Which Cooker is Best for Your Kitchen?
Looking to get cooking with a countertop gadget? You can create dozens of healthy dishes with these convenient and affordable options; find out which is the best fit for your kitchen.
This is a quick and easy way to make large batches of perfectly cooked rice in a matter of minutes. Even if you don’t think you need one of these machines, you’ll be using it all the time! You can also use rice cookers to prepare other grains, like quinoa, or to whip up a batch of oatmeal. You don’t have to break the bank on these, either — a perfectly reliable machine costs less than $40.
- Recommendation: Hamilton Beach 20 Cup Capacity Rice Cooker
Slow cookers continue to be a favorite with cooks of all ages and abilities. No matter what your level of culinary prowess, you can master a few slow-cooker staples. Look for a model that best fits the recipes you make most often, and pick a size that best fits your needs. These cookers also take up a bunch of counter or cabinet space, so plan out a place to park it before you bring it home. You can find wonderfully reliable set-it-and-forget-it models for around $100.
- Recommendation: Cuisinart 6.5-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
An underappreciated countertop machine, a pressure cooker uses the pressure of steam to rapidly cook soups, dried beans, stews and roasts. There’s a slight learning curve to these babies, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be hooked on making pot roast in less than an hour!
- Recommendation: Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker
Some newer cookers give you two appliances for the price of one, which can save you money and counter space. Breville recently released a cooker that does double duty as a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. Features include top and bottom sensors that automatically adjust the time and temperature while cooking.
- Recommendation: Breville Fast Slow Pro
How about one machine that can perform 10 different functions? T-fal’s compact unit can act as a stellar rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer and more. Other functions include the ability to make yogurt, oatmeal, risotto and even cheesecake. The best part of this multifaceted machine is its price: It retails for $100.
- Recommendation: T-fal 10-in-1 Rice & Multi-Cooker
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.
The slow cooker's ability to cook dinner while you're away at work is only one of its many merits. Breakfast, lunch, dessert, party food and even holiday gifts are made infinitely easier when left to the gentle heat of a slow cooker.