Do You Need a Multicooker?

In the past five years multicookers have become wildly popular. We think they're worth the hype.

We spent months testing multicookers by cooking more than 68 pounds of meat, 26 pounds of beans, and a whole lot of white rice. Our winning and Best Buy multicookers performed various functions well, meaning that they can replace many of the other small appliances in your kitchen such as your stovetop pressure cooker, slow cooker, and rice cooker. These machines are great on their own, but I’ve found that a few key accessories make the most of them. I’ve gathered those accessories in this week’s guide.

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

 This multicooker has the same great features as our winner, just in a smaller package. It’s a stellar pressure-cooker, and it also does an excellent job of searing and steaming food, cooking rice, and fermenting yogurt. As with the larger version, this multicooker does fall short in a few areas. It can’t be used for sous vide cooking, since it can’t circulate water or hold temperatures as accurately or reliably as a true sous vide machine. And unless you only want to make cheesecake, you can’t really bake in it either. It also isn’t great at slow-cooking large cuts of meat well. Ultimately, however, we think that these flaws are far outweighed by the machine’s significant advantages. If you have limited storage space, this multicooker is a fantastic option.

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At nearly half the price of our favorite multicooker, this inexpensive model produced excellent pressure- and slow-cooked food but had a busier, less intuitive control panel. Instead of a digital screen, the button-heavy panel was inundated with presets, making it tougher to navigate. It made excellent white rice and pressure- and slow-cooked beef stew and baked beans, though, yielding tender meat and beans within our recipe times. This multicooker’s nonstick cooking pot was easy to clean, but browning beef took longer. It reduced liquid efficiently and sautéed well, and we liked that it had a manual start button. Overall, this more budget-friendly model produced great results.

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Coming in a variety of useful sizes that nest for compact storage, our winning set performed ably on almost every test. Its wide, shallow bowls were easy to hold, fill, empty, and clean. They can be used in the microwave and the oven. While the bowls in this set were the only ones to break when dropped, the heaviness of the glass with which they’re made makes it unlikely that they’ll easily fly off the counter.

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Everything we did with this ladle felt easy and controlled, from scooping chunky stew out of a small saucepan to reaching into a tall stockpot to collect broth. The 45-degree angle of the offset handle put our arms and wrists at a natural angle, giving us full control. The slightly shallow bowl worked well for scraping the bottom of a pot, though it was less convenient for collecting and retaining springy noodles than a deeper bowl would be.

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The scalloped, uncoated pincers on our longtime favorite tongs felt very precise. This model was also comfortable to use, not only because of the silicone-padded handle but also because the tension didn’t strain our hands or wrists. These tongs struggled a bit when transferring ramekins, as the uncoated pincers didn’t securely grip the ceramic, but this is a less common use, and the tongs excelled at every other task. This pair felt like a natural extension of our hands.

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“Feels fantastic when you pick it up: comfortable, light, ready.” “A dream” for cutting up chicken and dicing onion, with its “very slim, sharp tip” and an acutely tapered blade that made it feel especially light as well as slightly flexible. With a blade more curved than most of the Japanese knives, it assisted a rocking motion that effortlessly “pulverized parsley into dust.”

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