Both rice cooker and pressure cooker are being used in our households widely for quite some time. Between rice cooker versus pressure cooker, the latter has been around for more time. The key difference between rice cooker versus pressure cooker is that rice cookers are run by electricity, whereas pressure cookers are run by heat converted from natural gas. Then again, the electricity run pressure cookers are known as instant pot, but there isn’t any rice cooker run by gas.
Recently, we’ve seen a lot of our readers are discussing which one is better among the two, and we have to answer a lot of questions related to this daily. That’s why we decided to dedicate an entire article to this debate on rice cooker versus pressure cooker.
In this article, you’ll find answers to a lot of frequently asked questions like which one is better between a rice cooker and a pressure cooker, which is more suitable for you, how each of the functions, the advantages, and disadvantages between them, etc. Once you decide, make sure to check the rice cooker and pressure cooker options.
So, let’s get started!
What is a Rice Cooker?
As most of you may know, the rice cooker is one of the most used kitchen appliances these days. It’s an electronic appliance, and in this appliance, electrical energy is converted into heat energy, which in turn cooks the food ingredients provided.
A rice cooker comes with lots of benefits, and there are some drawbacks as well. We’ll get to those later. To understand those, we first need to know how many types of rice cookers you can find out there.
Dividing rice cookers according to their type, is a bit confusing. At first, we can divide them based on the direction of heat. If you get a traditional or regular rice cooker, you’re most likely to get an appliance with a single heating coil at the bottom, and the machine provides heat to the rice from the bottom only. This type of rice cooker is okay for cooking rice, but you won’t be able to cook other varieties of food, as the bottom part of the food may get burnt. Then again, even if you cook rice in these, you’ll see that the bottom of the rice is getting tough and crusty. While a lot of people like this, many do not.
Then there are the Jar-o-mat rice cookers. These rice cookers also come with a single heating coil at the bottom. However, unlike the traditional rice cookers, these rice cookers can provide heat from all of the sides. In fact, there are rice cookers that provide heat from the lid as well! The Jar-o-mat rice cookers come with better sealing than the traditional ones. While the traditional rice cookers feature transparent glass lid, these ones feature robust lids with a rubber gasket to insulate the medium better.
Again, when it comes to the heating method, there are two types of rice cookers. The traditional heating type is non-intuitive, and there’s the induction heating technology. The rice cookers that cook with induction heating technology also comes with heat sensors and an integrated microcomputer of micom. The micom reads the data related to the heat and takes intelligent decisions that keep the rice cooker at the temperature required by the food. This is why these are also called smart rice cookers.
Finally, rice cookers can be divided according to their programmability. The standard rice cookers come with two programs only. There’s the cook button that lets the user cook a dish for a certain period of time, and then there’s the ‘Warm’ mode. In the ‘Warm’ mode, the rice cooker keeps the cooked food warm for a certain period of time that varies from model to model.
Then again, there’s the programmable rice cooker. These rice cookers come with integrated micom, which allows the users to put these on different modes, where each mode can cook a different type of food. The best programmable rice cookers will offer you different modes that can cook rice, porridge, egg, chicken, soup, and will let you control the pressure, temperature, etc. factors of the rice cooker.
If you’re willing to spend some money on getting the best rice cooker, you’ll be able to get the smart rice cookers with induction heating technology. These are simply the best. With these, you’ll be able to cook a variety of food items perfectly. However, these do come at a high price. You’ll get these at a price range of around $250. On the other hand, if you want a rice cooker that can cook rice and some basic food items only, you can get the standard rice cookers that come around $20!
How Does a Rice Cooker Function?
A rice cooker basically functions by converting electrical energy to heat energy, but I’m sure you know this. If you look closely, you’ll find that a rice cooker isn’t actually a cooker, but it functions more like a steamer. Why do we think that? Here’s why:
If you look closely at the functions of a rice cooker, you’ll see that the aim of the rice cooker is to convert the water or any liquid in the cooking medium to steam. Once the entire water turns to steam, the rice cooker keeps on providing heat for a certain time. In this time, the steam moisturizes and cooks the food inside the rice cooker.
If you’re talking about a standard rice cooker, the function of it is to provide heat constantly. It will keep on heating for a given amount of time, and it might overcook or undercook some food. On the other hand, if you’re considering an advanced rice cooker with lots of functions, you’ll see that that one doesn’t provide heat blindly. It assesses the situation through the heat sensors, computes the necessities through the micom, and creates an environment for perfect cooking.
What Can You Cook in a Rice Cooker?
Although the name suggests that you can cook only rice in this kitchen appliance, you can actually cook a lot of things in a rice cooker. A rice cooker can be used for cooking porridge, egg, quinoa, steamed vegetables and meat, cooking pasta, spaghetti, noodles, and even for baking a cake!
Advantages of a Rice Cooker:
Easy to Use:
This is one of the best things about a rice cooker. The Rice cooker is one of the easiest kitchen appliances that you can find. If you’re using the standard rice cookers, you’ll be able to get things done with the press of a button. Then again, if you’re using a programmable rice cooker, you’ll find that the features are surprisingly intuitive. The best part about these advanced rice cookers is that they don’t overcomplicate things.
Can Cook Rice Perfectly:
Although rice cookers can cook a lot of different food items, it’s true that they were designed and developed to cook rice. Even if you’re using the cheapest rice cooker out there, rest assured that you’ll get perfectly cooked rice. Then again, the advanced rice cookers come with different options that allow the user to cook different types of rice.
Rice cookers are more affordable than pressure cookers. While you need to spend at least $70 for getting a decent electric pressure cooker, you’ll get a standard yet small rice cooker for $20 only! However, there are expensive rice cookers as well. These appliances offer a lot of different features for the extra price.
If you’re willing to spend some extra cash, you’ll be able to get a rice cooker with some amazing features. These programmable rice cookers show the timer and different stats on a digital LCD display, and they allow the users to pick different modes for cooking different food items. Then again, the pressure level and temperature of these rice cookers can be controlled. Another amazing feature of these rice cookers is the delay function, which allows the user to set the start time of cooking.
Comes at a Lot of Different Models:
As the rice cookers have been around for a longer time, there are a lot of manufacturers and tons of different models. No matter what your budget is, you’ll find a decent rice cooker for yourself.
Disadvantages of a Rice Cooker:
Although a rice cooker offers a lot of amazing features, it also comes with some disadvantages. These are:
Slow Cooking Time:
No matter what you cook in a rice cooker, you’ll need a considerable amount of time for that. Even if you’re cooking rice in a rice cooker, you’ll need 20 minutes, at least. Then again, cooking brown rice in its dedicated mode takes around 50 minutes. The only thing that you can cook fast is pasta, noodles, and spaghetti. You’ll need from four to ten minutes to cook these.
Can’t Cook Every Food Item Perfectly:
Another fact is, although you can cook a lot of different varieties of food, you won’t be able to cook every food item perfectly. Then again, if you’re using a standard rice cooker, cooking food items other than rice will become very difficult as you won’t be able to control the temperature and the time of cooking directly.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker acts more or less like a rice cooker, but there is some striking difference between the two. Unlike the rice cooker, the pressure cooker cooks at a temperature higher than the boiling point. Then again, the pressure cooker also applies pressure to the food ingredient. The combination of these two factors allows the pressure cooker to cook in a shorter span of time than the rice cooker. Before we get into how a pressure cooker functions, let’s take a look at the different types of pressure cookers.
Pressure cookers can be of two types. There are stovetop pressure cookers that are also known as the traditional pressure cookers. These pressure cookers use the heat energy converted from gas, and these don’t offer any additional features. These are like the standard rice cookers, you can only cook with them, and you have to determine for how long you’ll cook on these.
Then again, there are the electric pressure cookers that are also known as instant pots. Unlike the traditional pressure cookers, the electric ones are easier to use, can cook more varieties of food items, and they offer tons of features and modes as well.
Then again, you’ll have to control the pressure of a pressure cooker manually. Once you heat the stovetop pressure cooker up, the pressure will gradually increase. Once the pressure reaches the maximum, you’ll need to decrease the heat to decrease the pressure. On the other hand, you won’t have to face this problem with the instant pots.
If you’re considering getting a pressure cooker at an affordable price, we highly recommend the stovetop pressure cookers, and there’s a reason for that. If you get an electric pressure cooker at a low cost, you won’t get a lot of features. If you get a stovetop pressure cooker, you can normally cook in that as well. However, you can’t cook in an electric pressure cooker without putting the lid off. However, if you get the high-end pressure cookers, you’ll get the modes for cooking normally and for cooking other food items.
How Does a Pressure Cooker Function?
The main principle through which rice cooker functions is by using steam at high pressure. Unlike the rice cooker, all the pressure cookers are tightly sealed so that the heat and the steam can get trapped inside it. As the amount of steam keeps rising, so does the pressure inside the pressure cooker. This results in two things.
Firstly, the increase in pressure also increases the boiling point of the water. As we’ve said earlier, the pressure cooker cooks at a higher temperature than the boiling point. So, if the boiling point is 100 degrees Celsius, the pressure cooker will cook at a temperature of 120 degrees. However, once the pressure inside the pressure cooker increases, the boiling point will eventually become 130 degrees Celsius. Cooking at a higher temperature allows the pressure cooker to cook faster than the rice cooker.
Then again, the increased pressure forces the liquid to cook food faster. As the pressure gets higher, the liquid present inside the cooking medium is forced to enter the food much faster, which in turn cooks the food faster. This is why a pressure cooker is very optimum for cooking food items such as meat.
What Can You Cook in a Pressure Cooker?
The advantage of a pressure cooker is that you can cook almost anything in it. While the pressure cooker is mostly used for cooking beans, meat, stews, and vegetables, you can cook almost anything in it. Plus, a pressure cooker cooks much faster than a rice cooker. This is mostly because the pressure cooker cooks at a higher temperature and a higher pressure. Unlike a rice cooker, a pressure cooker can cook rice in less than 10 minutes!
Advantages of a Pressure Cooker:
A pressure cooker offers tons of advantages. Here are some of them:
Cooks Really Fast:
Unlike a rice cooker that takes a lot of time to cook something, a pressure cooker can cook even the heaviest food items in a matter of hours. Due to the heavy pressure and high temperature, the pressure cooker is much more efficient.
Can Cook Tons of Varieties of Food Items:
While the rice cooker can cook some varieties of food items, the pressure cooker can cook almost anything you throw at it. If you get the advanced and programmable electric pressure cookers, you’ll be able to cook anything without any hassle at all! However, if you’re using the traditional stovetop pressure cookers, you need to have a good idea about the cooking time.
Easy to Clean:
The pressure cooker is easy to clean. You can dismantle different parts of the pressure cooker very easily, and you don’t need any tool to do that. In fact, a lot of pressure cookers are dishwasher free as well. This makes cleaning very easy.
If you’re willing to spend the extra money, you can buy the programmable pressure cookers for yourself. The programmable pressure cookers can cook a lot of different varieties of food items without any hassle. Plus, these pressure cookers allow the users to control the pressure level and the temperature of the cooking medium manually, which is great if you want to personalize your cooking experience. On the other hand, if you want an automatic result, you can use the various cooking modes provided by these pressure cookers. These are great if you don’t want to take any hassle and want to get your food cooked with the touch of a button.
Disadvantages of a Pressure Cooker:
Although there are a lot of amazing features to a pressure cooker, there are some drawbacks that you just can’t avoid. Here they are:
Huge Energy Consumption:
If you use the stovetop pressure cookers, you’ll be able to get away with a lower energy consumption level. However, if you use the electric pressure cookers, you’ll have to pay a lot of electricity bills. This is definitely a huge drawback if you’re bent on saving some money.
Hard to Learn:
The pressure cookers come with a learning curve. Unlike the rice cookers, you won’t be able to cook perfectly with a pressure cooker at the very first try, and if you’re using the stovetop pressure cookers, you’ll need to set the cooking time manually. If you’re new to cooking in a pressure cooker, you’ll need a lot of experience before you get it right.
The worst thing about a pressure cooker is that it’s dangerous. A lot of pressure cookers build into the pressure cookers, and if you open them accidentally before letting the pressurized steam out, you’ll get accidental burns. Even if you’re using electric pressure cookers or instant pots, there’s still a chance of facing this accidentally.
Differences Between Rice Cooker versus Pressure Cooker:
Now that you know everything there is to know about a rice cooker and the pressure cooker, let’s line up the differences between rice cooker versus pressure cooker, so it’s easier for us to determine which is better:
The difference in Cooking Style:
While a rice cooker cooks by steaming, a pressure cooker cooks by steaming at very high pressure. This allows the pressure cookers to cook very fast compared to the rice cookers. While a rice cooker may take 20 minutes to cook rice, you can get that done under 10 minutes if you’re cooking in a pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooker can Cook A Greater Variety:
A pressure cooker can cook a greater variety of food items than a rice cooker. If you need a kitchen appliance that can cook a lot of different food items, you should go for the pressure cooker.
Easy to Use:
The rice cooker is much easier to use than the pressure cooker. While you need to determine the cooking time manually for the pressure cooker, you can get your food cooked with the tap of a button in a rice cooker. Even if you’re taking an electric pressure cooker, you’ll need to spend some time with it to get used to it. Simply put, you can expect a perfect pot of food with the rice cooker at the very first go, but the same can’t be said in the case of a pressure cooker.
Rice Cookers are More Affordable:
While there are cheap pressure cookers, we don’t recommend them. As we’ve said earlier, there’s always a risk with pressure cookers. If you get pressure cookers that don’t come with the robust build quality, the chances of an accident will only increase.
On the other hand, if you get a rice cooker, there will be no chances for any risk. So, you can get any rice cooker from any price range without any worries. In fact, you can get good rice cookers for a price of $20 even! If you’re lucky, you may even find a rice cooker around the $10 price mark!
This makes rice cookers extremely affordable. However, it must be noted that the cheap rice cookers won’t offer you any functions other than cooking and warming, but they will be enough for cooking rice and some simple food items.
Pressure Cookers are Risky:
As we’ve said before, pressure cookers operate through the pressure building inside the cooking medium. There have been a lot of accidents regarding pressure cookers where the users faced accidental burns. However, you won’t face anything of this kind if you’re using rice cookers.
Even if you’re using electric pressure cookers, there’s still a chance that you may suffer from such an accident. Although the level of risk is very low, it still exists.
Cooking Rice in a Pressure Cooker:
A pressure cooker can cook anything a lot faster than a rice cooker, and that includes rice itself. If you’re cooking standard white rice in a rice cooker, you’ll need to wait for about 20 minutes. However, if you’re looking forward to cooking brown rice, you’ll need to wait around 50 minutes.
On the other hand, it’s much easier to cook rice in a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker can cook your rice completely under 10 minutes even.
However, cooking time isn’t the only factor. If you’re considering the other factors that are at play here, you’ll see that the rice cooker is better. The rice cooker was designed for cooking rice; thus, it can provide better results when you’re cooking. Then again, the cooking experience is completely automatic in a rice cooker, which will make your experience even better!
So, rice cooker versus pressure cooker, which one is better for you?
As you can see, a pressure cooker offers faster cooking times and a greater variety of food items that can be cooked. At the same time, the pressure cooker is harder to use, more expensive, and it’s dangerous as well.
Simply put, the pressure cooker isn’t fit for day to day use. On the other hand, a rice cooker is a stealthier kitchen appliance that can’t cook a lot of different food items, but it’s easier to use, it consumes less energy, and it poses no risk!
So, we think that between rice cooker versus pressure cooker, rice cooker takes the crown if you want a kitchen appliance for cooking rice and for daily use. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something to cook different varieties of food with, the pressure cooker is the sure winner.
After all, this is what we think about the pressure cooker and rice cooker. Hopefully, this article was enough for you to understand which is better for you. However, if you’re still confused, you can try both pressure cooker and rice cooker for yourself so that you can decide for yourself!
Then again, if you can spare the money and the kitchen space, you can get both the rice cooker and the pressure cooker as it’ll get you the best of both worlds!