Pressure Cooker vs Steamer


In this article, we will help you understand the differences of a pressure cooker vs steamer. Both cooking appliances use heated steam to cook your foods. However, they work in different manners, and they do have different benefits and weaknesses. Make sure that you understand their differences to choose the best cooking method.

The article below will explain to you about:

  • How pressure cookers and steamers work?
  • The pros and cons of a pressure cooker vs steamer, and
  • Which one is the best cooking method.
  • Pressure Cooker

    A pressure cooker is a cooking appliance designed to cook the food using high pressure and a small amount of water or broth in a sealed container. Pressure cookers are loved by many people because it cooks much more quickly than traditional cooking methods, preserves more nutrients, and is suitable for many types of dishes. Pressure cookers are available in stovetop and electric variants. See also: Pressure Cooker vs Airfryer.

    The pressure in a pressure cooker is created by boiling the water/broth and converting them into steam. The trapped steam causes the internal pressure to rise and the temperature to increase. According to Wikipedia, pressure cooking can be used to simulate the effects of long braising; nearly all foods that can be cooked in water-based liquids or steam can be cooked by pressure cooking.

    Nevertheless, a pressure cooker requires careful usage. You have to make sure that the container is sealed properly for the best results. After the cooking process is finished, do not open the lid immediately, as the high pressure may blow up. Instead, open the valve so that the internal pressure can be released slowly. Once the internal pressure is fully released, the lid can be opened safely.

    Pros of Pressure Cooker

    The first advantage of a pressure cooker vs steamer is that it can cook a large volume of food much more quickly. Pressure cookers are at least three times faster than traditional cooking methods, and sometimes they can be ten times faster when processing certain foods. A pressure cooker usually needs only about a minute for cooking leafy veggies like spinach and cabbage, a few minutes for carrots and peas, and ten minutes for large potatoes and beets.

    The next advantage of a pressure cooker is that it is much more versatile. It can cook various kinds of foods. It can cook veggies, meats, soups, and pulses. In addition, some pressure cookers are able to cook multiple foods at once, by using a container that has been divided into sections. Finally, pressure cookers are available in many sizes, but there are larger ones suitable for serving lots of people.

    Cons of Pressure Cooker

    The first disadvantage of a pressure cooker vs steamer is that it is not suitable for some specific foods. Included in this group are pasta, noodles, cranberries, oatmeals, and cereals. These foods can expand, sputter, and frother, hence risking the steam vent to get blocked.

    Next, as explained above, a pressure cooker requires careful usage. There is no need to worry too much as long as you follow the usage directions, but you should know that the high pressure is dangerous. If the seal or steam vent is damaged, the pressure cooker will not work properly. Opening the lid without releasing the internal pressure is very dangerous and may blow up the device. Cleaning a pressure cooker may be a little more difficult.


    On the other hand, a steamer or steam cooker is a small kitchen appliance designed to prepare or cook various foods by using heated steam. The method is called steaming. It is great because it can preserve most of the food’s nutrients and is quite simple to conduct.

    In a steamer, you use a small amount of liquid which will be converted into steam as the device heats up. Most of the steam is maintained in a closed container, but the container is not always entirely air-tight. This way, the pressure will not build up to extreme levels.

    A steamer may also be equipped with a juice catchment, which acts as a place where the steam can condense back into liquid. The feature minimizes nutrition loss by collecting any water-soluble nutrients carried in the liquid.

    Pros of Steamer

    The first advantage of a steamer is that it allows you to prepare simultaneously a main protein dish, such as a steak or chop. This is somewhat harder, though not impossible to achieve with a pressure cooker. Steaming is suitable for most kinds of vegetables and plant-based foods.

    The next advantage of a steamer is that it is suitable for foods that can’t be processed by a pressure cooker. It can cook pasta, noodles, cranberries, oatmeals, and cereals. This is because it does not need to worry about steam vent blockage.

    Finally, a steamer is simple and easy to use. It does not have many parts to begin with. It has a lower chance of blowing up, as the internal pressure will not increase to extreme levels. Still, avoid touching its surface during a cooking process, as it can be very hot. It is also easier to clean.

    Cons of Steamer

    However, there are several disadvantages of a steamer. First of all, it is mainly suited for vegetables and specific dishes. It is not suitable for cooking other types of dishes, such as meats and soups. This is more of a specialized tool, not a versatile one.

    Steamers are available in many sizes, and some models come with racks which allow you to cook multiple foods at once. However, steamers are generally smaller than pressure cookers. They can’t cook large volumes of foods at once.

    Finally, steamers are much slower than pressure cookers. Although a steamer can cook leafy vegetables in a short time as well, it takes much longer to cook large roots and tubers such as carrots, potatoes, and beets.

    Pressure Cooker vs Steamer

    Pressure CookerSteamer
    - Cooks by using high pressure and heated steam- Cooks by using hot steam
    - More versatile, suitable for many dishes, veggies, and meats- Not very versatile, suitable for veggies and specific dishes
    - Much faster- Slower, especially when cooking large/thick foods
    - Relatively more difficult to clean- Simpler and easier to clean


    A pressure cooker is generally more recommended because it is much faster and more versatile. It is suitable for cooking many kinds of dishes, ranging from veggies to meats. Depending on the size, it can also cook a large volume of food at once. On the other hand, a steamer is suitable for vegetables and some particular dishes. A steamer is relatively simpler and easier to clean.

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