Best Instant Pot, pressure and slow cookers: hearty recipes, made simple
Instant pots, pressure cookers and slow cookers. These are all kitchen appliances that can see to a wide range of different jobs in your kitchen. They take the burden off you to whip up creative meals every single night and could make a huge difference to the way your schedule, the way you cook and what you eat.
We know many people who have these appliances in their homes are hugely grateful for these modern-day cooking devices, which allow you to create all kinds of foods from traditional stews through to rice, proving bread, risotto, sous vide cuts of meat and even just steaming vegetables. We really can’t overstate enough how much the kitchen appliance space has advanced over the past ten years. The traditional crock pots and wrench-like saucepans of days gone by are no longer the only kind of multi-cookers on the market.
Instead, the offerings we’ve selected below have been souped-up and now have a range of features to make cooking a breeze, adding temperature probes, air fryers and flame-proof sauté pots to the mix.
Best slow cookers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Discounts on slow cookers will start ramping up in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, which this year falls on November 27. But that’s not all, we also expect deals on appliances to flow into Cyber Monday shortly after. In short, there could be some great opportunities to get huge discounts on the best slow cookers.
We can’t say for certain which cookers from our pick below will be included in the sales. But over the past few years, devices from brands included in this list, like Crock-Pot, Morphy Richards, and Russell Hobbs, have been heavily discounted.
With winter fast-approaching, it’s a great time to get your hands on one of the best slow cookers and an extra bonus if the device you want gets slashed in price for sale season.
Here on TechRadar we’ll be showcasing the best kitchen appliance deals, best Black Friday dealsand Cyber Monday deals.But bookmark this page too, as our price finding system will bring you the best prices on all the products we’ve selected below.
Slow cooker buying guide: what to look for
Let’s set out the three types of cookers we’ve reviewed here, because they might do similar things in your kitchen, and look largely the same, but they have distinct functions – and we don’t want you to waste money on the wrong one for you.
First up is the slow cooker. This is designed to extend cooking time from 1-2 hours in a conventional oven to 6-8 and beyond when cooked low and slow.
The reason anyone would want to spend all day cooking rather than a few hours is that the food maintains more of its nutritional value because it’s being cooked slowly and gently. It also develops a greater depth of flavor and allows for unattended cooking, with no danger of an abrupt pressure release, unlike pressure cookers. These machines often rely on timing systems too, and can be timed up to 12 hours for a slow cook.
Pressure cookers use high levels of pressure and heat to speed up cooking time on items that usually take hours, such as lentils, homemade yoghurt, beans and tougher cuts of meat. The pressure cooker prepares similar items to the slow cooker, but it’s about speeding up the process, not slowing it down.
The Instant Pot-styles, also known as multi-cookers, combine systems. By turning digital, manufacturers such as Instant Pot and Crock-Pot can offer speed and a slower pace, as well as added benefits such as steaming, sous vide and searing.
For controlling timings and temperatures, we favored machines that gave us the best of both worlds. A hands-off, settings-only approach is helpful when slow cooking meat for stews or soups for hours on end, but we also looked out for customisable settings so cooking time and temperature can still be adjusted when necessary for steaming, sautéing or searing. That way you’ve got a versatile device that can handle all kinds of foods and meals.
When weighing up which cooker is right for you, it’s best to consider the kind of food you cook at home, as well as the amount. If batch cooking to fill up the freezer is your deal, we’d suggest a multi-cooker with a large capacity. If you love leaving joints of meat to simmer away until they’re fall-off-the-bone tender on a Sunday, a slow cooker with a sauté pot option might be for you.
The best Instant Pots, pressure cookers and slow cookers, tested, ranked and rated
The best buying advice we have for upgrading your kitchen is that it’s easy to get carried away with a multi-cooker that claims to revolutionise your kitchen. When you might only be looking for a simple slow cooker option to feed a family.
We’ve broken down the best of each category below, from one-person multi-cookers to 6 litre behemoths.
1. Instant Pot Duo V2 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
The cult multi-cooker that claims to do it all
Makes batch cooking a breeze
Instant and slow cooking capability
Hands-off approach won’t be for everyone
Takes up a lot of kitchen space
While lots of pressure cookers claim to offer an array of programmes, Instant Pot takes it a step further with their next-gen electric cooker that’s a slow cooker and pressure cooker all-in-one.
This means you can slow cook, steam and sauté, pressure cook and choose from 14 programmes. True to its name, the Instant Pot speeds up lengthly cooking times and allows up to a 24 hour delay start.
A compact model with searing, steaming and roasting under the lid, Instant Pot packs a punch and brings a much needed update to the pressure cooker design. It’s our well-earned pick of the bunch here.
2. Russell Hobbs Sous Vide Slow Cooker
A meat-lovers’ multi-cooker dream
Large capacity for roasts
Brilliant at slow cooking
No pressure cooking capabilities
Prepare to completely change your dinner party game thanks to Russell Hobbs’s nifty bit of kit.
The 6.5 litre (6.8 quarts) ceramic pot produces perfectly steamed fish and next-level meat dishes, with a huge capacity able to cater to a giant gathering.
In fact, while testing this machine, we could already see new traditions emerging in our weekly cooking: a beef brisket prepared on Friday for the weekend with guests, or a super easy midweek sous vide salmon fillet dinner for friends.
If you’re already at home in the kitchen and ready to flex some new skills, the Sous Vide Slow Cooker has a lot to offer, and is well worth considering over even the Instant Pot, providing you know what you’re doing with it.
Even the most reluctant home cooks will find Morphy Richards’ Sear & Stew easy to navigate.
It may operate with just three settings and be a far simpler model than its rivals, but we think it is possible to completely change how your cook for your friends and family with this robust and reliable slow cooker.
Creating delicate slow cooked meats, and being light enough to pull in and out of storage with ease, it’s recommended for the occasional cook. However, the lack of a timer, pressure cooking or instant cooking options pulls it down from greatness.
Still, we’re fans of its easy-access lid, and a low profile design makes it one of the easier appliances to store away.
4. Crock-Pot Digital Slow and Multi Cooker
A versatile new look for the classic slow cooker
High temperature cooking
Can’t pressure cook
Non-stick pot can cause issues
A household name almost interchangeable with the slow cooker, Crock-Pot’s multi-cooker design has come a long way since the 1970s.
Their Digital Slow and Multi Cooker offers all the benefits of a slow cooker, plus super high temperatures for roasting and baking. We loved the handles and capacity, which are ideal for pot-lucks and large families.
Where it starts to fall down is with its lack of pressure cooking capabilities, and the fact its non-stick pot can mean you have to keep a close eye on what’s being cooked – not great when the main draw of a slow cooker is being able to set it up, walk away and forget about.
5. Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker
A basic multicooker for small portions
Great for making 1 or 2 portions
Overflows if too full
Few cooking options
While it might feel like the world of pressure cookers and slow cookers only caters for families the size of the Waltons, Lakeland’s Mini Multicooker makes slow cooking for one a viable option.
This machine strips it back to the bare essentials in a small, compact and convenient model, that still covers rice, yoghurt, porridge and bread proving.
However, don’t get too ambitious with those portion sizes – overdo it, and you’ll be left with a messy overflow to clean up once your brew starts bubbling. It’s also the least versatile machine on this list, at least in terms of pre-set cooking options to work with.