steel, which makes heating efficient. Out first test with the T-Fal was cooking rice. We found that while this stovetop cooker came with a learning curve, it produced deliciously-cooked grains.
It also produced a lot of condensation, but only during our first test. The T-Fal also cooked delicious and succulent meat, beans and vegetables. It’s also well-priced for a high quality product, and a good investment if you prefer traditional stovetop pressure cooking.