Best Multi-Cookers of 2018
A multi-cooker can replace several appliances in your kitchen, including a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, and a rice cooker. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best multi-cooker for your culinary needs.
Shopping Guide for the Best Multi-Cookers
But with multi-cookers flooding the market, how do you know which of these popular pots will work best in your kitchen?
At BestReviews, we're here to help. We do the hard work of shopping for you. We research, test products, and consult with experts, and then we compile our findings into concise shopping guides. Because we don't accept promotional products, our recommendations are always honest and unbiased. If you'd like to learn more about the benefits and features of multi-cookers, read on.
Benefits of Multi-Cookers
Multiple Appliances in One
Multi-cookers are incredibly versatile. A single multi-cooker can replace several appliances in your kitchen, including a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, and a rice cooker. Most multi-cookers can also brown, sear, steam, and sauté. Some can even bake, grill, air fry, and make yogurt.
The pressure cooker function on a multi-cooker allows you to make meals in a fraction of the time it would take to cook them in a conventional manner. Rice, for instance, takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook in a pressure cooker, compared to the 40 to 45 minutes it takes if simmered on the stovetop. This means you can whip up meals in next to no time, which is good news if you come home late and hungry.
Have Meals Waiting for You
Thanks to the slow cooker function, you can put ingredients in your multi-cooker in the morning, set the timer, and come home to a beautifully cooked dinner. Likewise, you could start your multi-cooker before bed to wake up to breakfast already cooked. This is ideal for anyone who struggles to find the time to cook.
Save Time Washing Up
Since multi-cookers can brown and sauté, you don't have to dirty multiple pans. You can, for instance, brown onions, celery, and mushrooms in your multi-cooker before adding the rest of the ingredients for chicken cacciatore. This means less dishes to do, which makes cleanup a breeze.
Some multi-cookers have high- and low-pressure settings, whereas others only have a single setting. Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi). The higher the psi, the quicker food will cook. Be aware of the psi of your multi-cooker, as you may have to slightly adjust cooking times based on it.
Most multi-cookers hold somewhere between 6 and 10 quarts, though you can find larger and smaller options. Think about how many portions you need to cook at a time, and choose a capacity accordingly.
Multi-cookers either have button or dial controls. Button controls are often easier to use, but multi-cookers with dial controls aren't complex, so which one you choose is really down to personal preference.
Delayed Start Timer
A delayed start timer allows you to put all the ingredients in the multi-cooker but delay the start of cooking until a specified time. While this is great for when you want your meal ready at a certain time, it's not advisable to use the delayed start timer when cooking perishable products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy.
Keep Warm Function
The Keep Warm function keeps food warm in the multi-cooker until you're ready to eat. This is a better option than the delayed start timer if you're not sure exactly what time you want your meal.
Q. Are multi-cookers easy to use?
A. Most multi-cookers are very easy to use, though we recommend reading the instruction manual, especially if you want to branch out beyond the preset programs.
Q. I try to avoid nonstick coatings. Are multi-cookers suitable for me?
A. Most multi-cookers come with nonstick cooking pots. That said, you can find a handful of multi-cookers with stainless-steel pots, which is great if you want to avoid nonstick coatings.
Q. What preset programs will my multi-cooker feature?
A. The preset programs vary between different makes and models of multi-cookers, so always check before buying. However, common presets include rice, soup, oatmeal, beans, multi-grains, and stew.