Complete Guide Electric Pressure Cooker Sizes

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Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

You will be pleasantly surprised that every model, regardless of brand, comes in a variety of sizes if you’re looking to update your kitchen with a modern pressure cooker.

While you can cook smaller quantities of food in larger pressure cookers, you cannot cook large quantities in small pressure cookers as there are safety risks. Models will vary in size from 2 quarts to 10 plus quarts.

There are things to keep in mind when choosing the electric pressure cooker. 

What size pressure cooker should I buy? It all depends on how big your family is and if you prefer to make large meals for leftovers that are for meal preparations. For a better understanding, please refer to the following chart.

Summary Charts For Electric Pressure Cooker Sizes

2-4 Quart Perfect for 1 individual who eats alone.
5 Quarts or Less Perfect for 1-2 people or a very small family.
5-7 Quarts Perfect for 3-5 people & provides flexibility.
7-10 Quarts Great for 6+ people or a large family.
10+ Quarts Great for 8-15 people. This size is often used for canning purposes.

Keep in mind, however, that these are only the recommended values. Other factors could require you to buy a larger pressure cooker.

A larger pressure cooker is better if you want to can food, frequently cook for large groups of people, or want to attend potlucks. A smaller pressure cooker will work well if you’re looking for a gift for college students or a first apartment.

Is It Really Important How Big a Pressure Cooker Is?

When we talk about the size of a pressure cooker, we mean its capacity to hold a certain amount of food. We are not referring to the appliance’s appearance, weight, or casing. The size of pressure cookers is very important because it has a direct impact on how much food you can cook in one go.

You need to consider the size of the pressure cooker because if you place too much in the cooker, it can cause serious problems. Also, if the cooker is too big for the purpose you have, you will expend too much energy.

The key principle is that a bigger pressure cooker is not going to work better. You want the one that suits your needs the best.

These Are Issues With Buying a Pressure Cooker That Is Too Large

  • When it comes to how much energy and heat you are using, you will be losing a lot of efficiencies. You will lose efficiency if you find yourself filling your pressure cooker only a third to half full. This can cause you to heat up lots of unused space, which in turn leads you to high electricity bills.
  • This could limit the options for cooking. Why? A pressure cooker with a larger capacity will require a lower minimum water level. You may not be able to braise meat if there is too much liquid. This would force you to boil or pre-cook your food.
  • The larger the pressure cooker you have, the more work you’ll need to clean up. If you don’t need to, there’s no reason to put yourself through it.

With pressure cookers, it is best to calculate the ratio. This is generally one quart/one-liter per person. For a two-person family, four quarts or less is sufficient. For three to five people, six quarts should be sufficient. Eight quarts is great for six people or more.

What Is the Standard Size For Pressure Cookers?

The standard size for pressure cookers is between 5 and 7 quarts. Why? It is possible to cook for a large family and still have flexibility with the type of meals you can prepare. This size allows you to prepare small meals and feed up to three to five people at once.

Which Is the Best Size For a Pressure Cooker?

A standard six- to an eight-quart pressure cooker is the best. This is the best size for a family with four people. It also allows for flexibility for different types of cooks.

It is also ideal for people who like to cook leftovers and want to prepare extra meals for later. A four-quart pressure cooker is the best choice for you, whether you are an individual or a couple.

What Is the Largest Electric Pressure Cooker Size? Stove and Electric Top

A stovetop pressure cooker will always operate at a higher scale because they have an 8-15 PSI (pounds per square inch) range, while an electric pressure cooker has a 10-11 PSI range. If you choose to go stovetop, you can purchase a pressure cooker measuring between four and twenty-five quarts.

If you’re looking for a combination pressure cooker/canner, All American Canner offers a forty-one-quart aluminum stovetop. Below is a list of the largest stovetop and electric pressure cookers we could find.

Electric Option. GoWise USA, GW22637 Fourth-Generation 14 Quart.

  • It includes a steam rack, a rice scooper, a measuring cup, and a steam basket.
  • This electric pressure cooker/slow cook combination is a 10-in-1 unit. It even includes a heating plate.
  • Pre-sets include an auto-keep warm, slow-cook, timer for twenty-four hours, and a delay function of twenty-four hours.
  • It is digital, LCD, so it is easy to read. It is also available in six, eight, or twelve quart sizes.

Stovetop Option. All American 941 Pressure Cooker/Canner 41 Quart.

  • This pressure cooker/canner combination can be used at home, but it is not recommended for use on flat ranges or glass tops. The weight of the appliance could cause glass or ceramic to crack.
  • It is made from a heavy cast aluminum, which allows for quick and even heating, and has a stay-cool Bakelite top handle and a geared steam gauge.
  • It has two automatic venting options – a safety control valve and an overpressure plug, and comes with a pressure regulator that regulates the flow of five, 10 and 15 PSI as well.
  • It has a satin finish and with double-thick edges.
  • It can hold forty-one quarts, nineteen-quart jars, or thirty-two pint jars.

Presto Pressure Cooker and Canner

  • The Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker is a smaller pressure cooker/canner combo that measures in at twenty-three quarts.
  • It is made of heavy-gauge, warp-resistant aluminum. It works on both regular and smooth-top ranges.
  • It comes with a 12-year limited warranty and a premium pressure dial gauge, which measures in precise increments.
  • It includes a canning/cooking rack as well as a 75-page instruction/recipe guide.

Should I Choose An Electric or Stovetop Pressure Cooker?

It all depends on the features you want. The electric pressure cooker is your best choice if you are looking for convenience, ease, and durability. On the other hand, the stovetop is the right choice if you want speed and stability with precise cooking measurements. Let’s take a look at what each type is best for.

Electric Pressure Cookers Are:

  • Ideal for people who don’t want to mess with heat settings, as it automatically sets the correct temperature,
  • Can be used to replace the rice cooker or slow cooker,
  • Are ideal for busy families with limited time for cooking,
  • For couples or students with small kitchens,
  • For older people or those with disabilities who have difficulty cooking on a stove.

Stovetop Pressure Cookers Are:

  • Ideal for people who need speed and power, but don’t want to sacrifice durability,
  • Ideal for people who are interested in food preservation,
  • Perfect for people who wish to try advanced pressure-cooking techniques,
  • Ideal for people who cook large meals.

Will You Be Able To Cook Small Meals In a Large Pressure Cooker?

You can still cook smaller meals with a larger pressure cooker if you have one. Pressure cookers can cook almost any type of food. If you don’t have the option of using conventional cooking methods, you can still use a pressure cooker with a small batch of ingredients.

It is important to remember that cooking a smaller quantity of food in a larger pressure cooker will take longer.


Because the pressure cooker has a larger surface area, it takes longer to heat up and reach the desired pressure.

When cooking small amounts of food in a larger pressure cook, it is important to be mindful of the liquid that you use. The right amount of liquid is essential for a pressure cooker to function properly. Too much or too little liquid can cause irreparable damage to the integrity of the food.

A pressure cooker can only hold 2/3rds of the liquid, or 1/2, if you are using it to cook items such as grains, beans, and/or rice.

You may have problems with a smaller meal. For example, the food might be too bland or runny. This is because you used more water than the recipe recommends.

Which Size Pressure Cooker Do I Need For Canning?

A larger pressure cooker is necessary if you plan to do a lot of food preservation. Although ten quarts is the minimum size pressure cooker that can be used for canning, you will often see sizes from twelve to twenty-five quarts.

The USDA does not recommend any pressure cooker that can hold less than four-quart-sized jars of food. This is because not enough heat could be delivered during the cooling down and pressurizing process.

Pressure canning is a process where size also matters and it is possible to go too big. A large canner will result in a significant loss of efficiency and energy consumption.

This will increase the energy cost per jar and increase your carbon footprint. Although, you can buy two different sizes if you need flexibility and have fallen in love with pressure canning.

A ten- or sixteen-quart container is ideal for small loads at home, while a twenty-five quart or larger is great for large loads.

What Size Pressure Cooker Do I Need To Cook a Whole Chicken?

The size of the chicken will determine the answer. However, it is recommended to use a ten-quart pressure cooker. Some people have managed to cook whole chickens in a six-quart Instant Pot pressure cooker, and the size of the chicken is between two and five pounds.

The rule of thumb for cooking times is to cook the chicken 6 minutes per pound and allow it to rest naturally for 20 minutes.

This is how it looks based on the chicken’s weight.

  • You can expect to spend around 18 minutes using high pressure at three pounds.
  • You can expect to spend around 24 minutes using high pressure at four pounds.
  • You can expect to spend around 30 minutes using high pressure at five pounds.

Add 3 minutes to the total cooking times for each half-pound. This is for chickens that have had their gizzards removed, and are not tied. You will need to add 5 minutes to the cooking time for a whole chicken with its gizzards intact. This would make it 11 minutes per pound.

This is how it looks based on the chicken’s weight.

  • Three pounds will take you approximately 33 minutes of high pressure.
  • Four pounds will take you approximately 45 minutes of high pressure.
  • Five pounds will take you approximately 55 minutes of high pressure.

Add 6 additional minutes to the total cooking time of the whole chicken for every half-pound.

What Size Pressure Cooker Do I Need For a Family of 1-5?

A pressure cooker of between two and five quarts will work for a family with one or two members. The larger the pressure cooker, the more flexibility you will have with single dishes. Therefore, a six- or seven-quart pressure cooker is best for a family of three to five people.

A six- or seven-quart pressure cooker will allow you to prepare full meals, be flexible in your cooking methods, and store the pressure cooker with relative ease.

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