After a long day, do you feel like preparing a home-cooked meal? If cooking sounds like more of a chore than an exciting activity, you’re not alone. According to data published on the Harvard Business Review, 45 percent of people dislike cooking.
You have choices to help you save time in the kitchen, ranging from slow cookers to rice cookers to sous vide machines. Multicookers like the Instant Pot can perform about a dozen cooking functions all in one machine. It has become such a well-known device that some people actually refer to multicooker recipes as “Instant Pot recipes.”
But, there are other small appliances on the market, including Gourmia, that can make cooking easier. This brand offers the GPC400, a pressure cooker that has 13 different cooking modes without all the bells and whistles. And because you don’t get the extras, you also pay an affordable price ($50 on Amazon) for the machine. But how well does it work? We put it to the test to find out.
Attractive features, easy storage
Gourmia offers a four-quart, six-quart, eight-quart, 10-quart, and 12-quart pressure cooker. The four-quart GPC400 has the same features as the other pressure cookers in Gourmia’s GPC series. In addition to the exterior shell and lid, the pot comes with a stirring spoon, steaming rack, condensation collection cup, measuring cup, and of course, an inner pot. The inner pot on the GPC400 is made of a non-stick material and measures roughly 8.5 inches in diameter. It’s slightly under 5.5 inches tall. We did notice the inner pot is a bit flimsier than some of its competitors, including the Instant Pot.
The power cord is detachable, which makes storage easier because you can remove it before you put it in the cabinet. When you plug in the machine, it beeps to alert you that it’s on. The pressure cooker has a power-save feature in case of power loss, which restores the cooking settings once the power comes back on. The lid has a locking feature for safety, which is helpful.
It also has a steam release valve, which makes it easy to perform either a manual or a quick release. Unlike some of its competitors, the GPC400 does not beep when you put on the lid, nor does it beep when you lock it in place. It does, however, have an easy grip handle; plus, there’s an indicator pin, so you still know the lid is locked on securely.
The exterior of the GPC400 is made of stainless steel, and it has a smart control panel on the front. The control panel has 15 different buttons.
The GPC400 has a variety of different time settings. But unlike some of its competitors, this pot does not have many custom temperature settings. It doesn’t allow you to set the pot on high or low pressure, nor does it allow you to adjust the temperature when you’re using the sauté feature. The slow cooker only has one temperature setting as well.
A novice cook might appreciate GPC400’s press and go nature. However, experienced cooks may want to have more freedom when it comes to temperature settings. For example, the Instant Pot Duo gives you the option to customize your pressure setting, and has different sauté temperatures (low, normal, or high). The Instant Pot Duo also has a yogurt setting, while the GPC400 lacks one.
Chicken, Cheesecake, Spinach Dip, and More
Still, with the limited settings you can cook just about anything in the Gourmia. It probably won’t serve as a replacement for every gadget in your kitchen, but it can cook all sorts of recipes ranging from meats to veggies to desserts. For example, it made a perfect cheesecake, which was really tasty. The cheesecake didn’t fall in the center like oven-baked cheesecakes tend to sometimes, and it also had the perfect consistency (see the recipe we used here).
We also made shredded chicken, which was almost too easy. We literally just chucked a few frozen chicken breasts in the pot, added a cup of water, set the custom pressure for 18 minutes, and performed a quick pressure release once the timer went off. Once the chicken finished cooking, we shredded it with a fork and were ready to add it to our tacos.
You can also make snacks in the GPC400. Spinach dip is ready in 5 minutes, plus the time it takes to put the ingredients in the pot and wait for it to heat up. After we made our spinach dip and served it (see the recipe we used here), we kept the leftovers in the pot on the keep warm setting for one hour. After one hour, we measured the temperature of the dip at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It was not burned on the bottom, and it still tasted equally as fresh as it did when we first made it.
In terms of the GPC400’s cooking ability and how the food turned out, we have no complaints. Everything we made in the Gourmia came out incredibly tasty. We tried one of the meals in the recipe book that comes with the GPC400: the spicy chicken soup. The soup was delicious, just like the rest of the food we made in this device.
One confusing aspect to note about the GPC 400 and other devices in Gourmia’s GPC series is the fact that they’re labeled as “smart pots.” While these pots have intelligently designed features, like automated cooking modes and energy efficiency, they are not smart in the traditional sense. They cannot connect to Wi-Fi, so you can’t control them with a smartphone app or with a device like Alexa or Google Home.
The GPC400 has a one-year, non-transferable warranty. This means you can only use the warranty if you’re the person who purchased the device. The warranty covers repair or replacement at the seller’s discretion. If the seller can’t repair the pressure cooker, they will replace the product or part, or they will refund the cash value of the device or the component you return.
The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, damage caused by use or accidental negligence, damages caused because you didn’t follow the instructions, or damages caused because you tried to fix the machine or let an unauthorized party try to fix the machine.
The Gourmia GPC400 has 13 cooking “modes.” But, most of those modes use the pressure setting for a specified amount of time, and few of the modes actually change the cooking temperature. Even though the settings are limited, the pot makes great food. It’s easier to use than a stovetop pressure cooker like the Fagor Duo, because it can be difficult to set the pressure and time perfectly on the stovetop. Plus, it’s better-priced than many of its electric competitors.
Is there a better alternative?
That depends on what you’re looking for. If your ideal cooking experience involves throwing ingredients in a pot and pressing a button, this machine may be a great pick for you. This is also an ideal machine for someone who wants to try out a pressure cooker but doesn’t want to spend a ton of cash. However, if you like to have more control over your temperatures and more complexity in your meal preparation, look to the Instant Pot Duo ($100) or even a stovetop cooker.
How long will it last?
As we mentioned earlier, the inner pot has some durability issues. The non-stick coating seems like it could scratch relatively easily. Some consumers have reported that a bone or a utensil scratched their pot. The inner pot’s material may affect the pot’s longevity. The accessories (the stirring spoon, plastic measuring cup, and steaming rack) may also need to be replaced over time, as they are not the best quality. You could probable bend the steaming rack with enough force. The exterior of the pot and the lid both appear to be durable, though. If we had to make an estimate, we’d give the GPC400 a life of three to five years, provided you care for it properly.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for an affordable multicooker so you can try your hand at pressure cooking, buy this small appliance. It’s perfect for novice chefs who are looking to improve their cooking skills.
If advanced settings, Wi-Fi connectivity, or the ability to customize the cooking process is important to you, you might be better off looking elsewhere.