Comparing Electric Pressure Cooker

In this section we compare how electric pressure cookers operate against other cookers. Click on the the titles to find out how they compare.

Electric Pressure Cooker vs. Slow Cooker

Both slow cookers and electric pressure cookers can produce very similar dishes but operate in entirely different ways.

Slow cookers cook at a relatively low temperature (at approximately 79°C–93°C or 175°F–200°F range) over a long period of time. Meanwhile, electric pressure cookers run at much higher temperature (over boiling point at 115°C~118°C or 239°F~244°F).

This difference in cooking mechanism results in drastically different cooking time. Typically an electric pressure cooker makes a dish under an hour, whereas the minimum cooking time for a slow cooker is 4 hours. An Electric pressure cooker saves about 75% electricity compared to a slow cooker making a similar dish.

Apart from the difference in cooking temperature, there are two other physical differences

  1. Insulated housing
    Slow cookers typically do not have insulated housing, whereas electric pressure cookers do. This contributes to an energy efficiency advantage to electric pressure cookers.
  2. Sealed cooking
    An electric pressure cooker is fully sealed under pressure, letting out no steams and no smells. This is not the case for slow cookers. This makes an electric pressure cooker a winner in keeping the kitchen clean and the house smell free.

One disadvantage often cited against slow cookers is that vitamins and other trace nutrients are lost, particularly from vegetables, partially by enzyme action during cooking. When vegetables are cooked at higher temperatures those enzymes are rapidly denatured and have less time in which to act during cooking.

Another disadvantage of slow cookers is that they don’t heat the food at a temperature high enough to remove common toxins (for example in raw kidney beans, and some other beans). On the other hand, electric pressure cookers are very good at detoxifying food, owning to its higher than boiling point operating temperature.

Electric Pressure Cooker vs. Conventional Pressure Cooker

Both conventional and electric pressure cookers operate based on the pressure cooking principles. Two key differences set them apart.

  1. Programmable electronic control capability in the electric pressure cooker is completely missing in the conventional pressure cookers. It’s the programmable capability that allows the electric pressure cooker to be more convenient and produce the best and consistent cooking results.
  2. Heat source: Conventional pressure cookers use a separate heat source, e.g. a gas stove or an electric range. Electric pressure cookers come with an integrated heating unit inside. The advantage of an integrated heating element is to create a full feed-back system which controls the entire cooking cycle. This makes an electric pressure cooker more convenient (no need to watch over it), pleasant (no loud hissing noise, no steam), safer and more energy efficient.

To determine which one is the right choice, you should look at your intended cooking tasks and the benefits.

Convenience

Instant Pot has a minimum of 8 one-key operation buttons for the most common cooking tasks. It is at least a 6-in-1 kitchen appliance. On top of these, delayed cooking start, aut-off and keep warm allows you to plan the meal ahead of time. There is no need to keep time and set alarm when the pressure level is reached.

Fast cooking

There is no doubt that higher pressure cooks faster. Conventional pressure cookers work at a range of pressure level, commonly at 15 psi (e.g. Fagor Duo) and also the complete range of 13psi (e.g. TeFal Sensor 2), 12psi, 11psi, 10psi (e.g. TeFal and WMF) and even 8psi (e.g. Lagostina Endura). Meanwhile Instant Pot operates between 10.15 and 11.6 psi. With the set-and-forget programmable cooking, combined with a consistent temperature and pressure, the slight difference in cooking becomes irrelevant.

Energy efficiency

When comes to energy efficiency, Instant Pot is an undisputed winner. Instant Pot has a fully insulated housing, minimising energy being dispersed without cooking the food. Its microprocessor controlled cooking programs turn off heating automatically when the desired pressure is reached, and switches on heat when the pressure drops. Heating is only on ~60% of time.

Safety

Conventional pressure cooker typically come with two or three safety valves, with the only mechanism of releasing steam being to reduce pressure. Instant Pot comes with 10 levels of safety protection, including safety valves, pressure control, temperature control and fool-proof operation detection. Experience shows that most pressure cooker problems are usually be attributed to user error. Instant Pot was carefully designed to eliminate and avoid most of the potential problems. If something has been done wrong or a problem occurs it will simply turn itself off.

Better cooking results

Most chefs would agree that the difference between a 15psi cooker and a 11psi cookers is limited, i.e. 2~3 minutes of cooking time. However there’s a huge difference in the consistency of the cooking result. Thanks to its programmable cooking and micro-processor controlled precision, Instant Pot produces consistent tasty food 100% of the time.

With this benefit comparison, and taking all the factors into consideration, it is very clear that Instant Pot is the clear and undisputed winner.

Electric Pressure Cooker vs. Rice Cooker

Cooking rice with an ordinary pot requires a lot attention. Temperature adjustment has to be done at the right moment to avoid spills and burning. This was why rice cookers were invented and have since become an indispensable kitchen appliance to Asian families.

Electric pressure cookers are an evolution on from the rice cooker. The key improvement is pressurised cooking. Instant Pot comes with pre-programmed buttons for cooking rice, congee, multi-grains and porridge. Compared with rice cookers, electric pressure cookers have three key advantages

  1. Eliminating possible aflatoxins
    Rice, if not stored properly, may carry fungal poisons called aflatoxins, a potent trigger of liver cancer. Conventional rice cooking at under 100°C (212°F) is not sufficient to kill all aflatoxins. Studies have shown that pressure cooking at higher than 100°C (212°F) is capable of reducing aflatoxin concentrations to safe levels.
  2. Making healthy rice more tasty
    One very popular healthy rice meal uses whole grain/wild rice and beans, to increase protein, the amino acid lysine and dietary fiber. Whereas whole grain/wild rice and beans can certainly be cooked in a rice cooker, the cooked rice often has a rather hard texture. Electric pressure cookers solve this problem nicely, making healthy rice softer and tender.
  3. Saving time & energy
    Typically an electric pressure cooker cooks a pot of rice in about half of the time when compared with a rice cooker. Energy saving is around 25~30% range.

Electric Pressure Cooker vs. Steamer

When it comes to steaming an electric pressure cooker and a steamer work in the same way. Generally, electric pressure cookers can replace electric steamers for all steam cooking for dishes such as vegetables, fresh pasta, fish, etc.

However an electric pressure cooker works more effectively for two reasons.

Faster and Deeper

Under high pressure, steam penetrates the food very evenly, deeply, and quickly. This is why an electric pressure cooker is faster than an ordinary steamer. Electric pressure cookers are especially good for tough or hard pieces of food, such as potatoes, yam, some fish or meat.

Clean and Green

Electric pressure cookers such as Instant Pot have a fully sealed cooking environment. No steam escapes the cooker. You only need a small amount of water (e.g. a cup of water) to steam vegetables (corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) fresh or frozen. And it takes just a minute or two. This makes an electric pressure cooker more energy efficient leaving your kitchen cooler and free from excessive humidity.

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