A pressure cooker’s fundamental purpose is to speed up cooking time. From stews, curries and legumes to steamed puddings and cheesecake, there isn’t much that won’t go in a pressure cooker.
It requires less water than other conventional cooking methods and means more vitamins and minerals are retained. Lack of exposure to air also prevents oxidation of the nutrients in the food. To top it all off, you’ll save time and money on your energy bills.
As for the slow cooker vs pressure cooker debate, the two one-pot gadgets operate very differently and have pros and cons to each. Read more about slow cookers and pressure cooking.
We’ve tried and tested the market’s pressure cookers so you can find the perfect model. For more unbiased expert buyer’s guides, visit our review section to find 200+ round-ups of everything from food processors to coffee machines.
The best pressure cookers to buy
Instant Pot Duo
Best multifunction pressure cooker
Read our full Instant Pot Duo review and find Instant Pot recipes and user advice
The Instant Pot is a single piece of kit that performs several jobs. The main function is pressure cooking, although it also slow cooks, steams and sautés – which could mean less appliances and more space on your worktops. It cooks dried pulses very quickly, and tough cuts of meat in 30 minutes.
It’s mostly silent when cooking, apart from the odd release of steam. It has max and ½ fill lines marked on the interior of the liner, which is important for safety, and 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.
Morphy Richards MyPot pressure cooker
Best pressure cooker 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.
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.
Prestige hard anodized non-stick Smartplus pressure cooker
Best pressure cooker 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 6-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.
Tower aluminium pressure cooker
Best pressure cooker 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 4-litre and 6-litre versions.
How we tested pressure cookers
We tested a representative range of pressure cookers and scored them against our test criteria, focusing on the following four areas.
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.
Which 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 if they have them. 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.
How to use your pressure cooker
10 tips for using a pressure cooker
Pressure cookers and how to use them
Pressure cooker recipes
Lemony prawn and pea pressure cooker risotto
Asian short ribs with herb salad
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This review was last updated in April 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.