If you spend any time at all online looking at recipes, I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz about pressure cookers. I’ve been a little slow to jump on the pressure cooker band wagon – and honestly I’m not sure I’d say I’m really on the band wagon – but an electric pressure cooker is a great tool for getting dinner on the table. In this post I want to share with you my honest thoughts about pressure cookers, whether you need to own one or not and what I think of the two major brands.
First of all, I’m only discussing electric pressure cookers here. I don’t have any experience with the stove top type, but these new electric pressure cookers are safe and easy to use.
The Pressure Cookers I own:
I bought my Cuisinart pressure cooker a couple years ago. Most of the time I’ve owned it, I used it for Mac & Cheese (best recipe for that classic you’ll ever eat!) A few months ago, I decided to seriously try some recipes in it. I’d been about to write it off as too expensive for just making mac & cheese. I’ve since made several different recipes in the Cuisinart, most of them adaptations of slow cooker recipes. My Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker is a six-quart.
I’ve only owned the Instant Pot for a few weeks. I bought it specifically so that I could compare the two brands for you. I’ve used it to make several different recipes during the time I’ve had it. My Instant Pot is a six-quart.
Interior cooking pot
The Cuisinart has a non-stick cooking pot. Clean up is really quick and easy.
Instant Pot has a stainless steel cooking pot. It’s still easy to clean, and a lot of people prefer the stainless steel.
Slow Cooker function
Instant Pot has a slow cooker function. One thing about slow cooking in the Instant Pot I didn’t like was not being able to see through the lid. I really like being able to see my food cooking through the glass lid. They do sell glass lids for the Instant Pot though, so if saving space in your kitchen is important, you could easily ditch the slow cooker and only use the Instant Pot.
The Cuisinart does not have a slow cooker function.
I love the delay timer on the Instant Pot. It’s perfect for cooking oatmeal. I can set it up at night and time it to be ready at breakfast. Oatmeal cooks better in the pressure cooker than it does in the slow cooker.
The Cuisinart does not have a delay timer on it.
And the winner is:
Instant Pot! In my opinion, if you’re going to buy one of these appliances, Instant Pot is the way to go. It’s extra features mean it out-performs the Cuisinart.
But do you even need a pressure cooker?
I don’t think everyone needs one of these. Here are a few guidelines to know if it would be useful to you:
Do you have 30 minutes before dinner to cook? Pressure cooker meals – even the fastest that only require 12 minutes of cook time – take at least 25-40 minutes to cook, including the time it takes to reach full pressure. If you’re cooking a large cut of meat or full pot of something else, it could take longer. Of course, it’s all hands off cook time once it’s in the pot, so you can go do something else while it cooks.
If you don’t own a slow cooker and want to invest in a multi-function appliance, then a pressure cooker is for you.
If you don’t mind or really enjoy learning to use a new kitchen tool, this is a fun way to do it. It does have a small learning curve though. Mostly for me it’s been getting used to it so I can know what it can really do for me. I had the same experience with the slow cooker. The more I used it, the more I understood how to cook with it and the more helpful the appliance was to me.
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