What Is the Difference Between a Pressure Cooker & a Pressure Canner?

Pressure cookers are used to cook foods quickly under pressure and are not equipped for monitoring the amount of pressure inside the cooker. They also cool down rapidly. Pressure canners are used for food preservation and come with weighted gauges for maintaining pressure and heat.


Both pressure cookers and pressure canners use the same concept of building pressure within the pot in order to create a high, moist heat.


Although pressure cookers and pressure canners look somewhat alike, canners are typically larger and come with racks that sit inside the canner to hold jars during the process of preserving food. Canners are also designed to maintain heat and pressure, unlike pressure cookers.


A pressure cooker enables one to cook a roast that would normally take three hours in as little as 30 minutes. A pressure canner allows preservation of home-grown food. While a pressure cooker is a time saver when preparing meals, both are economical for their given purpose.


In the 1670s a French lab assistant by the name of Denis Papin invented the first pressure cooker. The principle design is what eventually led to the invention of steam engines.


Pressure cookers and pressure canners have the ability to cause serious injury if proper caution is not taken during operation.

Fun Fact

Denis Papin called his first pressure cooker invention a "steam digester."

About the Author

Patricia Hill is a freelance writer who contributes to several websites and organizations, including various private sectors. She also contributes to the online magazine, Orato.com. Empowered by a need to reveal that unhealthy food and diet is a source of health-related issues, Hill is currently working on a cookbook and website for individuals with Crohn's disease.