Perhaps most importantly, one of the things we love most about multi-cookers is they reduce the need to have multiple appliances sitting on your worktop. For the most part, these gadgets can handle it all and often in a fraction of the cooking time – saving you both money and kitchen space too.
We also wanted to test which models were the cheapest to run. Pressure-cooking is generally a low-cost method of cooking, and you can hear more about it in this episode of the olive podcast. Here’s our tried-and-tested picks of the best multi-cookers available to buy right now.
Best multi-cookers at a glance
- Best overall multi-cooker: Crockpot Turbo Express 14-in-1 pressure cooker, £119
- Best rice cooker for top-end multi-cookers: Sage Fast Slow Go multi-cooker, £125
- Best value multi-cooker: Drew & Cole Pressure King Pro 5.7L 12-in-1 digital pressure cooker, £80
- Best large multi-cooker: Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid, £200
- Best multi-cooker for pressure cooking: Tefal Turbo Cuisine multi pressure cooker, £129
- Best air fryer multi-cooker: Ninja Foodi MAX 15-in-1 SmartLid 7.5-litre multi-cooker, £319.99
- Best multi-cooker for intuitive controls: Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus multi-cooker, £99.99
- Best multi-cooker for versatility: Amazon Basics 23-in-1 Multi Purpose multi-cooker, £81.52
The best multi-cookers to buy in 2023
Crockpot Turbo Express 14-in-1 pressure cooker
Best overall multi-cooker
Score: 5/5 stars
Cost to run: n/a
With 14 functions and 5.6-litre capacity, this is an excellent multi-cooker for medium to large households. It also features a ‘turbo cooking’ function that turns meals around 40 per cent more quickly – ideal if you’re hurrying to get dinner on the table.
We were most struck by its user-friendly credentials: the cooker’s lid lifts up and off, which makes it much easier to clean than some hinged models, and all 14 cooking modes are selectable via a simple push-button. There’s a keep-warm function that automatically jumps into action once cooking is finished. The slow-cook function proved successful too, creating a richly infused chicken korma with succulent meat and a creamy sauce.
Sage Fast Slow Go multi-cooker
Best rice cooker for top-end multi-cookers
Score: 5/5 stars
Cost to run: n/a
This gadget is a stylish addition to the countertop, featuring a large digital touchscreen and brushed stainless-steel design. Its 14 functions are selectable via the push-button interface, with a particular focus on pressure cook and slow functions, as well as stews, stocks, yogurt and sous vide.
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It’s a chunky piece of kit, but its versatility warrants its price and size. Where this multi-cooker impressed us most was grain and rice cooking, and we produced a creamy risotto that didn’t require the usual effort of stirring by hand.
Drew & Cole Pressure King Pro 5.7L 12-in-1 digital pressure cooker
Best value multi-cooker
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Cost during test: 3.97p
Sporting a sleek, stainless body and robust handle around the lid, this Drew & Cole multi-cooker wowed us with its sturdy, practical design and intuitive controls. It’s 5.7-litre cooking pot offers ample space for generous portions, and among its 12 functions are sauté, steam and stew, plus additional presets for recipes like chilli, curry and soup.
A steamer basket is also included, which slots neatly inside and is elevated from the base of the pot – so you can cook two different dishes simultaneously. A keep-warm function switches on automatically after the timer has sounded, and the convenient nature of this gadget also extends to cleaning – as you can put the pot in the dishwasher afterwards.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate Lid
Best large multi-cooker
Cost during test: 5.05p
Instant Pot is well-known for producing high-quality multi-cookers, and this gadget – complete with air fryer functionality – is equally impressive. Grill, roast, slow cook, and dehydrate are all selectable via the multi-cooker’s interface, as well as sous-vide setting that allows you to precisely control the water temperature.
As multi-cookers go, it’s fairly chunky-looking with a sleek black body and digital display. We loved the vast 6.2-litre pot, which is ideal for cooking large batches or feeding a crowd. The sliding lock function is also much slicker and easier to use than most traditional pressure-release switches. This appliance produced a pleasant beef stew too, with tender meat and a thick gravy.
Tefal Turbo Cuisine multi pressure cooker
Best multi-cooker for pressure cooking
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Cost during test: 4.38p
This Tefal multi-cooker benefits from a smooth, spherical body with a rounded, almost cauldron-like interior. Operating it is a simple affair thanks to the bright, clear display and well-written instruction manual, where you’ll also find guidance on how to use the sous-vide preset. Other functions include sauté, steam, bake, stew, soup, slow cook, bread rise, rice, yogurt and porridge.
Because it’s shorter than most other multi-cookers, it’s a great choice for those with lower kitchen cupboards. Should you wish to move it around, there are also two wide handles for easy lifting, plus silicone feet to keep it fixed onto the worktop. The large, central button for releasing pressure is also a smart design feature, both for safety as well as aesthetic.
Ninja Foodi MAX 15-in-1 SmartLid 7.5-litre multi-cooker
Best air fryer multi-cooker
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Cost during test: n/a
Ninja’s multi-cookers were among the first to feature air-fryer functions alongside a wide range of presets. This version comes with 15 settings, which include pressure cook, air fry, grill, bake, dehydrate, prove, sear/sauté, steam, slow cook, and yogurt, as well as five combi steam-meal options.
Its 7.5-litre capacity makes it a practical choice for households of between four and six, and it also features a single-lift lid with a sliding lock that doubles as a mode selector. The sear/sauté function was also effective, rendering the fat and caramelising the ingredients efficiently without burning. Some of the cooking aromas clung to the lid’s seal even after washing, but there is advice in the manual for a cleaning function.
Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus multi-cooker
Best multi-cooker for intuitive controls
Score: 4/5 stars
Cost during test: 3.91p
The bright, blue-tinged display is likely the first thing you’ll notice when you switch on this appliance – the screen is impressively large, much more so than that of other Instant Pot models we’ve used, but the controls are just as easy to navigate.
The Duo Evo comes equipped with 10 settings, including pressure cook, steam, sauté, and slow cook, as well as extra functions like yogurt, rice/grain, sous vide, and bake. A progress bar flashes as you move through each cooking stage, and we liked that an additional seal ring is included, so you switch between sweet and savoury dishes without worrying about lingering aromas. The 5.7-litre pot also comes with wide plastic handles on either side, so you can lift it easily after cooking.
Amazon Basics 23-in-1 Multi-Purpose multi-cooker
Best multi-cooker for versatility
Score: 4/5 stars
Cost during test: 3.91p
This multi-cooker is simple in design yet really delivers on the functionality front. Its range of presets include poultry, meat, vegetables, beans, congee, white rice, and chilli, to name a few, as well as traditional settings for sauté, steam and slow cook. The manual setting also performs well, and as gadgets of this kind go, it has a relatively modest footprint in terms of width.
To release pressure you have to lean across the body of the cooker to flip the valve switch, which isn’t ideal for safety. However it was one of the most cost-efficient models we tested, and we were impressed with the cooking results it produced.
What to consider when buying a multi-cooker
Multi-cookers can vary widely in versatility and capacity, with some larger models offering extra functionality that smaller ones don’t. Before you buy, it’s worth considering the following:
- Size: If you’re cooking for a larger household or plan on using your gadget to batch cook, you’ll find bigger models offer ample capacity, but there are mini ones for smaller households too. Think about where your multi-cooker will sit: do you have sufficient countertop or storage space for it? Some also come with hinged lids, which means they stand quite tall – this is something to consider if you have lower kitchen cupboards.
- Functionality: Multi-cookers can be a fantastic way to experiment with new cooking methods and can inject some excitement into everyday meal prep. Look carefully at the presets on offer and consider how or whether you would use them – some may save you investing in two or more large appliances further down the line.
- Extra attachments: Several models also come with bonus accessories like utensils, while some have steaming baskets that allow you to double the capacity of your cooker. Cooking smells can often permeate the sealing ring of the lid when pressure-cooking, so others – like the Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus multi-cooker – come with additional rings when switching between savoury and sweet dishes.
How we tested multi-cookers
Where a gadget has a range of functions, we like to run multiple tests to make sure everything is working as it should be. Most of the multi-cookers we tested come with 10 or more presets, including pressure cook, slow cook, sear/sauté, air fry, bake, grill, and roast, plus extra settings for specific ingredients like chicken, fish or vegetables.
We adapted a beef and vegetable casserole recipe by our friends at BBC Good Food to test pressure cooking, reducing the quantity of water by half and adding flour at the end of cooking to thicken the gravy.
We made chicken korma to help us determine the effectiveness of each multi-cooker’s slow-cooking function, assessing whether they successfully tenderised the meat without overcooking it. Since spice aromas tend to linger in this dish, we also tested whether any cooking smells permeated the sealing ring of the lid.
Some of the multi-cookers also come with bake functions, so we tested these using a gluten-free lemon drizzle cake recipe. We looked for evenly baked cakes with consistent browning and a moist crumb.
All the multi-cookers we’ve featured in this review were tested in controlled conditions and using standardised criteria. In testing, we scored each model against the following:
We were looking for flavoursome stews and kormas with succulent, tender meat, even browning and well-infused flavours. Some pressure cookers can turn vegetables soggy because of the volume of water they need to cook, but we wanted our veg to have a soft yet slight bite.
We looked for robust, sturdy designs with components and attachments that are built to withstand years of use. Multi-cookers also come with a large inner bowl that sits inside an outer with a lid – we wanted to see a good fit.
Most multi-cookers are bulky and weighty, so you may not want to be moving it from the counter to the cupboard and back every time you use it. We wanted to see sleek, good-looking gadgets that would suit a range of kitchens and slot neatly amongst other worktop appliances.
We assessed each multi-cooker for its intuitiveness during set-up and cooking, assessing whether you need to rely on the manual to master the controls. The highest-scoring models came with simple functions, updates on the cooking process, properly fitting lids, clear controls and easy-to-open pressure release valves.
Prices varied broadly across the models we tested, so we factored in performance, quality of materials, design, ease of use, and versatility to score each multi-cooker out of five.
We questioned whether the multi-cooker is covered by a fair guarantee, and whether there’s any advice on how to recycle it at the end of its life. We also measured how expensive each gadget was to run based on a standard tariff of 31.8p/kWh, and whether its packaging could be recycled.
To find out more about how we review appliances and kit at olive, read our guide on how we test products.
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