With the majority of Americans staying home to practice social distancing, there’s never been a better time to try something new in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking to eat healthier or just want a multi-use appliance you can depend on to whip up staples like beans and oatmeal, a pressure cooker is a must-have kitchen tool that can get the job done.
There’s a reason why pressure cookers, like the coveted Instant Pot, are now one of the most popular kitchen appliances on the market. They’re great for home cooks who want to make everything from bone broth to cake without spending hours over the stove.
“Pressure cookers are an excellent tool for achieving consistent, delicious and easily manageable meals in a fraction of the time of conventional cooking,” said Barry Tonkinson, director of culinary research and development at the Institute of Culinary Education.
First, a quick chemistry lesson. A pressure cooker is essentially a pot with a lockable lid and a valve that controls the steam pressure inside. In conventional cooking, liquids start to boil when they reach a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But inside a pressure cooker with a gasket-sealed lid, as the pot heats up, pressure builds in the lid, trapping steam and increasing the temperature inside the pot to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This results in speedy and efficient cooking times compared to using other appliances. In fact, the added heat from a pressure cooker can speed up the cooking time by up to 70 percent—which also makes pressure cookers the smartest choice for preparing tougher meats, like briskets and stew.
“Any meats that conventionally require long cooking times are ideal for pressure cooking,” Tonkinson says. “You can cut the time from 6 hours to an amazing 45- to-55 minutes using a pressure cooker.”
Modern pressure cookers come with an array of options, from electric countertop devices to stovetop versions, with settings that range from the simple press of a button to more customization for experienced cooks. But with so many models, brands, and price ranges of pressure cookers on the market, which should you pick? We know it can be tough to decide, so we browsed thousands of reviews from real customers—ranging from novice users to expert chefs—to see which ones they like best. Below, we’ve outlined reviewers’ favorites that cover a variety of price ranges and experience levels. Here are the 7 best pressure cookers you can buy online:
Read on to see what shoppers like most about each.
Instant Pots have exploded in popularity in recent years, becoming one of the buzziest, most popular kitchen appliances out there. The Instant Pot Duo Nova 8-Quart Pressure Cooker is the company’s “most user-friendly, intuitive model.” A pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, sous vide machine, steamer, sauté pan, and cake maker in one, this utility player features 48 customizable cooking programs. The inner pot is great for browning and has handles so you can easily lift it out and transfer it to the stovetop. This particular model also incorporates safety features like an easy-seal lid, safety lock, and protection against overheating.
“I absolutely LOVE this model, the Duo Evo Plus, 8-quart by Instant Pot,” said one shopper. “I've been using Instant Pot brand electric pressure cookers for years and have the Duo and Viva, but this one is a game-changer. The upgrades and improvements make pressure cooking SO much easier. The improvements are awesome such as the completely flat bottomed inner pot that sautes more evenly and heats up faster due to the increased wattage and better materials. The stay-cool handles DO stay cool and they provide a more stable lifting of a full pot. The self-sealing lid is fantastic as is the built-in steam diffuser. These are only a few of the reasons why I think this is the best version of the Instant Pot yet and I use mine several times a day.”
To buy: $140 (originally $280); williams-sonoma.com
If you’re in the market for a no-frills stovetop pressure cooker at an affordable price, the T-Fal Clipso Pressure Cooker is a great option. Made from durable stainless steel, this easy-to-use model has a smart construction that allows you to operate it with just one hand and an aluminum base for even cooking. This model forgoes all the bells and whistles of fancier versions to give you a streamlined, dependable pressure cooker that does its job. It also incorporates safety features like a variable release valve, easy-grip side handles, and an automatic locking function while it’s in use.
One satisfied user said it “made their life easier” and continued: “This was my first pressure cooker and I love it! It's a simple design that will go with any kitchen and doesn't take up too much space. I love cooking pot roast and always forget to put it in the crockpot with enough time to cook. I don't have to worry about it any longer! It took less than an hour for the pressure cooker to cook my roast and veggies! The roast still came out tender and delicious! I would definitely recommend this to a friend or any working family with not a lot of time to cook. The T-Fal Pressure cooker also came with a nice cookbook as well. It is easy to use and clean. I would buy this product again and again.”
To buy: $89; bedbathandbeyond.com
For a premium cooking experience, advanced home cooks will love the Breville Pro Pressure Cooker. This sleek stainless steel countertop cooker offers top-of-the-line features like built-in sensors that automatically adjust time and temperature settings based on what’s being cooked, fast and slow cooker options, and a hands-free steam release function for added safety. It comes with 11 preset cooking programs that make it easy to whip up meals in no time, but also offers custom settings for more experienced cooks. Reviewers rave about this model’s special saute and searing functions, which many other pressure cookers don’t have.
“I love this Breville multi-cooker. A whole head of cauliflower can be steamed in minutes. Hearty stews with bone-in meat that would take a day to cook can be pressure cooked in an hour,” wrote one customer. “Traditional slow cook mode works just like a crock pot. We cook a lot of Indian food, so I can sauté onions, green chili, garlic, dry spices, then meat and veggies and water or stock, change mode to slow cook or pressure cook (depending on how much time you have), close the lid and done. One shot. I love the convenience.”
To buy: $250 (originally $380); williams-sonoma.com
If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker and air fryer in one, this compact device is for you. Ninja is a trusted name in cookware known for its small but powerful appliances, and this model is no different—it acts as a pressure cooker, air fryer, and crisper. But what really sets this 6-quart cooker apart is it’s signature TenderCrisp technology, which allows you to quickly cook your food with the pressure cooking function, then crisp it in the 4-quart Cook and Crisp basket, resulting in delightfully crunchy meals (without the use of oil) in no time.
One shopper raved: “Since I've had this, I have tried the pressure cooker, the air fryer, and the slow cooker options. I love this appliance! It operates so silently that you don't know it's working. Clean-up is easy and it doesn't take up much counter space. Solid and well-made. The only negative is the extra lid that you have to find a place for. Other than that, this is a great product.”
To buy: $240; bedbathandbeyond.com
Looking to save some time with a multi-cooker that does it all? The Zavor LUX Edge Cooker has 14 pre-set functions for pot roast, meat, chili, beans, oatmeal, rice, and more. Similar to the Instant Pot, this programmable device combines a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and steamer into one handy countertop alliance. It also allows you to brown and sauté ingredients, and has a manual recipe function if you prefer to customize. Bonus? The Zavor Lux includes 24-hour warming and time delay functions for added convenience. Choose between 4-quart, 6-quart, and 8-quart options based on how many servings you typically cook at once.
“I fell in love with this multicooker the first time I used it! Everyone should have one in their kitchen,” said one reviewer. “It was so easy to just throw all the ingredients in the pot, put the cover on, push a button, and in about 20 minutes I had a chicken and pasta dish cooked! Clean-up was a breeze. I love that there are so many functions, you can make anything with a push of a button. It’s also very nice looking, I don’t mind having it on my counter and it doesn’t take up too much room.”
To buy: $140; bedbathandbeyond.com
The best option for feeding families, dinner parties, or other large groups, Yedi’s 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker is a super versatile appliance that comes with a large 8-quart pot. Like other multi-cookers, this option allows you to pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, cook rice, make cakes, and keep food warm. But it also has a customizable function and conveniently comes with accessories to make your cooking experience even easier, like egg racks, steaming trivets, and cheat sheets. Another bonus? New recipes are uploaded weekly to the Yedi app, which is free to download.
One owner of the Yedi pot wrote: “My family is trying to eat more grass-fed meat and less commercially raised animal products. It's very expensive for a family of four. This product allows me to buy cheaper cuts like stew meat and cheap roasts but still serve very tender meat. Hard-boiled eggs are amazing, they peel right open and they're always done perfect. I love that you can sear in this pot and then add your liquid for cooking. The safety features work very well. The quick guide allows you to make a meal right out of the box. We have loved everything we have made.”
To buy: $170; nordstromrack.com
If you prefer a no-frills stovetop version that’s still big enough to fit larger cuts of meat, Presto’s dependable 4-quart pressure cooker is the best choice for you. The most affordable option on this list, it’s made with heavy-duty aluminum that’s super durable and allows for even heating through all the ingredients in the pot. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe, comes with rubber side handles that let you transport it easily, and has a cooking rack insert so you can prepare several foods at once. Its streamlined design also means it’s super easy to use, and at just $32 for the 4-quart pot, you’d be hard-pressed to find another quality pressure cooker this affordable.
Many shoppers say this is a great option if you’re looking for a pressure cooker on the smaller side, with one calling it “small but deep.” Another reviewer wrote: “I’ve used a pressure cooker for 40+ years (and grew up with my mom using one). I had another brand, but went back to Presto because they are the standard, for me, in pressure cookers. Perfect vegetables every time and so quick.”
To buy: $32 (originally $40); wayfair.com