When the weather gets cooler, a slow-roast lamb shank sounds just that bit more appetising. When you can simply put your favourite cut of meat into a multi-cooker and let the appliance do the rest, why not consider one of these bad boys for your kitchen. We bring you a guide on multi cookers and what brands are available in Australia.
What is a multi-cooker?
Multi-cookers combine several cooking methods – from pressure cooking and slow cooking to rice making and even yoghurt creating – helping to replace multiple kitchen appliances. In a similar manner to pressure cookers, multi-cookers help to cut down on cooking times by combining steam with pressure. This cooking method also helps retain higher level of vitamins and minerals due to less added fats and oils. You will find an array of additional features with multi-cookers such as a keep warm function and fully programmable menus. It’s ideal for families with different palates.
Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cooker vs Multi Cooker
Small kitchen appliances have come a long way, in particular in the cooking area. We list some details about pressure cookers and slow cookers to help you compare them to a multi cooker and decide what is best for your home:
- Electric pressure cookers: designed to cut down cooking time, using pressurised steam to help maintain the nutritional value and natural flavour of your food. Most models feature numerous functions such as simmer and sauté ability as well as timers and menus. The pressure inside the cooker increases as more steam is created, so it’s important to follow all the safety instructions when using one. It’s ideal for busy households of one to two people.
- Electric slow cookers: work in a similar manner to a pot on a stove where heat is transferred from the base up towards the internal crock pot. It then spreads around the pot to cook food evenly. It has similar benefits to that of a pressure cooker and with the additional advantage of being able to set and forget about it. The chance of burning food is minimal with the low, even temperatures. It’s also ideal for when you don’t have an oven, allowing them to be used almost anywhere that has a powerpoint – from campervans to camping grounds.
How much do multi cookers cost?
According to Appliances Online, multi-cookers start from as low as $69, going all the way up to $1,699. However, on average, most models sit around the $100 to $200 mark.
Features to consider
- Capacity: on average, most multi cookers offer a large 6L capacity, allowing you to cooker for two or more people
- Timer: allows you to set a specific time of when your meal is ready
- Automatic settings: starts the cooking process at a high temperature and switches to a low temperature for the remainder of the cooking time with some also equipped with a keep warm function
- Cleaning: easy disassembling makes the appliances simple to clean with dishwasher safe parts also giving you the advantage of not needing to clean it by hand
- Controls: some models boast digital controls with LCD screens for easy navigating
- Pressure settings: gives you the ability to adjust the amount of time the meal is cooked for
Tefal has become a leader in small appliances, producing all kind of products, from clothes irons to multi-cookers. According to Appliances Online, the majority of Tefal multi-cookers range from around $100 to $200. However, for a chef enthusiast, the Tefal FE800A60 Cuisine Companion Kitchen Machine is packed with features from cooking to chopping, all for a whopping price tag of $1,699 RRP.
Expect features such as digital control panels and Delayed Start (up to 24 hours) as well as Tefal’s Fuzzy Logic cooking system, stated to automatically adjust the cooking time and temperature. Most of the range is designed with a large 5L non-stick bowl, giving you the ability to cook up to 10 cups of rice.
The Tefal 10 in 1 Rice and Multi Cooker (RK705) comes equipped with a keep warm function and 10 distinctive cooking programs for making yoghurt, slow cooking, steaming, crusting as well as drying. Other more advanced Tefal models boast even more functionality. You’ll also find a steam cup and measuring cups included with some Tefal multi-cookers.
A home grown small home appliance manufacture, Breville has been around for over 85 years and is likely to have you covered with a majority of kitchen tools – microwaves, coffee machines, blenders – you name it! When it comes to multi-cookers, it offers a couple of options starting from around $140 and going up to $370 for Breville’s ‘Fast Slow Pro’.
Breville’s advanced model (BPR700BSS) offers 6L of cooking capacity with pre-programmed functions including reduce, sauté, sear, slow cook and pressure cook. For extra safety, it features a stainless-steel construction with a three-way safety system – hands free automatic steam release, safety locking lid and safety valve. It can also automatically adjust time, temperature and pressure between fast and slow cooking, so that you don’t have to worry about your meal being overcooked. In addition, you’ll find an interactive LCD screen to tell you when the multi-cooker is building pressure, cooking and releasing steam. If you’re stuck on ideas of what you can use a Breville multi-cooker for, check out the video below:
KitchenAid is an American home appliance brand owned by Whirlpool. It’s known for trendy colours and designs, and you’ll find a large range of small appliances for all your cooking and baking needs – whether it’s a toaster, stand mixer or coffee machine that you’re after. It currently has one multi-cooker model at the time of writing – the KitchenAid Multi Cooker with Stir Tower (5KMC4244AOB) – which will set you back $749 RRP.
The 5KMC4244AOB model has more than 10 pre-programmed functions, allowing you to sear, sauté, simmer, slow cook, boil and steam food. A unique feature of this unit is its inbuilt wand that can mix, flip and stir, which in turn allows you to make rice, soup, risotto, yoghurt, and even bake a cake! KitcenAid’s Even-Heat technology is stated to provide consistent cooking with temperatures between 75°C and 230°C. It also has an inbuilt 24-hour Keep Warm mode, so that you don’t have to come home to a cold slow-roast. While there is only one model to choose from, there are three different colour variants – candy apple red, medallion silver, onyx black.
Based in the UK, Russell Hobbs offers a number of standout household appliances in Australia such as slow cookers and clothes irons. It offers just one multi cooker with the name ‘Express Chef Digital Multi Cooker’ (RHPC1000) that has a retail price tag of $149. Some key design features include a matte black finish with a removable non-stick bowl and dishwasher safe parts for easy maintenance. You’ll also find a digital display with LED lights, a locking lid to lock in flavour and keep you safe and an auto-keep warm system after the cook process has finished.
Russell Hobbs’ multi-cooker comes equipped with seven pressure settings for quick meals and four non-pressure settings to slow cook and sauté. The delayed start option also allows you to plan cooking ahead of time. In addition, you have the option to select from 10 pre-programmed menu options for risottos, curries and puddings. It comes with a trivet, serving spoon and rice measuring cup.
An Italian small appliance manufacturer, most well-known for coffee machines, DeLonghi also has you covered in areas of wine cabinets, portable heaters and multi-cookers. Its multicooker models range in price from $279 to $549.
Expect large capacities for up to 1.7kg of fresh potatoes and 1.5kg of frozen ones, allowing you to serve up to eight people. DeLonghi’s SHS technology means your food is cooked evenly with the surrounded heating elements and fan, according to DeLonghi. The two heating elements are stated to also reduce cooking time by providing both radiant and convection heat. Design features include a mixing paddle with automatic motion to mix food, a transparent lid to enable you to check on food during cooking and dishwasher safe parts for easy cleaning.
Besides the five brands mentioned above, some other worth a mention include:
- ALDI: (pictured) ALDI’s multi-cooker ($79.99 RRP) comes with a four-litre cooking capacity, with a removable non-stick bowl. It features 12 different functions, including sauté, risotto, rice and roast.
- George Foreman: has just one model available – GFMC14 ($69.95 RRP) – which is boasted for its five cooking programs and a digital interface. It comes with a steamer basket, serving scoop and rice measuring cup.
- Phillips: has a number of multi-cookers, including the Original, Premium and Deluxe All-in-One Cookers. Prices range from $239 to $349 RRP. Boasting various direct menu programs, you will find this brand available at Harvey Norman in Australia.
- Sunbeam: has a large range of multi-cookers with capacities ranging from four to seven litres. Prices start from $179 and go up to $189 RRP. The Sunbeam models can be found in Target.
Should I buy a multi-cooker?
While multi-cookers boasts a vast number of functions, it’s important to ask yourself whether you really need one – or if it will just be waste of space in your kitchen. Multi-cookers can certainly handle a lot of tasks but each has its own set of programs, so check if it prepares the meals you typically make yourself. While you can simply throw food in a multicooker, some dishes are more complicated, so you’ll also find some models equipped with rotating arms to automatically mix food.
One major consideration should be your budget. Although you could buy a multi-cooker for as little as $70, you shouldn’t expect the works for this price. However, some models go up to as much as $1,700, boasting abilities to chop, mix, whip and a whole lot more! Whichever multi-cooker fits the mould of your household, we hope this guide has been a helpful tool to find what brands offer.