The 7 Best Pressure Cookers, According to the Pros

These chef-approved pressure cookers, like the Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure and Slow Cooker, cater to novices and experienced cooks alike.

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T-fal P4500736 Clipso Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe PTFE PFOA and Cadmium Free 12-PSI Pressure Cooker Cookware
Photo: Amazon

Like kitchen magicians, pressure cookers can turn tough cuts of meat tender in stews, bubble broth for pho in a flash, caramelize onions easily, and more, reducing your cooking and clean-up time. These appliances use moisture, heat, and pressure to cook food in a fraction of the time of conventional cooking methods. Pre-programmed settings and built-in safety features take the guesswork out of cooking and provide consistency.

We consulted industry experts to evaluate the best pressure cookers based on cooking style, safety, storage, and ease of use, keeping in mind various levels of experience. The consensus: the Instant Pot Pro Pressure Cooker is the overall best choice for home cooks. Whether you are entertaining, cooking for one, or feeding a family, you'll find a handful of reliable options on the market. Continue reading to find the best pressure cooker for your needs.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure and Slow Cooker

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Pros: Set it and forget that it's even cooking thanks to 11 safety features, including a new model update to steam value release. It also shows real-time cooking progress.

Cons: It takes up a lot of space on the counter and wherever you store it. The sous vide function can be inconsistent.

Equipped with 28 smart program settings for specific pressure levels and cook times, the Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 Pressure and Slow Cooker gives you greater control over your cooking while taking care of the work for you. You also have the option to control cook times manually through "natural" or "quick" steam release. Plus, Instant Brands improved this new model's steam value release button for safety during the quick-release mode. Other safety features protect from overheating, though it's important to maintain proper liquid levels and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

In fact, this multi-cooker boasts a total of 11 safety features and five programmable settings for your favorite go-to meals. Its presets are perfect for soups, stews, and meats. The sauté function allows you to brown meats and toast spices in the pot before pressure cooking. Clean-up is easy with a dishwasher-safe lid, removable inner pot, and accessories. This 8-quart model can cook for a crowd or carry you through weekday meal prep.

"Many things that can be made in a slow cooker can be made fast in a pressure cooker: stews, beans, and bone broth," says cookbook author and food writer Andrea Nguyen. "I adore the cooker for noodle soup broth – hello pho! – and vegetable stock. It's fantastic for quickly cooking beets. I never roast them anymore! I also regularly use my Instant Pot multi-cooker for yogurt."

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Dimensions: 14.4 x 13.9 x 14.2 inches
  • Weight: 21.2 pounds
  • Presets: Pressure cook, slow cook, sous vide, sauté, sterilize, make yogurt, warm food, bake cake, and steam

Best Value: Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Walmart and Ace Hardware.

Pros: This stovetop pressure cooker can go in the dishwasher and is fully immersible in water for quick cooling. A side handle makes it easy to transport.

Cons: This basic model requires more oversight while cooking, and it doesn't have pre-programmable features or presets.

If you would prefer a no-frills stovetop pressure cooker that's still spacious enough for larger cuts of meat, the reliable Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker offers quality and function for a great price. Durable scratch-resistant stainless steel allows for even heating and cooking and can be used on a regular or induction stovetop. It includes a safety cover lock that reduces steam before you open it, and you can immerse this dishwasher-safe model for quick cooling. It comes with a convenient rubber side handle for easy transport, and it has a cooking rack insert so you can prepare several foods at once. Its streamlined design also means it's especially simple to use.

"I love my Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. It's easy to use, easy to clean, and saves me so much time on some of my favorite foods," says chef and food stylist Tasha Powell. "Also, this product has a legacy in my family, as my mom made stews with this product while I was growing up."

  • Capacity: 6 quarts
  • Dimensions: 17.31 x 9.12 x 8.75 inches
  • Weight: 5.32 pounds
  • Presets: None

Best for Experienced Cooks: Breville Fast Slow Pro

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Sur La Table and Crate & Barrel.

Pros: This appliance weds style and smarts for a premium cooking experience. Choose from a number of settings on an easy-to-read LCD display.

Cons: Our most expensive pick, it's more of an investment than beginner cooks will want to make. It also takes up more space than other 6-quart models.

Breville's sophisticated brushed stainless steel pressure cooker boasts 11 preset cooking functions and several bonus features, from sous vide mode to built-in sensors that automatically adjust time and temperature settings. Whether you choose presets through its interactive LCD panel or custom settings for more precise control, your meals will come together quickly and consistently delicious. With its slow setting, this multi-cooker can function like a traditional crockpot, yet it also lets you sear and brown right in the removable cooking vessel.

Its safety system includes a locking lid, a hands-free steam release valve, and an additional safety valve. A wide, wrap-around container keeps countertops clean from cooking liquids. The keep-warm function turns on automatically when the time is up. Even during cooking, the handles are cool to touch.

  • Capacity: 6 quarts
  • Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Presets: Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, reduce, sauté, warm, roast, and bake

Best Splurge: Mepra Pressure Cooker 1950

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Food52

Also available at Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Pros: This elegant Italian pressure cooker is easy to use and clean, oven safe, and suitable for all stove typres.

Cons: It requires more oversight when you're cooking, and it lacks presets.

This ultra sleek, Italian-made stainless steel pressure cooker would make a seamless addition to any design-forward kitchen. The Mepra Pressure Cooker 1950 has the added function of being oven safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's compatible with gas, induction, and electric stovetops. While you sacrifice the bells and whistles associated with modern electronic multi-cookers, you gain an eye-catching design that can go from stove to table.

"Pressure cookers are typically used for cooking items quickly, such as short ribs or oxtails. I use it mostly for braised items," says chef Ryan Rondeno.

  • Capacity: 7.4 quarts
  • Dimensions: 9 x 8.75 inches
  • Weights: 6.9 pounds
  • Presets: None

Best with Air Fryer: Instant Pot Pro Crisp XL 8 Quart

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Target and Williams Sonoma.

Pros: Use this appliance to finish slow- or pressure-cooked food with a crisp exterior. It replaces multiple appliances.

Cons: With two lids, it takes up a lot of counter and storage space, and it's relatively heavy.

A built-in air fryer gives the Instant Pot Pro Crisp XL 8 Quart an edge over other models. This powerful, user-friendly multi-cooker lets you broil, bake, roast, toast, sauté, sous vide, dehydrate, steam, slow cook, and more. Swapping its lid transforms it into the air fryer. Its crisper technology and 8-quart capacity are ideal for large meal prep and entertaining. A dual frying function browns and crisps the exterior of food, enhancing its look and taste. Its five programmable settings let you save your own special recipe presets.

Accessories such as a multi-use steam rack, a multi-level air fryer basket with a dehydrating and broiling tray, and a heat-resistant protective pad and storage cover are valuable bonuses. Removable parts are dishwasher safe. This multi-cooker will become a fast favorite if you're an appliance minimalist.

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Dimensions: 15.35 x 12.57 x 14.78 inches
  • Weight: 26.2 pounds
  • Presets: Pressure cook, sauté, steam, slow cook, sous vide, warm, air fry, roast, bake, broil, and dehydrate

Best Stovetop: T-fal Clipso Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at HSN and Walmart.

Pros: Sturdy plastic handles don't get hot, and its steam valve release is easy and safe to use with one hand.

Cons: It needs supervision while cooking. Pressure issues can result without enough liquid.

Holding just over 6 quarts, the T-fal Clipso Pressure Cooker makes a reliable mid-range option for batch cooking and feeding a crowd. If you want to forgo the fancier functions of multi-cookers, you'll find this streamlined pressure cooker easy to use, clean, and store. It includes a steam basket and stand for more cooking options. The inner encapsulated base heats evenly and is compatible with any cooktop, including induction. It automatically shifts to keep cooked food warm. Comfortable side handle grips, a steam release valve that requires just one hand, and an automatic locking function improve the safety of this appliance.

  • Capacity: 6.3 quarts
  • Dimensions: 14.47 x 11.35 x 8.89 inches
  • Weight: 7.7 pounds
  • Presets: None

Best for Large Servings: Yedi 9-in-1 Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: It has the capacity to cook large servings, but you can also use its accessories to cook smaller dishes, including two at once.

Cons: Error messages are not uncommon, and troubleshooting will likely require calling customer service.

Whether you're planning a gathering, feeding a family, or preparing meals to eat all week, Yedi's 9-in-1 Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker handles big-batch recipes with ease. New recipes are uploaded weekly to the Yedi app, which you can download at no cost. Like other multi-cookers, this option allows you to pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, cook rice, make cakes, and keep food warm. It also has a customizable function. Accessories like cheet sheets and steaming trivets make your cooking experience even easier; its stainless steel steaming basket, for example, lets you cook two dishes at once.

  • Capacity: 8 quarts
  • Dimensions: 14.8 x 13.5 x 14.5 inches
  • Weight: 18.8 pounds
  • Presets: Pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, make cake, pasteurize, make yogurt, cook rice, and warm

Conclusion

Saving time is the number one reason to invest in a pressure cooker. Yet, you will also get the added bonuses of easier clean-up, improved meal prepping, and less effort in bringing delicious meals to the table. With this in mind, we consider the Instant Pot Pro Pressure Cooker the overall best option for a multi-cooker and the T-fal Clipso Pressure Cooker the overall best stovetop pressure cooker.

Factors to Consider

When purchasing a pressure cooker, important factors to consider include your cooking style, the safety features that help you feel comfortable, and whether you would prefer a modern appliance that you can set and step away from or a more traditional stovetop model that requires supervision while cooking.

Cooking Style

Multi-functional electric pressure cookers are ideal for "set it and forget it" cooking. There is a short learning curve to master the machine depending on the number of presets and programmable functions. The time saved cooking, however, is worth the initial trial and error.

Stovetop pressure cookers, on the other hand, are low-tech yet need more supervision while cooking. Stovetop options require no counter space, are often used by professional chefs, and many are compatible with induction stovetops. Plus, being able to submerge the whole unit in water for quick cooling is an advantage of stovetop models.

Experience

Many challenges with stovetop pressure cookers are due to user error and inexperience. They are less foolproof and require more time to master than their electric counterparts. Chefs tend to prefer stovetop pressure cookers and, of course, being present during cooking. For home cooks drawn to hands-off convenience, electric pressure cookers take the guesswork out of cooking and offer pre-programmed settings, from baking to air frying, with no need for prior experience.

Safety Features

Manufacturers now equip pressure cookers with safety features, so you don't have to vet newer models for locking lids, quick-release steam valves, and the like. Otherwise, safety depends on following the manufacturer's instructions.

Storage and Use

Once you determine your pressure cooker style and needs, don't forget about how much counter space and storage space it will require. Also, don't plug the fancy coffee maker and electric pressure cooker into the same outlet unless you have ample power.

The Research

Industry experts, user feedback, and extensive market research guided this review of the best pressure cookers. We evaluated pressure cookers on cooking style, safety, storage, and ease of use, keeping in mind various levels of experience. From there, we narrowed our selection to the seven best-performing pressure cookers in categories relevant to home cooks.

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: How do pressure cookers work?

A: First, a quick chemistry lesson. A pressure cooker is a pot with a gasket used to seal a tight-fitting lid, thus trapping heat and moisture while cooking. "With that tight seal, you're cooking under extreme pressure because steam does not escape. The boiling point of water goes up beyond the normally expected 212º Fahrenheit, which happens at standard atmospheric pressure," Nguyen says. "You cook faster, as a result, flavors are extracted well, and there's little evaporation."

This makes pressure cookers a smart choice for preparing tougher meats, like briskets or rump roast. Some countertop styles resemble mini-robots with multiple functions and features, while stovetop models often have automated temperature and pressure control without the frills.

Q: Are pressure cookers dangerous?

A: "Pressure cookers can be dangerous," says Rondeno, "As the pressure is released, it can result in steam burns and liquids releasing if not careful. Modern technology has made it safe for pressure cookers to be used by consumers." Times have changed, but it's still key to pay attention to the instructions and use proper care while cooking.

"Our family had one in the 1970s that blew its lid off," Nguyen says, "By comparison, modern pressure cookers are easy to operate and very safe. You just need to read the instructions manual and follow them when operating the cooker, whether it's a stovetop model or an electric one." Powell has similar advice, "Expanding rubber gaskets, locking lids and timers help make this a safe product. Always follow the directions for each pressure cooker that you are using."

Q: Are Instant Pots considered pressure cookers?

A: Yes. As a multi-cooker, the Instant Pot can function as a rice cooker, slow cooker, air fryer, and more. But, pressure cooking is its primary purpose.

Q: What are pressure cookers used for?

A: Pressure cookers are used to speed up the time it takes to cook dishes like stews, beans, stocks, and braised meats. Large meats, from whole chickens to racks of ribs, are often cooked in these appliances, too.

"Many things that can be made in a slow cooker can be made fast in a pressure cooker — stews, beans, and bone broth, for example," says Nguyen "I adore the cooker for noodle soup broth (hello pho!) and vegetable stock. It's fantastic for quickly cooking beets (I never roast them anymore!). I regularly use my Instant Pot multi-cooker for yogurt."

Q: What are the benefits of using a pressure cooker?

A: Rondeno notes that using a pressure cooker saves you time in the kitchen, as it cooks food fast and doesn't require much hands-on work. Another key benefit is that pressure cookers amp up the flavor of a dish. As Nguyen says, "Electric multi-cookers are great for set-it-and-forget-it modes of cooking. You do need to play with it when using one on a recipe not designed for pressure cooking to avoid overcooking things. Once you get the hang of it, the cooker can be a BFF for folks who want and need to put food on the table fast."

Our Expertise

Kara Mickelson is a recipe developer, producer, writer, and food stylist, an alumnus of UCLA and Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, and the creator of Styled Delicious, a boutique culinary brand. She is a professional chef, food stylist, and creative content producer. She trained in Spain, and in Napa at the famed French Laundry, and has worked behind the scenes with top Food Network chefs.

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