Buying kitchen appliances can be a tricky business for beginners, as there are so many different kinds to buy. I was interested in buying a pressure cooker, so did some research on stovetop vs electric pressure cookers.
So stovetop vs electric pressure cookers, what are the differences? Stovetop pressure cookers take their heat source direct from your cooker, are normally cheaper, and have a shorter cooking time. An electric pressure cooker uses electricity to heat up food. It takes longer to cook with (up to three times as long) and comes with a number of different functions.
There you have it. In the broadest terms, the differences come down to price, cooking time and functionality of each cooker. There is more to it than this tough. You will probably need a little more information before you decide which one of these you would like to buy for your kitchen.
Read on below to see a more detailed account of the similarities and differences of stovetop and electric pressure cookers.
Stovetop vs Electric Pressure Cooker – What you need to know!
There are a number of advantages and disadvantages in the debate of stovetop vs electric pressure cooker. It’s worth taking all of these into account before investing in one of these. I certainly wouldn’t recommend both, although I do have quite a small kitchen so am always thinking about how to save space.
There is quite a difference and variation between stovetop and electric pressure cookers in terms of cooking pressure. There is also a difference in the number of pressure settings for each of these appliances.
Pressure is measured in something called pounds per square inch (PSI), and for the purposes of choosing between these two cookers we don’t really need to go into details about what this means. If you are interested then check out this article on what PSI means in greater detail.
A stovetop pressure cooker normally has two heat settings, although there are some with more than this. The low heat setting on the stovetop pressure cooker operates at around 6 to 8 PSI, whilst the high setting operates at around 13-15 PSI.
This extremely high pressure setting is what allows the appliances to cook foods extremely quickly. With the right amount of liquid you should be able to bring this to maximum pressure in around about 11 minutes.
The stovetop pressure cooker will have a bar displaying whether the cooker is at low or high pressure.
An electric pressure cooker differs from its stovetop counterpart in that it will normally come with a number of different pressure settings. This allows you to select the level of pressure depending on what you are cooking and how long you want this to take.
Electric pressure cookers can operate from as low as 6 PSI to 15 PSI, although most people in the know will tell you that they tend not to actually achieve the pressure levels of 15 PSI. It is for this reason that electric slow cookers tend to take longer to cook than stovetop versions. This can be up to three times longer, depending on the model you buy.
Whilst the stovetop cooker comes out on top in terms of cooking pressure and cooking time, I would say that the electric pressure cooker is the winner when it comes to heat regulation in the battle of stovetop vs electric pressure cooker.
When you are cooking with a stovetop pressure cooker it can take quite a while to find find the exact heat level needed to cook food effectively.
Of course once you have done this a number of times you can become more adept at this, but at first it is going to take you anywhere in between 10 and 20 minutes of standing by your stove and adjusting the pressure.
This is essential, as cooking at too low a heat will result in the cooker not achieving a high enough pressure to cook your food. Too high a temperature will result in food being overcooked or cooked too quickly.
An electric pressure cooker on the other hand does not need this constant adjustment of heat in order to achieve the correct cooking pressure. You simply need to choose the desired pressure for your food, set the cooker to this pressure and leave it to work. you don’t even need to be there whilst the cooker is building up pressure.
In order to achieve maximum cooking pressure, a stovetop pressure cooker will normally take approximately 11 minutes to reach this. In contrast to this, an electric pressure cooker will take approximately 14 minutes. Both of these times will depend on both the type and amount of ingredients used in the cookers.
It’s obviously impossible to say how long each of these takes to cook, as again it depends on what you are cooking and how much of it there is. What you can do though is compare cooking times to standard conventional coking with an oven when looking at a stovetop vs electric pressure cooker.
On average a stovetop pressure cooker will cook around three times faster than regular cooking. In comparison to this an electric pressure cooker will cook around two times faster than using regular cooking methods. So in looking at stovetop vs electric pressure cooker times, we can see a stovetop pressure cooker generally cooks much faster.
Timers And Programmes
Electric pressure cookers also come out on top when it comes to looking at timers and programmes. Stovetop pressure cookers do not usually come with either of these. If you want to time your cooking, you will need to use a separate timer.
For me this is not a big issue as everyone has a timer on their phones these days. When I’m cooking I actually just use my Alexa device to set a timer. A stovetop pressure cooker generally tends to not have any additional programmes, and is simply set away to cook.
Almost all electric pressure cookers come with integrated timers. A real plus point of electric pressure cookers is that many of them come with programmes that allow you to delay cooking.
So you can be out at work, and set the cooker to come on shortly before you arrive home. This of course is only something you would do if you are using ingredients that don’t need to remain refrigerated before cooking such as meat.
Source Of Heat
The source of heat for for stovetop vs electric pressure cookers differs greatly, and I think the flexibility of the stovetop pressure cooker shows here. An electric pressure cooker uses electricity as its heat source. So you plug in the electric slow cooker to the wall, and then the electricity heats up the elements to cook your food.
A stovetop pressure cooker on the other hand uses the heat from your stovetop to pressurise to cook. They can be used on a variety of stoves such as gas, electric, induction and glass amongst others.
They can also be used on barbecues and other portable stoves. you absolutely must check before purchasing your stovetop pressure cooker as not all are capable of suing each of the different stove types mentioned above.
There are of course a few other uses for both of these appliances. A stovetop pressure cooker tends to look very much like your regular pots and pans, and in fact the base of this appliances can be used to cook just like a regular pan. That’s really about it for other uses of your stovetop pressure cooker.
Most modern electric pressure cookers can be used for a variety of things these days, and this is often what can contribute to a higher price tag. Whilst it operates as a high pressure cooking device, it can also be used to cook in a variety of other ways depending on the model. There are many electric pressure cookers on the market that will work as a slow cooker or rice cooker as well.
While you can go for a really high price stovetop pressure cooker if you have the money, there really is no need for this. Some models, such as this Viking Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker can come in just around $200.
There are much cheaper and smaller stovetop pressure cookers such as this smaller Presto stovetop pressure cooker.
Electric pressure cookers, due to their versatility and increased usability tend to be more on the expensive side. There’s no need to break the bank here either though, and you can find one that’s the business for around the $100 mark such as this Mealthy Multipot.
So pricing a stovetop vs electric pressure cooker, you will usually tend to pay more for the latter, but it will come with more functionality.
Can a pressure cooker be used on a glass top stove? Yes you can use a pressure cooker on a glass top stove. However using one of these generates an extremely high amount of pressure, so it is recommended to only use a stainless steel stovetop pressure cooker on a glass top stove.
Can you use a pressure cooker on an induction stove? Yes stovetop pressure cookers can be used on induction stoves or cookers. However, not all stovetop pressure cookers are designed for this, so you need to check before buying.
Are instant pots the same as pressure cookers? An instant pot is really a brand of electric pressure cooker. It tends to be an extremely versatile electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a slow cooker and a rice cooker among other things.