We spent more than 200 hours of research and testing of hundreds of experienced kitchen-pound rice, beans, meat, and stock and tested them in the long term in our own home. This guide will help you find the type of stove is best for your needs, whether it’s fast or slow cooker, braising and roasting pot of hearty stews, or make steamed rice and vegetables.
If you have a bit more time to cook, you can also consider a Dutch oven or a sous vide cooker. But these tools are not quite useful for times when you’re away from home or you need to get food on the table fast.
- 1 What to cook?
- 1.1 Pressure cookers
- 1.2 Slow cookers
- 1.3 Automatic Rice cookers
What to cook?
Electric pressure cooker, slow cooker, or automatic rice cooker each excel in handling some types of recipes and food, but they also have some overlap in what they can do. This chart shows what you can do with each pot.
Electric pressure cooker
Automatic Rice cooker
|Pot roast, chili, stew, and other braises||√||√|
|Steamed fish and vegetables||√||√|
An electric pressure cooker combines impressively fast cook times with the convenience of a hands-off cooking appliance. Most electric models can also act as a slow cooker and have other modes such as rice and porridge settings
The best electric pressure cooker
Instant Pot IP DUO60
One of the most affordable electric pressure cooker we’ve tried allows easier, more hands-off cooking than stovetop models, and its standout features include a slow cooker mode.
A electric pressure cooker is what you want to make a quick meal. For example, you can braise a whole chicken for 40 minutes, so it is convenient to prepare dinner after work. With the help of a locking cap that steam traps, electric pressure cooker increases the boiling point of water, which is why it can reduce cooking time of up to two-thirds.
You’ll find electric pressure cooker models and models of Stovetop pressure cooker. The kind-also referred multicookers automatic rice cooker looks like. They are more convenient for hands-off cooking because heat-driven devices, pressure and depressurization. electric pressure cooker also has additional functionality, such as rice, porridge, and the slow cooker mode. (In our tests, we found that slow cookers mode devices by chef par with a slow poison pot.) Basic Stovetop pressure cooker with a locking lid special design. They’re better for searing meat, because you can increase the heat than electric models; They also cooked at a higher pressure setting, so they braise, simmer, boil and faster. But you need to keep a closer eye on the model than the electric stove. You can make the rice cooker and stove pressure both, but we noticed that the texture turned out a bit dense and humid compared to what you get from a rice cooker.
|Get this if:||You quickly want to make one-pot meals such as pot roast, braised chicken and vegetables, stew, or chili in less than half the time it takes with stovetop cooking. Or you want to make rice, pasta, beans, or stock really fast.|
|Don’t get this if:||You want to leave the house while cooking. Stovetop models in particular are not a hands-off cooking option, because you need to monitor the pressure.|
|Which type to get:||Go for an electric pressure cooker if you want the convenience of total hands-off cooking. Buy a stovetop pressure cooker if you want the best sear on meats, more control over depressurization, or the ability to make big batches of stock.|
|Pro tip:||You can use an electric pressure cooker as a slow cooker. But pressure cookers cost almost twice as much as dedicated slow cookers, and the taller sides aren’t as good if you want to serve foods directly on a buffet. In our tests, recipes made in pressure cookers and slow cookers tasted about the same.|
A slow cooker is great for making one-pot meals such as pot roast or chili while you’re not at home, and it’s a more affordable option than an electric pressure cooker with a slow-cooker setting
Best slow cooker
Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
It’s not fancy, but we like this slow cooker’s intuitive interface, locking lid, and modest price. And it’s the only slow cooker with a heat probe to monitor the doneness of roasts.
Slow cookers are inexpensive and good for making meat stock, stews, soups, and recipes even less than expected as mac and cheese or bread. You can upload a slow cooker with the ingredients for a pot roast, chili, or whatever you’re doing in the morning, before leaving the house to work or to shuttle kids around, and you dinner will be ready for four to eight hours after a moment. Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker allow you to select the temperature and cooking time; when the time is up, the machine kicked on to establish a warming, so food was still warm when you get home.
|Get this if:||You want to cook while you’re away from home, or if you want to serve foods like soup, pulled pork, or even oatmeal on a buffet.|
|Don’t get this if:||You’re too busy to prep food in the morning, or if it makes you nervous to leave an appliance on while you’re out of the house.|
|Which type to get:||Buy an affordable and reliable slow cooker with a locking lid, which makes it easier and safer for moving around on your counters or transporting to events. If you need to keep food warm for a long period of time say, for the Sabbath get one with a longer timer.|
|Pro tip:||Slow cooker are great for serving foods directly on a buffet. Sweethome writer and pro cook Lesley Stockton has used them to serve everything from oatmeal to tortilla soup.|
Automatic Rice cookers
As the name suggests, a automatic rice cooker excels at making perfect rice. But it’s also a great tool for making other grains and for steaming vegetables and fish
The best automatic rice cooker
Automatic Rice Cooker by Hamilton Beach Rice, 7-Cups uncooked resulting in 14-Cups
This simple, well-designed machine makes delicious Japanese rice comparable to or better than that of models costing 10 times the price.
Get a pot of rice, wheat if you do two or more times a week. Automatic rice cooker turns out perfect, optimal taste with hardly any effort on your part. Most automatic rice cooker also comes with a basket of things like steamed vegetables, fish, chicken and dumplings. You can use a automatic rice cooker to cook different grains, too, such as quinoa, not stirred Polenta, or oatmeal.
|Get this if:||You make a lot of rice and you want it to turn out perfect every time. The keep-warm feature is especially handy if you want rice to stay warm for a few hours.|
|Don’t get this if:||You don’t eat a lot of rice. Even though a automatic rice cooker can work for steaming vegetables and fish or cooking other grains, its primary and best function is making rice.|
|Which type to get:||If you mainly eat white rice, you’ll be fine with an inexpensive model. If you eat a lot of brown rice or want to experiment with other grains, we suggest springing for a more advanced cooker.|
|Pro tip:||Our favorite advanced cooker also has a pressure cooker setting. This rice cooker isn’t as big and doesn’t cook as fast as a dedicated electric pressure cooker, but it is a good option if your first priority is cooking awesome rice and you also want to make some quick one-pot meals.|
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