If you’re new to cooking, you might think that a pressure cooker and a saucepan are almost the same thing. Both of these kitchen tools are used to boil water and cook food, so how different could they be? However, there is more to these two pieces of equipment than meets the eye.
Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different types of cooking tasks.
So let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between a pressure cooker vs. saucepan: Reducing cooking time is the primary advantage of using a pressure cooker rather than a saucepan.
This is because the high-pressure environment created inside a pressure cooker speeds up the rate at which water boils (and thus also speeds up the rate at which food cooks).
The fast boiling also helps in reducing natural moisture from foods like lentils or chickpeas by about 25%. Moreover, this additional moisture reduction leads to further reduction in overall cook time when compared to using just a saucepan alone.
What’s the difference between a pressure cooker and a saucepan?
In terms of size, a pressure cooker is about 3 times bigger than a saucepan. So this is the very first difference you’ll notice between the two kitchen tools. Another significant difference is that a pressure cooker has a locking lid, while a saucepan does not.
This means that a pressure cooker is designed to build up pressure inside the vessel, while a saucepan is not. Because of this pressure-building ability, a pressure cooker must be used with a pressure regulator.
On the other hand, saucepans don’t require any additional equipment—they can be used without a regulator.
Pressure cookers and saucepans also have different target audiences—a pressure cooker is recommended for new cooks and people who don’t have a lot of time to spare, while a saucepan is better for intermediate and expert cooks.
Cooking Tips For Pressure Cooker vs. Saucepan
– Pressure cookers: Pressure cookers are preferred for foods that require long cooking times, like legumes, grains, and meat. These foods could take hours to cook in a regular pot, but will take only 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker.
– Saucepans: Saucepans are great for cooking short-duration dishes like eggs, sauces, beans, and grains. – Cooking times: Also, keep in mind that cooking times in a pressure cooker will differ from those on a regular pot. The reason for this is that pressure cookers cook food 10-20% faster than regular pots.
– Pressure release: When cooking meat, you can use a pressure release, which is a way to let out the pressure inside the pot without removing the lid.
Just press the “quick release” button to release the pressure. – Cooking with steam: When cooking vegetables or fish, you can use the steam option, which creates a steaming effect inside the pot to retain more nutrients in your food.
Food preparation: The food that you put in the pot should be about 2-inches above the base of the pot. Moreover, the food should be cut into small pieces to ensure that it cooks evenly.
Cleaning: The best way to clean a pressure cooker is to soak it in warm water while it’s still warm (no more than 10 minutes). – Safe to use: Pressure cookers are considered to be safe to use, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Regular maintenance: You should clean and maintain your pressure cooker regularly to keep it in good condition.
This will also increase the lifespan of your pressure cooker. – Airtight seal: Lastly, make sure that the airtight seal is airtight. This will help to build up pressure inside the pot and will also reduce the chances of any spillage.
Pros of using a pressure cooker
-Cooking efficiency: The most obvious advantage of using a pressure cooker is the cooking efficiency of it. The food cooks more quickly by about 70% than it would otherwise.
This is because the food is cooked with steam inside the closed vessel. – Health benefits: Another important advantage of using a pressure cooker is the fact that it preserves the nutritional value of foods more than a regular pot.
Reduces energy consumption: Another advantage of using a pressure cooker is that it reduces energy consumption when compared to a regular pot. – Saves money: Finally, you can save money by using a pressure cooker, as it reduces the food bill.
Cons of using a pressure cooker
– Require careful handling: You must handle a pressure cooker with care (and keep in mind the safety tips outlined above). Otherwise, you could end up with an explosion in your kitchen.
– Can cause burns: If you don’t use a pressure cooker properly, you can get burned by the scalding steam that comes out of it when the pressure inside reaches a certain level. –
Requires regular cleaning: Another drawback of using a pressure cooker is that you need to clean it regularly (at least once every week). Otherwise, you might end up with hard-to-remove stains.
– Not suitable for cooking everything: You can’t cook everything in a pressure cooker.
Only certain types of food are suitable for cooking in a pressure cooker. – Requires regular maintenance: You need to regularly maintain your pressure cooker. You can do this by washing it with water and soap.
Pros of using a saucepan
– Versatility: A saucepan can be used for cooking almost everything, even cooking meat and fish.
– Safe: A saucepan is a safe cooking vessel for people who need to use less water and want to avoid the risk of spills. – Affordable: A saucepan is an affordable cooking tool that doesn’t cost you a fortune.
Easy to use: A saucepan is easy to use. All you need to do is heat some water over a stove until it boils and then add the food. – Easy to clean: A saucepan is also easy to clean because you can use a dishwasher for this purpose.
Cons of using a saucepan
– Not as efficient: Cooking in a saucepan takes a lot of energy, and this energy is lost in the form of heat.
– Can cause burns: A saucepan can cause burns if you don’t use it properly.
– Can’t be used to preserve nutrients: A saucepan can’t be used to preserve nutrients in food, unlike a pressure cooker.
As you can see, both a pressure cooker and a saucepan have their own strengths and weaknesses.
A pressure cooker can speed up the cooking process and retain the nutritional value in foods, but it requires careful handling.
A saucepan is easier to handle and can be used for cooking almost all types of foods, but it doesn’t speed up the cooking process as much as a pressure cooker does.