For the past couple weeks I've been up to my ears in electric pressure cooker manuals. My kitchen smelled like chicken and delicious onions for days at a time while testing. I've put these three electric pressure cookers from Cuisinart, Fagor, and Breville to the test — so how do they stack up against each other? And which one is right for you?
Looking at reviews on Amazon or reading what the manufacturer has to say about the electric pressure cookers can only get you so far. They needed to be tested to see what they're capable of and how they function in a tiny New York kitchen. I ran each electric pressure cooker through three tests – dried beans, hard-boiled eggs, and chicken thighs – to see how well they performed. Here's my best pick for the performer in each test:
1. Dried Chickpeas
- Best performance: Fagor Electric Pressure Cooker Plus
- All three of the electric pressure cookers were able to create flavorful, cooked chickpeas. There was a minimum amount of chickpeas that split open (a concern when you're cooking with un-soaked beans). There wasn't any foam in any of the cookers as well (a concern when cooking beans). The beans produced with the Fagor electric pressure cooker, however, were extremely flavorful, which makes them the winner of this experiment.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Best performance: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker
- All three electric pressure cookers made delicious hard-boiled eggs in six minutes. They were all relatively easy to peel. While the Fagor and Breville eggs were on the softer side of hard-boiled, the Cuisinart created perfectly done hard-boiled eggs.
- Best performance: Breville The Fast Slow Cooker
- All three electric pressure cookers created nicely browned onions, garlic, and chicken. After 10 minutes on high pressure, the chicken from each cooker was very moist and flavorful. The chicken produced by the Breville cooker, however, had a beautiful deep brown color compared to the other chicken thighs. It was also a little more flavorful.
What do these results tell us?
Overall, all three pressure cookers created great food at a very fast rate. There were some minor differences in the results, but nothing too drastic to make a big difference. A lot of the difference in taste can be summed up by timing, or a better sauté function.
The major differences between the three, then, comes down to design, function, and cost.
Which electric pressure cooker is a good investment for you?
Electric pressure cookers are not intuitive kitchen tools. So, when you're considering which electric pressure cooker to purchase, you need to think about how comfortable you are with this different type of cooking. Do you want something that is a little easier to use? Or have you used pressure cookers before, and just want something that makes great things and costs less? Maybe something in the middle?
Once you've decided on how important design, function, and cost are to you, then you can find what works best for you. Here's my summary of each electric pressure cooker so you can decide for yourself:
Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker: A No-Fuss Way to Make Great Food – Fast
This pressure cooker was the first to come to pressure in all three experiments. The bright red pressure indicator made it easy to tell when pressure was on and when it had dropped. I liked the easy control panel with simple options. This pressure cooker was the heavier of the three options, but still a handsome thing to have in the kitchen.
Read the in-depth review: Cuisinart CPC-600 Electric Pressure Cooker
Fagor Electric Pressure Cooker Plus: The Budget Option for Fast, Flavorful Food
This electric pressure cooker creates super flavorful chickpeas, chicken, and eggs. It's on par with how light the Breville cooker is, and would be ideal for small kitchens. This is a no-thrill pressure cooker — it doesn't come with a trivet or a easy-to-identify pressure indicator. If you want something that is budget-friendly and you have some experience with pressure cookers, this is a great option.
Read the in-depth review: Fagor Electric Pressure Cooker Plus
Breville's The Fast Slow Cooker: The Beginner's Dream
The electric pressure cooker function on this attractive kitchen tool is great for beginners. The menu options are super easy to understand, and you have three pressure options (high, medium, and low) that sit on the lid of the pressure cooker versus the menu itself. The steam release button is also separate from the pressure release valve which makes releasing steam less intimidating as a first-time user. The manual for this cooker is very helpful and easy to understand.
This pressure cooker is also very light (11 pounds) and would be good for a small kitchen.
The only downside of this pressure cooker is the medium noise it makes when on high pressure, and the faint smell of plastic when you're releasing steam because the top of the lid is made of plastic (this shouldn't affect your food).
So what would I choose?
All three electric pressure cookers have good features, and some things I didn't love as much. The one thing that is obvious, however, is if delicious food is your goal in choosing a pressure cooker, you can't go wrong with all three. The differences in taste were minimal.
That being said, as someone who is new to electric pressure cookers, I was more drawn to Breville's The Fast Slow Cooker, because it was a little more compact and easier to understand, thanks to a great manual. I also really loved that the steam release button was separate from the pressure release valve. This made it much less intimidating to release steam.
The Breville is definitely the more expensive option, however, and the price points for the Fagor and Cuisinart make trying a new tool out in the kitchen a little easier. If I had to choose between those two, I'd have to say I really did enjoy the pressure indicator on the Cuisinart and the easy-to-understand menu options.