Pressure Cooker vs Pressure Canner – The Differences

Pressure Cooker vs Pressure Canner- The Differences

It is totally understandable when you confuse between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner. They have almost similar names, they also look similar and the terms themselves can become very confusing – canner and cooker. Even if you know that these are two different tools, you are still wondering whether pressure cookers will can and if pressure canners can cook. It is still confusing. This is how you can tell them apart.


Let us start by understanding the pressure cooker

  • It is a heavy duty pot that has a locking lid alongside a vent to let out pressure and steam.
  • It comes with a button or knob to adjust between low and high pressure. There is only a single pressure setting.
  • Heating the sealed or covered pot is what generates pressure in the pot. This pressure raises the cooking temperatures to enable it to cook faster than conventional cooking.

A pressure canner on the other hand:

Is also a heavy duty pot that comes with a covering lid and a vent to let out steam and pressure.

A pressure canner’s pot is usually bigger as it can hold jars and comes with either a dial or a weight gauge to control the pressure within the pot.

A canner is a more detailed and advanced cooking equipment with key features centred on correct monitoring of the pressure.

It’s also heated when locked to generate the pressure inside the pot.

High pressure is required to raise the temperature beyond boiling or heating points so that the contents of the jar can go above 240 degrees for a continued duration of time and, in so doing, killing the existing dangerous bacteria and their spores.

Even after this distinction, obviously a number of questions linger such as should I pressure can using a pressure cooker? No, you can’t. The pressure canner has advanced features that allow it to carry out these canning functions. That is why it is more expensive. For instance, a cooker will not monitor or regulate the temperature accurately which is its biggest challenge. Without the right temperature and pressure you might not be killing any bacteria. The pressure cooker should just be preserved for cooking, strictly.

Can I use a pressure canner for cooking?

Yes you can. But it depends on the nature of the food you’re cooking and the pressure canner brand. Study the manual carefully to be sure that the brand and model size is suitable for cooking. However, do not cook anything that can bubble up or foam so that they do not interfere with the vent. A blocked vent can cause a bad accident. To make it easy for you, don’t cook beans, rice, spaghetti, cranberries or even rhubarb with a pressure canner.

In a nutshell, you can use both the pressure cooker and pressure canner for cooking depending on the manufacturer’s manual on the ability of each. You may can water bath in both pressure cookers and canners, but you should never cover or seal the lid to allow pressure build-up.