How to Use a Digital Pressure Cooker (and Choose Which one to Buy)

Digital electric pressure cookers have many uses, and they cook foods rapidly at high temperatures. Steam pressure increases in a pot, generating a higher temperature inside and causing food to cook faster. The best thing about a digital pressure cooker is its diversity in cooking foods.

Digital pressure cookers can be a regular pressure cooker that is digitalized or categorized as a multi-functional cooker. The multi-functional cookers are the most sought after now as they can do more with food.

Multi-cookers have a range of options when it comes to cooking. It can steam food, sear, simmer, cook rice, stews, beans, chili, and some make yogurt. They are pressure cookers, slow cookers, and more wrapped up in one, making them a wise investment.

How Do They Work?


Multi-cookers work differently according to which application you are using them for. Like a pressure cooker, they use a manual pressure-cooking method. However, the specialized modes are just settings with pressure levels and predetermined times.

Like a pressure cooker, this device reduces the cooking times of most foods. For example, beans that take 30 minutes to two hours to cook using a stovetop method is completed in 10-20 minutes with a pressure cooker.

If the lid is removed, the device works like most pots. You can use it to sear food prior to braising or stewing, or to steam foods. As a slow cooker, the contents are held at a temperature that is low enough allowing it to double as this function. Although most people don’t use it for this reason anymore, it is still available.

Since the multi-cooker can hold lower temperatures, it can also be used to create yogurt.

How Do I Use It?

There are many ways to use a digital pressure cooker, depending on what you are making. Pre-sets help you, but even using these have their limitations.

Pressure Cooker Mode

Like a pressure cooker, this device has many pre-sets. If you are a beginner, they are great at guiding you to a meal with decent results. However, some people find them confusing because there are so many variables to consider.

For example, one user made a comment on the intricacies of cooking rice with this device. They said the cooker touts perfect rice each time. The rice mode is supposed to detect the moisture in the cooker and food. Then, it adjusts the pressure levels and heat-based on its real-time information.

However, the pre-set only works while using basic white rice. Different types would require manual settings. It also apparently doesn’t factor in water type, personal preference, etc. It is only if you eat one type of rice that the pre-sets are useful. Otherwise, you are continually adjusting it.

Steam Mode

Steam Mode

Recipe variations, local conditions, ingredients, and desired outcome factor into your choice in temperature, time, and pressure levels. While it sounds cumbersome, once you get used to it, you learn what levels work and which don’t.

Also, the benefits of steam mode allow the element to go at full temperature as there is no danger is burning water to the bottom of the pot. For foods that are steam, they should be held in the steamer basket whereas thicker dishes the cooker will reduce the heat intensity to prevent food from burning to the bottom.

In steaming, add water to the multi-cooker insert. Add the steaming rack and turn on the machine. Set the pre-set to the steaming mode which will have the heating element go at full temperature. This will allow the water to boil quickly to produce enough steam to cook what’s inside.

The lid will go on, but not lock. Locking it allows it to be a pressure cooker as steam is trapped inside. For steaming, it doesn’t work this way.

Food can also be brought to a boil with the lid off and stirring frequently to prevent burning. Once boiling, place the lid back on and allow it to finish. Once it has reached pressure, only a little bit of heat is required to keep it there.

Searing Mode

For searing, you will need to cook in small batches as the cookers are narrow and tall. Wait a bit longer for trapped moisture to be cooked off to allow searing to begin.

Yoghurt Mode

Since this device can use low heat temperature for slow cooking, you can use the same feature to create yogurt. Many models scald the milk for the transition to incubation.

Monitor the temperature of the milk with an instant-read thermometer. When the milk cools, it’s possible to kill the starter, thereby ruining the batch if the milk is too hot.

After incubation, the temperature needs to be between 110-115°F for best results.

Slow Cooker Mode

As a slow cooker, you can do a set it and forget it. However, most cooks have discovered that the food isn’t quite as tasty as when you stew and braise meats. Also, experts say that a pressure cooker will make a better version of the meal in a fraction of the time.

Which Ones Work the Best?


There are several to choose from, and which one you select will depend on what you cook and what your needs are. Some have multiple features and functions. However, if you aren’t used to them or take the time to learn them, it can leave you confused. Select one based on your cooking experience for the best results.

This multi-functional digital cooker has received the most accolades for its features and diversity. It is a 10-in-one cooker: slow cooker, pressure cooker, sous vide, sterilizer, sauté pan, yoghurt maker, cake baker, food warmer, and steamer.

The preheating times are more efficient by 20% and speed up cooking times by up to 70%. This cooker allows you to save the cooking temperatures and times of your frequently cooked meals, taking out all the guesswork and customization processes when making your favorite meals!

It has advanced heat protection. This cooker has a large capacity, so it’s perfect for large families, batch cooking, and weekly meal prep.

  • Available in 5.7L and 7.6L capacity
  • 28 program settings
  • Saves up to five frequently used recipes
  • Shows the progress of food
  • Over 11 different safety features
  • Some people found it challenging at first to program for meals

The Tefal Cook4Me is a digital pressure cooker and will allow you to make tasty meals. It comes equipped with 100 built-in recipes and a pressure-cooking capability.

The recipes guide you with a series of steps on how to cook certain foods. The digital screen instructs you every step of the way eliminating the guesswork out of cooking your favorite meals.

The Cook4Me app has 200 more recipes. It also has a section to write down your shopping list and what is in your fridge.

  • 6L capacity is great for batch cooking or large families
  • Modes include steaming, gentle cooking, browning, pressure cooking, and keeping
  • Cooks according to weight
  • Easy to clean
  • Lid is a bit heavy and awkward
  • Instructions are not entirely clear

This device ranks close to the Instant Pot Pro in terms of customer satisfaction. Instead of a 10-in-1, this is a 14-in-one. It is a little smaller in capacity (5L) over other models but works very well.

This cooker will allow you to stew, steam, do soups, poach, roast, bake, bread rise, fish, rice, sauté/brown, slow cook, do pasta, and create yogurt. It comes with 17 preset functions.

It acts as a slow cooker by allowing you to use both high and low settings for your food. You can select when it cooks as it has a 24-hour timer. The pot is easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

  • 5L capacity
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can be used for multiple methods of cooking saving counter space
  • Doesn’t caramelize food or brown the bottom of the food
  • Not for advanced chefs- too basic
  • Max temperature is 160°C

This crockpot has a scheduled meal function that establishes optimal cooking based on food type, quantity, and preferred mealtime. You can set the timer for 12 hours in advance.

It has a gentle, slow heat and is perfect for stews, meat joints, pudding, cakes, and soups. It also has both manual and automatic settings. It will allow you to customize it further to reflect your tastes. This cooker also comes with a countdown timer so you know when your meal will be ready.

  • 6 L feeds over seven people
  • Can be used in the oven
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Cool-touch handles
  • No recipe book

This multi-cooker has a 7.5-liter capacity. It comes with an air fryer with TenderCrisp Technology. The Ninja Foodi will allow you to use it as an air crisp, pressure cooker, slow cook, sear/saute, steam, roast/bake, yogurt, dehydrate and grill.

It has a two-tier rack that is reversible and dishwasher safe with a 4.7-liter Cook and Crisp basket.

The two-tiered rack will allow you to layer ingredients and cook them at the same time. You can also cook food, then quickly crisp them with the air fryer.

  • Large capacity
  • Air fryer
  • Dishwasher safe
  • A bit on the large size
  • Only good for large families

The Instant Pot Duo Nova adjusts pressure, time, and temperature to cook food quickly. It has seven appliances in one with an electric pressure cook, steamer, sauté pan, slow cooker, food warmer, rice cooker, and makes yogurt.

The programs allow you to select from meat/stew, soup, chili/bean, simmer or sauté, porridge, rice, steam, keep warm, manual, pressure cook, yogurt, poultry, and multigrain.

This cooker is very intuitive as it remembers how you prefer to cook and which programs you frequently use. The LCD shows cooking progress, so you know when your meal is finished.

The material for the inner pot is food-grade stainless steel and includes a tri-ply bottom to create even cooking. The lid automatically seals the pot, making it ideal for pressure cooking. It releases with a push of a quick-release button creating a minimal mess.

  • Large capacity
  • Intuitive functions
  • Consistent results
  • Meat/stew program prepares beef ranging from rare to well-done
  • Poultry smart cooks tender chicken until it is moist- won’t overcook
  • Recipes are in imperial measurements
  • Poor instructions

The Pressure King Pro is an eight-in-one multi-cooker and is made for couples. It cooks 90% quicker than other cookware, and meals are cooked in minutes. You can use it as a slow cooker and have a UK recipe book.

It has eight presets, a 24-hour timer, quick reheat, and a keep-warm function.

This cooker is safe to use with a locking lid that opens when pressure is released. It audibly alarms when the lid is not closed properly. The pot additionally wipes clean and is dishwasher safe.

  • Great for small families or couples
  • 3-litre capacity
  • Safe to use
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Fussy to clean
  • Confusing to use

Digital pressure cookers are great when meal planning or when you just want to set it and forget it. Many come with a delay timer that allows you to add ingredients, set your configurations, and use the timer. It makes cooking very simple.

The capacities range from three liters to eight liters, making them diverse and ideal for any sized meal. Whether it is just a couple or a large family gathering, these cookers can accommodate any sized meal.

They are also incredibly diverse. Many are all-in-one, so they end up replacing a plethora of other appliances saving you room and counter space.

Appliance Reviewer