So, what makes a rice cooker different from a pressure cooker? Can we use a pressure cooker in the same way we use a rice cooker to prepare food? Which kitchen appliance is a better buy?
A rice cooker may be very similar to a pressure cooker in several ways. For instance, they both use steam, look almost alike, and have incredible cooking speeds than most conventional cooking methods. But they have some significant differences too.
In this post, I will shed some light on the rice cooker vs pressure cooker debate and hopefully provide satisfactory answers as well.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
Let me begin by explaining what pressure cookers entail. They consist of lids that we can easily lock and seal. These seals contain rubber linings that help block the steam from escaping the cooker. This way, pressure levels inside the cookers remain constant.
Additionally, the pressure cookers have sensors that notify us of the internal pressure status. The cooking process in pressure cookers is more advanced and efficient than in rice cookers.
Types of Pressure Cookers
There are also different types of pressure cookers categorized by type and functionality. When we classify them by type, pressure cookers can be:
1st Generation Pressure Cookers
Older types with limited features and use a weight modified valve that releases pressure through a whistle-like sound.
2nd Generation Pressure Cookers
Modern and improved models with spring valves and pressure indicators. They also have a pressure control dial that reduces the noises experienced in 1st generation types.
Electric Pressure Cookers
Have advanced features and high-end technologies such as Instant pot and Crockpot, etc. They use electricity as their primary energy source with spring-loaded pressure valves, pre-programmed microchips, and automated functions like timers.
Single/Multi Purpose Pressure Cookers
Besides, there exist single-purpose and multi-purpose pressure cookers. Single-purpose pressure cookers are designed to provide dedicated pressure without additional settings. Multi-purpose pressure cookers have added functions and can act as slow cookers, rice cookers, or steamers, etc.
Types of food to cook in a Pressure cooker
Using a pressure cooker, we can cook almost any kind of food. I prefer using a pressure cooker for preparing harder foods such as beans or chickpea in the shortest time. Besides that, I use it for meat, chicken, beef stew, lentils, seafood, rice, vegetables, and even cakes!
What is a Rice Cooker?
I have owned a rice cooker for some time now, and there are a few things I’ve picked up while using it. This kitchen appliance features a cooking bowl, a thermostat, and a power source. Its automated functionality enables it to cook rice and a few other related foods quickly.
Its thermostat manages the heat source as well as cooking temperature.
Types of Rice Cooker
There are various types of electric rice cookers on the market, but I usually classify them in four categories, including:
Standard Rice Cookers
Simple to operate rice cookers with a detachable power cord and non-stick pan for easier cleaning. They also switch immediately to a warning mode when cooking is ready.
Improved Rice Cookers
Have options to cook two different rice options with steam adding, extended warming, and digital timer features. These are mostly under 50 dollars range.
Multi functional Rice Cookers
They have improved LCD controls, timers, and microcomputer technology. Have non-stick pan, detachable lid, and retractable power cords. These are mainly under 100 dollars price range.
Induction Heat Rice Cookers
The best rice cookers with higher and uniform heat. Have settings for brown, sushi, and jasmine rice, etc., with prolonged warming features. These are commonly under 200 dollars price span.
Types of Food to Cook in a Rice Cooker
While we may think that a rice cooker is just for rice, it’s quite surprising the types of food you can make using this kitchen appliance. They include breakfast foods such as eggs and oatmeal, whole meals and side dishes such as steamed meat and veggies, snacks and desserts, as well as grains, including rice, risotto, grits, etc.
However, we can only achieve all these by using a multifunctional rice cooker. Regular rice cookers are single-function, and may not be ideal for preparing your favorite snack
Rice Cooker Vs Pressure Cooker: The Main Differences
Well, after looking at each of these two appliances, let me narrow down on the main differences between them:
Use of Liquid (Water Ratio)
Pressure cookers Use Less Liquid Than Rice Cookers – Stand-alone rice cookers can’t maintain pressure, and that’s why we need to add more water in our recipes. Pressure cookers only require a 1:1 rice to water ratio, while rice cookers may require a 1:2 rice to water ratio.
No. of Functions
Pressure Cookers Have More Functions Than Rice Cookers – Higher tier pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot Lux has multiple functions such as pressure cook, slow cook, steam, safety lock, overheat protection, etc (for more details check rice cooker vs instant pot). Standard rice cookers have fewer built-in features, such as timers, delay starts, and steam.
More Recipes in a Pressure Cooker than Rice Cooker – Since a pressure cooker has diverse functionalities, it can cook a wide variety of recipes. A rice cooker will mostly use steam to prepare a limited number of foods.
The Rubber Seal
Pressure Cookers have Rubber Seals That Lack in Rice Cookers – The rubber seals prevent steam or pressure loss. On the contrary, stand-alone rice cookers don’t require these seals to function.
Pressure Cookers Sterilize While Rice Cookers Don’t – Most advanced pressure cooker models have a sterilization function against most bacteria. Some rice cookers have slight sterilization properties but can’t match that offered by pressure cookers.
Pressure Cookers are Relatively Expensive Than Rice Cookers – smaller-sized pressure cookers such as Vinod V-1.5L retailing at $36 on Amazon. More advanced models like the Instant Pot Smart Wi-Fi costs up to $129. However, conventional rice cookers are as cheap as $20 per unit.
So, between a rice cooker vs pressure cooker, which one should I buy? Well, most of us will prefer purchasing a pressure cooker due to its superiority and multiple functionalities. However, it all comes down to how frequently they’re used in the kitchen.
Both of these appliances have incredible features that play unique roles. For those of us who love cooking rice, purchasing a rice cooker will be an excellent choice. However, if it’s about faster cooking times and trying out different recipes, then a pressure cooker will make a fabulous purchase.