The Best Pressure Cooker on the Market

By Meghan Woolley / April 27, 2015
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Our Rating:

A pressure cooker can be a fantastic addition to your kitchen. It can help you cook some of your favorite meals in record time, and it can produce wonderfully moist and tender food. It can also be a great way to create canned goods using your favorite ingredients. Of course, if you’re planning on buying a pressure cooker, you’ll need to find the right one. There are a lot of options on the market, so it can be difficult to find the best pressure cooker. I hope that this review can help you.

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Our choice for the best pressure cooker on the market is the Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker (on sale on Amazon at the time of writing for $88.97).

Why This Kind of Pressure Cooker?

Before we get into the details of Presto’s large pressure cooker and why I’ve chosen it, I think it’s necessary to explain that I’ve had to choose between some large categories of pressure cooker.

The first big distinction is between stovetop and electric pressure cookers. Electric pressure cookers can be great if you’re not used to cooking with a pressure cooker or if you want a cooker that’s totally automated. The Presto, however, is a stovetop cooker.

In general, I prefer stovetop pressure cookers, as they deliver bigger benefits in the areas that pressure cookers are known for. Stovetop pressure cookers are faster at cooking and releasing the lid than electric cookers. They also give you more flexibility to adjust the pressure you’re using. The Presto is great for both cooking speed and internal pressure control.

Stainless or Aluminum Pressure Cookers?

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When deciding on the best pressure cooker, I also had to choose between stainless steel and aluminum pressure cookers. Stainless steel cookers can withstand higher amounts of pressure and generally last a little longer than aluminum, and they may be a great choice for some cooks. If you’re a stainless steel fan, look out for an upcoming article on Cooking Upgrades reviewing stainless steel pressure cookers.

Aluminum comes with its own benefits, however. Aluminum is a better heat conductor than stainless steel, which improves the cooking performance of aluminum pressure cookers. Aluminum is also cheaper than stainless steel, which means that you can buy a really high quality aluminum pressure cooker for much cheaper than you can find a stainless steel one for. The Presto, at under $90, is a great example of this.

Now, let’s get down to the details of the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Cooker.

PRODUCT FEATURES

  • 23-quart capacity
  • Measures 14.8 inches by 15.4 inches by 15.1 inches
  • Heavy-duty aluminum
  • Pressure dial gauge
  • Steam release mechanism
  • Overpressure plug (releases steam if too much pressure builds up)
  • Steel lid
  • Cover lock
  • 12-year warranty
  • Usable for cooking or canning
  • Usable on any cook top, including glass, ceramic, gas, and induction stovetops

Reviews

The Presto 23-Quart Pressure Cooker has received a number of extremely positive reviews, so you can take more than just my word that it’s a great choice. On Amazon, it has an average rating of 4.7 stars from over 1,600 customers.

Pressure Cooker Critic chose it as one of their favorite pressure cookers and wrote, “This is one versatile cooker that ticks all of the boxes for high quality, durability, and has a competitive price tag to match.” Delicious Under Pressure also praised Presto’s cooker, admiring its efficiency and affordability.

One Size to Rule Them All

If you haven’t already realized, the 23-Quart Cooker is big. It stands at a little over a foot tall. This means that if you have a small kitchen or are short on storage space, you may want to find a smaller pressure cooker.

If you have the space though, the Presto’s size can be a huge benefit. You can always cook small meals in a large pressure cooker, but you’ll never be able to cook a really large meal in a small one. Presto’s cooker, therefore, gives you a lot of versatility to prepare meals of all sizes.

If you’re into canning, the large size will also help you to be more efficient. With enough space for 23 quarts of liquid, you’ll be able to can up to 7 quarts or 14 pints at a time.

Cooking and Canning

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You can use the Presto 23-Quart Cooker for both pressure cooking and canning, meaning that you’ll find plenty of use for it in your kitchen. As a pressure cooker, it’s perfect for preparing rice, vegetables, meat, soup, and other dishes.

The Presto cooker is also designed to be used for canning. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pressure canning is the safest method of canning foods with low acidity, such as vegetables and meats. The Presto cooker can be used to can these foods at home. It also serves as a hot water bath canner, so you can make canned jelly, jam, preserved fruits, salsa, or pickles. The pressure cooker comes with an instruction manual with detailed instructions on different methods of canning, so it’s easy to understand and use.

Pressure Flexibility

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The Presto Cooker’s pressure gauge enables you to choose the pressure settings you want, giving you plenty of flexibility to cook any recipe. The gauge goes from 0 to 15 psi (pounds per square inch), with a small “caution bar” past 15. The gauge is very easy to read, although some users have reported that the gauge gathers condensation.

By monitoring the gauge, you can control the pressure to make it exactly what the recipe calls for. You simply need to raise or lower the temperature settings on your stove to create a corresponding raise or increase in pressure. This is flexibility that you simply won’t find with an electric pressure cooker. This flexibility can be very helpful, as many pressure cooker and canning recipes require different amounts of pressure.

Once you are done cooking, you’ll know that the lid is ready for release once the gauge reaches zero. Just in case the pressure inside the cooker builds too much, there is a safety release valve to bring it back down.

Conclusion

As a final wrap-up to my endorsement of the Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker as the best pressure cooker available, I’ll summarize its pros and cons.

PROS

CONS

Affordable

Difficult to move when full

Versatile size

Takes up a lot of space

Efficient cooking time

Possibility of condensation in the pressure gauge

Control over pressure

Can be used for cooking or canning

Long-lasting (12 year warranty)

If you’re looking for a versatile pressure cooker to use for a long time (without spending a fortune), the Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Cooker is a great choice.

About the author

Meghan Woolley

Meghan is a graduate of Hamilton College and has a Masters from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She enjoys trying new foods, exploring tasty recipes, and writing about her experiences.

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