The Best Pressure Cookers of 2022, According to Our Test Kitchen Experts
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Our Test Kitchen tried the most popular brands—including Instant Pot—to find the best pressure cooker/multicooker you can buy.
Not too long ago, “pressure cooker” referred to a simple stovetop appliance. But throughout the last decade, programmable pressure cookers have become the trendiest bit of kitchen gear (until the air fryer came along).
Now, these small appliances do so much more than just pressure cook; they saute, slow cook, make yogurt and more. All these functions mean that these electric pressure cookers are more aptly called multicookers.
The market is now flooded with all sorts of fancy multicookers offering delicious meals fast. But with so many brands to choose from, how do you know which is worth the hype? While our pressure cooker buying guide can help, we know there’s nothing like a head-to-head test.
Our Test Kitchen had to know: Does Instant Pot really make the best pressure cooker, or is there another multicooker out there that deserves a spot on your counter?
How We Found the Best Multicooker
To get to the bottom of that question, our Test Kitchen put the most popular multicookers through their paces in a product test. Our pros, including pressure cooking expert and Senior Food Stylist Shannon Norris, experimented with each model’s settings using recipes submitted by our readers. Each model was scored according to how it performed against these criteria:
- Pressure cooking: How does the multicooker perform as a pressure cooker? Are meals like this pork chili verde quick to make? Does the meat come out tender?
- Slow cooking: Can the multicooker compete with the slow cooker in your pantry? How well does it make sides like slow-cooked potatoes?
- Browning and sauteeing: Does the multicooker brown food effectively? Would it be preferable to brown proteins in a pan and then transfer to the appliance (like you would with a slow cooker)?
- Ease of use: How easy is the multicooker to use? Are the controls intuitive? Did the machine seal easily? Does it feel safe and easy to release the pressure valve?
- Cleanup: After cooking, how easy is the machine to clean? Can the insert go in the dishwasher? Is the insert nonstick?
- Extra features: What features does the model have that set it apart? How many settings does it have beyond pressure cooking? Does it come with any nifty accessories? Does the appliance look nice sitting on the counter?
- Price: Is it affordable? Is the performance reflected in the price?
Get a behind-the-scenes look at how our Test Kitchen chooses the best products.
The Best Time to Buy a Pressure Cooker
When shopping for kitchen gear, always keep an eye on the sales at your favorite retailers. If you ask our shopping team when’s the best time to buy a pressure cooker, they’ll tell you that Black Friday is a must-shop event.
Check out our favorite Black Friday deals.
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Multicookers
After trying out multiple electric pressure cookers/multicookers, our Test Kitchen found a clear winner and a few other favorites.
Best Overall Pressure Cooker and Multicooker: Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1
In the world of multicookers, you can’t beat the biggest name in the game: Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 is our Test Kitchen’s preferred model.
Our Test Kitchen’s favorite pork chili came together so easily. The Instant Pot Pro’s saute function worked like a dream. The stainless steel insert helped our cooks get some great color on the pork shoulder without having to dirty an extra skillet. When it came time to use the pressure cooker setting, our team had no issues. The pork roast was juicy and tender—all in about 30 minutes. What a weeknight win!
As for the other settings, our Test Kitchen pros found that the Instant Pot made a tempting risotto without any fuss and homemade yogurt was incredibly simple to make. Each setting on this countertop appliance delivered exactly as our cooks expected and recipes all came out of the crock as intended (with almost no leftovers!).
If you need another reason to love the Instant Pot Pro the way our Test Kitchen does, it’s this: There’s a huge Instant Pot community on the internet full of helpful tips and recipes. Not to mention all of the fabulous resources dedicated to the Instant Pot—including this cookbook from Taste of Home!
- Available in 3-, 6- and 8-quart models; our Test Kitchen tried the 6-quart version
- 10 functions including pressure cook, slow cook, steam, rice, sautee, yogurt and sous vide
- Silicone handles make it easy to lift the insert without oven mitts
- Safely and easily release pressure with a switch (not by hand)
- Stainless steel insert allows you to brown proteins and veggies extremely well
- There’s a huge Instant Pot community; it’s easy to find online groups, cookbooks and more to help you make the most of this appliance
- The insert is not nonstick, so it takes some elbow grease to clean
Best Multicooker That’s Also an Air Fryer: Ninja Foodi 9-in-1
We get it: Trendy appliances like air fryers, dehydrators and electric pressure cookers are super appealing but can take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter. The easiest solution is to get an appliance that does it all (and does it all well!): the Ninja Foodi.
Let’s start with the basics of any multicooker: pressure cooking. The Foodi excelled at making textbook shredded pork. It was fork-tender and perfect for piling onto buns for a satisfying sandwich in less than an hour. While our Test Kitchen didn’t love the Foodi’s saute function for browning the pork shoulder, our pros still managed to get great color. How? Shannon just flipped the switch to the broil function. It browned the meat in no time.
But what about the Foodi’s fancy air frying capabilities? Well, our team couldn’t be happier. Frozen foods crisped up perfectly and the large air fryer basket was big enough to accommodate a whole chicken. Yes, you can air-fry a whole chicken for a rotisserie-style dinner.
It does cost more than its competitors, but our Test Kitchen thinks the Foodi’s performance and space-saving capability are worth every penny. And when you unbox your new gadget, be sure to check out these Ninja Foodi recipes.
- 6.5-quart capacity
- Nine functions including air fry, pressure cook, dehydrate, broil, steam and saute
- Includes nonstick insert, air fryer lid and basket; additional accessories are also available through Ninja
- Wider insert allows you to accommodate larger proteins, including a whole chicken
- Air fryer functionality works really well; can serve as an air fryer and pressure cooker
- Broiler option browns proteins remarkably well
- Pretty splurgy for a countertop appliance, however its multi-functions can compensate for that
- Does not have a yogurt option
Best Multicooker for Tech Fanatics: CHEF iQ Pressure Cooker
When it came to our Test Kitchen’s trials, CHEF iQ’s multicooker performed well when it came to pressure cooking (what most folks use their multicookers for), slow cooking and making yogurt. Because of the nonstick surface of the insert, the sear wasn’t as pronounced as we’d like, but there’s no harm in browning meat and then adding it to the multicooker (we do it with slow cooker recipes all the time).
But what really sets this multicooker apart is its nifty smart capabilities. After connecting the gadget to your home WiFi and downloading the app, you’re ready to prepare just about anything. You can use the LCD display on the multicooker itself or control the appliance from your device.
If you’re looking for new recipe ideas, are new to cooking with a multicooker or are just new to cooking in general, you’ll love the CHEF iQ app; it includes hundreds of recipes and includes cook-along guides for each. There’s no second-guessing here! This machine will take you through each recipe and will orchestrate every step of the cooking process.
- 6-quart capacity
- Smartphone app with recipes, directions and more
- 300 cooking presets (available through the app), including pressure cook, sear, steam and slow cook
- Nonstick insert, built-in scale, steamer basket, oven mitts, rice spoon, ladle and measuring cup all included
- App puts cooking on autopilot
- Comes with all the accessories you’ll need to make rice, yogurt and more
- Only functions with a smartphone; cannot be operated without that connectivity
Best Multicooker for Big Families: Crockpot 10-Quart Express Crock
If you have a big family or regularly cook for a crowd, the Crockpot 10-Quart Express Crock is the multicooker for you. It was the largest option our Test Kitchen found with a huge ten-quart capacity.
But just because you’re cooking for a large group doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or ease of cooking. This Crockpot multicooker delivered big time in our tests. The large surface area of the insert made it possible to get a good sear on the meat for chili while the nonstick surface meant cleanup was super simple.
As for slow cooking, you know that Crockpot aced that test. Our slow-cooked potatoes came out tender but not mushy. As for the other settings, the Express Crock did well with pressure cooking and making rice, too. This gadget handled every test our team threw its way—all with intuitive controls and easy-to-clean parts.
Outside of cooking, our Test Kitchen enjoyed some of the bonus features on this multicooker. The pressure-release valve is operated with a switch—not a knob—so your hands stay out of harm’s way.
Another feature worth noting: the Express Crock includes a sanitize feature perfect for prepping jars for canning or cleaning baby bottles—both important for big, busy families.
- 10-quart capacity
- 15 one-touch presets including pressure cook, slow cook, sear, saute, steam, simmer, yogurt, beans, grains and sterilize
- Includes nonstick insert, rice spoon and rack
- Large size is great for families
- Intuitive to use; great for folks new to multicookers
- Switch releases pressure safely (as compared to configuring a knob with an oven mitt)
- Isn’t a great replacement for a rice cooker; this function left something to be desired (so learn how to cook rice the old-fashioned way)
What to Make with a Multicooker
Taste of Home
With settings for rice, meat, beans, soup, yogurt and more, there are few things you can’t make in a multicooker. Our Test Kitchen recommends starting off with these pressure cooker recipes. This will really help you get used to all of your machine’s different settings and show off its versatility.
How to Take Care of Your Multicooker
As Instant Pot pro Shannon puts it, “the more you use the Instant Pot, the more uses you find for it.”
With your multicooker in regular rotation, it’s important to give it regular upkeep and clean your pressure cooker often. Make sure that you’re cleaning the lid and insert according to the manual’s directions. For a deep clean, add a splash of vinegar and lemon juice to the insert and hit the steam setting. This is a great natural way to cut grime.
Shannon also recommends washing the rubber gasket regularly—especially after making spicy or garlicky foods. You don’t want any strong flavors influencing your next recipe. Most electric pressure cooker brands sell spare gaskets for just a few bucks, so it’s worth purchasing an extra one.