Multi Cookers are the next evolutionary step after the slow cooker and pressure cooker, offering the same functionality of these models and more besides. If you are looking to make life easier in the kitchen, investing in a quality multi cooker is a must. A quality multi cooker can be used as an effective alternative to a conventional one in a small kitchen. If you are a more proficient cook, investing in a multi cooker is still a worthwhile idea as it can supplement other cooking equipment and help you master more elaborate recipes. Our buying guide on the 5 Best Multi Cookers has everything you need to know about these kitchen marvels and what to look out for to ensure you pick out the best possible model for you.
Key Things to Consider When Buying a Multi Cooker
Below, you will find a breakdown of the key areas of spec to keep in mind when buying a quality multi cooker. From user-friendly features to key cooking functions, there is a great deal to consider when selecting the ideal multi cooker model to best fit your needs in the kitchen.
Cooking Quantities of Multi Cookers
Internal capacity is incredibly important when choosing a new multi cooker. Just as with conventional slow cookers and pressure cookers, multi cooker models will have a maximum carrying capacity limit to bear in mind. This will of course affect how much food you can prepare in your multi cooker of you choice at any one time.
If you are looking for a multi cooker to handle meals for one or light dinners for a couple of people, a smaller multi cooker will suffice. However, if you’re hoping to prepare meals for the whole family or whip up dishes for larger dinners, then you’ll almost certainly want a multi cooker with a more generous capacity.
A key thing to remember here is that maximum capacity won’t just refer to the total weight of the food ingredients you’re throwing in to the multi cooker. Many users overlook the added bulk of stock and other liquid ingredients they may need to add to their recipes. Furthermore, less experienced cooks overlook the fact that many ingredients increase in size during the cooking process. To ensure you get the best possible recipe results and don’t have to remove ingredients as you go, opt for a multi cooker with a capacity slightly higher than what you think you need to cover all bases.
User-Friendly Functions of Multi Cookers
If you are unfamiliar with multi cookers, you’ll want to pick one with a selection of preset cooking programmes to help make life easier. Any quality multi cooker will include preset functions for cooking key ingredient groups and familiar recipes. Rather than you worrying about having to fine-tune timers and other settings to deliver delicious results, you will simply have to press a single button to kick things off.
However, the more proficient home cook will of course want some flexibility. The best multi cookers out there will allow for this. If you’re looking to make adjustments so you can tailor your recipes and cooking times, opt for multi cookers that let you make such manual changes to preset programmes.
Cooking Timers on Multi Cookers
This is a key area to keep in mind if you’re looking for a multi cooker to make life simple. As with slow cookers, most multi cookers include some kind of delay timer. If you’re looking for an appliance to take care of cooking while you’re busy at work or out for the day, a delay timer is an absolute must.
Likewise, you will want a multi cooker that has a warming function to keep your dishes at a desired temperature after the main cooking process has been carried out. This latter function is important for keeping meals warm so you can enjoy a hot dinner upon your return home. If you’re hosting a dinner party, it’s also a great way to keep courses warm before you serve them.
Temperature Settings and Pressure Cooking
The most user-friendly multi cookers will allow you to make simple adjustments to temperature, with the selection of this setting determining the overall cooking time. However, if you have picked a multi cooker with pressure cooking functionality, you will need to decide on the desired pressure as the chief setting. This will subsequently select the required temperature and overall cooking time for your recipe.
The more premium models of multi cooker available will of course allow you to make custom adjustments to both temperature and pressure settings. However, you will need to understand how these two affect each other in order to make the right choices. If you are looking to make use of a pressure cooking function, you need to bear in mind that a higher level of selected pressure will require higher overall cooking temperatures. Although this does make for quicker preparation of meals, it can have a negative effect on the overall quality of a dish.
The quality of more delicate ingredients can be compromised when cooked at higher pressures and temperatures, so it may be worth going easy on pressure selection.
This is another huge factor to keep firmly at the forefront of your mind when picking out a new multi cooker. If you intend to use your multi cooker regularly, you’ll want to ensure you’ve picked an appliance that can be quickly and easily cleaned to ensure maximum levels of hygiene in the kitchen. Key things to look out for here include an internal cooking bowl that’s both simple to remove and easy to clean.
The best multi cookers will utilise internal bowls that boast non-stick coating. Definitely invest in one of these if you don’t want to spend an age at the kitchen sink removing stubborn food residue. To make life even easier, keep an eye out for multi cookers with bowls that are labelled as safe for cleaning in the dishwasher.
Common Multi Cooker Mistakes
Although a quality multi cooker can be put to use in cooking all manner of ingredients, there are certain food types that don’t fare well in one. This is particularly true if you are looking to make use of a pressure cooking function. As a general rule, keep away from ingredients that are more delicate in consistency and smaller in size. Think small grains and fine rice, fibrous greens or berry fruits with particularly soft flesh. These types of ingredients will quickly break apart during the cooking process. This can not only compromise the function of your multi cooker, but will also generally produce less desirable dishes.
Try to opt for recipes that require smaller overall quantities of them if you are to use such ingredients. If they are not an integral part of your recipe, consider preparing them separately from ingredients readied in your multi cooker and then combine at a later point. If you are regularly ending up with burnt results when using your multi cooker, take a moment to consider whether or not you are using enough liquid in your recipes. Often, simply adding a little more liquid to your recipes will resolve such issues.
Product Reviews of the 5 Best Multi Cookers for 2020
Looking to make life easier in the kitchen? Below, you’ll found our pick of some of the best multi cooker models you can currently find on the market. In this premier line-up, there’s picks from some of the best manufacturers in the business, with affordable models to suit every budget.
The Drew & Cole CleverChef has been designed to replace the need for a whole host of different cooking appliances, delivering a one-stop solution for whipping up a storm in the kitchen. One thing that really stands out about this first-rate multi cooker is the sheer variety of pre-set programmes available. In fact, you will find no less than 17 individual pre-set programmes to choose from, including Slow Cook, Steam, Stew, Saute, Bread Rise, Bake, Rice, Soup, Keep Warm and Yoghurt settings. You have also got handy Keep Warm options to choose from, as well as a very useful Delay Timer.
Those worried about a limited cooking capacity need not be concerned with the CleverChef. You have a generous 5-litre capacity on offer here. The internal capacity is certainly big enough to house large cuts of meat or entire chickens, making it a good choice for those seeking a multi cooker to make meals for the entire family. The large capacity also makes it a handy choice for those seeking an appliance that can be used to batch cook big quantities of food to later refrigerate or freeze. What’s more, the internal cooking pot is easy to maintain and care for, with a non-slip coating and dishwasher-safe rating.
User-friendly design is at the forefront of the CleverChef. An intuitive digital menu and quick-touch controls come as standard, meaning even the beginner can get to work immediately. This user-friendliness also means you’ll have no trouble familiarising yourself with the wide range of pre-set programmes on offer.
If you’re looking for a multi cooker that delivers more than the standard, the Ninja Foodi is definitely worth looking into. This multi cooker model stands out from the crowd with its innovative TenderCrisp technology, with the Foodi designed to lock in juices during pressure cooking. You’ve a variety of individual pre-set programmes to choose from in this regard, all yielding delicious golden and crisp results you might not find from other multi cookers on the market.
There’s also a very large capacity on offer here. The main cooking pot itself offers no less than 6 litres of capacity, while the Cook & Crisp basket that’s also included boasts a capacity of 3.6 litres. With these capacities in mind, you’ll have no trouble frying up big baskets of French fries for the entire family or preparing whole chickens for a Sunday roast. One-touch controls make operating this multi cooker a breeze, with a selection of pre-set programmes to choose from to make the best of every recipe. Pressure cooking and air crisping functionality is ensured through the use of purpose engineered lids. These interchangeable lids can be swapped out in moments to accommodate your cooking method of choice, while a versatile range of temperature settings mean you can find just the right selection for individual recipes.
If you are looking for a compact and budget-friendly multi cooker model to add to your kitchen, the Instant Pot IP Duo 6 L 220 V is the way to go. This 7-in-1 multi cooker lets you enjoy premium pressure cooker performance, with both low and high pressure options available. What’s more, you can sauté directly in the cooking pot itself, with delicious golden brown results assured. Furthermore, you have slow cooker options aplenty to choose from, with three different heat settings on hand to best fit your recipe requirements. Need more convincing? The Instant Pot Duo can also be used as an efficient rice cooker and a steamer, while also being put to use to deliver delicious porridge in the morning.
It’s the internal technology and superior design details that make the Instant Pot Duo so effective and efficient. There’s twin layers of insulation inside to yield the best cooking results, while microprocessor-controlled temperature levels ensure you’re picking the right levels for your recipes, without using more energy than you need to. What is particularly appealing about this multi cooker model is that it operates almost silently, while also giving off very little heat. If you’re working in a small kitchen or worried about general safety, this is a great way to go.
Another standout design feature of the Instant Pot Duo is its user-friendly control panel. The panel itself is significantly larger than ones you would find with other multi cooker appliances, granting you easy access to no less than 14 pre-set programmes and common cooking selections.
If you are seeking a multi cooker that will not break the bank, the Crock-Pot Express is a very worthy contender. Designed to make life in the kitchen as easy as possible, this multi cooker provides you with a more streamlined approach to recipes, yielding delicious results in less time. There’s four main ways to cook with this multi-cooker. You can use it to effectively pressure cook, slow cook, steam or sauté ingredients. Selecting the desired function is a breeze thanks to a user-friendly control panel that’s integrated into the main device itself, with eight individual pre-set programmes to choose from so you can skip straight to your favourite functions.
If you prefer to have some level of input, this multi cooker also provides you with manual control functionality. You can activate a handy delay timer for slow cook recipes, while an automatic keep warm function is also available to ensure your dishes are at an ideal temperature prior to serving.
A generous 5.6 litre bowl provides you with ample capacity for cooking large meals for the whole family, while also making this multi cooker a good choice for those looking to batch cook. To make life even easier, the cooking bowl is also non-stick, making it incredibly easy to clean. Other nifty features include the airtight lid that locks firmly in place, serving the pressure cooking function of this appliance well. Additional accessories are also included, with a steaming rack, stirring spoon and recipe book all thrown in for good measure.
The Pressure King Pro from Drew & Cole is a very affordable multi cooker option that doesn’t skimp on first-rate functionality. It’s an ideal choice for those looking for an appliance that will facilitate easy cooking for the whole family, with a generous 6 litre capacity that makes it ideal for whipping up meals for large groups or facilitating batch cooking recipes.
Swift cooking is also assured, with this efficient multi cooker yielding results up to 90 percent faster that conventional cookers. This multi cooker is also a good bet for those looking to prepare healthier dishes. With this multi cooker, you can whip up meals that lock in more nutrients than if you were preparing them with traditional appliances and cooking methods.
There is also the added benefit of a slow cooker function, that makes it a good option for those looking to leave the device to do its thing while they head for a busy day at the office.
This is an incredibly user-friendly multi cooker model, with no less than 14 pre-set programmes on hand to best fit your individual recipe requirements. You’ve also the added perk of a 24-hour delay timer, not to mention keep warm and fast re-heat selections. Simple to use and even easier to clean, this is bound to become a firm favourite.