Busy lives and nutritious, homemade meals can actually coexist. That’s why Instant Pot-style electric multicookers are all the rage right now in kitchens across the country. They can tackle a huge variety of foods and meals including beans, rice, soup, chili, stew, yogurt, and even cheesecake. And they’re fast.
One of the big appeals of an electric multicooker is that it can replace a laundry list of other kitchen appliances, including your stovetop pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, and rice cooker. That’s a whole lot of space you can reclaim in your cabinets.
Much like brand names Kleenex and Xerox, “instant pot” has become a shorthand reference for electric pressure cookers as a whole. Instant Pot is an actual brand and it’s the one that’s dominating the space right now, but there are other options from a variety of manufacturers.
Ready to join the multicooker revolution? Here are five top-rated cookers that can save you time on even the busiest of meal nights.
Instant Pot Ultra 8 Qt.
Cooking for a crowd? This Cadillac of electric cookers has a jumbo capacity to feed large families. There are a lot of features packed into this gadget, including altitude adjustment, custom programming, and a cake program that turns it into your own personal dessert bakery.
If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of the top-of-the-line Ultra model, then you save some cash and check into a DUO model instead. You can get the same food capacity, but at a little lower cost.
Instant Pot Duo Mini
If the 8-quart model looks too daunting for your solo cooking adventures, then check out the mini version. This 3-quart Instant Pot is sized for singles or couples. It’s also a compact choice for RV dwellers. It might be dainty, but it handles all the tasks of a larger electric multicooker. For reference, it can deliver up to 12 cups of cooked rice.
Instant Pot also offers sizes in between the 8 quart and the mini, so look for the capacity that best fits your lifestyle.
Fagor has a long history in stovetop pressure cookers, so it’s no surprise it’s also in the market with a selection of electric versions. The LUX comes in sizes ranging from 4 quarts to 6 quarts with presets on the front for white and brown rice, yogurt, risotto, steaming, slow cooking, sauteing, simmering, and browning.
Crock-Pot Express Crock
Famed for slow cookers, Crock-Pot is also competing in the electric pressure cooker field with this very affordable 6-quart machine. As with the other machines on our list so far, it’s designed for slow cooking, pressure cooking, steaming, browning, and sauteing. The quick preset functions include meat/stew, beans/chili, poultry, yogurt, and dessert. The Crock-Pot also comes with a non-stick inner pot for fast cleanup.
Like with the Crock-Pot, the Cuisinart CPC-600 also comes in a lower price point than the equivalently sized Instant Pot, so it’s worth a look if you’re a budget buyer. It doesn’t have an array of push-button presets like the multicookers do, which could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your perspective. The CPC-600 is really meant to be a dedicated pressure cooker rather than a jack of all trades. That simplicity will appeal to home cooks who are just looking to replace a stovetop pressure cooker at an affordable price.
Once you join the world of electric cookers, be sure to make the most of the many resources available online. You will find a growing world of delicious recipes that will take you far beyond the recipe book that comes with your cooker.