Perhaps you have wondered to yourself if you can pressure fry in the pressure cooker. Pressure cookers prepare food in half the time of other cooking methods, which makes you wonder if you can accelerate the process of frying food. Pressure cookers and air fryers are two different methods for cooking food using two very different types of heat. So what are the main differences between a pressure cooker and an air fryer?
Pressure cookers use pressurized steam to speed up the process by boiling water at a higher temperature, which cooks your meals faster than regular cooking takes. An air fryer cooks foods using hot blasts of super-heated air from below in order to produce a crispy exterior finish without any oil needed!
If you’d like to learn more about pressure frying your foods, keep reading because we will explore how the pressure cooker fries foods versus how the air fryer does it.
Frying Food in the Pressure Cooker
Can you pressure fry in a pressure cooker? The average pressure cooker can sauté in oil when done manually. Electric pressure cookers have a sauté feature built right in. If you want to deep-fry your foods, you need to buy a deep fryer since pressure cookers can’t deep fry foods.
Further, unfortunately, most pressure cookers without extra features can’t pressure fry foods. They can’t reach the right temperatures to boil oil. Oils boil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, pressure cookers only reach 248 degrees Fahrenheit at 15 PSI.
You could still fry food in the pressure cooker, but it will lack the same flavor as cooking with an air fryer or a deep fryer. While pressure frying and pressure cooking both operate using atmospheric pressures, the pressure cooker can’t perform in the same way as a deep fryer. Trying to make it do this could cause it to explode. The sealing rings can’t withstand the higher temperatures. We emphasize – never attempt this because you can suffer severe injuries.
Check the instruction manual, and you will see that the manufacturers even warn against using excessive amounts of oil.
To be clear, the pressure cooker can still sauté with small amounts of oil, but manufacturers never intended for customers to use it for large amounts of oil. You can sauté or even stir fry in the pressure cooker, but you need to use an air fryer or a deep fryer for deep frying.
Difference Between Pressure Cooking and Air Frying
Let’s say that you decided to sauté chicken in the pressure cooker. You can still coat your chicken in batter and fry it, but you have several differences. For one thing, you will need to brown your chicken before putting it in the pressure cooker since it can’t do this by itself. Browning the chicken makes it more appetizing while giving it more flavor.
Air frying, on the other hand, will have a much different result from pressure cooking. You don’t need to brown the chicken, and the moisture and flavor remain in the chicken. Using the air fryer will take longer. On average, you can expect it to take up to 23 minutes to cook chicken in the air fryer.
Contrast that with the pressure cooker, you can sauté chicken in the pressure cooker in six to nine minutes at 15 PSI. Pressure cooking chicken takes half the time, but you don’t get the same result as air frying. This method doesn’t make sense if you want the best-fried chicken. Pressure cookers simply weren’t made for this purpose.
In terms of cost, they both have the same price range between $50 to $250. You do get a longer lifespan out of pressure cookers. The average pressure cooker lasts five years. Meanwhile, air fryers only last two to three years, depending on the model.
Hard-Pressed for Time? Pressure Cooker Makes Sense…
The ideal time where you would want to use the pressure cooker over an air fryer or a pressure fryer is when you want to cook chicken fast. You don’t have the time to make it its absolute best. Pressure cooking chicken may make sense in cases like that. It may also make sense for saving on your energy bill. Pressure cookers use 50 percent less energy than traditional ovens. For all other cases, refer to the air fryer or the pressure fryer for frying.
Important to note: Pressure fryers cook your foods in oil better than a pressure cooker in most cases, but they still can’t deep fry your food. You need to buy a deep fryer or a pressure cooker with special features to deep fry foods.
Pressure frying can still cook foods fast. Colonel Sanders, the genius behind KFC, began using the pressure fryer in the 1930s when he felt frustrated at the speed of cooking fried chicken. In the past, customers would have to wait between 30 to 45 minutes for fried chicken. The pressure fryer cooks chicken in 15 to 22 minutes, while also extending the oil life.
Does Frying Your Chicken in the Pressure Cooker Make It Healthier?
Frying your chicken in the pressure cooker at under 12 PSI doesn’t necessarily taste bad, but it does taste different from the fried chicken that you might be used to. You still lock in the natural flavors of the chicken and hold in the natural nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Tryptophan. At the same time, pressure cooking seals out the excess oil. You don’t cook with as much oil either, making it a healthier alternative.
Air frying is also considered healthy because of how it only uses 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil. Some recipes may not even call for oil, but that marks the exception, rather than the majority.
Sautéing in a Pressure Cooker
Since we mentioned sautéing in a pressure cooker previously, let’s go into more detail about it. Sautéing in a pressure cooker takes around 30 minutes. You have the option to cancel at any moment. You can also keep your food warm. This speaks on the electric cookers, which have the feature built right into them.
Any time that you use the sauté feature on the pressure cooker, it will serve in the same role as a pot or pan. It doesn’t act like a pressure cooker with this feature. If you plan to cook meat, you will want to brown it beforehand.
Expert Tip: You can use the sauté feature to thicken your sauces, soups, and stews. Because the pressure cooker maintains moisture throughout the cooking process, you need to thicken it after. You do this with the sauté feature. Provided you toss in some cornstarch, you can thicken the sauce in 60 to 90 seconds.
After you have finished sautéing or frying your food, you will deglaze the pot. This means that you pour in water and scrape away at the food stuck to the bottom.
Should You Buy a Pressure Cooker or Air Fryer?
Air frying is a healthy way to cook your foods in comparison to deep-frying them. If you wanted a greater variety in the number of foods that you can cook, the pressure cooker gives you a bigger variety. On the other hand, if you wanted to deep fry your foods and you fry foods often, you will most likely see the air fryer as the next best thing to actual deep frying.
At the same time, both are healthier than deep frying because you don’t cook with as much oil with either of them.
Check out this article that deep dives into the Multi-Purpose Cooker
Tips and frequently asked questions for using pressure cookers, instant pot versus air fryer.
Can You Use Oil in a Pressure Cooker?
You can use oil in a pressure cooker, but don’t use excessive oil. Don’t expect to deep fry your food in a pressure cooker because it would even be dangerous for you to do this. Pressure cookers don’t have the right sealing ring to withstand the higher temperatures needed for deep frying foods.
Can You Use the Pressure Cooker to Deep Fry Chicken?
You cannot use the pressure cooker to deep fry chicken, but you can cook your chicken in oil in the pressure cooker. The process is known as sautéing, and it doesn’t use as much oil to cook the chicken. Keep in mind, if you choose to cook chicken in the pressure cooker, the flavor will differ from that of regular fried chicken. It is, however, healthier.
Is an Instant Pot an Air Fryer?
Absolutely, Instant Pots can be air fryers by using a lid attachment. Some Instant Pots are sold with this feature. It can also be attached to Instant Pots and other brands of pressure cookers without the attachment, they just need to be six or eight quarts in capacity.
Check out a range of air fryer lid attachments to turn your cooker into a multi-function air fryer HERE…
Can My Pressure Cooker Explode?
Your pressure cooker could explode, but most cookers today have up to 10 safety features on them to prevent explosions. This makes the likelihood of an explosion much lower than in the past when it was not unheard of to learn about a pressure cooker that exploded. Still, you need to respect your device and never use it in ways that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend.
Can You Pressure Fry at Home?
Pressure frying at home has become more popular with time, and you can buy pressure fryers for the home. Most are larger and designed for commercial establishments, and KFC is known for pressure frying their chicken. Usually, pressure fryers will cook the food at 5 PSI.
In this article, I deep-dive into pressure cooker safety
Conclusion – Pressure Cooker vs Air Fryer
To sum up the differences between an air fryer or Instant Pot (pressure cooker)… You can use a pressure cooker to fry foods, but don’t expect the same results as a pressure fryer. Also, never use excessive oil in the pressure cooker. They are not meant to be used as a deep fryer. Pressure cookers use the sauté feature to fry foods, but it doesn’t fry the foods with pressure using this feature. Instead, it acts like any ordinary pot or pan.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks
Thanks for the video music – Ben Sound