Our Test Kitchen Found the Best Pressure Cooker/Multicookers on the Market

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Our Test Kitchen tried the most popular brands—including Instant Pot—to find the best pressure cooker/multicooker you can buy.

Not too long ago, “pressure cooker” referred to a simple stovetop appliance, but throughout the last decade, programmable pressure cookers have become the trendiest bit of kitchen gear out there.

And now these small appliances do so much more than just pressure cook; they saute, slow cook, make yogurt and more. All these functions mean that these electric pressure cookers are more aptly called multicookers.

The market is now flooded with all sorts of fancy multicookers offering delicious meals fast, but with so many brands to choose from, how do you know which is worth the hype? While our pressure cooker buying guide can help, we know there’s nothing like a head-to-head test.

Our Test Kitchen had to know: Does Instant Pot really make the best pressure cooker, or is there another multicooker out there that deserves a spot on your counter?

How We Found the Best Multicooker

Tkpe21 Multicookers B06 30 7b Previewtaste of home

To get to the bottom of that question, our Test Kitchen put the most popular multicookers through their paces. Our pros, including pressure cooking expert and Senior Food Stylist Shannon Norris, experimented with each model’s settings using recipes submitted by our readers. Each model was scored according to how it performed against these criteria:

  • Pressure cooking: How does the multicooker perform as a pressure cooker? Are meals like this pork chili verde quick to make? Does the meat come out tender?
  • Slow cooking: Can the multicooker compete with the slow cooker in your pantry? How well does it make sides like slow-cooked potatoes?
  • Browning and sauteeing: Does the multicooker brown food effectively? Would it be preferable to brown proteins in a pan and then transfer to the appliance (like you would with a slow cooker)?
  • Ease of use: How easy is the multicooker to use? Are the controls intuitive? Did the machine seal easily? Does it feel safe and easy to release the pressure valve?
  • Cleanup: After cooking, how easy is the machine to clean? Can the insert go in the dishwasher? Is the insert nonstick?
  • Extra features: What features does the model have that set it apart? How many settings does it have beyond pressure-cooking? Does it come with any nifty accessories? Does the appliance look nice sitting on the counter?
  • Price: Is the product affordable? Is the performance reflected in the price?

Get a behind-the-scenes look at how our Test Kitchen chooses its favorite products.

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Multicookers

After trying out multiple different electric pressure cookers/multicookers, our Test Kitchen found a clear winner and a few other favorites.

Instant Pot Pro 10 In 1via amazon.com

Best Overall Pressure Cooker and Multicooker: Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1

In the world of multicookers, you can’t beat the biggest name in the game: Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Pro 10-in-1 is our Test Kitchen’s preferred model.

Our Test Kitchen’s favorite pork chili came together so easily. The Instant Pot Pro’s saute function worked like a dream. The stainless steel insert helped our cooks get some great color on the pork shoulder without having to dirty an extra skillet. When it came time to use the pressure cooker setting, our team had no issues. The pork roast was juicy and tender—all in about 30 minutes. What a weeknight win!

As for the other settings, our Test Kitchen pros found that the Instant Pot made a tempting risotto without any fuss and homemade yogurt was incredibly simple to make. Each setting on this countertop appliance delivered exactly as our cooks expected and recipes all came out of the crock as intended (with almost no leftovers!).

If you need another reason to love the Instant Pot Pro the way our Test Kitchen does, it’s this: There’s a huge Instant Pot community on the internet full of helpful tips and recipes. Not to mention all of the fabulous resources dedicated to the Instant Pot—including this cookbook from Taste of Home!

  • Size: Our Test Kitchen tried the six-quart model, though three- and eight-quart options are also available
  • Functions: 10 functions including pressure cook, slow cook, steam, rice, sautee, yogurt and sous vide
  • Extra features: Includes extra silicone seal and rack; appliance has silicone-coated handles for easy lifting without oven mitts and the pressure releases with a switch (not by hand)
  • Price: $130

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Ninja Foodi 9 In 1via amazon.com

Best Multicooker That’s Also an Air Fryer: Ninja Foodi 9-in-1

We get it: Trendy appliances like air fryers, dehydrators and electric pressure cookers are super appealing but can take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter. The easiest solution is to get an appliance that does it all (and does it all well!): the Ninja Foodi.

Let’s start with the basics of any multicooker: pressure cooking. The Foodi excelled at making textbook shredded pork. It was fork-tender and perfect for piling onto buns for a satisfying sandwich in less than an hour. While our Test Kitchen didn’t love the Foodi’s saute function for browning the pork shoulder, our pros still managed to get great color. How? Shannon just flipped the switch to the broil function. It browned the meat in no time.

But what about the Foodi’s fancy air frying capabilities? Well, our team couldn’t be happier. Frozen foods crisped up perfectly and the large air fryer basket was big enough to accommodate a whole chicken. Yes, you can air-fry a whole chicken for a rotisserie-style dinner.

It does cost more than its competitors, but our Test Kitchen thinks the Foodi’s performance and space-saving are worth every penny. And when you unbox your new gadget, be sure to check out these Ninja Foodi recipes.

  • Size: 6.5 quarts
  • Functions: Nine functions including air fry, pressure cook, dehydrate, broil, steam and saute
  • Extra features: Nonstick insert, air fryer lid and basket; additional accessories are also available through Ninja
  • Price: $280

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Chef Iq Pressure Cookervia amazon.com

Best Multicooker for Tech Fanatics: CHEF iQ Pressure Cooker

Smart appliances and gadgets are becoming more popular—especially in the kitchen. Tech-savvy cooks will appreciate the CHEF iQ Pressure Cooker for all its nifty features and its performance.

When it came to our Test Kitchen’s trials, CHEF iQ’s multicooker performed well when it came to pressure cooking (what most folks use their multicookers for), slow cooking and making yogurt. Because of the nonstick surface of the insert, the sear wasn’t as pronounced as we’d like, but there’s no harm in browning meat and then adding it to the multicooker (we do it with slow cooker recipes all the time).

But what really sets this multicooker apart was its nifty smart capabilities. After connecting the gadget to your home WiFi and downloading the app, you’re ready to prepare just about anything. You can use the LCD display on the multicooker itself or control the appliance from your device.

If you’re looking for new recipe ideas, are new to cooking with a multicooker or are just new to cooking in general, you’ll love the CHEF iQ app; it includes hundreds of recipes and includes cook-along guides for each. There’s no second-guessing here! This machine will take you through each recipe and will orchestrate every step of the cooking process.

  • Size: 6 quarts
  • Functions: 300 cooking presets (available through the app), including pressure cook, sear, steam and slow cook
  • Extra features: Smartphone app with recipes, directions and more; nonstick insert and built-in scale; steamer basket, silicone oven mitts, rice spoon, ladle, rack and measuring cup are all included
  • Price: $200

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Crock Pot 10 Quart Express Crock via amazon.com

Best Multicooker for Big Families: Crock-Pot 10-Quart Express Crock

If you have a big family or regularly cook for a crowd, Crock-Pot 10-Quart Express Crock is the multicooker for you. It was the largest option our Test Kitchen found with a huge ten-quart capacity.

But just because you’re cooking for a large group doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or ease of cooking. This Crock-Pot multicooker delivered big time in our tests. The large surface area of the insert made it possible to get a good sear on the meat for chili while the nonstick surface meant cleanup was super simple.

As for slow cooking, you know that Crock-Pot aced that test. Our slow-cooked potatoes came out tender but not mushy. As for the other settings, the Express Crock did well with pressure cooking and making rice, too. This gadget handled every test our team threw its way—all with intuitive controls and easy-to-clean parts.

Outside of cooking, our Test Kitchen enjoyed some of the bonus features on this multicooker. The pressure-release valve is operated with a switch—not a knob—so your hands stay out of harm’s way.

Another feature worth noting: the Express Crock includes a sanitize feature perfect for prepping jars for canning or cleaning baby bottles—both essential for busy families.

  • Size: 10 quarts
  • Functions: 15 one-touch presets including pressure cook, slow cook, sear, saute, steam, simmer, yogurt, beans, grains and sterilize
  • Extra features: Nonstick insert; rice spoon and rack included
  • Price: $160

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What to Make with a Multicooker

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With settings for rice, meat, beans, soup, yogurt and more, there are few things you can’t make in a multicooker. Our Test Kitchen recommends starting off with these pressure cooker recipes. This will really help you get used to all of your machine’s different settings and show off its versatility.

But don’t forget to use your multicooker to make hard-boiled eggs, rice and even dessert. With so many functions, these gadgets can really help you make just about anything.

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How to Take Care of Your Multicooker

As Instant Pot pro Shannon puts it, “the more you use the Instant Pot, the more uses you find for it.”

With your multicooker in regular rotation, it’s important to give it regular upkeep. Make sure that you’re cleaning the lid and insert according to the manual’s directions. For a deep clean, add a splash of vinegar and lemon juice to the insert and hit the steam setting. This is a great natural way to cut the grime.

Shannon also recommends washing the rubber gasket regularly and especially after making spicy or garlicky foods. You don’t want any strong flavors influencing your next recipe. Most electric pressure cooker brands sell spare gaskets for just a few bucks, so you might want to invest in an extra.

This test was performed by our staff and was not part of a sponsorship. All opinions shared are our own and have not been influenced by advertisers.

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.