Instant Pots became an instant hit in recent years after consumers discovered the ease and convenience these modern kitchen devices can offer. Not only can they save cooking time, they can also replace a half-dozen other kitchen appliances, including the slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice maker, air fryer, and more.
For busy families and Sunday meal peppers alike, pre-programmed recipes and digital cooking options make it possible to cook, bake, steam, roast, sauté, and stew with just the touch of a button.
While Instant Pot might be the brand we hear most about, there are a number of alternative multi-cookers that offer features, capabilities, and price points that meet and beat the more recognizable name brand. Read on for a collection of Instant Pot alternatives for those of us with limited time, budget, or cooking experience.
In the 1970s, Crock-Pot became synonymous with slow cookers for enabling even the most amateur cooks to prepare delicious meals with minimal prep time. The company has built its reputation on convenience and ease of use and this new generation more than lives up to the brand’s reputation.
The offers four cooking methods, with the addition of pressure cooking, sautéing or browning, and steaming capabilities to its tried-tested-and-true slow cooker functionality — all in one little package.
The multicooker includes a digital timer that will allow you to pre-set cooking times, perfect for busy families on the go. The timer will also allow you to schedule a cooking time to enable the meal to be complete just as you’re getting home from work or class, or from running errands, letting you come home to a freshly cooked meal with minimal effort. There’s even a “keep warm” mode so you won’t have to worry about having to re-heat when you go back for seconds.
The makes up for not including a pressure cooker with its many other options, the best of which is its variety of recipes available at the push of a button. The model comes with Auto-iQ technology, featuring 80 unique recipes pre-programmed right out of the box. Recipes include quick meals, layered meals, bowls, grains, and poached infusions — all developed by professional chefs specifically for the model.
This six-quart cooking system ensures even cooking via Triple Fusion Heat distributed from heating elements on the sides and bottom, and steam from above. It can sear, sauté, steam, and bake, making it possible to prepare a wide array of foods from roasts to seafood, and even including baked goods. With this many options, it will be a long time before you and your family will eat the same meal twice.
The Ninja Cooking System will run you $142, but the extra features are worth it for those who want to invest in a more versatile multicooker.
The is proof that good things come in small packages. At under 11 inches on every side, the compact unit won’t take much space on your countertop as this small, lightweight model offers the all the convenience of a pressure cooker in one compact unit.
Just like larger models, this pressure cooker can cook 70 percent faster than conventional methods. Its three-quart capacity can cook up to 12 cups of rice, beans, beef, poultry, and more.
The convenience of modern cooking continues through cleanup, as the cooking insert is completely removable and dishwasher safe, so you won’t be stuck doing the dishes by hand. Plus, it comes with a rice measuring cup, serving spatula, and soup ladle.
The size of your bill will match the unit itself — at $73, it’s a small price to pay for added convenience.
The offers high-end capacity with a low-end price tag. Not only is it the largest and most powerful multicooker on our list, it also boasts the most options for cooking styles.
At 6.5 quarts, this super-sized unit can yield the largest meals of all the models we’ve reviewed. It has a temperature range of 115 to 395 degrees Fahrenheit, powered by a 1,500W heating element (for comparison, most multicookers use only 1,000W).
This versatile pressure cooker offers an extremely wide range of options, with 11 built-in preset cooking modes including low cook, bake, steam, roast, sauté, stew, rice, yogurt, keep warm, slow cook high/low, and even sous vide — the cooking technique that produces pro-level results every time.
This heavy-duty appliance features quality construction including a tempered glass lid sits atop a non-stick removable aluminum inner cooking pot and stainless steel exterior. Sure to keep the biggest (and hungriest) families satisfied, the NutriChef Multi-cooker Pro will cost you just $60.
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