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Multi-cookers and pressure cookers are some of the best kitchen appliances for cooking a wide range of meals.
With the push of a button, these units can make rice, beans, soups, ribs, and poultry, etc., up to six times faster than regular stovetops.
While some people use their names interchangeably, they’re different appliances; hence the multi cooker vs pressure cooker debate.
To help you choose which of these appliances is good enough to handle your cooking tasks, we’ll explore the pressure cooker vs multi cooker debate.
So let’s find out the differences between a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker.
What Are the Main Differences Between A Multi-cooker and A Pressure Cooker?
The main difference between a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker is in their functionality.
A pressure cooker is used for cooking a range of food quickly using high steam pressure while a multi-cooker is used for cooking a wider range of food in different ways such as steaming, frying, and baking, etc., such that it can replace other kitchen appliances.
The second main difference between a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker is in their cooking method.
Pressure cookers cook faster by building pressure and steam inside their sealed pots which contain liquid that will boil above the boiling point of water. On the other hand, multi-cookers come with different settings for different cooking methods: they can pressure cook, slow cook, fry, bake, stew, etc.
To better understand which of these appliances will serve your culinary needs more, let’s explore them individually.
What is a multi-cooker? A multi-cooker is an appliance with multiple pre-programmed settings for performing a wide range of cooking functions. Some of the cooking functions most multi-cookers can perform include stewing, frying, boiling, braising, baking, etc.
As a multi-cooker has multiple settings (usually digital controls), it is quite intuitive to use. Also, this feature makes it a very versatile appliance as it can replace many other kitchen appliances and save countertop space. A multi-cooker can replace your pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, slow cooker, bread maker, and fry pan, etc.
Also, their versatility and fast cooking make them cost-effective, energy-efficient, and great for small kitchens. These units also come with steaming racks for stacking and multiple foods simultaneously: this way, you can cook your main dish and some veggies together. Although they're difficult to clean.
Another great feature of the multi-cookers is that you can cook a particular food in several ways. For instance, you can quickly cook stew within an hour or less using the pressure cooker function or allow the stew to simmer for 6 hours using the slow cooker feature so the flavors can mix thoroughly.
A common question thrown around is, “What is the difference between a multi cooker and an Instant Pot?” The difference between a multi cooker and an Instant Pot is that Instant Pot is the most popular multi cooker brand.
What is a pressure cooker? A pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that uses a small amount of liquid – could be water, broth, or milk – to cook food in at least one-third the time it’ll take a cooktop.
Pressure cookers work by cooking ingredients in a sealed pot using a little amount of liquid. The cooker then builds up pressure and steam within the pot making the internal temperature quickly rise above the boiling point of water.
The extremely hot water vapor then cooks food in a shorter time than stand cooktops and slow cookers without compromising on your food’s flavors.
Pressure cookers are very energy-efficient appliances as they use 80 – 90% less energy to cook the same food you’ll cook on a range. Also, they use a little amount of water, and since their lids are sealed all through the cooking process, topping up the water is not allowed.
One drawback of using a pressure cooker is that some foods like oatmeal and pasta are risky to cook in a pressure cooker as they can clog the pressure valve: this can lead to an explosion as very high pressure may build up inside the pot.
What are the advantages of a multi cooker when compared to a pressure cooker?
The advantages of a multi cooker, when compared to a pressure cooker, are that it’s a more versatile appliance that’s cost-effective and can replace other cookware.
When compared to pressure cookers, multi cookers can perform a wider range of cooking functions. A multi-cooker can boil, stew, roast, fry, braise, steam, bake, etc.
Also, multi cookers can cook a particular food using different methods. For example, a multi-cooker can boil potatoes for lunch using the pressure cooker feature and still make crispy fries for dinner using the deep fryer mode. Furthermore, these appliances come with racks for cooking multiple dishes at the same time.
On the other hand, a pressure cooker is designed to handle only one cooking task: pressure cooking.
Saves countertop space
Unlike a pressure cooker that can perform only one cooking function, a multi cooker is designed to replace other kitchen appliances on your countertop.
A multi-cooker can serve as a rice cooker, fryer, steamer, yogurt maker, slow cooker, bread maker, conventional oven, electric pot, and even a pressure cooker so that once the unit sits on your countertop, there may be no need to get any of the other appliances.
Multi-cookers are cheaper than pressure cookers. The cost of a multi cooker ranges between $50 and $600. While the price of a pressure cooker costs between $50 and $1,500.
Despite being cheaper, multi-cookers are multi-use appliances that can handle more cooking duties than pressure cookers.
When compared to a pressure cooker, a multi-cooker affords the user better control over her cooking. Working with a multi cooker makes life easier as most of the processes are automated. It also allows you to schedule your cooking.
Safer and easier to use
There have been cases of pressure cookers exploding due to the high pressure within their pots. This doesn’t happen when using multi cookers.
Secondly, unless you’re an experienced chef, you may have little difficulty using a pressure cooker. Multi-cookers, on the other hand, are more intuitive for home cooks to use.
Food won’t get overcooked
You can’t open the lids of pressure cookers when they’re in operation. And this can sometimes lead to your food getting overcooked. Multi-cookers, on the other hand, allow you to open their lids when
Plus even if you don’t get the recipe right at the start of the cooking process, you can still make adjustments anytime.
What are the advantages of a pressure cooker when compared to a multi-cooker?
The advantage of a pressure cooker when compared to a multicooker is that it’s an appliance dedicated to only pressure cooking and it’s easier to clean.
Dedicated cooking appliance
When compared to a multi-cooker, a pressure cooker is designed for only one purpose, which is to cook meals using high pressure. Since it’s made for only this purpose, it’s highly efficient at pressure cooking and gives more precise and consistent results.
A multi-cooker performs more cooking tasks, and may not be very efficient at performing some of their tasks.
Easier to clean
Both multi-cookers and pressure cookers are difficult to clean, but pressure cookers are easier to clean.
Which One Is more Usable in the Kitchen Between A Multi-Cooker and A Pressure Cooker?
Multi-cookers are more usable in the kitchen than pressure cookers. A multi-cooker is one of the most versatile kitchen appliances as it can perform the duties of a rice cooker, steamer, pressure cooker, slow cooker, fryer, etc.
Another common question about these appliances is: Is a multi-cooker the same as a pressure cooker? The answer is no. Multi-cookers and pressure cookers are different appliances.
The major difference between a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker is that multi cookers are appliances designed to perform a range of cooking tasks so they can replace other kitchen gadgets like pressure cookers and slow cookers. Here’s how to use a multi cooker.
While pressure cookers are appliances for cooking food in sealed cooking chambers under high pressure using little amounts of liquid. This then significantly cuts the time it takes to cook the same food on a cooktop.
What food can you cook in a multi-cooker?
Here are some of the foods you can cook in a multi cooker based on the most cooking functions.
- Cook: pot roast, oatmeal, rice, beans (and other grains), soup, stew, poultry, and broth.
- Sauté: beef, chicken, meatball, and pork.
- Pasta: mac and cheese, noodles, and ramen
- Bake: cakes, biscuits, pastries, and casseroles.
- Fry: fries, mozzarella sticks, pancake, and hot wings.
- Steam: vegetables, risotto, and mashed potatoes.
- Sear: poultry, ribs, beef, and pork.
- Slow cook: pizza, and jambalaya
You can find more uses of a multi cooker here. However, you avoid cooking the following foods in your multi cooker;
- Dairy (except yogurt): milk, cheese, and sour cream.
- Two recipes simultaneously: while you can fit your main and a side dish in your cooker, each food will cook better if they’re allowed their own cooking time.
- Canning food
- Crunchy and crispy food
- Seafood: fish, shrimps, shellfish, clams, oysters, and crustaceans.
- Red and yellow lentils except you’re making lentil soup or dhal
- Rare steak
What food can you cook in a pressure cooker?
You can cook the following foods in a pressure cooker;
- Beef short ribs
- Red beans
- French dip sandwich
- Pork chops
- Baked beans
- Pot roast
- Beef bourguignon
- Korean beef
- Mashed potatoes
- Corn chowder
- Chinese BBQ
- Carnitas or pulled pork
- Whole chicken
- Chicken chili
- Meatball soup
Can a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker be paired together in a kitchen?
No, you cannot pair a multi cooker with a pressure cooker in your kitchen. This is because multi-cookers have the pressure cooker setting (amid other settings) to make them function as a pressure cooker.
What are the instances where you can use a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker together?
You can use a multi-cooker and a pressure cooker when you want to cook large batches of food but there’s not enough room to fit the recipes in the multi-cooker.
What are the instances where a pressure cooker and a multi cooker should never be used together?
You should not use a pressure cooker and a multi cooker when you want to cook a meal using high pressure. Both kitchen appliances can perform the same pressure cooking function.
What to Consider when Buying A Multi-Cooker and A Pressure Cooker
There are different types of multi-cookers and pressure cookers on the market. But not all the features of these units are right for you. So what features should you consider? Let’s find out.
What type of cooker should I get?
There are two types of pressure cookers: stovetop and electric pressure cookers.
Stovetop pressure cookers look like pots and are heated on stoves. They heat food faster and last longer than electric cookers. However, they require more attention as they don’t have timers.
Electric pressure cookers, on the other hand, get their heat source from electricity. They’re easier to use and more energy-efficient. They’re also more expensive than stovetop models but don’t last as long.
What size is right for me?
Multi-cookers have capacities ranging from 4 and 8 quarts while pressure cookers have sizes reaching 10 quarts. To better understand which capacity is great for you and your family, you can look at each quart as one serving, but keep in mind that you can only fill two-thirds of the pot. So a 4-quart cooker will cook for singles or couples while a 6-quart unit will cook for a family with two to three members.
Are there models that are easy to clean?
Multi-cookers and pressure cookers are quite difficult to clean. So when getting either of these appliances, go for one with pots manufactured with non-stick material: however, these models compromise on durability. Secondly, your ideal cooker should come with dishwasher-safe parts to make cleanup easier.
Do I need multiple pressure settings?
Models with different pressure settings give you more control over your cooking. The higher the pressure, the faster your meal will be ready to serve. But the longer your meal cooks, the more flavorful it’ll be.
What are the safety features?
The first safety feature you should consider for your pressure cooker is the cover locking that prevents the cooker from bursting open when the pot's lid is not tightly locked.
The second is a tight-fitting lid that locks securely and has a quick release valve to allow you to release vapor from the cooker.
Which is the most cost-effective?
The best multi-cookers and pressure cookers are priced at around the same range: $150 to $300. However, multi-cookers are more versatile than pressure cookers as they can perform more cooking tasks like deep-frying, baking, stewing, slow cooking, etc.
What Are the Best Brands for Multi-Cookers?
The five best brands making the best multi-cookers are Instant Pot, Breville, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, and Ninja.
Instant Pot is an Amazon bestseller and one of the most popular multi cooker brands. Their units have lots of positive reviews and are highly efficient in whatever cooking task they’re assigned. Instant Pot units are also moderately priced.
Breville is one of the brands making premium multi-cookers. Their units are quite expensive but worth their prices. They come with high-end features that make them easier to use.
Hamilton Beach is one of the most popular brands when it comes to quality but affordable kitchen appliances. Their products are made of quality materials, and they’re highly efficient at cooking.
Cuisinart is one of the best brands making some of the best multi-cookers. Their units are compact and low to mid-priced. Their quality multi-cookers mostly have good reviews.
Ninja is one of the most popular brands making kitchen appliances. Their multi cookers are moderately priced and are versatile and efficient in performing a wide range of tasks.
What Are the Best Brands for Pressure Cookers?
The five best brands making the best pressure cookers are Cuisinart, Nesco, T-fal, All American, and Presco.