If someone said you could do away with your pans, roasting tins, microwave, slow cooker and even your conventional oven – but still cook delicious meals – you might think they’d gone potty.
But the growing range of increasingly clever multi cookers means it’s a reality. And there’s more choice than ever.
We tried and tested a range of multi-cookers using the suggested recipes and programmes – from machines that cost no more than twenty quid up to those that will set you back over a grand.
We took into consideration number of programmes, ease of use, extra functions such as timer and keep warm, and of course the culinary results.
We also marked them on how easy the cookers were to keep clean and store away.
Interestingly, it wasn’t always the top dollar machines that came out best – in fact, some didn’t even make it into our roundup at all. Read on to find out which ones did, and why.
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Ninja foodi multi-cooker: £174.99, Ninja
This machines ability to crisp things up is the USP here. As it sounds, it gives a crispier finish to the pressure cooking – great for the likes of roast chicken. In addition, this versatile machine can slow cook, steam, bake, grill, sear and sauté, with recipes for each. Plus, it can air fry, adding a healthy dimension. We found it easy to use and the accessories dishwasher friendly. But it’s a large machine with a lot of added extras, including two different lids – not a friend to smaller kitchens, then. And you might want to change some of the suggested cooking times – adding on time for crispier foods and reducing for steaming, for example. All in all, though, this is a fabulous all-rounder that caters to most culinary needs.
Morphy Richards MyPot Pressure Cooker: £59.99, John Lewis & Partners
This looks far more futuristic than the traditional pressure cooker, its modern look is also reflected in its impressive capabilities. Its a powerful machine, with 10 pre-set functions that cover everything – from pasta to puddings, and soups to stews. There’s also a manual mode if you prefer more control over your cooking. Features such as the keep-warm function and delay timer are a godsend if you’re busy, the range of recipes it comes with are decent too. It doesn’t take up much room on the kitchen counter, and feels of high quality. Our only complaint was the it lacks a handle on the inner pot, so you’ll need your oven gloves at the ready.
Drew & Cole CleverChef mulit-cooker: £69.99, Amazon
With 14 pre-set cooking functions – including steam, stew, soup, roast, poach, bread rise, bake, fish, saute, brown, rice, pasta, slow cook high, slow cook low and yoghurt settings – this one-pot machine will keep you busy. Features are well thought out including keep warm, delay timer and DIY to adapt the recipes. The shiny black exterior keep it looking smart and everything from rice to chocolate cake turned out well for us, with this machine proving a massive time saver and a bargain for well under a hundred quid. But the instructions could be more comprehensive.
Crock-Pot Express Multi Cooker CSC051: £75, Amazon
Mention Crock-Pot and most people think of slow cookers. In America, the brand name is as synonymous to them as hoovers are to vacuum cleaners here. Now they’ve come up with this machine that pressure cooks, slow cooks, sautés and steams. Unsurprisingly, the slow cooker is top-notch. We were impressed with how well it browned meat and steamed rice – it doesn’t cook food quite as well as top-quality pressure cookers, but it does the job. It works fast, cooking a whole chicken in half an hour, although you can only delay the cooking for up to four hours. It’s not the easiest to clean, though.
Tefal multicook advanced 45-in-1 cooker: £94, Amazon
It’s hard to think up 45 cooking programmes, let alone fit them all in one machine. But that’s what the guys at Tefal have done, enabling you to cook everything from risottos to roast chicken and from porridge to pasta. It has enough capacity to feed a whopping 20 people and the reheat, delay start and keep warm functions are useful in busy households. But it has no stirring attachments, it’s huge and you’ll need to give yourself time to get to grips with it if you prefer adapting recipes as there is some potential for kitchen tantrums along the way when things don’t quite go to plan. Not so with stews and rice dishes, though – we really rated those.
Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker 1.8L: £49.99, Lakeland
This is ideal for one or two person households. Despite its small size, it is capable of great things – including soups, curries, yoghurt, cakes and particularly good rice. We found it easy to set up and use, thanks to the LED control panel and useful features such as a countdown timer and keep-warm function. It beeps when your food is ready and the removable cooking pot has a carry handle, so you can pop it straight on the table – and it’s easy to clean afterwards. Only shame is there’s no recipe book included.
Vorwerk Thermomix TM6 multi-cooker: £1,099, Vorwerk
This is the upgraded version of the all-singing, all-dancing TM5, with even more accurate scales and temperatures for sous-vide cooking, plus slow cooking and higher heat levels for caramelisation. If that’s all gobbledegook to you, forget it, but if you’re the kind of advanced, nerdy cook whose eyes are already lighting up, we can guarantee you’ll be impressed with the sheer versatility and accurateness of this machine, as well as the fact that it doesn’t stop at cooking, but also chops, blends, whisks and grinds. We like the guided recipes (great for impressing dinner party guests without actually doing very much) and the fact that it works well in either automated or manual mode. There’s even a self-cleaning mode. But although the price includes a personalised demo, this machine costs a bomb.
Kenwood kCook CCC200WH: £77.49, Amazon
This nifty model acts as a compact multi-cooker, a steamer and a chopper. It includes three main accessories to get the job done – a processing blade, stirring paddle and a steaming basket. You can use it manually or opt for a pre-set programme, we love that you can bung all the parts in to the dishwasher after use. For one-pot meals, it’s a real winner – think casseroles, risottos, soups, curries and more – and with 200 recipes included, you won’t run out of inspiration. This is a great machine for making light work of otherwise challenging dinners, although be warned you’ll need to read the instruction manual to make the most of it. The only downsides are that it does take time to heat up and it doesn’t sauté.
Wilko 5L multi-cooker: £20, Wilko
This isn’t the kind of multicooker that top chefs are going to be snapping up for their Michelin star creations, but for the basics – and especially for students looking for a one pot solution to cheap eats – this is excellent value. There are 12 auto-cooking programmes, with a genuinely non-stick cooking pot and you even get a measuring cup, rice paddle and steam pot thrown in. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of fancier machines, you do get a delay timer and keep warm function. Casseroles are its forte, so we think it’s best to see this as a slow cooker with add-ons.
The verdict: Multi-cookers
The Ninja foodi is a mid-priced multicooker and its ability to crisp up food nailed it for us – that, and the fact that it does most things well. For next level cooking, the Vorwerk Thermomix TM6 will blow keen cooks away.
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