Read our review of the top pressure cookers on the market. Plus, we have cookery advice and recipe ideas for this speedy, economical piece of kit.
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Instant Pot Duo
The Instant Pot is a single piece of kit that performs several cooking functions. The main function is pressure cooking, although it also slow cooks, steams and sautés. We loved that it cooks chickpeas and other pulses from dried very quickly and tough cuts of meat in 30 minutes – and because it does the job of several appliances, it frees up space in your kitchen.
It's mostly silent when cooking, too, apart from the odd release of steam. It has a max fill and ½ fill lines marked on the interior of the liner, which is important for safety, plus it uses power efficiently. You can also brown ingredients using the sauté button, saving you having to fry ingredients in a pan first.
If you're a true devotee, you can add to your repertoire and buy accessories for it. These include steamer baskets, yogurt pots, ceramic inner pots, cake tins and different shaped steam vents. Worth the hype.
Buy from Instant Pot UK (£119) and Amazon (£109.99)
Morphy Richards MyPot pressure cooker
Best for versatility
Debating whether to buy a pressure, rice or slow cooker? The MyPot ticks all three boxes. For pressure cooking, you can select presets or go manual, and there are a variety of cooking charts and recipes to get you started. Being digital, it plugs into the wall rather than sitting on the hob but you can still use a 'sear' setting to cook onions and brown meat before the main cook.
There's a six-hour slow cook preset, which simmered a gammon joint to perfection, but we'd like the option to adjust time and setting to high/low, giving the full range of slow cooker functionality. Overall, the product does a great job of providing a range of cooking options in one.
Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Micro pressure cooker
Best for microwave fanatics
Pressure cooking can sometimes feel a bit fiddly – the assembling, the pressure monitoring, the washing up. It's all just that bit easier with a microwave pressure cooker. Kuhn Rikon is a market leader and its micro version doesn't disappoint.
Out of all the pressure cookers we tried, it was by far the easiest, from first opening the box to getting a meal on the table. It comes with a recipe booklet featuring a wide variety of dishes; the only minus point is that the recipes use American cup sizes, so you'll need to be prepared to make the conversions or have measuring cups to hand.
The lightweight Micro has a four-litre capacity, making it perfect for a family of four.
Prestige hard anodized non-stick Smartplus pressure cooker
Best for the frequent user
The durable non-stick surface of this pan added extra versatility and we were able to make a surprisingly good risotto. It proved very easy to clean, too. Prestige gets top marks for thorough explanations, giving the user a broad understanding of how different foods work so you don’t need to stick slavishly to a recipe.
We liked the simplicity and sleekness of the design, as well as its comparatively lightweight feel. It has a six-litre capacity and is also available in stainless steel. Other features include a veg basket with separators and trivet, a non-stick surface and two steam settings. Suitable for all hob types.
IKEA Värdesätta pressure cooker
Best budget pressure cooker
This no-frills pressure cooker with two steam settings is great value. The instructions are straightforward, as is the functionality – although the lid could be easier to close and we’d like to have seen some recipes included. There’s no trivet or basket, which we think are essentials for vegetables and joints of meat, but if you're thinking soups and one-pots, it's not a problem. A good, reliable pressure cooker, suitable for all hob types. It comes in four-litre or six-litre versions.
Buy from IKEA (£30 for four-litre cooker, £40 for six-litre cooker)
Tower aluminium pressure cooker
Best for practicality without the price tag
Only slightly more expensive than the IKEA pressure cooker, this offering from Tower ticks some additional boxes. It's lighter in weight and comes with a vegetable steaming basket and stand. There's comprehensive information on cooking times, but still only two recipes. The design is super simple, meaning it's both easy to seal and doesn't have any bits that are awkward to clean. In this price range, you're unlikely to get much more. Suitable for all hob types, it comes in four-litre and six-litre versions.
Why buy a pressure cooker?
A pressure cooker’s fundamental purpose is to speed up the cooking time of slow cook dishes. From stews, curries and legumes to steamed puddings and cheesecake, there isn’t much you can’t put in a pressure cooker. This cooking method requires less water than other conventional cooking methods and means that more vitamins and minerals are retained. Additionally, lack of exposure to air prevents oxidation of the nutrients in the food. Plus, to top it off, you’ll save time and money on your energy bills.
What pressure cooker should I buy?
If you purchase a large pressure cooker, look for one with two side handles. The pots get heavy when they contain food, so it's easier to lift and handle a pressure cooker with two handles. Folding handles require less storage space. Many recipes call for the use of accessories such as a steamer basket or cooking rack, so you'd get the best value for your money if you buy a pressure cooker that comes with one or two of these accessories.
What we looked for in a pressure cooker...
1. Size and storage: Is the pressure cooker easy to store? Are there any features that would make it more compact?
2. Design: We assessed the aesthetic credentials of each model.
3. Cooking: We tried a variety of recipes to really put them through their paces, including meats that take a long time to tenderise, pulses and recipes with a lot of liquid to see if it escaped on pressure release.
4. Ease of use: We looked at how easy the model was to open and close and whether the functions and accompanying literature were useful and straightforward.
How to use your pressure cooker
Pressure cooker recipes
More advice on buying kitchen kit
This review was last updated in January 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.