6 Best Multi-Cookers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We pressure-cooked chicken, dried beans and rice to find our favorite electric pressure cookers.
Our Top Multi-Cooker Picks
Tested by Leah Brickley and Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Multi-cookers are adored for their convenient, and often speedy, cooking — thanks to pressure cooking features — without compromising flavor or texture. Plus, with a relatively small footprint (averaging about 12 inches wide and 13 inches high), multi-cookers are easy to store, minimizing countertop clutter. We found many multi-cookers on the market have overlapping features including the ability to pressure cook, slow cook and saute — some can also air fry. That said, some key features make certain models stand out. We found six high-performing models whether you’re a first-time purchaser or in the market for an upgrade.
What to Know Before You Buy a Multicooker
Size: Multi-cookers tend to be bulky and heavy, so you’ll want to consider the overall footprint to determine whether you can allocate countertop space or if cupboard storage is required. Some units have multiple, interchangeable lids to toggle between pressure cooking or air frying; depending on the design, some units may take up more space than others. You’ll also want to consider the interior size and capacity of the inner cooking pot and fry basket or crisper plate. A standard 6-quart unit is typically adequate for cooking for 4 to 6 people.
Functions & Pre-Sets Programs: Multi-cookers come with preset programs that allow you to switch between different functions, such as pressure cook, slow cook, sear/saute, air crisp and dehydrate. Some also include preset programs to take the guesswork out of standard dishes such as rice, yogurt, or stew. Most multi-cookers also include controls to allow users to manually adjust pressure levels, temperature and time. Many user manuals also include helpful cooking charts outlining suggested time and temperature for a number of common dishes.
Cleaning & care: Multi-cookers’ various parts — silicone gaskets, pot insert, fry basket, lids — often have different cleaning requirements, so be sure to assess whether the parts are billed as dishwasher safe or hand-wash or wipe-clean only. Even if parts are labelled as dishwasher safe, many manufacturers recommend hand washing the interior pot and avoiding metal intensive to protect the surface from scratches.
Accessories: Read the product description to find out exactly what’s included with your multi-cooker. Standard accessories include the inner cooking pot, air fryer basket, pressure cooker lid, and air fryer lid, but many come with additional accessories including an extra ring seal, gasket, or wire rack.
Price: Like most kitchen appliances, expect to pay more for multi-cookers with extra bells and whistles, such as pressure notifications, streamlined design, and additional pre-set program functions.
How We Tested
We tested nine top-rated, well-reviewed multi-cooker models from different brands. We considered multi-cookers in the 6-quart size with and without bells and whistles or extra features like air frying capabilities. First, we pressure-cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts and noted which were the most tender and how easy each batch was to shred. Then we cooked long-grain rice under pressure and checked for fluffiness and made sure nothing stuck to the bottom of the pot. Finally, we pressure-cooked dried chickpeas, which were evaluated for doneness and then blended into hummus. For models with air fryer capability, we tested frozen French fries and cooked according to manual directions. We downloaded and tested apps (when relevant), read through all the manuals and washed every piece of equipment for each model as directed by the manufacturers.
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top instant pot picks.
Instant Pot started the multi-cooker craze, and the Duo (the brand’s most-popular model) does not disappoint. With seven functions and eight presets, it performed very well in all our tests: fluffy and tender rice, moist chicken and hummus-ready chickpeas. It comes with a great cheat sheet for pressure cooking dozens of different items and is the most affordable option in our lineup. It also comes in a variety of colors and styles. Like its predecessor models, the lid can be difficult to lock and the lack of an on/off button is definite a downside. Some newer models like the Instant Pot Max fix some of these issues with the addition of an on/off button, pressure notifications and a simpler lid, but come at a higher price point.
This stainless-steel multi-cooker boasts a contemporary design that’s intuitive to use and yields consistent results. It comes with a crisping lid, pressure lid, nonstick cook and crisp plate, and a nesting broil rack. It has 11 pre-set functions, including pressure cook, air fry/air crisp, steam, slow cook, yogurt, sear/saute, bake/roast, broil, dehydrate, sous vide and keep warm. We appreciated the roomy 6.5-quart capacity, enough to hold a 5-pound whole chicken or 6-pound roast, or to air fry 3 pounds of hand-cut French fries (4.6-quart capacity with crisper plate). It performed well during the cook test, yielding evenly cooked, fluffy rice with minimal clumps, golden-crisp fries, and tender chickpeas. We found that we needed to add a few extra minutes cook time to the pressure-cooked chicken breast recipe, but once cooked, they were juicy and shredded easily. We liked that the crisping lid is attached to the base, and easily lifts up and automatically pauses during cooking. All accessories, as well as the inner cooking pot, are dishwasher safe, but the nonstick finish on the inner pot and crisping plate makes hand-washing a cinch. We also appreciated the rubber seal’s dark gray color which suggests it can stave off discoloring. Like most multi-cookers, this unit an investment in terms of cost and counter space, but it offers great value for money and solid performance.
The packaging tells you this machine is going to be sleek and modern. All-black with a seamless digital interface that communicates every stage of cooking, it’s the smartest model we tested and performed well in all our tests. The inner pot is non-stick and owners can download the CHEF iQ app to their phone and sync with the multi-cooker to access recipes and more than 100 presets. It can also store your favorite recipes and even has a built-in scale to make instant calculations and suggested settings and cooking times if you're winging it.
With 14 presets — including eggs and cake — and nine functions, this multi-cooker kept up with the rest in our testing. Its biggest advantage is clean-up. Unlike the other models, all its parts are dishwasher safe: everything from the silicone gaskets, to the pot insert to the lid. It comes in all-black — a nice departure from stainless steel — with some bright red accessories like silicone oven mitts and an extra gasket.
Breville has made an impressive looking machine; almost all stainless steel, its solid and well-built. With six features and 12 pressure cooking settings, it performed very well in almost all our tests — tender chickpeas and nicely cooked chicken — but the rice closest to the bottom of the inner pot was just slightly overcooked. The digital interface is super intuitive and easy to program, and the lid opens, closes and locks with ease. If you’re a seasoned multi-cooker looking for an upgrade, this is a model to consider.