Last updated: August 20, 2021

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Today we are going to talk about one of those kitchen utensils that many people are afraid to use at home: the pressure cooker. This pan, a little scary for some people, is designed to speed up the cooking process of food.

This happens by increasing its internal pressure. Thus, the food is ready very quickly. And our goal here is to show that this household utensil is not a seven-headed monster, and that, in fact, it is a very useful tool in the kitchen.

Below, we will give you all the tips on how to use these pans and which are the best options on the market today. You will also know how to evaluate the best model at the end of this article. Stay with us!




Summary

  • Pressure cookers are the best way to speed up the cooking of a food. In them, many recipes can be made, such as meats, pasta, vegetables and even rice.
  • However, the safety systems of a pressure cooker should be observed very closely and care should be taken to ensure that it does not explode.
  • Nowadays, there are two types of pressure cookers: the traditional ones which are heated on the cooker, and the electric ones, which are a more up-to-date and complete version.

The Best Pressure Cooker in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Buying Guide

The pressure cooker has evolved a lot in recent years, arriving in digital options for those who were too afraid of the utensil. Whatever model you prefer, you can't do without one at home.

If you still do not know which one to choose, follow us and decide at the end of this buying guide.

Mulher ao fundo da imagem, em segundo plano, cozinhando vegetais em panela de pressão.

The pressure cooker is an essential item in any kitchen, since it speeds up the cooking of food. (Source: baloon111 / 123RF)

What is a pressure cooker and how does it work?

Knowing how to manage time well is one of the main parts of this process that is cooking. Currently, we have several technologies that speed up the preparations and end up making our lives easier in the kitchen. The pressure cooker is certainly one of them.

First of all, it is interesting that you understand how a pressure cooker works before you decide which model to buy. The process is actually quite simple.

Since they are completely sealed, once heated, the pressure inside the pot increases, which causes the boiling point of the water to exceed its standard temperature.

From then on, the super-hot water vapour does not evaporate, but remains trapped inside the pan itself, helping and accelerating cooking. This issue of speeding up the cooking process is the greatest advantage and the main purpose of a good pressure cooker.

Some more complex recipes require the use of such equipment, otherwise they would take many hours to be ready.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

The biggest advantage of the current pressure cookers is that they are modern enough to help us even more. If speed was their strong point, surely digital pressure cookers have come to revolutionize.

Most of them have a timer, displays and other devices that determine in advance how long the pan should cook, and warn when cooking is finished.

In general, a pressure cooker is of great advantage in a modern kitchen, and you will hardly be able to make all the recipes you want without one.

With conventional models, care is still required, as not all of them have safety features.

Advantages
  • Faster cooking
  • Practical and easy to use
  • More modern every day
Disadvantages
  • Requires more care
  • Not all of them have good safety devices

Is the pressure cooker safe?

Much is said about the risks of this domestic utensil, but the good news is that the modern world has greatly updated the versions of pressure cookers and nowadays there are hardly any cases of explosions.

Nowadays, even the simplest models have safety devices and locks that only allow the pan to be opened after all the pressure is eliminated. All this concern of manufacturers brings more tranquility to those who cook.

What are the electric pressure cookers?

In addition to conventional pressure cookers, those we have known for many, many years, today the market offers a more modern and independent variation of this product, the so-called electric pressure cookers.

These models work without the use of a cooker. They are plugged directly into the socket, like any other household appliance, and are usually much safer and more technological, as well as cooking even faster.

Soon below we will give all the details about this type of cooker and compare it with the traditional version.

Traditional or electric pressure cooker?

As we have already said, the current market has two variations of pressure cookers: the conventional model and the electric model.

Some years ago there was only the traditional pressure cooker, used directly on the cooker, but with the evolution of technology, its functions were being updated at the same time that its design was evolving. Hence, the electric pressure cooker was born.

The older version is still widely sold on the market and is still a good option, besides being much cheaper.

The safety system of a conventional pressure cooker works through a valve that helps to release the pressure while the cooker is working.

In addition, these cookers also have a pin that lifts when all pressure has been released, to warn that the lid is ready to be opened. Although it may not look like it, it is very safe if you use it correctly.

Another interesting advantage of conventional pressure cookers is that they can be used even as ordinary pans, without the need for pressure cooking. This versatility can be useful at times in the kitchen.

Most of these cookers are made of stainless steel, which is a good option, since it is very durable.

In short, it is still a good tool in the kitchen, but we must admit that this type of pan has lost a little space to the electric model, which besides being more modern, is safer.

Electric pressure cookers are really a nice novelty. They are very independent and save a lot of time when cooking, which is always a good thing.

The electric models do not require the use of a cooker and are plugged directly into the socket, just like any other household appliance. Usually, you can program and adjust the timer based on your needs, making the whole process simpler.

The main advantage of these models is that you can control the pressure level, temperature and cooking time on the display.

In some cases, it is even possible to program a cooking period of up to 24 hours, and in this situation the pan works completely alone, and only stops when the food is already cooked. Handy, isn't it?

Another very important issue is that most electric cookers have at least 6 safety devices. Some of them reach up to 12.

The disadvantage is that this model takes up more space and is more expensive, but as we always say here, it is up to you to analyze your personal situation and decide which pressure cooker is ideal for your kitchen.

Conventional pressure cooker Electric pressure cooker
Temperature control No temperature control Has temperature control
Pressure control No pressure control Has pressure control
Operation Used with cooker heating Plugs into the socket
Cost Cheaper More expensive
Timer function Never has scheduled operation Can have scheduled operation
Design Less modern More modern
Versatility Can be used as a normal pan Can not be used as a normal pan
Size Occupies less space in the kitchen Occupies more space in the kitchen

How much does it cost?

The price of pressure cookers varies a lot, mainly because they come in different sizes, models and brands. It is always good to keep in mind that each one of them is designed to meet a specific public.

Generally speaking, the cheapest are the traditional pressure cookers, but this is not a rule. The electric pressure cookers, on the other hand, are usually a little bit more expensive, mainly because they are more technological.

Buying criteria: Factors to compare pressure cooker models

As we always like to point out, some details make all the difference when choosing your product, in the case of pressure cookers, you should pay attention to the following points:

  • Safety
  • Material
  • Capacity
  • Display

Below, we will give all the necessary information on these issues so that you are left with no doubts when buying your own pressure cooker.

Safety

This is one of the most important features of a good pressure cooker. When choosing your pressure cooker, we recommend that you take a close look at its safety features and never ignore them during operation.

The most modern pressure cookers are usually the safest. On average, a pressure cooker has four to five safety features.

In electric pressure cookers, there are up to 12 safety systems, depending on the model. Some pressure cookers will only work if all safety locks are securely closed.

Some of the most common safety devices are the latches themselves, pressure indicators, pressure release valves and lid fasteners.

Material

It is always very important to note what material a cookware is made of, this is because most of them will be in direct contact with high temperatures, which is the case with pressure cookers.

We recommend that you prioritize cookware made of stainless steel, because this material is very resistant, and does not react to food compounds.

Some pans are made only of aluminum, which despite being a cheaper option, is not the most advisable, since aluminum is a more malleable metal and susceptible to possible deformations.

Pans which have a triple bottom - 2 layers of stainless steel and 1 of aluminium - are great and should be considered. This bottom guarantees a more uniform distribution of heat.

Capacity

The capacity of pressure cookers varies a lot and so it is important that you choose one that will meet your personal demand.

Most household pressure cookers have capacities ranging from 4 litres to 8 litres, however, it is very important to remember that it is indicated to use only two thirds of the pot to put food.

One third of the pan should be left free for steam. We therefore recommend that you buy a slightly larger cooker so that you can cook with peace of mind.

If you live alone or with just one person, you don't need more than a 4.5-litre pan. But if you have a big family or share a room with many other people, we recommend a pressure cooker with a capacity of at least 6 litres.

Display

This is a feature that only concerns electric pressure cookers. They have a small display with a few buttons, and it is good to keep an eye on it.

Usually, in these cookers you can control the pressure in 3 levels (high, medium and low), and also the temperature. In addition, you will also program the cooking time.

All this will be available on the display, and you should organize it and program it before starting the cooking process.

Some of these displays are quite modern and can be a bit tricky to use, but just read the instruction manual carefully and you should have no problems.

(Featured image source: baloon111 / 123RF)

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