Can You Fry In A Multi
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 that turns the multi-cooker into an air fryer.
What To Know About Instant Pots
Instant Pot is a popular multi-cooker brand known for its time- and space-saving appliances. In 2010, the brand launched its very first product in order to help people with busy lives get food on the table, fast. This made pressure cooking more accessible to the average person.
Now, the Instant Pot has a cult following of people who swear it changed their lives and there are almost to prove it. They’re fast, efficient, and multi-functional, and have performed well in all of our lab tests . Not only do our Kitchen Appliance experts love Instant Pots, but so does our audience: they’re often one of the most popular products that Good Housekeeping readers buy each month. Here’s why:
Instant Pots are multi-functional. While many people simply think of IPs as electric pressure cookers, but they can also slow cook, steam, warm, sauté, and work as a rice cooker in addition to pressure cooking. The main function, pressure cooking, cooks food by raising the boiling point of water and trapping steam in order to reduce cook time. Plus, they come with a stainless steel inner pot, which is a material designed to heat up quickly.
Whats Not Included In This Guide
Given Instant Pots popularity, Instant Brands expansion into other products was inevitable. Since its merger with Corelle in 2019, the brand has continued to improve upon its pressure cooker, but also added additional small appliances to its offerings, including air fryers, toaster ovens, air purifiers, and even a very not-instant precision slow cooker that works more like a Crock-Pot, but with added functionality.
For this in-depth Instant Pot buying guide, were covering the brands best-selling product: the pressure/multi-cooker. But as youll see, all of these Instant Pots have a slow-cooking function while a few can even be used as an air fryer or mini oven!
Also Check: How To Use Slow Cooker On Instant Pot
What Can I Make In An Electric Multicooker Or Instant Pot
Virtually all Instant Pots and off-brand multicookers can pressure cook, slow cook, saute, cook rice, and keep foods warm. Some models can also sous vide, air fry, make yogurt, and much more.
For more ideas of what is possible with an electric pressure cooker, check out these articles:
The Difference Between A Multi Cooker And Pressure Cooker And An Instant Pot
Published: by Kiran
The difference between a multi cooker and pressure cooker, and an Instant Pot. Plus what you need to consider when buying a multi cooker.
I got on the multi cooker bandwagon a few of months ago. Within a few weeks use, it now occupies a permanent position on my kitchen counter, and I have started to update recipes on the blog to include multi cooker instructions.
Of course, that has led to a lot of questions such as ….
What exactly is a multi cooker?
What is the difference between a multi cooker and an Instant Pot?
And what is the difference between a multi cooker and a normal pressure cooker?
What led me to purchase the multi cooker, and most importantly should you purchase it?
Well, today I am answering all those questions and by the end of the blog post you should be able to decide if its right for you.
What is a multi cooker?
A multi cooker is an electrical appliance with programmable modes that let you cook in different ways. The range of features differ from brand to brand, but the most common ones are pressure cooking, slow cooking, yoghurt making, steaming, baking, sauteing / stir-frying and keeping food warm. The model that I have is a Philips Viva 2137, but there are many other brands available with the most popular being the Instant Pot.
Too many appliances, not enough room in the kitchen to fit them all!
What is the difference between a multi cooker and an Instant Pot?
Why did I purchase a multi cooker?
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Pros And Cons: Stovetop Versus Countertop Pressure Cookers
There was a time when I would have said that stovetop pressure cookers are superior to electric countertop pressure cookers, no contest. They’re heated over a stovetop, so they’re superior for searing. They’re more versatile because they can be used as a regular pot. They don’t require a plug.
All that was before I actually got myself an electric countertop pressure cooker and started using it in my own kitchen. These days, I use my countertop model almost exclusively, and my stovetop pressure cookers collect dust in the closet. Why? In a word, convenience. Countertop pressure cookers have timers and sensors built in to automatically adjust pressure and heat as they cook, which means you’re free to go about your business until they’re done. A stovetop pressure cooker requires you to manually adjust the flame until you hit the sweet spot. Sensors also give me more peace of mind that I’m not going to have any kind of explosion if I leave the kitchen unattended .
Countertop pressure cookers also offer more even cooking along the bottom and sides of the pot, minimizing the chances of scorching. This is especially useful when you’re cooking sticky foods, like thick sauce, rice, risotto, or other grains. Because their heating elements are insulated and enclosed, countertop pressure cookers are more energy-efficient than stovetop models. Nearly all that juice goes into cooking your food instead of heating up your kitchen.
Here’s a quick breakdown of stovetop and electric cookers.
Best For The Buffet: All
Courtesy of William Sonoma
Small print on buttons
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 stunning on the buffet table.
The center dial sets the cooking mode for slow cooking, rice, steam, sear, or simmer, while buttons fine-tune the choices. You can preheat the pot, select temperatures, or use the keep-warm/buffet button to keep food warm without overcooking it. The nonstick surface in the cooking pot is safe for metal utensils, so theres 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.
Size: 7 quarts | Interior Surface: Nonstick ceramic aluminum | Cooking Presets: Six | Wattage: 1,200 watts | Weight: 21.3 pounds | Dimensions: 21.25 x 15.75 x 11 inches
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Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo 7
Who else recommends it? Delish, TechRadar, and Simply Recipes all picked the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker.
What do buyers say? 85% of 140,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
Electric pressure cookers today have evolved into true multi-cookers. This offering from Instant Pot can pressure cook, but it can also 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 theres no chance of cooking with the vent open by accident. Quick-cool technology helps it cool to release pressure quicker, so those hungry diners wont have to wait as long for the lid to open. This model comes in a 6- or 8-quart size.
Our tester made various dishes, including hard-cooked eggs, steel-cut oats, dried chickpea stew, 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.
The Spruce Eats / Danielle Centoni
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
What To Look For In A Countertop Pressure Cooker
Nearly all countertop pressure cookers are multi-cookers that also have slow-cooker functions searing functions sautéing, simmering, reducing, steaming, and, in some models, yogurt-making functions.
I want to be able to sear and sauté powerfully in the same vessel. I want the cooker to come up to pressure and maintain that pressure with no monitoring. The more automation, the better. I’d like to get the thing running with an intuitive interface that gives me maximum control with minimal button presses. I want to be able to manually adjust timing and pressure, both at the start of cooking and on the fly. I also want a pressure cooker that’s easy to clean. Some models I tested had internal pots that would not sit stillthey’d rotate around and around as I tried to stir, making cooking in them difficult and tedious. Others had lids that were difficult to align or lock down.
The biggest problem in most pressure cookers was with the interface: confusing panels with no hierarchy, often coupled with display panels that offered too little information. This might just be the Luddite in me, but I need to see an indication that the machine is actually cooking when it’s supposed to be. “Is it really on?” I’d ask myself, sometimes coming back after half an hour to see that, nope, it wasn’t actually running.
I’m less interested in the slow-cooking function in most multi-cookers, but I tested these out anyway.
Pressure Cooker Sous Vide Cooker Slow Cooker Yogurt Maker And Sterilizer
Our pressure cooker offers so many ways to get a delicious meal on the table with minimal effort and perfect results, every time. In addition to quick cookingfast, flavorful meals cooked up to 70% faster than other methods even from frozenand no-fuss slow cooking so it does it thing while you’re doing yours, you can sous vide, the secret to restaurant-quality steaks, fish, and more. With sous vide, you pick the temperature, and it cooks to the exact doneness you love, every time! No more undercooked centers and overcooked outsides. After your food reaches your perfect doneness, it can stay put for up to two hours without overcooking, giving you lots of wiggle room for serving. Plus, there is a yogurt function so you can make homemade yogurt with just two ingredients and less than 5 minutes of hands-on time, and you can even sterilize bottles and utensils. All of this without ever turning on the oven!
From Baking To Roasting Multi
The Complete Guide to Pickling
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With every evolution of multi-cookers, busy cooks find it easier to escape the kitchen. Todays multi-cookers can slow cook a stew, steam rice, and pressure cook a roast all within the same device. Each new model adds more functions, from yogurt making to air frying and sous vide.
I love steaming in my multi-cooker versus on the stovetop,” says Pat Tanumihardja, author of “Instant Pot Asian Pressure Cooker Meals.” “When I steamed on the stovetop, I had to pay attention to water levels. I burnt a hole in my moms steamer pan once because the water evaporated dry. With the multi-cooker, I can just press cook and forget about it until it beeps.
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 the most popular foods. Add the ingredients, push the appropriate button, and step back as the multi-cooker does all the work. For creative cooks who want more control, some multi-cookers allow adjustments of temperature, pressure, and time. With so many options, choosing a multi-cooker often comes down to how many people you plan to feed and what you want to serve.
To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best multi-cookers currently on the market.
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What Is A Multi
If you own an Instant Pot, what you really own is a multi-cooker. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, but have been debating whether or not to pick one up, you should know that there are many other multi-cooker brands on the market, some of which are worth considering .
A multi-cooker usually includes a base unit, where the control panel and heating element live an insert, which holds the food itself and can be removed for easy cleaning a lid with a gasket and valve, for pressure-cooking and various accessories, like measuring cups and a steaming basket, depending on the model.
As the name implies, what’s most appealing about a multi-cooker is the range of cooking options it offers. It steams! It sears! It simmers! It cooks beans! It cooks rice! It cooks stews! It cooks chili! It makes yogurt! It’s a pressure cooker! It’s a slow cooker! It can make my bed and clean my toilet and rub my feet and sanitize my dentures! All! In! One!
Do you know how we know it can do all those things? Because it has buttons on the front that tell us so!*
*Okay, I lied it won’t sanitize your dentures. But man, does a multi-cooker make a mean bed.
Let’s cut through this noise. A multi-cooker is really just a couple of things, plus a whole lot of preset modes. It is, in the simplest sense, an electric pot its lid has a gasket that can seal the pot shut to trap steam and build pressure, and the cooker has sensors in it to automatically control heat and pressure as needed.
What’s The Difference Between Quick Release And Natural Release
With a quick release, you release the steam from the pot when cooking is done. With the natural release, you don’t release the steam immediately. Instead, you allow the pressure to decrease on its own.
Both have their pros and cons. For more details, check out our article: What do natural release and quick release mean on an Instant Pot?
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What To Look For In A Stovetop Multi
A good stovetop pressure cooker should have a thick, sturdy base that distributes heat evenly. It should have construction that gives us confidence that it will not explode or otherwise be a danger in the kitchen. We want it to have a lid that locks on securely and easily, without having to fiddle around.
Pressure gauges come in two distinct forms these days. The old-fashioned method uses a jigglera weight that sits over the end of a pressure-release tube that runs through the lid of the cooker. As the pressure inside builds, it eventually has enough force to lift the jiggler and emit a puff of steam, regulating the temperature and the pressure inside. The problem with jigglers is that each time they vent steam, the contents of the pot boil a bit, something that ideally shouldn’t happen inside a pressure cooker. Moreover, the only way you can monitor internal temperature is by adjusting the heat until the jiggler releases steam at a bare hiss, indicating you’ve achieved and maintained good pressure inside.
More modern cookers have spring-loaded release valves that rise and fall with the pressure inside but don’t actually vent steam until a fixed safety point is reached. This allows you to adjust the flame without actually venting any steam or causing boiling or other internal disturbances. I much prefer this style of stovetop cooker, though it can be pricier.
Instant Pots To Purchase
All Instant Pot models come with a dishwasher-safe locking lid, steam rack and inner pot. Each model will auto-adjust to the right pressure and temperature before it starts cooking, and you can manually adjust the cook time. In addition, all models are equipped with a delay start option and a keep warm setting, as well as a food burn sensor. Instant Pots are also designed with safety features like Overheat Protection, which helps prevent food from burning by suspending heating if the appliance detects a high temperature at the bottom of the inner pot.
Below, we broke down every Instant Pot model currently on the market. We highlighted how models differ from one another and what sizes they come in.
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How Do Instant Pots Work
Cooking food in the Instant Pot is not instantaneous as the appliances name might suggest although it does speed up the process overall. Instant Pots need time to heat up so their temperature can rise above boiling point, which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level. As it heats up, food inside the Instant Pot releases steam, and the appliance traps the steam inside. The build-up of steam inside the Instant Pot creates a high-pressure environment when the appliance reaches an optimal pressure point, a pressure valve lifts into place and steam is released through a vent on the appliances lid. Thats when the foods cooking time begins.
Barbone said the most anxiety-inducing part of using an Instant Pot, especially for first-time users, is the steam. The Instant Pot makes a lot of noise as the pressure rises and a lot of steam shoots out of a small vent on the lid at a rapid pace. But rest assured this is supposed to happen, and if anything goes wrong, the Instant Pot will shut down.