The Best Electric Pressure Cookers According to Our Test Kitchen
Home cooks everywhere have fallen in love with their Instant Pots, but does the brand still reign supreme? To find out, we put 7 top-rated electric pressure cookers to the test.
For the home cook who wants to get dinner on the table fast, an electric pressure cooker will quickly become your trusted kitchen side kick. This all-in-one cooking appliance allows for a hands-off approach to cooking, so you spend less time in front of the stove.
Today's electric pressure cookers can more accurately be called multi-cookers, with the ability to slow cook, steam, sauté, and much more. The Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker with somewhat of a cult-following, has lead the charge in modern-day pressure cooking. But with all the new models being released by different brands every day, does it still stand-up to the competition?
We called on Test Kitchen product tester Melissa Gray to put the top-rated electric pressure cookers through some rigorous testing. Read on for her picks for the best electric pressure cookers to buy today.
Best Electric Pressure Cookers at a Glance
How We Tested Each Electric Pressure Cooker
We asked Test Kitchen Product Tester Melissa Gray to take the top-rated electric pressure cookers through a series of rigorous testing. The team rounded up top-rated food scales from popular brands such as Instant Pot, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Breville, Ninja, Crock-Pot and more. In order to test the plethora of features on each electric pressure cooker, Melissa completed the following tests:
Test #1: Make beef stew using the pressure function.
Test #2: Make beef stew using the slow cooker function, when applicable.
Test #3: Make white rice using the rice cooker function, when applicable.
Test #4: Make chicken wings using the air fryer function, when applicable.
Here are a few important characteristics Melissa took note of:
- Variety: How many settings does it offer? How well do those settings perform in terms of speed and ability to cook foods?
- Safety Features (How is the pressure released? Does the steam sputter or release too quickly?)
- Functionality (Was the display easy to read and understand?)
- Overall Value (Is it worth the investment)
Read on for our picks of the best electric pressure cookers for home cooks. If any catch your eye, simply click the link below each image to purchase.
What Is an Electric Pressure Cooker? Stovetop vs. Electric Pressure Cookers
Pressure cooking has been around for a long time, with the first known pressure cooker being invented in 1679. It uses a sealed pot with a lot of steam inside to build up high pressure. This simulates the effects of long braising or simmering, but in much less time.
Traditional pressure cookers are stovetop appliances, unlike electric pressure cookers which use electricity to produce high or low pressure within the cooker. Stovetop pressure cookers use heat to boil water, and then traps the steam inside to increase pressure. Stovetop pressure cookers are cheaper, but they also require more attention and aren't as customizable. The large appeal of the electric pressure cooker is that it gives you the ability to program your desired pressure and cooking time, no monitoring required.
According to Instant Pot: "Electric pressure cookers consist of a pressure cooking container (inner pot), temperature & pressure sensors, and an electric heating element. Heating is controlled by a built-in microprocessor based on the readings of the pressure and temperature sensors."
In other words, an electric pressure allows you to put the ingredients in the inner pot, set the pressure cooking duration, and voilà! The electric pressure cooker does the rest.
Get the Recipe: Instant Pot® BBQ Chicken Thighs
Why Do You Need an Electric Pressure Cooker?
While you don't need a pressure cooker (all of its functions can be achieved through traditional cooking methods), it will certainly make life easier. Electric pressure cookers allow you to significantly cut down on cooking times, taking chili from dry beans to bubbling, warm chili in under an hour.
Additionally, today's electric pressure cookers offer more than just pressure cooking. Some of the features of popular models today include slow cooking, rice cooking, air frying, sauéting, steaming, and searing. Some even make bread or yogurt.
Bottom line: If you're looking to reduce your time spent in the kitchen making laborious dishes like stews, soups, and more, we think you'll enjoy owning an electric pressure cooker. To determine the best ones on the market, here are the factors we considered:
Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus
To know the Instant Pot is to love it, at least that's what I say — and it appears the folks in the Test Kitchen agree. Melissa says, "This is the original Instant Pot we know and love but with safety upgrades and feature additions that made this my overall pick."
Some of the upgraded features of the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus include the steam valve cup that distributes steam more evenly than the original model. The newer model also has handles on the stainless steel inner pot for easy removal.
The display is the largest yet from Instant Pot, and it's loaded with presets including: multiple grain types for the rice program, 7 slow cooker presets, and 14 pressure cooker presets. Melissa says, "This is a great model for beginners or any cooks who really want to get the most out of their purchase, and at $120 this is a great buy!"
Buy It: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus, $120; Amazon
Best Budget Buy: Farberware: 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker
For less than half the price of the Instant Pot, this Farberware model offers 9 pre-set buttons and a large LED display for customizable cooking. All of the presets have adjustable times, and many have adjustable temperatures as well.
Melissa says, "This isn't the most tech savvy of the models that I tested but it is definitely a great starter model – especially if you aren't 100 percent sure if you’d like a multi-cooker."
Buy It: Farberware: 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker, $50; Walmart
Best Foodie Buy: Breville: the Fast Slow Pro Multi Function Cooker
While this highly rated model from Breville has a hefty price tag, it scored high marks on each and every one of Melissa's tests. The hands free steam release allows users' ability to truly walk away and come back when you're meal is ready. It has 11 presets for pressure cooking and 8 for slow cooking, and in addition to custom settings for both. This electric pressure cooker also boasts a progress bar, so you know just how much longer you have to wait on your meal.
For the electric pressure cooker novice, this model might be intimidating as the temperature and cooking time is adjusted by units of pressure. Melissa says, "If you've had a pressure cooker before or want to really delve into the world of multi-cookers then this is the pick for you!"
Buy It: Breville Fast Slow Pro Multi Function Cooker, $250; Amazon
Honorable Mention: Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer
Instant Pot makes the list again, this time with an electric-multi cooker that truly has all the bells and whistles imaginable. Melissa says, "When it comes to a multicooker this takes the cake (it can make it too!). This is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, dehydrator, broiler, air fryer, sous vide and more."
The Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer allows you to swap out the pressure cooker lid for an air fryer lid with an easy to clean nonstick surface. The results? "The chicken wings we did in the air fryer were so crispy, I'm still thinking about them," says Melissa. You'll save yourself a lot of counter space with this all-in-one appliance.
Buy It: Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer, $180; Amazon
Other Electric Pressure Cookers We Tested
While these electric pressure cookers didn't make the final cut, we think it's still worth mentioning the pros and cons of each. If you're curious about the competition, keep reading to see what Melissa thought about the other top-rated electric pressure cookers.
Crock-Pot Express 6-Quart Easy Release Pressure Cooker
This pressure cooker did a nice job searing meats, and cooking nice, tender veggies. However Melissa was underwhelmed by the air frying capabilities on this cooker. That combined with the sputtering steam from the steam valve put this one towards the bottom.
Buy It: Crock-Pot Express 6-Quart Easy Release Pressure Cooker, $99; Amazon
Zavor LUX LCD Multi-Cooker
Melissa found the control panel on this multi-cooker to be user-friendly and super customizable. However the meat wasn't as tender as some of the competitor brands, and the steam release was fairly messy. This one was just edged out by the competition.
Buy It: Zavor LUX LCD Multi-Cooker, $160; Amazon
Ninja Foodi Deluxe Pressure Cooker
This pressure cooker from Ninja has a lot to offer. It created an incredible brown sear on meats and veggies. Unfortunately, that still doesn't justify the price. The Foodi didn't live up to the competition since it has no rice preset, a dangerous quick release, and its bulky build makes for difficult storage and cleanup.
Buy It: Ninja Foodi Deluxe Pressure Cooker, $270; Amazon
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- Browse our entire collection of Instant Pot® Recipes.