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The best pressure cooker of 2020

For those short on time, the pressure cooker is an ideal appliance for cooking in bulk. Prepare a large amount of rice, beans, soup, or chili ahead of time to make dining easier later in the week.
For those short on time, the pressure cooker is an ideal appliance for cooking in bulk. Prepare a large amount of rice, beans, soup, or chili ahead of time to make dining easier later in the week. (BestReviews)

For many cooks, the pressure cooker is an invaluable kitchen appliance, offering a chance to make a wide variety of meals quickly and easily. The pressure cooker saves time and often energy by using pressurized steam to cook foods within more efficiently.

Advanced models may provide users with multiple functions that allow for a slew of creative recipes. In many cases, they take the place of other countertop appliances or cookware, which offers more savings in terms of space and money.

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Our buying guide showcases our favorite new and returning pressure cookers and explains the innovative and exciting possibilities that come along with owning one.

Best pressure cookers of 2020

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1. Breville's Fast Slow Pro Multifunction Cooker: This latest model from a trusted brand takes over the top spot with its array of features and LCD screen.

2. T-fal's 6.3-Quart Pressure Cooker: Still our best bargain pick, this pressure cooker is a solid and convenient investment.

3. Instant Pot's Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker: A fan favorite, this Instant Pot remains on the list for its versatility and effectiveness.

For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.

What to look for when buying a pressure cooker

Pressure cookers are indeed faster than most other appliances, but they still take some time to make your meal. Once you've filled it with water, broth, stock, or other liquid along with the main ingredients, the machine may take as long as 10 minutes to heat up before pressurization occurs. Then, depending on what you're cooking, your meal could be ready in as few as five minutes or as long as an hour. What's more, depending on your preference and the food within, you have to decide between letting pressure dissipate slowly or rapidly. The former choice may take another 30 to 45 minutes, though it often provides you with a tastier outcome.

Still, pressure cookers are easy to use and most offer multiple functions. Typically, you can sauté and steam, though others allow for warming, making yogurt, or slow cooking. Some models may feature settings that cater to the food you're cooking, whether it's chili or soup, beans or rice, meat or poultry.

Size is likely an important factor. You can prepare a meal for four with between four and six quarts of capacity, though some models run up to eight quarts for those who like to cook in bulk.

In addition to convenience and efficiency, most users claim pressure cookers provide healthier, tastier meals. They tend to preserve nutrients better in vegetables and may allow you to cook without oil, which is a plus for some. However, pressure cookers cater to just about all eating styles and diets.

Simple pressure cooker may cost around $50, but those with more advanced features and programmed settings can run anywhere from $100 to $250.

Pressure cooker tips

Note the gasket.

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This most important part of the pressure cooker keeps the appliance sealed. It may need to be replaced over time and should be inspected every so often to ensure its effectiveness.

Avoid overcrowding.

Most items (particularly rice and beans) grow inside as they cook. Avoid filling the pressure cooker more than two-thirds of the way before cooking.

Clean often.

Your pressure cooker features a removable inner pot that's easy to clean, and you should do so after every operation. You don't want any aromas of your last meal seeping into your current one.

Exercise caution venting.

You can quickly release the air from within or let it naturally dissipate over time. For the quick release, keep your hands and face away from the vent as hot vapor is going to escape quickly.

Research recipes.

Pressure cookers offer a lot of exciting cooking possibilities, but with their unique nature, that potential might not be readily apparent. Seek out pressure cooker-specific recipes to help expand your culinary adventures.

In-depth reviews for best pressure cookers

What we like: Comprehensive, high-quality pressure cooker with 11 settings and an easy-to-read LCD screen.

What we dislike: Expensive investment and average capacity.

Best bang for your buck: T-fal's 6.3-Quart Pressure Cooker

What we like: Simple yet sizable budget-friendly pressure cooker that offers durability, longevity, and consistency.

What we dislike: Heavy appliance. Lacks innovative features.

What we like: Versatile pressure cooker from a trusted brand with 14 settings that can sauté, slow cook, steam, and make yogurt.

What we dislike: May have to learn certain functions to get the most out of them.

Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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