multi cooker
Multi-cookers have preset times and temperatures for basic meal preparation that includes meat dishes and rice. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Electric multi-cookers prepare your dinner up to 70 per cent faster than traditional methods. Much like air fryers, their plug-and-start convenience makes them a kitchen essential in many busy households. These are large-capacity cookers that can be programmed to sauté, bake, steam, slow cook, pressure cook and so much more, at the touch of a button.

What can you cook in a multi-cooker?

multi cookers
From ethnic dishes to lasagne, the multi-cooker does it all. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Marium Shariq, a social media food influencer, has been an avid user of multi-cookers for over eight years. The former Dubai expat, now based in the US, devises instant pot recipes for busy mums like herself, who can add ingredients to the pot, pick a cooking function and then return to the cooker whenever it beeps.

“The difference between a traditional pressure cooker and an electric cooker, is that you can set a timer on a multi-cooker and go on about your day. I could sit with my son and work on his homework together, while the food cooks. It’s really safe, too,” she explained.

While you’re tending to other tasks, you can get the cooker going in the background, and it’ll figure out the best timing and temperature for you. Instant Pots come with functions for your favourite staples on the control panel – whether it’s oatmeal, rice, soup, baby food, yoghurt or meat, these multi-appliance wonders do it all.

“Many people are amazed when I tell them that you can make yoghurt in these, too. I cook ribs, lasagne, soup, haleem (a stew of wheat, meat and lentils), butter chicken, daal (pulses), nihari (a stew of slow-cooked meat) and anything you can think of – even kheer (a milk-based sweet dish),” said Shariq.

Which multi-cooker is the best for me?

multi cooker
Look for a multi-cooker that performs the functions of several appliances, which can be stored away for more breathing space. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Electric cookers also help you cook big servings faster, so that you can spend more time entertaining your guests this festive season. If you’re planning on cooking ethnic food, Shariq suggests a pot capacity of at least 8 quarts or 7.57 litres, to account for the curry ingredients and meat.

“I love the sauté mode – it’s very versatile because you can cook anything using this function. It’s great for people who don’t want to make food on a gas stovetop and risk burning their meal,” she added.

Shariq’s number-one pick is Instant Pot’s Duo Crisp range, which includes the functionality of an air fryer. “I always recommend my followers to start with a basic Instant Pot; I’ve tried many brands, but it’s been my best cooker so far. Plus, it has a stainless steel pot inside so there’s no coating on it. I’ve noticed how curry doesn’t get stuck at the bottom, either,” Shariq said.

With its wide range of functions, a multi-cooker can be a complex gadget for beginners. Shariq shares two important tips to avoid common mistakes: “Do not add a lot of water to your pressure cooker; it cooks food really fast so it’s not necessary. And, when you’re releasing steam, use a wooden spoon to open the valve”.

Gift yourself this kitchen helper and reduce the clutter on your countertop, with a multi-cooker from our list. We scoured Amazon for the best-rated instant cookers, picking only those that reviewers absolutely loved, and compiled them below. Place your order through Prime delivery, to bring the electric cooker home as soon as today or tomorrow.

1. Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Plus 6, 5.7 Litres

Pros

  • Functions like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer and more
  • 15 cooking programmes, from soup to stew
  • Cooks for up to six people
  • Access recipes via app
  • Comes with steam rack, extra sealing ring and condensation collector

Cons

  • Doesn’t include utensils

Instant Brands was the first manufacturer to invent the multi-cooker in 2010. Think of the Instant Duo Plus as an appliance perfected over a period of 10 years. It is nine appliances in one, meaning you’re getting a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, cake maker, sous vide pot, yoghurt maker and food warmer, in one single contraption. The Duo Plus has a 5.7-litre stainless steel cooking pot that serves up to six people. From ribs to beans, whatever’s on the menu, the Instant Pot sees to the dishes using one-touch 15 smart programmes. There’s a function to sterilise your utensils, too. Reviewers say the cooker delivers consistent results every time, saves time and makes cooking a breeze for beginners. It’s impossible to burn your dinner in an automated cooker. You can access delicious recipes via the Instant Pot app or browse the web for several guides.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh54.08 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh35 and two years for Dh49.

2. Best Large Capacity Multi-Cooker: Nutricook Smart Pot 2, 8 Litres

Pros

  • Sleek all-black design
  • Large capacity cooker
  • 12 smart cooking functions
  • Comes with soup spoon, rice paddle, steam rack and more

Cons

  • Doesn’t include an extra sealing ring

A large-capacity cooker worth considering is the 8-litre Nutricook Smart Pot 2. Similar to our Instant Pot pick, it performs the functions of several appliances, including the sous vide pot, and has an easy pressure release button on the lid. There are 12 customisable presets on the display that calculate the time and temperature for you, based on the food being prepared. Reviewers say they find cooking at home effortless with the Smart Pot 2, which has, in turn, helped them cut down on takeout meals. They add that its capacity serves up to eight people, and prepares stew, chilli and chicken superbly well.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.

3. Best Multi-Cooker for Variety: Ninja Foodi Multi-Cooker, 6 Litres

Pros

  • Additional air-fry, grill and roast functions
  • Defrosts and crisps in one go
  • Comes with steam rack and a crisp basket and lid
  • Keeps food warm up to 12 hours

Cons

  • Quite bulky – suitable for a large kitchen

A multi-cooker that doubles as an air fryer, the 6-litre Ninja Foodi electric pressure cooker might be the only cheerleader you need on your fitness journey. Besides the expected cooking functions, such as pressure cook, sauté, steam and slow cook, the pot features a TenderCrisp technology that lets you air fry, grill and roast or bake your ingredients. When your pressure-cooked chicken and vegetables are done, swap the lid with the included crisping lid to give your meal a crispy, golden finish. You don’t have to wait for the meat to defrost, either. The Foodi Multi-Cooker comes with a separate 3.7-litre cook and crisp basket that can hold up to 1.1kgs of fries. Buyers say it has quickly made their oven redundant, and report excellent crisping results without an overcooked centre or burning.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh54.08 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Budget: Black+Decker Electric Pressure Cooker, 6 Litres

Pros

  • Slow cooks, pressure cooks, steams and warms food
  • Can cook for up to 20 hours
  • 12 smart programmes, including one for desserts
  • Four-hour delay timer

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a function for oatmeal

The six-litre Black+Decker electric pressure cooker is a budget-friendly option for quick and easy meals. It performs like most multi-cookers, with the functionality of a 20-hour slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, food warmer and more. Among the 12 smart programmes, the pot has special settings for desserts, too. You can even prep in advance when you have the time, and then programme the cooker to start on dinner four hours later. Reviewers have whipped up a variety of meals in the EZ Smart Steam pot, from pilaf (pulao) to pasta.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty.

5. Best Multi-Cooker for Fast Results: Crockpot Turbo Express Pressure Multicooker, 5.6 Litres

Pros

  • Cooks for up to six people
  • Additional functions for simmer, dessert and sous vide
  • Sterilises baby feeder bottles and jars
  • Auto-keep warm function
  • Turbo mode reduces cooking time

Cons

  • Comes without a cookbook

For expert multi-cooker users, max out your cooking options with this 14-in-1 Crockpot Turbo Express. It includes programmes for simmering, sous vide, dessert and sterilisation, along with a Turbo pressure setting to prepare meals 40 per cent faster, when you’re in a hurry. Its 5.6-litre capacity cooks for up to six people and automatically keeps the food warm once done. Reviewers appreciate the speedy turbo mode, saying how their rice is done cooking in three minutes and chicken thighs in 10, all the while saving them on energy bills.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh43.56 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a two-year guarantee.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.