Pressure Cooker vs Air Fryer – Learn How Exactly They Differ

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These days there are just so many kitchen appliances for all the different ways to cook your meals. It’s easy to get confused between them all. If you’re like me and are always looking for a one-size-fits-all appliance, then the following post may interest you.

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We’re comparing the pressure cooker and the air fryer today, two kitchen tools that are useful and popular. Both the pressure cooker and air fryer are two very versatile products – but for different reasons. Keep on reading to find out why!

Table of Contents

Pressure Cooker Vs Air Fryer: What Is The Difference?

What is an air fryer?

Air fryers have taken the nation by storm in recent years, and since 2020, almost 40% of Americans own an air fryer. They have become popular thanks to their broad versatility, speedy cooking, healthier food outcomes, and ease of use.

How does an air fryer work?

The upper interior of the air fryer holds a heating mechanism, like that of a grill, paired with a fan. Underneath is the basket with a rack or raised bottom with holes. This allows the underneath to be cooked as well as the top.

The heating element heats up to the temperature it’s programmed to and the fan circulates the hot air through the vessel, allowing the food to be cooked from all sides

The rapid air technology is great for giving food a crispy exterior, and if the correct cooking times are followed, results in a moist interior.

For example, if you’re looking for a quick side dish to a meal such as fries, chopped vegetables, fish fingers, etc. then the air fryer is amazing.

Just pop your food into the basket, program, give the occasional shake, and voila! The perfect side dish, within minutes.

Benefits of using an air fryer

Great versatility

Air fryers are not only able to dry food, but they’re also great for baking, grilling, and even roasting certain foods. An air fryer is perfect for making your morning bacon or sausages, and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. It can be used for most things when making dinner too.

Healthier than deep-frying

Thanks to the fan technology used in air fryers, little to no oil is needed for cooking when using an air fryer.

Sometimes I’ll add a spritz or two of low calorie spray while shaking the basket so you get good overall coverage for foods like veg and fries. This will result in a nice crispy exterior, while the interior remains soft and fluffy.

If you’re cooking food like bacon and sausages, it is great because any of the excess oil produced from these foods while cooking will drain off under the cooking rack.

Easy to clean

Air fryers can get lots of oil residue from oil-producing foods like bacon but fear not! The basket is very easily removed and is usually dishwasher safe.

If you find that there are some harder, baked-on foods, all you need to do is put some hot, soapy water in the basket and put your air fryer on high heat for 5 minutes.

This will bring the water to a boil and the suds will break down these foods and can be easily cleaned after this.

Below I have linked the best value air fryer, which has the highest reviews.

The COSORI air fryer/oven has a large capacity, food is guaranteed to come out crispy, has a sleek design with digital controls. The one-touch presets mean that your food is programmed to cook at the touch of a button.

COSORI Air Fryer Oven Combo 5.8QT Max Xl Large Cooker (Cookbook with 100 Recipes), One-Touch Screen with 11 Precise Presets and Shake Reminder, Nonstick and Dishwasher-Safe Square Design Basket, Black
Buy on Amazon

What is a pressure cooker?

A once old method of cooking, pressure cookers have had a resurgence in recent years, thanks to a new generation type of pressure cooking, and moving the technology to an electrical appliance.

A lot of newer types of pressure cookers now come with multiple functions, so you can use your pressure cooker as a rice cooker, slow cooker, can saute, steam, and even bake!

Mealthy MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker with Stainless Steel Pot, Steamer Basket, Full Accessory Kit & Recipe App. Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Sauté, Egg, HotPot, Rice Cooker, Yogurt, Steam (6 Quart 2.0)
Buy on Amazon

How does a pressure cooker work?

In a normal cooking pot, the food is added to water which is then heated until the water is boiled. When the water starts boiling, The temperature plateaus, and energy is lost from the pot through steam. Depending on what you’re cooking, this then takes a while for the food to cook.

The concept of pressure cooking is to raise the boiling point water and instead of losing energy through steam, this energy is used to cook foods more quickly.

Pressure cooking technology utilizes a sealed pot, that is heated causing the pressure to raise. The higher pressure changes the boiling point of water is changed and prevents it from boiling.

This energy then speeds up the usual chemical reactions that take place when cooking and breaks down tough meats more quickly and softens the food.

If you’re still not convinced about the pressure cooker, I have another blog post with information on other substitutes that work well instead of a pressure cooker, so check it out!

Pressure cooker vs air fryer: which for when?

Now that you understand the concept of both products, let’s put the two together under comparison. I’ve listed my experience with both products under the following categories.

Which is more user friendly?

Air fryer

Air fryers are very user-friendly. Once the appliance has been programmed, you can mostly leave it to its own devices.

The only thing is that for best results, it is better to give the food a shake around every 5-10 minutes, depending on the length of time you are cooking for.

Pressure cooker

Pressure cookers are great because they provide a speedy, set-and-forget path to cooking amazing meals. Once the pressure cooker has been set, you can just leave it until the food is finished.

Verdict: Pressure cooker

stainless steel cooking pot on stove

Which provides tastier meals?

This question is quite ambiguous because both kitchen appliances are better for different things. Below I will make a list of the foods that each appliance is better to use, so you can gauge which product would suit your needs more!

Air fryer

The air fryer is great for foods that are usually deep-fried, like french fries or fish fingers. It is also great for other foods too, like roasted vegetables or grilled sandwiches.

If I have other random foods at home that I want to heat up, for example cooked chicken, I’ll often just go to my air fryer because of how easy it is to use.

Pressure cooker

Stews, tough cuts of meat, mashed potatoes, beans, lentils, chicken (even a whole chicken), and even soups are good for this.

What I love about a pressure cooker is that you are combining lots of ingredients together. They are then allowed to marry themselves together within the cooker to create unique great tasting meals every time.

Verdict: Tie

Is it healthier?

Air fryer

The air fryer requires little to no oil even for the best results. A lot of fat is removed from foods that produce a lot of oil during cooking. So if you’re looking for a healthier option, then the air fryer is the one for you.

This of course depends on the ingredients you are using. If you are cooking lots of high-fat foods, like fries, bacon, they will still have a high-fat content in general. The air fryer is just reducing the fat-content by a fraction.

Pressure cooker

Pressure cookers generally need large quantities of oil to ensure no food sticks during cooking. There is so aspect to pressure cooking that allows use of less oils than regular cooking.

Saying that, If you are using ingredients that are pretty healthy anyway like vegetables, lentils, beans, etc., then your meal will already be pretty healthy

Verdict: Air fryer

Pressure Cooker Vs Air Fryer: What Is The Difference?

Which is better for greater quantities of food?

Air fryer

While the size of your air fryer hugely depends on how much food you can put in it, the size of air fryers is generally smaller than that of a pressure cooker.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get bigger ones! If you purchase an air fryer, make sure the size suits of your family size!

Pressure cooker

The starting size of a pressure cooker is much greater than that of an air fryer. In general, a pressure cooker will produce more high-density foods for example curries, stews, etc.

Verdict: Pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Vs Air Fryer: What Is The Difference?

Expense

Air fryer

The price range of an air fryer ranges hugely. Air fryers can come in very cheap. Larger top-of-the-range fryers can get very expensive, ranging from $45-$330.

Pressure cooker

In general, pressure cookers are a bit more expensive. If you’re looking for a good midrange model, you’ll be looking at spending at least $100. There is good lasting in pressure cookers. Some of these midrange models offer a warranty of up to 5 years!

Verdict: Air fryer

Pressure Cooker Vs Air Fryer: What Is The Difference?

Pressure Cooker vs Air Fryer FAQs:

Do pressure cookers come with a slow cooker setting?

The newer generations of pressure cookers now come with a hugely diverse range of functions, which can slow cook, sauté, steam, cook rice, bake

Can you leave the house while the pressure cooker is cooking?

No, I would not recommend leaving the house. Pressure cookers are still an appliance that needs to be supervised. Due to the high-pressure nature of the cooking, it is better just to keep an eye on it, in the off chance something goes wrong. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

French Fries

So, pressure cooker vs air fryer…what’s the difference?

Hopefully this easy guide will help you decide which appliance is the one for you, if not both!

It’s hard to compare the results of the two because both appliances cook quite different food. But if you’ve had a look through the different types of food each appliance is good for, then hopefully you’ll find the appliance that is more suited to your needs.

If you’re someone who enjoys making different types of soups, stews, and curries, then the pressure cooker is the product for you. If you do a lot of frying but want a healthier option of doing so, go for the air fryer.

Overall, both are very easy to use. Both will improve your cooking, and whichever product you choose will be a great addition to your kitchen!

Let me know in the comments which product you chose!

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By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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