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Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Electric pressure cookers today have evolved to be much more, making them true multi-cookers. This offering from Instant Pot, of course, can pressure cook, but it can also slow cook, sauté, steam, bake, sous vide, and keep foods warm. It has 48 presets for everything from beans to white rice along with buttons for the different modes of cooking.
The lid is designed for easy sealing, and the pressure release valve automatically sets to sealing so there’s no chance of cooking with the vent open by accident. Quick-cool technology helps it cool to release pressure quicker, so those hungry diners won’t have to wait as long for the lid to open. This comes in a 6- or 8-quart size.
Best for Large Families: Cuisinart MSC-800 Cook Central 4-in-1 Multi-Cooker
Most multi-cookers are 6 quarts, but this gives more cooking space with a 7-quart cooking pot, so it’s great for large families or for folks who like to entertain. This has four cooking functions: slow cook, roast, brown/sauté, and steam, so it’s great for all types of cooking. Even better, all functions except steam can be customized.
Slow cook can be set for high, low, simmer, or warm. Roasting temperature can be set from 250 to 450 degrees, so it’s great for low-and-slow cooking of a roast, or for high heat cooking for a great crust on a roast or crisp skin on a chicken. The brown/sauté setting can be cranked up to 500 degrees, for an impressive sear. The cooking pot has a nonstick coating, but it is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when cooking is done.
Best for Easy Cleaning: De'Longhi Livenza 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker
This cooker boasts a dishwasher-safe cooking pot, so cleaning is easy when cooking and serving is done. One dial controls the cooking mode, with three slow cooking temperatures, an oven bake mode, browning and sautéing, steaming, and rice cooking. A second dial controls the temperature, so it’s easy to set the cooker for any of your recipes.
Settings can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance, and the keep-warm mode makes sure the food stays at the perfect serving temperature without overcooking. A recipe app is available that has 50 recipes designed specifically for this cooker.
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Digital MultiCooker
Great for singles and couples, and for vacation homes, RVs, dorms, and for anyone who needs extra cooking options for parties and extra warmers on the buffet table, this compact multi-cooker won’t break the budget. It holds 4.5 quarts, so it’s also great for folks who already have a larger cooker but want an extra for side dishes. It has 14 cooking presets for white rice, brown rice, sushi rice, whole grains, hot cereals, quinoa, sauté, steam cook, soup/simmer, sear/brown, and warm. It also has high and low slow cooking options, and a delay timer.
The included basket can be used for rinsing rice before cooking and for steaming vegetables while rice cooks below in the pot. For easy cleaning when cooking is done, the cooking pot is dishwasher safe.
When you’re cooking rice, it’s important to measure it properly. We’ve got the details to make you an expert.
Best for the Buffet: All-Clad Gourmet Plus Slow Cooker
All-Clad might be best known for its quality cookware, but it also makes quality cooking appliances like this multi-cooker. The mirror-finished exterior will look classy in any kitchen and will look stunning on the buffet—that’s not just any chili, that’s gourmet chili.
The center dial sets the cooking mode for slow cooking, rice, steam, sear, or simmer, while buttons fine-tune the choices. The pot can be set to preheat, temperatures can be chosen, and the keep-warm/buffet button will keep food warm without overcooking it. The nonstick surface in the cooking pot is metal utensil safe, so there’s no need to panic when a guest grabs the wrong serving spoon, but softer utensils like wood or silicone are preferred. The lid and steam basket are dishwasher safe, but the insert should be hand washed.
Best Design: KitchenAid 4-Quart Multi-Cooker
There’s no doubt about it, this multi-cooker has a unique look, somewhat like the child of a toaster and a teakettle, with a jaunty lid and handy side handles. The control panel is arranged in a neat circle with settings for risotto, rice, sear, sauté, simmer, soup, yogurt, boil/steam, low or high slow cook, and keep warm.
The addition of the stir tower (this can be purchased without the tower as well) means that this cooker can stir food while it cooks, for perfect risotto every time, or perfectly cooked onions that won’t stick or burn. The tower has three constant-stir speeds and two intermittent modes so it can be customized to what’s cooking. The cooker has a 4-quart capacity, so it’s great for singles and couples, and perfect for side dishes.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie tested one of the first multi-cookers on the market, giving it rave reviews for its ability to sear, roast, and bake. Since then, she’s had her hands on several more, and spent quality time researching the latest offerings, just in case it’s time for yet another upgrade.