If you spend any time at all online looking at recipes, I’m sure you’ve seen the buzz about pressure cookers, electric pressure cookers in particular. It took me a little while to jump on the bandwagon, but you could consider me to be fully onboard at this point. Not because everyone else has one, but because they really do help solve some of our common dinner hour dilemmas. The biggest problem is deciding which one to get with so many options on the market. Since I own two of them, I decided it would be helpful to share an honest Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review for you between some of the most popular models.
And while we’re at it, I’m including a few things to consider in determining if an electric pressure cooker is even a good fit for you and your cooking routines. So grab a sweet tea and join me for a thorough Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker review. Yes, I live in Kentucky where all the tea is sweet, and we’re more than slightly proud of that fact.
Before we dive too deeply into the review, let me clarify that when I say pressure cooker, I’m referring to the electric pressure cookers and not the stove-top one that many of our mothers owned. It’s not uncommon during one of my Wednesday morning Facebook Lives for a follower or two to chime in saying that pressure cookers make them nervous. We’ve all heard a horror story or two about stovetop pressure cookers that have left us somewhat leery of the electric pressure cookers as well. I honestly don’t have any experience with the stovetop variety, but I can assure you that the new electric pressure cookers are safe and easy to use.
The Pressure Cookers I own:
My first electric pressure cooker was the Cuisinart CPC-600 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker. Like many of you, I have to admit that for the first few years I didn’t really experiment with it too much. Truth be told, I pretty much only used it for Pressure Cooker Mac & Cheese. And even though it is the absolute best recipe for that classic that you’ll ever eat, it seemed a bit silly to own an appliance that I only used for one recipe.
Fast forward a few years, and I decided to purchase the Instant Pot brand electric pressure cooker, specifically to compare the two brands for you. At the time, I figured I could just keep the one I preferred and pass the other one on. But, I now find myself using both of them for the same meal sometimes, so they’ve both found a permanent home in my kitchen.
Having used both of them for several years now has left me with plenty of time and experience to honestly do an Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker review. You may find a few more details here than you had even considered important, but if you’re going to spend good money on a kitchen appliance, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s the right one for you!
What are the common features in the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review
The best way to compare them is side by side. Since you’re reading this on your phone or computer, I’ll assume that you’re not actually standing in the kitchen section of your favorite store actually looking at these two pressure cookers. So go ahead and click on these links to see the two most common electric pressure cookers on the market today – the Instant Pot 6 Qt. Electric Pressure Cooker and the Cuisinart 6 Qt Electric Pressure Cooker. Go ahead … I can wait.
I’ll actually add in a few other of the most popular models by the end of this review, but not only are these the two that I own, they also happen to be two of the most popular on the market and more of an apples to apples comparison. But first, let’s talk about what these two have in common.
CAPACITY: Both of these models have a 6-quart capacity, and according to the manufacturers should feed 4 to 6 people. I have not had a problem with them being too small for my own family of 6, and most of those 6 are adults.
HOUSING: Both have a fingerprint-resistant brushed stainless steel housing, and we can all be grateful for how easy that is to keep clean!
DISHWASHER SAFE: The actual Instant Pot and Cuisinart housing are not dishwasher safe because of the electrical wiring in each. However, the inner pot is removable and dishwasher-safe, much like the pot of a slow cooker. Most of us would need some serious convincing to invest in a kitchen appliance that isn’t dishwasher safe!
WATTS: They both operate at 100 watts, for those of you who are all into those electrical details.
SIZE: The Cuisinart and Instant Pot are comparable in size with the height, depth and width all coming in around 12” to 13”.
AMAZON REVIEWS: Both models are either rated as an Amazon’s Choice or #1 Best Seller on Amazon with hundreds of reviews. I’m not sure how you shop, but I always find it helpful to read reviews by other users before I purchase a product. Many of them are quite informative about details I may not have considered, and others are just so cleverly written that they’re fun to read.
PRICE POINT: The Cuisinart and the entry-level Instant Pot come in at right around the same price point. Currently, the Cuisinart is $75 on Amazon, while the Instant Pot is $80. The Instant Pot is also available in multiple other models.
The 7-in-1 Instant Pot has some extra features and is currently selling for $100 while the 10-in-1 has even more features and a list price of $130. Each Instant Pot is available in an 8-quart model instead of the 6-quart and costs $30 more than the same model in the 6-quart size.
Similar but Different features in the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review
This is kind of like the “same kind of different” category or something like that. There are broad similarities between the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker by Cuisinart, but when you get down to the details of those similarities, they may actually be more different than similar. Read on and you’ll understand what I mean.
WARRANTY: Both pots come with a limited warranty, though the time on those warranties does differ. The Cuisinart has a 3-year limited warranty, while the Instant Pot is a 1-year limited warranty.
HANDLES: Clearly, both pressure cookers have handles that are cool to the touch. The only difference here is that the handles on the Cuisinart have a lower profile. That may not be a big deal to you unless you only have very limited space in which to store your pressure cooker, then it could be the deciding factor.
POWER CORD: Obviously they both have a power cord, or they wouldn’t be electric. But the Instant Pot cord is attached to the housing of the pot, while the Cuisinart cord is completely removable, making it a little easier to store and harder to damage. Then again, it also makes it a little easier to lose too, so there’s that!
ACCESSORIES AND REPLACEMENT PARTS: You can purchase replacement parts for both the Cuisinart and the Instant Pot, either at their company website or through Amazon. That is something that they have in common, but one difference here is the price points for parts. It seems like the Instant Pot parts tend to be cheaper.
You can purchase 2 Instant Pot brand sealing rings for $8, while the Cuisinart sealing ring is $15 on the Cuisinart site. The Cuisinart replacement inner pot is around $50 while the Instant Pot stainless pot is around $30 and the non-stick is closer to $20. At those prices, I could easily spend that same amount of money but get several accessories for the Instant Pot instead of just one for the Cuisinart.
Different features in the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review
It wouldn’t be a comparison without pointing out the differences between these two popular models, so let’s look at the notable contrasts between these two.
DELAY START: The Cuisinart does not have a delay timer setting, the Instant Pot allows for a 24-hour delay start. This means you could put oatmeal in the Instant Pot at night and set it to be ready when you get up in the morning.
Or put dinner in it first thing in the morning, and set the timer to be ready for dinner. Even if you’re like me and prefer to be home when using your Instant Pot, that means you could walk in the door when it’s about to start but you don’t have to load it up after a long day. That may not sound like a big deal until it’s the end of the day and you’re hungry and tired and just don’t have the emotional energy to set it all up. It may sound a bit ridiculous, but we’ve all been there!
INTERIOR COOKING POT: The Cuisinart comes with a non-stick inner pot while the Instant Pot comes with a stainless steel inner cooking pot. The stainless steel pot is still easy to clean, but not quite as quick and super easy as the non-stick pot with the Cuisinart.
WEIGHT: The two pressure cookers are within two pounds of one another, but the Cuisinart weighs in a little lighter at 12.5 pounds compared to 14.6 pounds for the Instant Pot.
ACCESSORIES: While both of these electric pressure cookers come with a manual and recipe book, the Instant Pot includes quite a few more accessories. Both also come with a steam rack or trivet for cooking things that you don’t want sitting in the liquid, like baked potatoes. But that’s the only other accessory included with the Cuisinart.
The Instant Pot also comes with a soup spoon, a measuring cup and a rice paddle. These are not necessarily essential for every recipe, but they are quite handy and can actually be stored in the pot itself making them easy to find when you do need them.
PRE-SET TEMPERATURES: The Cuisinart has buttons for different types of cooking, we’ll get into those in a bit, but it does not have pre-set temperatures for specific types of food. The Instant Pot, on the other hand, has 7 pre-set temperatures.
PRE-PROGRAMMED BUTTONS: Again, the Cuisinart does not offer pre-programmed buttons, while the Instant Pot does. The buttons included on the Instant Pot are soup, meat, stew, beans, chili, poultry, multigrain, porridge, steam, manual, pressure cook and slow cooking.
These pre-programmed buttons may or may not be a dealbreaker for you. I prefer the manual setting because it gives me more control over how I cook my food. But, for some, this fix it and forget it feature may be exactly what you’re looking for.
SLOW COOKER FUNCTION: The final, and quite possibly the biggest, difference in the whole Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review rundown is the fact that the Instant Pot has a slow cooker function that the Cuisinart does not have.
You can use the slow cooker function with the lid that comes with the Instant Pot, or for $15 you can purchase a glass lid for your Instant Pot. And, if you’ve ever joined me on facebook live or spent any amount of time reading here on Eat at Home, you know being able to see my food in the pot is kind of a big deal to me.
For those of you limited on space and finances, being able to purchase one kitchen appliance that does double duty instead of purchasing two appliances is a win-win. And when the price point for the entry level Instant Pot is around $80, that’s a great deal.
And the winner is ….
Well, that’s really up to you, based on what you need. If you’re going for a more minimalist, easy to learn and smaller pressure cooker, then the Cuisinart may be the best fit for you. If you’re more about the bells and whistles and multi-tasking appliances, then the Instant Pot just might be the one for you.
And then that brings us to yet another question …
Do you even need a pressure cooker?
Yes, they are quite popular right now. Yes, there are many who count on them to get dinner on the table. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone needs one. 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.
Some recipes will include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to come to pressure, and the time allotted for the release, whether that’s a natural release or quick release. Many will not, which may be why this has become a bit of a soapbox issue for me.
If you’re cooking a large cut of meat or a 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 an electric pressure cooker may be the best option for you. Though you’ll need to opt for one other than the Cuisinart because it doesn’t have the slow cooker function.
If you don’t mind, or if you just really enjoy learning to use a new kitchen tool, then an electric pressure cooker is a fun opportunity to learn something new. It does have a small learning curve though.
Many of you have talked about having to get past the fear of those pressure cooker horror stories you’ve heard over the years. 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.
My Winner in the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker Review Debate is …
Though I get plenty of use out of both my Cuisinart and Instant Pot, I would have to say the Instant Pot is the winner in my book. It just outperforms the Cuisinart with all of the extra features, cheaper replacement parts and accessories, a delay timer and the fact that it comes in a variety of sizes and models.
So there you have it! Every detail that you could ever want in the Instant Pot vs. Pressure Cooker review debate. And now it’s your turn. Do you own an electric pressure cooker?
If you do, which make and model did you choose? And while we’re at it – why did you go with that particular pressure cooker? If you had it to do over again, would you choose the same one?
A few more resources for your electric pressure cooker …
Regardless of the pressure cooker you choose, you’ll also enjoy my picks for the 10 Best Instant Pot Accessories to get the most out of your appliance. Once you add the Instant Pot or Cuisinart to your kitchen, you’ll be completely amazed by all the things they can do. Adding a few accessories can bring this kitchen appliance from helpful, to downright necessary and pretty amazing.
One of the most-asked questions I get is about cooking rice in an electric pressure cooker. It’s a great place to start when you want to eat healthy and learn how to use your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Check out the Home Cook’s Guide to making Instant Pot Rice for recipes to cook every type of rice I could think of – white, brown, basmati, jasmine. It’s all there!
And to speed up the Instant Pot learning curve and get dinner on the table, grab your copy of the Free Instant Pot Meal Plan. That’s right – free! You’ll get 6 dinner recipes complete with side dish suggestions, a color-coded shopping list and even an Instant Pot dessert recipe.
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