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Instant Pot Has Competition: The Best Multi-Cookers, Ranked

Instant Pot Has Competition: The Best Multi-Cookers, Ranked


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Previously thought of as a relic from their heyday in the late ‘70s, multi-cookers have had a resurrection lately, partly due to the fact that we’re more and more attracted to old-school techniques that have escaped us. Likewise, the cast-iron pan has also reared its heavy head again, giving consumers a more authentic feel to their cooking.
It’s easy to get seduced by these newly trendy food gadgets, and it’s helpful to understand the difference between the slow-cooker (or Crock-Pot, which is actually a type and brand of slow cooker) and the pressure cooker. So here goes: Both the slow-cooker and the pressure cooker use moist heat to cook food for extended amounts of time — sometimes up to 12 hours. They both look very alike, with a pot and a glass lid, and they both are used to cook similar foods and produce the same tasty results — but there are a few differences.

Slow-cookers or Crock-Pots simply cook the food for a long amount of time on a low temperature, whereas pressure cookers seal in the food and the liquid inside so that when the liquid eventually heats up to a boil, it forms steam, which pressurizes in the pot, cooking food up to three times faster than normal rate.

Some of the models on the market can fill both roles, and many can handle other tasks like browning and sautéing as well. But the basis for most of the popular models is the slow-cooker, and it can be difficult to choose between various options. We tried and tested the best multi-cookers so you don’t have to:

#5 Philips All-in-One Cooker 6-Quart $166


The Philips slow cooker made it a little further down on the list because although it is a fantastic machine, it is expensive, and it is quite complicated to use. There are 10 functions: rice, slow-cook, steam, boil, sauté, stew, soup, roast, oatmeal, risotto, yogurt, and keep warm. If you don’t mind doing a little legwork to figure this machine out, it’s a great option.

The Ninja gives you four pots in one. A stovetop, a slow-cooker, an oven, and a steamer, all in one. The model includes a 6-quart nonstick cooking pot, a steaming/roasting rack, multipurpose pan, roasting rack, roast lifters, silicon mitts, a cookbook, and a travel bag. Talk about bang for your buck! Another bonus is that this slow-cooker comes in three different colors.

#3 Crock-Pot Smart Wi-Fi Enabled We-Mo 6-Quart $109


The Crock-Pot is a very technology-driven piece of cookware, which makes it probably the best affordable option as a pure slow-cooker — and it also sears very nicely. You can adjust the temperature of your dish and check on it using the WeMo App from your phone. Another pro is that the stoneware is dishwasher-safe, and that always makes cooking that much more pleasurable.

All-Clad is more than just a slow-cooker — it also does everything from steaming to browning to sautéing. It also has an incredible 20-hour timer and a keep-warm feature that will keep your food at ideal serving temperature. Although the price set this one at No. 2 on our list, it is definitely top of the line in terms of quality, and probably the best-looking slow cooker on the market with a stunning aluminum exterior and elegant finishes.

#1 Instant-Pot 6-Quart Duo 7 in 1 $98


The Instant-Pot came out on top as the over-all winner. For the price, you’re getting a slow-cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer — and can also sauté if you so need! This model is a little less valuable as a slow-cooker than a pressure cooker but still maintains its ranking purely based on versatility.


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”


How to Get the Most Out of Your Multi-Cooker

Every week, it seems, a new multitasking gadget hits the market with promises to make your culinary life easier or at least more interesting. And broadly speaking, home cooks are eating it up. In the U.S., consumers spent more than $700 million on multi-cookers in the past year, according to market research firm NPD Group.

It’s easy to see why home cooks are getting onboard: One-pot meals or stews that would typically take half a day to cook can be ready to serve in half the time when using a multi-cooker. There’s no need to stand over a stove watching your food cook or make sure you’re home when the slow cooker’s done. Plus, a multi-cooker won’t heat up the entire kitchen like your oven can.

This versatile wunderkind also has functions to pressure-cook, steam, sauté, and slow-cook. Some newer models can also air-fry, dehydrate, and sous vide.

To put these appliances to the test, our lab technicians pressure-cook pork ribs and beef chili, cook white rice, steam a hard-vegetable medley of broccoli and carrots, slow-cook chili and beef stew, and sauté sliced onions. The results vary significantly.

“Cooking time is the trickiest variable in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s lead tester for multi-cookers. “Some models can slow cook stew in 5 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It requires some trial and error to figure out how much time each one needs.”