Pressure Cooker vs Instant Pot – Which Is Best For You?

Unless you’ve been living on the moon in recent years, you’ll have heard about the Instant Pot. It seems every food writer, commentator and chef is talking about the wonders of the Instant Pot. With some critics saying that the Instant Pot is just a modern take on the old fashioned pressure cooker.

In case you missed out on all the excitement let’s have a closer look at the Instant Pot and the pressure cooker.

What’s The Difference Between A Pressure Cooker And An Instant Pot?

The difference is that Instant Pot is versatile. Pressure cookers can cook many foods at up to 70% less time than standard pots on the cooker top – So can the Instant Pot, but the Instant Pot can do so much more.

The main difference between a pressure cooker and an Instant Pot can be summed up in one sentence. Pressure cookers basically perform one task, whereas the Instant Pot can perform many tasks and cook far more foods.

What Is A Pressure Cooker?

A pressure cooker is a large sealed pot that’s able to withstand far more pressure than a standard saucepan. Basically, once water reaches boiling point it starts to turn to steam and evaporate. Which means conventional saucepans can never heat anything higher than boiling point.

Pressure cookers contain that steam to increase the pressure inside the pot and use it to super heat food to way higher temperatures. This allows them to cook food in far shorter times than saucepans.

What Are The Pros Of A Pressure Cooker?

The advantages of the pressure cooker include;

  • Speed – Cooking food in a pressure cooker takes up to 70% less time than using a conventional saucepan
  • Energy Efficiency – A Pressure cooker will use up to 80-90% less energy compared to a conventional saucepan to cook the same food
  • Nutritional – As the pressure cooker uses very little water, and the lid is sealed, more of the nutrients stay within the foods
  • Save On Water – Pressure cookers use far less water to cook with, they rely on the moisture content in the food. Also you can’t take the lid off to top up the water during cooking which saves even more
  • Safety – Many pressure cookers have a built-in automatic shut off

What Are The Cons Of A Pressure Cooker?

The disadvantages of the pressure cooker include;

  • No Chance To Taste – As the lid is sealed during cooking there’s no opportunity to taste the food and add any ingredients to adjust the flavour 
  • Cooks All Of The Food For The Same Amount Of Time – As the lid is sealed and the temperature is set, it cooks indiscriminately, you can’t remove any of the more tender items. Which means they can become overdone
  • Some Foods Can Be Over Cooked – As the lid is sealed on from start to finish, some foods can become over cooked if they’re left in the pressure cooker for too long
  • Safety – In some cases it’s possible to clog the pressure cooker’s valve which can result in a slight chance of the pressure cooker exploding

What Is An Instant Pot?

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is a brand of multi cooker and could be called the next generation of pressure cookers. They work using the same basic principles as pressure cookers, but the Instant Pot has far more settings and is able to cook many other foods. Instant Pots can cook soups, stews and beans just like a pressure cooker.

But the Instant Pot can also make cakes, porridge (oatmeal), cook eggs, rice, make yogurt, saute food and even slow cook. 

It has settings for different times, different levels of pressure and different temperatures. Having the ability to cook at all these different settings allows the Instant Pot to be far more versatile than a pressure cooker.

What Are The Pros Of An Instant Pot?

The advantages of the Instant Pot include;

  • Multiple Functions – The ability to cook many different foods in different ways
  • Easy To Use – Allows you to perform many “hands on” tasks at the flick of a switch
  • Fast Cooking – The ability to cook foods far quicker than using any other conventional appliance
  • Safety – No chance of the Instant Pot ever exploding
  • Versatile – The ability to cook multiple ingredients at the same time, and perform all of the steps currently performed on the cooker top and oven in one pot
  • Easily Supervised – As the lid can be removed whilst slow cooking, there’s less chance of over cooking foods, unlike the pressure cooker
  • Frozen Food Friendly – Foods can be cooked directly from the freezer
  • Many Uses – Can be used to roast, bake, cook rice, cook chillies, make bread, hard boil eggs, make yogurts, air fry and much more

What Are The Cons Of An Instant Pot?

The disadvantages of the Instant Pot include;

  • Takes Time To Master – As the Instant Pot is such a versatile appliance, it can take some time to learn how to use all of its functions
  • Doesn’t Grill – The Instant Pot has many functions, but it doesn’t grill food
  • Unable To See What’s Going On – Once the cooking process is underway, you’re not able to remove the lid until it’s completed. Which means you cannot see what’s going on inside (unless slow cooking or just keeping food warm which can be done with the lid removed)

Which Is Better Pressure Cooker Or Instant Pot?

The answer to this question depends on you and your lifestyle really. Pressure cookers basically have the one function, but it cooks fast. Instant Pots and all multi cookers can perform a number of cooking tasks, but do take time to master.

Pressure Cooker Vs Instant Pot Price Comparison

Money

To help you make up your mind between the pressure cooker or the Instant Pot, here are the average prices of both.

Pressure Cooker Price

Cooker Top

If you decide to go old school and use a cooker top pressure cooker, it will cost anywhere between around £20 to £220 depending on the make, model and size.

Electric Counter Top

Modern electric counter top models will cost anything between around £50 to £220 depending on the make, model and size.

Instant Pot Price

An Instant Pot will cost you anywhere between around £50 to £200 depending on the size and range of functions.

Should I Buy A Pressure Cooker Or An Instant Pot?

Before you make a decision on whether to buy a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot, you need to ask yourself what type of cook you are. Do you usually make lots of soups and stews? If so, the pressure cooker will probably suit you best. However, if you’re a far more versatile cook, then the Instant Pot will probably suit you better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

In answer to the question which is better, the Instant Pot or the pressure cooker, we’d have to say there appears to be more people who prefer the versatility of the Instant Pot over the more traditional pressure cooker. However, they both have their place in the kitchen, although they both use pressure to cook food, they use it in different ways.

Can you cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot?

You can cook frozen meat in an Instant Pot and far faster than in many other forms of cookware.

Are all Instant Pots pressure cookers?

All Instant Pots are pressure cookers along with all multi cookers, they all use pressure to cook foods.

Are pressure cookers safe?

Modern pressure cookers are far safer than the original design which had the tendency to explode if the pressure became too great. Modern models have far better controls to prevent them from exploding.

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