Cooking Equipment

Pressure Cooker Vs. Air Fryer: Which One Should You Buy?

4 Mins read

Discover the ultimate kitchen gadgets that promise efficiency and delicious results – the pressure cooker and the air fryer. Delve into the world of culinary magic as we explore the unique cooking methods of each appliance and the types of recipes they excel at. Whether you crave crispy delights with little oil or tender, quick-cooked meals, the pressure cooker vs. air fryer comparison will help you decide which kitchen companion suits your cooking needs best.

Deciding Which One Is Best For You

Two of the most popular kitchen gadgets are the pressure cooker and the air fryer. These kitchen gadgets cook food in specific ways and are known for their efficiency and time-saving abilities. The biggest piece of information to know when using them, though, is what kinds of recipes you can make in them and what the cooking methods each use will do to your food. This article reviews the pressure cooker vs. air fryer comparison so that you understand exactly when to use each.

When to Use an Air Fryer

An air fryer is a versatile tool that revolutionizes how we enjoy fried foods, eliminating the need for copious amounts of fat and oil. The term “fry” is used in quotes because air fryers employ a different technique. Here’s how it works: place your food in a perforated basket and set it inside the air fryer. As the magic unfolds, hot air circulates around the food, embracing it in a convection-style heat. Every surface of your food gets enveloped in this hot air, resulting in the irresistibly crispy texture we crave.

These quick and efficient culinary tools deliver delectable “fried” favorites, like succulent chicken wings and golden French fries. The air fryer’s compact size makes it a breeze to heat up rapidly and perfectly cook your dishes. However, it’s important to note that air fryers typically serve up to four people at most due to their size. So, if you’re cooking for a larger group, get ready to embrace cooking in small batches and delight everyone with the tantalizing crispiness only an air fryer can achieve.

An air fryer that functions well and can hold a good amount of food is the Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer. This air fryer has a sleek grey finish, allowing it to fit any kitchen color scheme. It heats up to 450 degrees for highly crispy food and a rapid cook time. It also has seven built-in cooking modes, with everything from air frying to dehydrating. The fryer is easy to use and has one-touch programming for a smooth and efficient frying experience. 

Ninja Max XL Air Fryer
Ninja AF161 Max XL Air Fryer

When to Use a Pressure Cooker

How a pressure cooker works is very unique. You put in the food and liquid you want to cook and then close the lid. The cooker will begin to build up steam. This process builds up pressure within the cooking chamber, which cooks your food very quickly. This process mainly affects the water in your food, boiling it rapidly, which causes a rapid cook time. Pressure cookers are so effective because they raise the water’s boiling point to heat foods quickly at a higher temperature threshold. 

Pressure Cookers are very efficient due to how quickly they can cook items. Take, for example, a tough cut of meat such as oxtail. This cut takes hours in a traditional method of cooking. With a pressure cooker, you can reduce the cooking time to 45-50 minutes. It is truly remarkable the speed a pressure cooker can give you in your kitchen. Pressure cookers can be tricky to master, though. They require timing and an understanding of how they cook, especially when cooking proteins. Proteins often become overcooked and tough to eat, so practice is key with one. 

A popular pressure cooker on the market is the Presto 6-Qt Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker. This cooker has a 6-qt capacity to hold a good amount of whatever food you want to cook within it. A cover-lock feature alerts you that there is pressure within the cooker so that you are safe when using it as well. Lastly, a pressure regulator helps you maintain your desired cook setting so that consistent heat and pressure are applied throughout the cooking process. 

Presto 6 quart pressure cooker
Presto 6 quart pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Vs. Air Fryer: Comparison

The biggest difference between a pressure cooker and an air fryer is the types of recipes and food you will be cooking with each of them. Pressure cookers are known for being able to break down meats into delicious meals in a short amount of time. They are also great for cooking tough vegetables or steaming rice in a concise amount of time. But the types of food you cook in a pressure cooker would not do well in an air fryer due to their water content. The whole point of using a pressure cooker is to utilize the moisture within the food to heat and cook it extremely fast. It will not create crispy food but is excellent for tender and fully cooked items. 

Pressure cooker

On the other hand, the air fryer is all about dry heat methods when cooking. Placing large chunks of protein in this machine would only leave a seared exterior and a raw interior that is tough and inedible. Smaller pieces of food that can be heated through quickly and that you want to be crisp should go into an air fryer. Also, any foods you want to roast or dehydrate can go into an air fryer. 

Both of these tools are quicker alternatives to using an oven. They are also versatile with what you can cook in them within the recipe outcome you are looking for. For example, you can quickly steam veg or heat small chunks of meat in a broth with a pressure cooker. And an air fryer will get food crispier in less time than an oven. The best way to look at these kitchen gadgets is to see them as cooking mediums for a specific type of recipe. Both can be placed on a kitchen countertop and can be a great addition to any home kitchen. Knowing these key differences will help you make an ultimate decision on which to use. 

Pressure cooker vs. air fryer
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About author
Ray Delucci is a chef and content creator with over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has worked managing restaurants, in food manufacturing and food product development. He is also the creator of Line Cook Thoughts, a podcast and social media brand focused on sharing the thoughts of everyday cooks in the food world. He is currently located in the Greater Chicago Area.
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