Electric pressure cookers revolutionized this style of cooking when they appeared. Originally people only had the option of the standard stove mounted version. These were first introduced in 1864 and were made of cast iron. These were large, heavy and in some cases, quite dangerous! Over the years people liked the idea of the pressure cooker but didn’t want the hassle of having this massive metal pan they needed to hoist onto the stove.
And so the electric pressure cooker was born.
What is a pressure cooker?
All electric pressure cookers work on the same principle. They have a heat source and they cook the food in a sealed, high pressure environment. This is usually accomplished by having a large metal container that is sealed shut, with the food inside and a little water. The water heats up, creates steam and this creates the pressure and cooks the food under this pressure.
The cooking vessel is usually a large pan with a lid. The lid is usually locked into position and sealed so that no heat or steam can escape. The lid has a steam vent to regulate the pressure inside, and usually a safety release valve that will pop if the pressure inside gets too high.
Why use electric pressure cooking?
The main reason is the convenience. In an electric pressure cooker foods can be braised in a fraction of the time that it would usually take and non of the goodness is cooked away, its all sealed in the confines of the pot.
What features to look for?
As with anything else in life, the best electric pressure cooker is just an opinion. However there are certain features you should look for when choosing the best electric pressure cooker.
The first thing to consider is the size you need. There is no point in spending more money on a bigger pressure cooker if you don’t need it. As a general rule of thumb, there are three sizes most people choose from:
- 4 quarts for couple s or a single person.
- 6 quarts for a family of 4.
- 8 quarts for larger families.
There are however larger version available that are worth considering if you are making casseroles or canning foods.
Another thing to consider is the feature list on the device. Some cookers are multi-function units that do more than pressure cooking. This is handy, especially if your kitchen is already pushed for space. But do you really need all those features?
Most modern electric pressure cookers will have a digital display and easy push button controls, but this is something you should check if you want it.
But are electric pressure cookers better than the standard one? Well, here are some of the benefits :
The best electric pressure cookers
So which are the best? These are the best cookers currently available.
An excellent 6 Quart electric pressure cooker. The instant pot is the ideal unit for a family of four. It has a large blue LCD screen and has 15 cooking programs to choose from. This one cooking appliance is extremely flexible and could in fact replace 9 other appliances in your kitchen. The instant pot can function as Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, Warmer and a Sterilizer.
The Duo 60 is without doubt the best 6 quart electric pressure cooker currently available.
GeekChef 11-in-1 Multi-Functional Electric Pressure Cooker, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot with Sous Vide Function
- 11-IN-1 MULTI-FUNCTIONAL COOKER: A combination of Pressure Cooker, Sous Vide, Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Soup Cooker, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Pressure Canner, Steamer, Simmer, and Insulation Warmer, ALL IN ONE !
- UNIQUE SOUS VIDE FUNCTION: Temp 120F-175F adjustable in 10-minute increments; Using this mode to get RESTAURANT RESULT dinner by cooking food evenly and juicy
- ONE TOUCH EASY OPERATION: Pressure is automatically adjusted for different food while cooking. No need to adjust the pressure value manualy. Prepare food and ingredient, close and lock the lid, you can easily cook your favorite dishes by pressing a button from 12 built-in smart programs.
- TIME AND ENERGY SAVER: Cooks up to 70% faster than traditional methods and perfectly fits for our modern homes. Time setting is adjustable for 12 Preset Smart Program and Temp is adjustable for Saute(250F-390F) and Sous Vide(120F-175F);come with a dishwasher-safe nonstick 304 stainless steel cooking pot and FDA approved detachable aluminum filter cover for easy clean
- WORRY-FREE SAFETY: Built to North American Electrical Standards; ETL and cETL and certified with 11 proven safety mechanisms and 1-Year Limited Warranty
What can you cook?
Pressure cookers are designed to make cooking fast and convenient. Anything you can think of can be cooked in them. However there are certain foods that lend themselves to a pressure cooker.
Stews and broths are obvious choices because you could use the slow cooker facility that is present on many of the units. Meats are particularly nice when cooked in an electric pressure cooker. They tend to come out of the cooker more tender and succulent than seems possible with standard cooking.
Vegetables are particularly good in the pressure cooker due to the fact that you can cook them so darn fast! Beef and lamb are beautiful and come out so tender that they just melt in the mouth. Prawns and ribs can be cooked in the electric pressure cooker as well.
And remember, the time saving you make with a pressure cooker means you can cook things that you probably usually wouldn’t have time to make.
Some foods however aren’t really suitable for electric pressure cooking. Cereal and cranberries for example will expand to much and may block the steam valve, making it dangerous and impractical.
And why stop at the main course, you can also cook cakes and desserts with a little experimentation.
Its all about experimentation and reading with a electric pressure cooker. There are loads of recipes and advice availabel on the internet but basically, if you can roast it, then you can probably cook it in your new electric pressure cooker.