Cookware stores have been inundated with new pressure cookers, a centuries-old device that’s continually updated to be safer, faster, quieter and more efficient. To find the best models, F&W’s Maggie Mariolis tested more than a dozen contenders in two main categories: electric (great for unattended cooking) and stovetop (speedier and better for browning meat and vegetables). A surprising number of these machines had serious flaws—too-small handles, unreadable pressure gauges—but our five top picks impressed us with their thoughtful design and excellent performance. Here, the winners, plus three recipes by F&W’s Grace Parisi that show how versatile a pressure cooker can be.
Stovetop Pressure Cookers
Kuhn Rikon Duromatic 7 Quart
Our favorite stovetop model: The high sides and grippable handles make sautéing and lifting the pot easy. Unlike many stovetop cookers, the Kuhn Rikon stays at full pressure without requiring constant adjustment of the burner heat. $240; kuhnrikon.com.
Fissler Vitaquick 6.4 Quart
With a thick, stainless steel bottom, the Fissler is great for browning. It’s good for pressure-cooker beginners, too: The lid is especially easy to lock and a gauge pops up when the machine reaches full pressure. As a safety feature, a display turns from red to green when the lid is locked. $250; fisslerstore.com.
Fagor Chef 6 Quart
We love the removable timer, simple-to-read pressure gauge and speed—the machine reaches pressure in just 10 minutes. Downside: It’s loud. $160; williams-sonoma.com.
Electric Pressure Cookers
Cuisinart 6 Quart
Our favorite electric model, with its good price, sleek design and user-friendly controls. $100; cuisinart.com.
All-Clad 4 Quart
We give it high marks for style and design (handles on the insert make it easy to remove). Its 4-quart capacity is good for cooking smaller batches of food. The insert in this pressure cooker is dishwasher-safe. $299; surlatable.com.