Stove Tops vs. Pressure Cookers: Which Are Better For Cooking?

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For most people, one of the primary struggles of eating healthier is that cooking can be such a chore sometimes. Rather than spend time over the stove or the oven crafting the perfect recipe, it’s so much easier to go out to eat or order in. 

Fortunately, with modern appliances, it’s become relatively effortless to make a gourmet meal that you can share with everyone. Devices like the Instant Pot allow you to save time, save money, and spend more time with your family and friends. 

However, most people think that the Instant Pot is nothing more than a standard pressure cooker. Fortunately, it can be so much more than that, which is why today we want to look at the difference between stove top and electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot. 

Why Use a Pressure Cooker?

If you’re not familiar with this device, then you may be wondering why so many people rely on pressure cookers to make delicious meals. The fact is that you can prepare your dishes so much faster when you utilize a pressure cooker. Not only that, but it enables you to extract more flavor and nutrients from your foods because they aren’t lost in the cooking process. 

However, there are some fundamental differences between models that heat on the stove top and those that use electricity. Let’s look at some of the variations you can expect. 

Cooking Time

One of the biggest reasons why people love pressure cookers is that they can spend more time with family and friends. Instead of taking hours to prepare a delicious meal, you can get it done in a fraction of the time. 

When it comes to getting your food out fast, stovetop pressure cookers are going to be much better than electric models. The reason for this is that the stove can get hotter and stay at that temp for longer, which helps reduce the overall cooking time. 

On average, you can expect a stovetop pressure cooker to take about ¾ of the time it would with an electric machine like the Instant Pot. So, if you’re in a rush to get dinner ready, that can be an advantage. 

Water Level

One way that pressure cookers help increase the flavor of your food and make it healthier is that almost all of it is contained inside. Rather than burning off juices and nutrients through other cooking methods (i.e., cooking in a pan), you get to keep everything together. 

That being said, when you use a stovetop model, you run the risk of drying out your dish. The reason for this is that the appliance will release some steam from the top, particularly when you’re cooking for longer periods (i.e., an hour or more). 

Thus, you will have to add some water to your food if you want it to stay succulent and juicy. Otherwise, you could wind up with a meal that’s a little too dry for your liking. Depending on what kind of food you’re preparing, you may have to add about ¼ cup of water or so. 

Pressure Level

When you use a pressure cooker, you will be amazed by how quickly it can cook your dishes. Because it utilizes high pressure and heat, the insides of your foods can be prepared more rapidly. This is also why you can toss frozen meats and veggies into your pressure cooker and still wind up with an incredible meal. 

Because electric versions have to rely on electricity to generate the pressure, they will usually top off at around 12 psi (pounds per square inch). Stovetop models, however, can go up to 15 psi. This is why they cook faster and why they let off more water in the process. 

For the most part, the quality of your meal won’t be affected by lower pressures. Typically, just the time it takes to cook will be longer. 

One thing to consider, however, is that electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are safer than stovetop models. With a manual version, you have to be careful when opening the lid as it could spit hot water and juices all over the place. With the Instant Pot, it automatically seals itself until it’s safe to open. 

Bottom Line: Which is Better for Cooking?

Overall, we believe that electric pressure cookers are going to be the best option for most people. The primary reason we like appliances like the Instant Pot is that it’s far more versatile and convenient than a manual cooker. 

With a push of a button, you can create all kinds of dishes, from rice to soups to desserts. While you can do the same thing with a stovetop model, it requires much more care and attention on your part. Also, if you’re still learning, there can be a lot of trial and error until you get it right. 

Although we like the fact that stovetop pressure cookers can be faster, they still have issues with safety, and they can dry out your food if you’re not paying attention. Thus, if you want to eat healthier, save time, save money, and spend more time with friends and family, you should get an Instant Pot.