Slow cooking is supposed to be easy, right? But what about when those pork chops call for browning them in a bit of butter first? Or when you need to cook up that ground beef for the chili? Then you end up having to turn on the stove and wash another pan. That kind of defeats the purpose, right?
Over the past several years, more and more manufacturers are making slow cookers that do more than just slow cook! No more low, high and keep warm settings only, now you can sauté and brown or even boil and simmer and then slow cook all in one device! No more making a mess in the kitchen, and no more settling for mediocre slow cooker food when what you really want is some meal with a nice caramelized crust. Make everything from roasts, to soups and everything in between without ever firing up your stove or oven when you have a multi cooker.
And best of all? There are many different models and features to choose from. I've been cooking with several of them over the last few years and below I will tell you more about the features of each so that you can decide if a multi cooker is right for you!
The more basic of all of the multi cookers, this is the first one I purchased and it has been a work horse for me. It comes in several sizes and does the basics of sautéing, steaming and slow cooking.
It has an easy to clean non-stick surface plus is the simplest and most intuitive to use. If you are thinking of getting started with a multi cooker, I can't recommend this one enough.
This one only comes in a 6 quart option, but I love the rectangular shape and additional features. Not only does it add the sauté function, it also roasts and bakes. I've made everything from cookie bars to roasted brisket without having to turn on my oven and I love that it has the ability to more precisely control the temperature and also has plenty of room for your favorite soup recipe or even pulled pork for a crowd.
The most expensive of the three I've featured here, this one also has the most functions. It performs the basics like sautéing and slow cooking, but also has functions for boiling and simmering and has step-by-step programs for making soups, rice and so much more. If you also add the optional stir-tower, you can make complex dishes like risotto almost hands off. Since this one is round, it is less conducive to casseroles and some other traditional dishes, but the added features will push you to new levels of creativity in the kitchen.
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