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The popularity of pressure cookers in the past few years has taken off, and it’s easy to see why. These multitasking machines are simple enough to use that you don’t need to be an expert in the kitchen, and the result is a delicious meal with minimal effort.
Smart pressure cookers take the convenience up an extra step, connecting to your devices like phones, tablets and Alexa over WiFi, letting you check on your meal or even command your cooker from anywhere through the compatible apps.
If you’re only cooking for yourself or a few people, the best smart pressure cookers can be great for having meals ready throughout the week, saving lots of time and dirty dishes. Things like a sauté feature can really come in handy too, letting you cook and sear, right in the pot, without ever having to reach for your skillet or turn on the stove. In fact, these can act as a replacement for multiple kitchen items.
Smart Pressure Cooker Buying Guide
From a variety of controls to easy-to-read displays, here are all the features to consider when purchasing your next smart pressure cooker.
Controls: How easy is it to set and get the hang of the controls? Some brands are refreshingly uncomplicated, simply having low, medium and high settings that any amateur chef can use. Same goes for pre-heating — a unit that can pre-heat with the press of a button and then alert you when it’s ready makes the process a whole lot smoother.
But don’t forget the pressure part of a pressure cooker, as these need some serious heat to get your food cooked right without leaving anything raw. A pressure cooker has a top that seals tight, ensuring that nothing evaporates or escapes, locking in juices and sauces that ultimately affect the food’s taste and flavors.
Screens: Digital displays are infinitely easier to read, adjust, and make sure you’re cooking on the exact setting you need. These can vary from simple one-word readouts to a large screen that lays out all the options right in front of you, with a dial or touchscreen to put you in control. Making adjustments during cooking is another thing to consider, as some units make you shut it down completely and boot back up before changing the settings.
Cleaning Up: No one wants to do a mountain of dirty dishes after a satisfying and delicious meal. And while even the least-smart pressure cooker will cut down on having to clean some cooking appliances, you’ll eventually need to clean the cooker itself. Having handles on the pot’s sides can help lift it out, and a detachable lid helps too. Nonstick pots, while they may not be as convenient when cooking, are easier to clean than stainless steel, but the coating may come off after a while.
When it comes time to release the steam inside, a valve can either let it out slowly for a gradual cool-down, or jet it out like a locomotive. A switch that lets you flip it and step away is much more preferable to one where you need to hold it down the entire time and have your hand and face near all the hot steam.
What Are the Best Smart Pressure Cookers?
These cookers are all impressively smart in their own way, so before buying, make sure yours has the capabilities you want now (and might want somewhere down the road). Below, we’ve picked our favorites that we think you’ll love just as much, from brands like Instant Pot and more.
1. Chef iQ World’s Smartest Pressure Cooker
This 1000-watt, 6-quart cooker has a lot going on inside and out. Inside, there’s a rack and basket for steaming meats and veggies, and a scale to weigh anything you add, with a gorgeous full-color display on the exterior.
No need to worry about pressure release, as this does it automatically at the end of the cooking cycle, with three options to choose from depending on your recipe.
And all that is before even connecting it up to the app via WiFi and Bluetooth, allowing you to control and monitor it from other rooms, along with a built-in Cooking Calculator with over 1,000 preset recipes. To use it, all you need to do is enter the ingredients and this guides you through the rest. It also walks you through each step of its many preset meals, so anyone can be a great chef.
The cooker frequently updates itself too (through the app), adding recipes and fixing firmware without any additional effort.
2. Instant Pot Smart Wifi 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
This cooker is compatible with your smartphone and even Alexa over WiFi, with the ability to operate it by voice alone.
It’s capable of slow cooking, sautéing, and steaming, along with making delicious desserts like cakes. It’s also user-friendly for new chefs, with 10 built-in safety features like protection from overheating, and locking the lid on tight.
The free Instant Pot app not only has hundreds of recipes to try, but you can even share and compare recipes with other users in its online platform.
3. Instant Pot Ultra 6 Qt 10-in-1 Multi-Use Pressure Cooker
This other option from Instant Pot lets you quickly program precise customized cooking settings for your ideal meal. Thanks to the microprocessor inside, this is able to regulate itself when it comes to venting and pressure, along with heating intensity and duration. Though it doesn’t directly connect to WiFi, you can get Alexa to read you recipes step-by-step through the company’s free app.