While pressure cooking has had a recent resurgence within modern cooking, you may wonder what all the fuss about pressure cooking is, and if it’s worth it at all? If you’re not with the hype, I also have made up a guide of alternatives to pressure cooker appliances that compare to the results of a pressure cooker.
Table of Contents
- What makes a pressure cooker so good?
- What are the different types of pressure cooking?
- Alternatives to a pressure cooker
- Alternative to Pressure Cooker FAQs
- Using other appliances if you don’t have a pressure cooker is OK!
What makes a pressure cooker so good?
Pressure cookers have their longstanding reputation for a good reason. While other products can produce delicious meals just as well, the pressure cooker can cook the same meal in a fraction of the time. Some pressure cookers are said to even reduce cooking time by 70%!
With a pressure cooker, you can cook food at very high heat, without scorching the food at all. The pressure within the cooker prevents the liquid inside from boiling. This also helps the food to stay moist throughout cooking.
Taking a pork shoulder, for example. It would take hours to render the fat from this tough cut of meat using normal cooking methods. The pressure cooker can hugely reduce this time while also ensuring the food is evenly cooked throughout.
What are the different types of pressure cooking?
If you thought there was just one method of pressure cooking, you’d be mistaken. There are actually three different types!
Here is a quick run-through of each type of pressure cooking:
First-generation pressure cookers
This is the original pressure cooker, which functions by using a weight-adjusted valve that regulates the pressure within the pressure cooker.
These pressure cookers have very basic safety features, and because they have only one pressure mode, are very susceptible to accidents caused by the high pressure.
You’ll recognize this type of pressure cooker by the loud whistling sound it makes, due to only having one pressure mode.
Second-generation pressure cookers
This is the newest generation of stovetop pressure cooking. These pressure cookers use spring-loaded valves which allows you to choose at least two different pressure settings by adjusting the dial.
Some cookers don’t even release any steam while cooking and instead have an indicator that displays the pressure level.
Instead, they only release steam when the lid is unsealed or if its left on the heat source for too long.
Electric pressure cookers
This generation has graduated pressure cooking from stovetop cooking to becoming an electrical appliance.
If you’re not familiar with electric pressure cookers, then get to know them. Most models these days come with a one-touch setting for many different ways of cooking and enable a speedy set-and-forget path to amazing meals.
Much like the second-generation pressure cooker, the electric cooker uses spring-loaded valves that regulate the pressure. These pressure cookers are equipped with many safety features and are a great addition to your kitchen.
If you’re looking for more information on the different parts of a pressure cooker, the physics on how they work, or how to use one, I have a separate blog post with an easy to follow guide, so check it out! (internal link parts of pressure cooker).
Electric pressure cookers are also known as multi-purpose pressure cookers, due to their diverse functionality. Not only can these pressure cookers be used for their original function, now they are made for use as a slow cooker, food warmer, sterilizer, cake maker, egg cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, and even a steamer!
Alternatives to a pressure cooker
The dutch oven is probably your best alternative to pressure cooking. It provides amazing results, if not better, but it will just take a little longer.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting product with amazing versatility, and is faster than a slow cooker, then the dutch oven is the product for you.
Dutch ovens are so versatile in their functionality and are a great tool to have in your kitchen. They are capable of braising, browning, searing, stewing, soup making, deep frying, baking. And of course, it also makes for a brilliant casserole dish.
A dutch oven is fantastic for use on both the stovetop and can be used within the conventional oven too. Make sure the lid handle is able to withstand the temperatures of your conventional oven before use.
The long-lasting of a dutch oven is truly unmatched in kitchen products. While manufacturers not only offer a lifetime guarantee, they have always been considered to be a family heirloom. Long ago, dutch ovens were often mentioned in people’s wills!
Add beauty to your kitchen
It is considered that dutch ovens are a fantastic countertop piece. Even when not in use, people leave their dutch oven on the counter as a decoration thanks to its sleek, attractive look.
Great tasting meals
The dutch oven is hugely consistent in producing amazing meals. The method of cooking allows all the flavors to marry themselves together the same way a slow cooker does, but in a much quicker time
Believe it or not, a microwave oven can be an alternative to a pressure cooker. Here’s why.
If you want swift results, a microwave may be your best bet. A microwave produces tiny waves within the oven that bounce around and collide with each other, producing high heat. The food then absorbs this heat energy and cooks through.
Results are not always even
The downside to cooking with a microwave is that it often cooks quite unevenly.
If you’re cooking large food like meat, beware of its ability to cook the whole way through. It may be wise to chop the meat up smaller to ensure a more consistent cook.
Doesn’t affect nutritional value
While there is a myth that microwaves reduce the nutritional value of food, this is not true. If you’re wanting to cook highly nutritious food like vegetables, you won’t lose any nutritional content.
I recommend adding a little water to prevent them drying out and you’re good to go.
Yep, a slow cooker can indeed be used as a pressure cooker alternative! Read more why this is.
Slower cooking time than pressure cooker
A slow cooker will provide the same results as a pressure cooker, but it may take triple the time. This of course may suit you, particularly if you work from home and want to get set up for dinner early in the day so you have one less thing to think of as the day goes on.
Slow cookers can take somewhere between 4-10 hours to cook food. They are also great for cooking tough cuts of meat evenly, the same way a pressure cooker can, just over a longer period of time.
Maintains nutritional value
Contrary to popular belief, slow cookers do not remove the nutrients within your food. The slow cooker locks in nutrients and maintains the flavor of your food.
A multipot is a pressure cooker that is basically a 9-in-1 of the most commonly used appliances – pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker. It can saute, steam, make cakes, eggs, yogurt and serves as a warmer!
From a US-based company, this multipot has dominated the pressure cooker market and removed the need for having loads of different appliances with different functions.
- 33 chef-approved preset cooking programs
- Automatic self-sealing lid
- Programmable pressure release
- True slow cooking functionality
- Sleek and elegant look
Steaming pots are also a good alternative to pressure cooking, and are very effective in fast and healthy cooking.
Steaming reduces the need for adding any excess oils to lubricate your cooking. It is a great method for cooking vegetables, green beans and stuffed food items that locks in all the nutritional benefits of the food you’re making.
Whether you use an electric or stovetop type of steamer, they both use steam to cook your food in the same way.
Alternative to Pressure Cooker FAQs
Yes, you can. As stated above, slow cookers are a substitute for pressure cooking but they will not cook meals nearly as quickly as a pressure cooker.
If you want an electrical appliance product that is highly versatile, then the Mealthy Multipot is a fantastic alternative.
Using other appliances if you don’t have a pressure cooker is OK!
So hopefully you’ll have found your perfect alternative to a pressure cooker. There are many great products now, be it electrical, stovetop or in the oven.
Saying that, the versatility of pressure cooking is very broad and newer generations of pressure cookers now come equipped with many safety features, so if you haven’t tried pressure cooking, maybe now is the perfect time to give it a go!
Let me know what you think in the comments!