Multi-cookers are amazing because they allow you to slow cook, steam, sauté, and sometimes even pressure cook, roast, make yogurt, and air-fry. They can work their magic whether you're in the kitchen or out of the house (unless you're using the sauté function), which makes them incredibly convenient. Even as multi-cookers take on more cooking tasks, their manufacturers aim to keep the process simple for users by presetting temperatures and times for popular foods.
Here are the best multi-cookers currently on the market.
Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
Remembers previous settings
Three temperature levels
Precise temperature control
Comes with minimal accessories
Difficult to see pressure valve
This Instant Pot can pressure cook, slow cook, sauté, steam, and keep foods warm. 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 that you don't have to wait as long for the lid to open. This model comes in a 6- or 8-quart size. This multi-cooker is popular because it performs all its functions incredibly well, and makes cooking much faster and easier.
Our tester made various dishes, including hard-cooked eggs, steel-cut oats, chickpea stew from dried chickpeas, mushroom risotto, lentils and sausages, bread pudding, salmon, and bone broth. Each meal turned out delicious and perfectly cooked, making this model precise and reliable.
Size: 6 quarts | Interior Surface: Stainless steel | Cooking Presets: 13 | Wattage: 1,000 watts | Weight: 11.8 pounds | Dimensions: 13.4 x 12.2 x 12.5 inches
"I tested its ability to slow cook, making chili with dried pinto beans and beef chuck, and soup with a ham hock and dried cannellini beans. It always produced tender beans and meat in four hours on high." — Danielle Centoni, Product Tester
Hamilton Beach 4.5-Quart Digital Multi-Cooker
Great for small meals and spaces
Basket for rinsing and steaming
14 pre-programmed settings
No pressure cooking function
Great for small spaces and small-to-medium batches, this compact multi-cooker won’t break the bank. It holds 4.5 quarts, so it can 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 steaming vegetables while rice cooks in the pot below. For easy cleaning after cooking, the removable aluminum pot is dishwasher-safe. The downside to this cooker, though, is that is doesn't have a pressure cooking function, which would otherwise cut down on cook time for dense ingredients like dried beans.
Size: 4.5 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick aluminum | Cooking Presets: 14 | Wattage: 700 watts | Weight: 7.4 pounds | Dimensions: 10.6 x 11.7 x 11.4
“I love steaming in my multi-cooker versus on the stovetop. When I steamed on the stovetop, I had to pay attention to water levels. I burnt a hole in my mom’s steamer pan once because the water evaporated dry. With the multi-cooker, I can just press ‘cook’ and forget about it until it beeps.” — Pat Tanumihardja, author of Instant Pot Asian Pressure Cooker Meals
Crock-Pot 10-Qt. Express Crock Multi-Cooker with Easy Release Steam Dial
15 presets, including pressure cook settings
Progress bar tracks pressurization
Can sterilize baby bottles and canning jars
Nonstick pot lacks durability
This multi-cooker is relatively inexpensive for being so versatile and offering such a large cooking capacity. It offers 15 cooking presets, half of which utilize pressure cooking for faster cook times and consistent results. You can use this cooker to brown/sear, sauté, slow cook, simmer, boil, make yogurt, keep warm, cook meat/poultry, make beans/chili, make soup/broth, make rice/grains, make dessert, steam, and even sterilize items like baby bottles or canning jars. It also has manual control of temperature and pressure, along with a delay timer. A steam release dial on top of the cooker allows you to keep your hands away from the steam.
One of our home testers tested the six-quart version of this multi-cooker, which is the version featured in the full review above. She found that this cooker performed very similarly to the Instant Pot Duo, which has a cult following.
Size: 10 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick | Cooking Presets: 15 | Wattage: 600 watts | Weight: 21.6 pounds | Dimensions: 16 x 15 x 15 inches
Best for Easy Cleaning
De'Longhi Livenza All-in-One Programmable Multi-Cooker
Oval shape ideal for roasts
Easy-to-use dial controls
Programmable up to 24 hours in advance
No handles on steam rack
Fewer presets than many cookers
This cooker has a dishwasher-safe cooking pot, so cleaning is easy when you're done cooking and serving. 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, making it easy to set the cooker for any of your favorite 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 with 50 recipes designed specifically for this cooker.
Size: 6 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick aluminum | Cooking Presets: Five | Wattage: 1,350 watts | Weight: 13.43 pounds | Dimensions: 12.4 x 10.8 x 18.1 inches
Best for the Buffet
Cuisinart MSC-400 Cook Central 4-Quart Multi-Cooker
Wide temperature range
One-touch browning and cooking
No delayed-start option
Less versatility than other multi-cookers
Most multi-cookers hold 6 quarts or less, but this cooker gives more cooking space with a 7-quart cooking pot. It has four cooking functions: slow cook, roast, brown/sauté, and steam, so it’s great for all types of cooking besides pressure cooking. Even better, all functions except steam can be customized. Make sure to select the 7-quart version if you're going for the large-capacity option. It has sturdy handles for easy transportation and looks beautiful on a buffet line.
Slow cook can be set for high, low, simmer, or warm. Roasting temperatures can be set from 250 to 450 degrees, so it’s great for low-and-slow roasting or 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's dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning when cooking is complete.
Size: 7 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick cast aluminum | Cooking Presets: Four | Wattage: 1,800 watts | Weight: 21.2 pounds | Dimensions: 19 x 15.5 x 11 inches
“Red cooked pork (braised pork in soy sauce) is one of my favorite meals to cook in the multi-cooker. It usually takes at least a couple of hours of simmering on the stovetop for the meat to turn out tender and soft. In the multi-cooker, it takes only 30 to 40 minutes. The same goes for other long-simmering braises, like curries and stews.” — Pat Tanumihardja, Author of "Instant Pot Asian Pressure Cooker Meals"
Ninja Foodi 11-in-1 Pro Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer
Adjustable time and temperature
Separate lids allow pressure cooking, air frying
High wattage for quick heating
Requires ample storage space
Multi-cookers are known for their array of functions, but Ninja takes this further by adding air frying to the mix. Swing the multi-cooker’s attached lid closed to air crisp, bake, roast, or broil. Leave it open, and the multi-cooker can be used to sear and sauté. Lock on the separate pressure cooker lid and the 6.5-quart unit can be used for pressure cooking, steaming, slow cooking, and making yogurt. The FD302 model can also be used to dehydrate, cook sous vide-style, and keep food warm.
Each of the multi-cooker’s functions can be activated at the touch of a button. Although each has a default temperature or pressure and time programmed into the cooking mode, you can adjust these in most cases if your recipe differs from the presets.
Size: 6.5 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick ceramic | Cooking Presets: 11 | Wattage: 1,460 watts | Weight: 22.05 pounds | Dimensions: 13.35 x 13.19 x 13.15 inches
What to Look for in a Multi-Cooker
Size might be your first consideration when buying a multi-cooker. These devices can be bulky and heavy, so overall dimensions can matter if you have limited storage space. If your kitchen is large and you use your multi-cooker often, you might be able to devote countertop space to it. If you’ll be storing it in a cupboard, pantry, or closet, it’s best to not have to bend over or reach overhead to lift the cooker in and out.
Interior size matters, too; most multi-cookers have their capacity listed in quarts. A 6-quart model works well for four to six people. For larger batches, you may want a bigger unit, while one- or two-person meals may cook best in a smaller device.
Versatility and Features
Multi-cookers typically come with numerous presets that let you cook certain foods, from soup to rice, without digging out a recipe for specific cook times and temperatures. Each model can vary in its offerings, and one of the biggest differences between cookers is that some offer pressure-cook settings while others do not. Having pressure-cook settings is a big deal, as they can cook dense items like dried beans and thick cuts of meat in much less time and with very consistent results.
The most versatile multi-cookers give you plenty of manual control, too. These may be important if you want to use them for your favorite stovetop recipes, choose your preferred tanginess for yogurt, or adjust pressure or temperature to handle delicate foods like eggs and fish.
Even though multi-cookers are meant to properly cook meals without you watching exactly how that magic happens, a few key specs are worth considering. High and low settings for pressure cooking and slow cooking let you keep vegetables crisp, fish flaky, and pulled pork moist. A high-powered device reaches pressure more quickly than a low-watt model, which may be more appropriate for steaming rice and slow-cooking stews.
Many multi-cookers have nonstick interior pots that can be cleaned in a dishwasher, but most manufacturers still recommend washing by hand and avoiding metal utensils to keep that surface scratch-free. Models with hinged lids or pressure valves can be harder to clean by hand than those with glass lids.
Can you bake in a multi-cooker?
Some multi-cookers include a bake function that can make bread much like you would in a standard oven. For others, the slow-cooker setting can be used to bake bread or other baked goods. Breads take longer on a slow-cook setting than in an oven, but with a multi-cooker, you can bake indoors or outside without heating the house.
Can you fry in a multi-cooker?
Frying can be challenging in most multi-cookers. As noted by Pat Tanumihardja, author of "Instant Pot Asian Pressure Cooker Meals," the sauté function rarely hits the temperature you can reach on a cooktop, leaving a stir-fry soggy.
Air frying may be the best solution for cooking frozen breaded chicken or crispy potato wedges in a standalone device. Some multi-cookers, like the Ninja model in this round-up, come with a built-in crisping lid and air-frying functions. Some other bands sell a separate lid that turns the multi-cooker into an air fryer.
Can you boil eggs in a multi-cooker?
Not only can you hard-boil eggs in a multi-cooker, but fresh eggs can be boiled and then easily peeled, which is one of the biggest challenges after stovetop boiling. To achieve this, you’ll want a multi-cooker with a pressure cooking function that can be set to low pressure. At high pressure, the shells can crack before the egg is cooked.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and published her first cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Pickling," in 2020. She enjoys making everything from scratch, from bread to yogurt to daily meals. Julie loves to cook in open pots and sample their contents as they bubble away, but on busy days, she appreciates the set-and-ignore features of multi-cookers.
This roundup was updated by Katya Weiss-Andersson, a writer and editor who has nearly a decade of experience as a professional chef. Katya is a big Instant Pot fan after being a hardcore skeptic for years; she loves that cooking beans, lentils, risottos, and stews in her multi-cooker takes less time and effort than on the stove.