Pressure cooker vs air fryer: Which one should you choose?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 23, 2022

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Kitchen appliances are becoming more advanced. People are always looking for appliances that have a variety of functions, and the same can be said for cookware.

So, today I’ll break down the pressure cooker vs air fryer debate and give you the pros and cons of each!

Pressure cookers have been in the market for a long time now. On the other hand, air fryers have recently created a lot of hype.

Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

Both are similar yet different ways of cooking. So you’ll have questions like, “will an air fryer be healthier?” or “Can it replace a pressure cooker?”

If you have such questions, keep reading to see what it means to buy an air fryer or pressure cooker.

pressure-cooker-vs-airfryer

Pros and cons of a pressure cooker

Pros

  • It’s a healthy way to preserve nutrients. Steaming helps retain the nutrients compared to other cooking methods like frying.
  • The pressure can cook large quantities of food at once. You can add as many ingredients as you want to speed up the cooking process. It can cook in 1/3 the time of any other appliance.
  • Since it can hold all ingredients in one go, you also save energy. The quicker you cook, the lower your electricity bill.
  • Pressure cookers don’t require supervision. As a result, they’re simple to use. You can just put it on the stove and wait for the pressure to release automatically.

Cons

  • While it’s easy to use, monitoring the food can be difficult. The container has to be sealed to keep in the steam. So you can’t check how the food’s cooking. If you didn’t measure and add the ingredients, you’d have to start from scratch.
  • Pressure cookers are expensive.
  • If a pressure cooker has a malfunction like a broken sealing gasket, it can be very dangerous. The hot steam and the high pressure can harm people standing around the cooker.

Pros and cons of an air fryer

Pros

  • It’s easy to store due to its compact design.
  • It’s affordable.
  • With just a tablespoon of oil, air fryers can make your food crispy. Less oil also means reducing the amount of sodium and cholesterol in fried foods.
  • The rapid fanning technology quickly cooks your food. So it saves time in reheating and cooking.
  • Like the pressure cooker, the air fryer is efficient too. Its rapid mechanism cooks in record time and saves money on bills.

Cons

  • An affordable air fryer will be small in size. The holding capacity may not be enough for making meals for your family.
  • The air fryer cooks your food at 300-400 F. So you’ll have to watch it constantly during the cooking process. If you don’t understand the settings, you risk burning your food.
  • Less oil can affect the taste of the food. Cooking it for too long can also make the food taste dry. Since we’re used to the deep fryer, it can take a few tries to get used to the taste.

The key differences between a pressure cooker vs air fryer

By now, you have a basic idea of how each can benefit you. To better understand the pressure cooker vs air fryer debate, we also need to distinguish the key differences.

Cooking method

Both appliances cook your food at high temperatures. But the way they reach these temperatures is what makes them different.

Only foods that have liquid can be cooked in a pressure cooker. Other than oil, the liquid can be water or broth. Once the cooker is on the stove, the liquid starts boiling.

The steam from the boil stays sealed in this container to build up pressure. The pressure is released, and this high pressure is what cooks the food.

An air fryer comes with internal fanning technology, which gives out rapid and dry air. When the food is exposed to the heat from this air, it starts cooking. You only need a tablespoon of oil to bring the flavor out!

Capacity

There’s a wide variety of sizes available for the pressure cooker and air fryer.

Starting from 1 quart, pressure cookers can go as high as 35-40 quarts. That means a holding capacity of 22 liters.

An air fryer’s capacity can range anywhere from 1-16 quarts; the standard size measures at 3-5 quarts and can hold 2-4 liters.

Larger air fryers can be big enough to fry an entire chicken. But it doesn’t come close to the larger-than-life capacity of a pressure cooker.

Food

The capacity and method explain a lot about the kinds of food they cook.

Pressure cookers rely on steam. They require at least 1 or 2 cups of water to cook. So anything with water like rice, stews, and beans can be cooked in a pressure cooker.

As the name suggests, an air fryer is for cooking fried foods. It uses dry heat and oil to make the food crispier. This includes french fries, chicken nuggets, drumsticks, and so on.

Final verdict

The final verdict of the pressure cooker vs air fryer debate is that neither can replace the other. Both come with their own sets of advantages. So your choice will depend on what your needs are.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative for frying foods, then an air fryer is the way to go. Whereas if you want nutritional home-cooked meals, then a pressure cooker is the better option.

Both appliances provide effective ways of cooking your meals. So you can combine both instead of choosing one! This way, your meals will taste all the more delicious.

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.