Pressure cookers, probably more aptly called “fast cookers,” are vessels that allow you to seal in steam and raise the pressure around food to cook things incredibly quickly. Dry beans can be done in under an hour, rice in just a few minutes and so on. Today we’ll be looking at two different brands in the electric pressure cooker market: Instant Pot and Cuisinart. They serve very different purposes and price points, giving you the option to choose which is best for you.
Cuisinart is a trusted brand that produces many different kitchen devices and appliances. Their electric cooking pot, the CPC-600 (their only model), is a 6-quart pressure cooker that is built around the philosophy of simplicity. Everything about this pressure cooker is made so that it’s easier for cooks to get it started and have their food done quickly and properly.
The interior is nonstick while the exterior is a durable stainless steel that resists smudges and fingerprints. At 1,000 watts, this device delivers a tremendous amount of power that can cook even the toughest ingredients. It also comes with several presets for browning, simmering, sautéing and choosing between high and low pressured environments.
The digital timer can go up to 99 minutes, with 0-40 minutes going in 1-minute increments and anything higher going by 5-minute increments. This allows you to walk away without forgetting about your food.
- Very easy to set and clean
- Provides a good amount of power along with a useful timer
- Has several presets to properly cook your ingredients
- More affordable than most electric pressure cookers
- No extra functions, it’s only a pressure cooker and nothing else
- No delay timer to set ingredients and cook them later
Instant Pot takes the exact opposite approach to Cuinsinart. While the pressure cookers are easy enough to use, their brand is more about superior performance and extra features. Also, Instant Pot has several different models in various sizes (for example, the one closest to the CPC-600, the IP-DUO, comes in 5, 6 and 8-quart capacity).
Instead of a nonstick interior, Instant Pot uses stainless steel. This allows it to handle higher temperatures and better brown ingredients, plus stainless steel is unanimously considered the superior material. While it shouldn’t be too hard to clean, some ingredients may stick here and there after cooking is finished.
Perhaps the best thing about Instant Pot is that it’s made to take the place of several appliances. Most of their models function as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, warmer and sauté pan. Cuisinart is only a pressure cooker and nothing else.
You also get 14 different presets to easily cook rice, soup, stew, meats, yogurt, porridge and much more. Safety is also a big concern, and Instant Pot comes with 10 safety features that will keep the cooker from building up too much pressure.
Something you’re sure to love: Instant Pot has a microprocessor. This allows it to read your food and make adjustments throughout the cooking time to ensure that everything is treated properly. You get a timer, delay timer and so many other features it’ll make your head spin.
- Replaces several kitchen appliances by having various functions. Go from pressure cooker to slow cooker or rice cooker with only the touch of a button
- Uses a stainless steel interior, which is considered the best material for cooking
- Has 14 different presets and 10 safety features, ensuring that your ingredients are treated properly and you remain safe
- Uses a microprocessor to adjust cooking and pressure
- Significantly more expensive than Cuisinart (Cuisinart is about 30% more affordable)
- Stainless steel can sometimes be difficult to clean, especially with sticky ingredients like rice
Which is Best for Me?
This is largely a decision between price and functionality.
Instant Pot is great if you love cooking and want as much functionality as possible. It replaces several kitchen appliances, has numerous presets and makes it very simple to cook ingredients and give them that deep, complex flavor pressure cookers are known for.
Cuisinart doesn’t have as many presets, nor does it have the multifunctionality of Instant Pot. However, it is significantly more affordable. Not only that, but if you’re just looking for a pressure cooker and nothing else, then this definitely delivers.
Cuisinart’s only electric pressure cooker, it comes with a nonstick interior, stainless steel exterior, timer and several presets to best cook your ingredients. Adjusting pressure is easy, and at 1,000 watts it can properly process any food you’d like. It’s simple to clean and has a 6-quart capacity.
Instant Pot’s most popular model, this comes in various sizes (3, 6 and 8 quarts) along with 14 presets and 10 safety features. You can easily cook meats, rice, beans, vegetables and anything else you’d like. It also has 7 different functions. You can use it as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, warmer, saute pan and steamer.
This is very much like the 7-in-1, but comes with a few extra features. It also comes in several sizes (3, 6 and 8 quarts), has a healthy stainless steel interior and the famous microprocessor. Along with all of the 7 features above, this can also act as an egg cooker and sterilizer, allowing you to do even more with less.
One of the best items in Instant Pot’s lineup, this has all the features of the 9-in-1 plus it can also function as a cake maker. Developed with the latest, 3rd generation microprocessor, this unit is smarter and faster than the others offered by Instant Pot. It also has additional safety features and even more presets.