The Best Pressure Cookers to Buy
We love using a pressure cooker – they’re a super easy way to transform cheap ingredients into a tasty, slimming friendly meal. Not only are they budget-friendly, they’re also way more energy efficient than your oven or hob as you can cook food quicker.
You might remember the pressure cookers of old that used to sputter and shake on the stovetop – don’t let those put you off! The latest generation of pressure cookers are much safer.
Buying a pressure cooker is a personal thing. You might want to buy one with a lot of functions, or you might want a super simple stovetop version that can pressure cook a recipe at the turn of a dial.
Whatever model best suits your kitchen, we’ve got a handful for you to look through (including our favourite!) and some guidance on the functions you’ll want to look out for when you’re shopping.
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What is a pressure cooker?
A pressure cooker is a very useful kitchen gadget that uses hot steam and pressure to cook food fast. Unlike slow cookers, they’re all about speed. If you’re feeling a little disorganised after work, you can still whip up a delicious meal in 30 minutes. Ideal!
Pressure cookers come in a variety of size capacities with different cooking functions. The more cooking functions available, the higher the price (usually). To give you an idea, the list of models we’ve gathered below ranges from £40-£198.
You’re probably used to making stews in a casserole dish in the oven and waiting at least three hours. Not with a pressure cooker! We converted our hearty Beef Stew recipe into an Instant Pot Beef Stew version and cut down the cooking time to just one hour (prep included!).
We have a full conversion guide on how to make your favourite recipes pressure cooker compatible. Just remember that it’s about experimentation as much as anything. If it doesn’t work out the first time, keep trying until you’ve nailed the method.
What can I make in a pressure cooker?
When it comes to meat, soups, rice and risotto dishes, pressure cookers do an amazing job. We would always recommend sautéing meat before pressure cooking for even better results. If you don’t know how to sauté, it just means to cook food over a high heat with a low amount of fat.
If your pressure cooker has a sauté function, you can do this directly in its very own cooking pot. It really seals in the flavours!
Mushy Pea Curry is one of our most popular recipes, and you don’t have to spend ages making it on a hob. If you sauté the ingredients and then pressure cook them, your curry will come out just as delicious in less time.
You might be surprised by what you can make in an Instant Pot. You can even make tasty veg, like our Garlic Green Beans, by using the sauté function. Simply pop them in, set it and leave it until they’re ready.
Bargain buy: Stovetop pressure cooker
Stovetop pressure cookers are still a thing, but they’re nowhere near as scary as they used to be. The key difference with a stovetop pressure cooker is that it takes the heat straight from your hob. They’re usually cheap and cheerful, and they can even cook slightly faster than electric models.
We’ve picked out this Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker with Steamer from Amazon Basics. It’s perfect if you’re wanting to avoid a bulky multicooker taking up worktop space. Plus it’s lightweight and easy to move around, so it won’t be on show at all times.
It only has 2 pressure levels to choose from, so it’s nowhere near as intimidating as an electric model with all the bells and whistles. There’s even a steamer included, so you can pop your veg on too.
You can use this one to cook warming dishes like our Ham, Leek and Potato Soup in under 30 minutes. It uses a total of 4 ingredients, so it’s a life-saver if you’re caught unprepared on a winter’s night.
Simple, hearty and quick prep for lunch or dinners, you can’t get any easier than that.
Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker with Steamer (6 Litre) is available from Amazon, priced at £39.17.
Bargain buy: Electric pressure cooker
The Instant Pot Duo is a miniature pressure cooker that packs in a huge number of functions, so it’s hard to believe it’s available for less than 70 quid. Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Slow Cook, Sauté, Rice, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook are all available as smart programmes.
We think it’s always worth stretching your budget for a pressure cooker or Instant Pot with an integrated timer like this one, so you can ‘set it and forget it’ while your food cooks.
It’s also got a quick release (QR) button, which is super handy for cooking veg as it quickly releases steam from the pot to prevent overcooking. You can also use a natural pressure release (NPR) button – it’s a slower steam release that finishes stews off perfectly.
We’ve gone for the three litre model to avoid cluttering the kitchen, but larger capacities are available for a slightly higher price.
Pasta is a tricky one in an Instant Pot because it expands so much and absorbs the liquid you add to it. If you get the balance right, you can have no-drain pasta al dente or soft. Why not try out our Chicken Cacciatore in your Instant Pot?
It’s an Italian-inspired comfort food you can make quickly and batch cook easily for another time.
We’ve even heard about members in our Facebook community making the sauce from our Katsu Chicken Curry in an Instant Pot as a nifty time-saver. Rather than simmering for 45 minutes, the sauce is ready in half that time.
Instant Pots like the Duo have a keep-warm function, so they’ll have the katsu sauce at the perfect temperature for when the chicken’s done in the oven. How good is that?
Instant Pot IPDuo-30 Duo Mini (3 litre) is available from Amazon, priced at £69.99.
Most versatile buy: 11 in 1 Instant Pot
It’s worth investing a little more to get the convenience of so many versatile cooking functions in one space-saving appliance. No need for gadgets all over your worktops!
TheInstant Pot Duo 11 in 1 Multicookeris a pressure cooker and an air fryer all in one, putting it at the higher end of the price range. It’s also got a generous eight litre capacity, so you can easily feed the whole family.
To transform the unit you cover with the air fryer lid for air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate functions. The pressure cooker lid makes pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté and sous vide available.
The £198 price tag might make your eyes bulge, but TRUST US when we say it’s a game-changer for your kitchen. You might even find yourself forgetting about your oven (yep, we went there).
The way we see it, you can’t put a price on saving hours in the kitchen. Our 20 Minute Roast Chicken is a perfect example of a pressure cooker time-saver.
We’ve rested the chicken on a bed of veg to unlock added flavours.
From roast chicken to chicken nuggets, this super versatile unit can have Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Nuggets air-fried and ready for you to enjoy in just 25 minutes.
Who doesn’t love a good nug? Bathed in BBQ sauce and crispy breadcrumbs, they’re bound to go down a treat.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp & Air Fryer 11-in-1 Multicooker (8 litre) is available from Amazon, priced at £198.
Premium buy: 9 in 1 Ninja Foodi
The 9 in 1 from the Ninja Foodirange comes with nine cooking functions and is a firm favourite at Pinch of Nom. The high-quality unit pressure cooks, air fries, slow cooks, grills, steams, sautés, bakes, dehydrates and makes yoghurt with ingredients.
After all those functions, it’s hard to believe it doesn’t do the washing up too! But it does make cleaning a little bit easier as its accessories are all dishwasher safe (not including the meat thermometer).
Did you know it’s 70% faster than your average slow cooker? We particularly love the TenderCrisp function that can pressure cook ingredients with a crispy finish. Delicious!
Ninja Foodi is particularly good with grilling meats to the perfect level of tenderness. We like to bung in our Minted Lamb Kebabs once they’re marinated for fresh off-the-grill Mediterranean flavours.
If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for one minute to prevent them from burning during cooking. The best thing about the Ninja Foodi is that it will cook meat to your preference, so the meat thermometer will let you know when the lamb chunks are at their tastiest.
Ninja Foodi Electric Multi-Cooker Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer (6 litre) is available from Amazon, priced at £179.00.
Need some extra help and motivation on your slimming journey?
Having a pressure cooker in your kitchen is an asset when you want quick meals that taste so flavoursome, you’d swear they’ve been cooked for hours. Whether you want to start small or go big immediately, you’re sure to see a difference in your kitchen routine.
Make sure you look out for the functions that will suit your circumstances best. Even basic ones like an integrated timer and keep-warm functionality are life-savers. If you’d rather declutter, you might want to invest in multiple cooking methods in one tidy unit.
Do you have a favourite pressure cooker recipe? Tell us about it over on our Facebook Group. There are almost 1 million members in the group already, waiting to share inspiration, motivation and support for your slimming journey.