People who are learning about the benefits of pressure cooking and looking for their first cooker often ask me if there is any difference between stove top pressure cooker and electric pressure cookers. Comparing stovetop pressure cooker and electric pressure cookers, here are the differences and similarities between them.
Electric pressure cookers require almost no monitoring to bring, maintain, and release pressure; however, they take longer to get there (see “the mechanics”, below). If you can leave the house while an electric pressure cooker is running, does the extra time it takes to reach and release pressure really matter.
Match the Cooker to Your Cooking Personality
I have based my recommendation on years of use and interacting with readers of the website and in-person demonstrations. In terms of cooking skills and lifestyle, which of these most closely matches yours? Looking for best instant pot pressure cooker? we have compiled some reviews you can use as reference.
Electric pressure cookers are best for..
- people who are nervous about fiddling with heat settings; electric cookers can be set and forget;
- those who have too many electric appliances, like slow cookers, rice cookers, and yogurt makers – electric pressure cookers can replace all of them;
- busy parents who need dinner ready when they arrive at home will appreciate the cooking delay timer available in some models that starts cooking dinner before anyone arrives home;
- college students with limited kitchen space – the electric pressure cooker is a complete cooking tool that browns/sautes, pressure cooks, keeps food warm, and a few do even more;
- elderly and/or disabled persons-no need to remember if the burner is on or off, it will turn itself off after cooking, and it can be positioned at any height to make it easier to use;
- those chefs who have already moved to pressure cooking and who keep several stovetop cookers in operation – an electric is a great addition to their kitchen.
Stove top Pressure Cookers are best for..
- people who desire power and speed – the stove top cooker can reach higher temperatures and pressures than electrics;
- who value durability over convenience – electrics last a few years, but stove top cookers last decades, generations;
- cooks who want to try advanced pressure cooking techniques-many of which require higher pressure and less evaporation from modern stove top cookers;
- individuals who like to observe the cooking process since the pressure releases faster than electrics.
As a busy mom, I use electric pressure cookers almost exclusively these days – it’s more convenient for me. I have not completely eliminated stovetops from my kitchen. I still pull out a stovetop pressure cooker to test cooking times, recipes and try new techniques.
Stove Top Pressure Cooker vs. Electric Pressure Cooker
Here is a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of each type of pressure cooker.
Maximum Pressure and Pressure Settings
Most stove top pressure cookers have two pressure settings. This is the “standard” pressure range and most cookbooks write their recipe timing based on this range. “High Pressure” is typically 13-15 PSI and “Low Pressure” is 6-8 PSI. Depending on the pressure setting, the dial will either point to 1 (low pressure) or 2 (high pressure), or a marked bar will slowly rise from the cooker while it reaches pressure – the first mark indicates low pressure, the second mark indicates high pressure.
The maximum pressure in electric pressure cookers varies from brand to brand and model to model. There are models that can reach six PSI and others that can reach eight, nine, ten, eleven, and thirteen PSI; some claim to cook at 15 PSI though we have not been able to confirm this. While some pressure settings have only one setting, others have two. This means that the pressure cooking time will take longer in an electric vs. a stovetop pressure cooker to achieve the same results.
When the stovetop pressure cooker is reaching pressure, the cook must adjust the heat. A cook may need several tries before finding the precise setting to avoid overpressurizing or losing pressure when first learning to use a pressure cooker. Before the pressure cooking process even begins, the cook must devote up to 15 minutes to this process.
An electric pressure cooker’s heat regulation is fully automated. In order to begin cooking, the cook only needs to choose the desired pressure, or cooking program, and time.
During the pressure-building and pressure-cooking stage, the cook doesn’t need to be present.
Time to Pressure
Stovetop pressure cookers: 11 to 14 minutes, depending on the heat source, temperature of ingredients, and fill level.1 Electric pressure cookers: times can vary based on the wattage of the electric heat coil, temperature of ingredients, and fill level.1
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Conventional cooking takes approximately three times as long as stovetop pressure cooking. It takes about twice as long to cook a meal in an electric pressure cooker as it does in a conventional cooker.
of stovetop pressure cookers take a little less time to release pressure.
- Normal Release – about 2 minutes.
- Natural Release – about 10 minutes.
You might also find additional features on some models. More Info:
Electric pressure cookers are generally slower at releasing pressure. It takes more than twice as long for the natural release.
- Normal Release – about 3 minutes.
- Natural Release – about 25 minutes.
Timer, Scheduling Features and Cooking Programs
Though they are becoming more popular, stove top pressure cookers do not have an integrated timer. While these cookers are at pressure, a separate timer is typically required to keep track of cooking time. There are no cooking programs or scheduling features on stove top pressure cookers (although more and more are coming out with their own apps).
In conjunction with an induction burner, a timer on the burner can semi-automate a stovetop cooker.
The timer is an integral part of all modern electric pressure cookers, so you can keep track of how long your food is cooking under pressure. Modern electric pressure cookers use computer-controlled smart cooking programs that interact with a pressure sensor and thermostat.
Electric pressure cookers permit delayed start for up to 12 hours, depending on the model, for foods that do not contain meat, dairy products, or other ingredients that need to remain refrigerated.
multi-use tool with multiple functions, including use as a regular pot.
Pressure canners with larger capacities, such as those with an overall volume of 10 quarts or more, can be used to preserve low-acid foods (such as meat, vegetables, and soups).
A pressure cooker cannot be used for regular cooking without pressure – although some models include a saute function that allows browning in the cooker without the lid. Many electric pressure cookers also include slow-cooker and other multi-cooker functions (including one that makes yogurt But, despite what some manufacturers might say, you cannot pressure can in an electric pressure cooker.
Electric pressure cookers are bulky and tall, and need a lot of counter space and can be difficult to store in a cupboard; they should not be used under an overhead cupboard when in use. However, they are capable of replacing several other electric appliances.
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