It’s easy to find yourself buying a variety of kitchen appliances, but considering the cost and lack of counter space, it can be hard to choose a type of appliance based on which one has the most to offer in terms of efficiency, versatility, and power. In terms of pressure cooker versus rice cooker, they tend to overlap concerning what they can do and the types of food they can handle. If you’re not sure which appliance will be a better choice for your cooking needs, I’ll go over the similarities and differences between them, how they work, and what areas they excel in.
Pressure cooker versus rice cooker: Both of these appliances use steam to cook food. A rice cooker can prepare perfectly cooked rice, oatmeal, and other types of grains. Some can even cook stew, allow you to steam fish and veggies, and offer a type of hands-off cooking process and a stay warm feature. However, they’re not as versatile as a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker can cook food seventy percent faster compared to cooking food in the oven or on the stove, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for an appliance that can help you cook dinner faster and more efficiently.
They can also be used to cook rice, oatmeal, stews, soups, and veggies. Some models double as pressure canners or water bath canners, which is a huge plus for the avid home canner. Ultimately, which appliance is better will depend on what types of foods you normally prepare. If you cook rice several times a week and enjoy steamed veggies, a rice cooker may be a better option. If you want a more versatile model and one that can cook a wide range of foods faster, then go with a pressure cooker.
Both rice cookers and pressure cookers come with their own pros and cons. A rice cooker can cook up rice as fast as a pressure cooker can, but a pressure cooker doesn’t have a stay warm feature that will keep the food in the pot hot and ready to serve for several hours. If you’re not sure which type of appliance will work the best for you, your family, and your cooking needs, then this guide will walk through the similarities and differences, and the advantages and disadvantages that come with both types of appliances. This will give you a better idea of which appliance you’ll find yourself using more and which one offers the features you need come mealtime.
Using a Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker allows you to cook your favorite foods impressively fast, allowing for a total hands-off cooking process. The best pressure canner and cooker combos such as the Granite Ware Pressure Canner work as a pressure cooker, canner, and steamer in one, so the cooking options seem endless. If you’re looking for a way to cook meals faster, then a pressure cooker is the answer. As an example, it can cook an entire chicken in under an hour, which makes it really convenient for cooking up a meal at lightning speed after a long day at the office.
You can choose from a stovetop or electric model. Electric models are often referred to as multicookers and they look a lot like a standard rice cooker. These models are a great choice for a total hands-off cooking process since the appliance will take total control over depressurization, pressure, heat, and cooking time. They can also come with additional cooking functions such as slow cooking modes, which means you can use it to make oatmeal, stews, and rice.
The stovetop models are essentially large pots that come equipped with a special type of locking lid. Stovetop models are a better choice for searing meat since the user can increase the heat more precisely compared to a standalone electric model. They also come with a higher pressure setting so you can use them to boil, simmer, and braise faster. However, because they’re on the stove, you have to keep a closer eye on them during use. You can cook rice in both stovetop and electric cookers, however, the texture tends to turn out denser when compared to making rice in a standard rice cooker.
With a pressure cooker, you can make:
These foods can be prepared seventy percent faster in a pressure cooker than other cooking methods. However, you shouldn’t get a pressure cooker if you want to be able to leave the house when food is cooking. You can’t leave a pressure cooker cooking unattended since you will need to keep a close eye on the machine’s pressure level.
If you want the convenience of total hands-off cooking, then you’ll want an electric model. If you want a model that gives you more control over the pressure settings than a stovetop model is a better choice.
Using a Rice Cooker
As you’ve probably already guessed, rice cookers excel at making rice. However, they can also be a great appliance to use for steaming fish, veggies, and cooking other types of grains. If you eat rice often, then a rice cooker can be a great investment and one that can save you plenty of time in the kitchen. This appliance will turn out perfectly cooked rice, with very little effort from you. Most models also come with their own steaming basket so you can make dumplings, chicken, fish, and veggies. You can also use this appliance to make different types of rice, including brown, or to cook up other grains including oatmeal, polenta, and quinoa.
You should buy a rice cooker if you make rice more than a couple of times a week, you struggle to cook rice correctly, and/or you want to keep a large batch of rice warm and ready to serve.
I don’t recommend buying a rice cooker if you eat rice less than twice a week, don’t cook other types of grains, and don’t eat steamed fish or veggies.
The Real Differences Between these Powerful Kitchen Appliances
Based on appearance, both of these appliances look very similar. Both can also cook rice very well, and much faster compared to traditional stovetop cooking methods. However, a pressure cooker can cook rice faster and better than a rice cooker and they a lot more versatile.
Choosing between these two appliances can be difficult if you’re on a tight budget and short on counter space. Pressure cookers and rice cookers may seem very similar, but as you know by now, they serve different purposes.
Both types of appliances will cook up food using steam, but that’s where the similarity stops. Rice cookers use an external casing with an inner pot and a heating coil or pad. Some models may or may not come with extra parts such as a tofu maker or steam basket. The rice cooker’s heating element is designed to heat up liquid with the rice, which will cause the liquid to evaporate, turning into steam. As it cooks, the rice absorbs the water, which turns the rice soft.
Why Pressure Cookers Have More to Offer
With a pressure cooker, while it comes with some of the same parts, it works much differently. The pressure cooker comes equipped with a sensor that measures the pressure, in addition to a locking lid. The lid will have a rubber gasket that’s designed to prevent the steam from escaping. This will allow the machine to build and maintain pressure in the pot.
A pressure cooker will cook food much faster compared to a conventional pot because of the combination of pressure and heat. Rice cookers are best-suited for cooking rice and a few other dishes. However, some models are designed as multifunctional appliances and can also double as a slow cooker for soups, stews, fish, and meat. Or they can work to steam fish, veggies, and eggs.
Pressure cookers can be used to tenderize large chunks or tough cuts of meat. However, they can also cook veggies such as squash and corn on the cob, quickly. However, these appliances can also come with multi-function features that will allow you to use them as pressure canners, rice cookers, and slow cookers.
For pressure canning, you can process jars of meats, fish, fruits, and veggies, using the pressure settings to kill off any bacteria. To learn more, read my guide on pressure canning.
Which Device Does a Better Job of Cooking Rice?
When it comes down to it, which device does a better job of cooking rice? First consider the single function rice cooker and standard pressure cooker. Both appliances have limitations and advantages.
Rice Cooker Advantages
- Rice cooks can cook different types of rice perfectly in terms of aroma, flavor, and texture.
- They also come equipped with a stay warm feature, which will keep the rice warm and ready to serve for several hours.
- The automatic shut off feature will turn the machine off once the rice has finished cooking, allowing for a total hands-off cooking process.
- This type of appliance is more energy efficient compared to cooking a pot of rice on the stove.
Rice Cooker Disadvantages
- Unless you buy a model with multi-cooking functions, a rice cooker doesn’t do much aside from cooking rice. However, it can be used to cook other types of food such as fish and veggies, but it cooks food and rice very slowly.
- The pot isn’t sealed, so the internal temperature can only reach the boiling point of water. Because of this, a rice cooker isn’t effective when it comes to sterilizing things or tenderizing meat.
Pressure Cooker Advantages
- Pressure cookers require less water for cooking and can cook food faster.
- Since it works by cooking above the normal boiling point of water, it can also destroy bacteria that can be present in food and can be used to sterilize baby bottles, glass bottles, and cans. To learn more about pressure cooker safety, read my guide on does pressure cooking kill bacteria?
- Many pressure cookers can be used for pressure canning and water bath canning.
- The cooking pot on a pressure cooker is sealed, which means it can retain nutrients and flavor more effectively. This means the food will also require less additional seasonings.
Pressure Cooker Disadvantages
- These appliances are expensive, heavy, and bulky.
- Because they can reach higher pressure levels and temperatures, there are many safety concerns linked to use.
- They can be difficult to clean and maintain
- Many of the parts will need to be replaced over the years, such as the gasket.
Which Appliance Should I Buy?
Necessity is what makes one appliance better than the other. If you have to choose between the two, take into consideration the type of functions you need the appliance to perform, what dishes you want to make and what type of foods you prepare the most often. If you eat rice several times a week, then it makes sense to buy a dedicated rice cooker.
An electric pressure cooker will cook rice with the push of a button, just like a rice cooker, but the stovetop pressure cooker offers more flexibility and is often priced more affordably.
When it comes to pressure cooker versus rice cookers, there really aren’t many similarities between these two appliances aside from the fact that steam is used to cook food. A rice cooker is a great choice if you cook rice and steam veggies several times a week or want a hands-off way to make a pot of oatmeal. But that’s really where their versatility ends.
With a pressure cooker, you have the option of buying an electric or stovetop model and they can be used to cook pots of stew, braise roasts and chickens, sear meats, and even cook rice. The only feature that a pressure cooker lacks that a rice cooker offers is the stay warm feature. Of course, a rice cooker also offers a more hands-off approach compared to a stovetop pressure cooker, but ultimately, the pressure cooker is more versatile and can do so much more than a rice cooker.