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A multi-cooker is an electric appliance that is well-known for primarily being a pressure cooker. However, this electric cooking pot has various functions, settings, and programs that make a multi-cooker a slow cooker, dehydrator, steamer, rice cooker, and bread machine. Additionally, a multi-cooker can be used to make:
- Cottage Cheese
- Pot Roast
This electric appliance varies in size and can range from 2-quarts to 8-quarts which can save space because the multi-cooker is one appliance that doubles as many. With various programs and settings, a multi-cooker is highly programmable and can cook food from 104°F (40°C) to 320°F (160°C) with time intervals.
Different models will use from 450 watts to 1400 watts of power can consume about 10 times less energy than a kitchen stove with an oven. Not only can using a multi-cooker save you 2.5 times less compared to a stovetop or oven but the cooking process is accelerated by 2 to 3 times as well. So, with a multi-cooker, you can cook your favorite bean dish in an hour or so and even use the appliance as a rice cooker. Here are the other dishes that you can make with a multi-cooker:
The multicooker can be used to make a baked casserole in less than 1 hour. After you have chosen a type of meat, vegetables, and the type of bread you would like to put into your casserole, use the Sear or Saute function of your multi-cooker and cook the meat and vegetables. After your ingredients have been cooked, place a layer of meat in the multi-cooker followed by bread and a thin layer of cheese. Repeat adjusting to your model’s capacity and use the Slow Cook High setting for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Your multi-cooker can be used to prepare and cook beans in less than an hour as opposed to the traditional method of soaking and cooking beans that require hours. Sort through your beans and remove any split ones before soaking your beans. You can choose to soak your beans overnight or boil in hot water and soak for an hour. Drain and rinse your beans then add 4 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans. Use the High-pressure setting for 20 to 30 minutes for black or kidney beans and 15 to 25 minutes for pinto or garbanzo beans. Then, let the pressure release naturally for about 20 minutes.
Another use for the multi-cooker is to make your own cottage cheese. Pour the milk into the multi-cooker and use the Yoghurt program on Boil for 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Add ⅔ cups of lemon juice or vinegar into the milk after the multi-cooker goes off and let curd form. Lemon juice will take about 1 hour while vinegar will take 15 minutes or so. When you see the curd and whey separate, use a cheesecloth or strainer to strain the cottage cheese. Transfer the cottage cheese into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of milk and salt to keep the cheese from drying out and for taste.
A muti-cooker is also a great appliance to use for hard-boiled eggs. Pour one cup of water into your multi-cooker and place a steamer basket into your appliance. Add your eggs into the steamer basket and depending on the size of your multi-cooker, you can add as little as 1 egg or as many as 12 at a time. Make sure that the lid is closed and use the Pressure Cook setting on High for 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, remove the eggs from the multi-cooker and transfer them to a bowl of cold water before peeling.
The multi-cooker can be used to make quick mashed potatoes. Add 1 cup of water into your multicooker and place a steamer basket inside. Peel and cut your potatoes into equally-sized pieces and place them into the basket. Use High Pressure and set the cooking time to 5 minutes. After using a quick pressure release, check if your potatoes are the right texture using s fork. If they are soft enough or to your liking, transfer them to a bowl and mash them. Add in your butter, milk, salt, and pepper.
An alternative way to use your multi-cooker is for oatmeal. If your multi-cooker has an Oatmeal program, simply add your oatmeal, milk, and sweetener of choice into the multi-cooker and set the cooking time for 25 minutes.
If your multi-cooker does not have an Oatmeal program, you can use the High Pressure cooking function instead. Add all of your ingredients into the multi-cooker, select High Pressure, and cook your oatmeal for 1 minute. Let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes to 20 minutes then transfer to a bowl for consumption.
The multi-cooker can be used to make pasta as well. Use the Brown or Saute setting and heat up your oil. Add your onions and garlic until they are cooked. Add your tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, and other spice. Use the Stew or Soup setting and close the lid to cook your sauce for 20 minutes. Transfer your sauce into a bowl and clean your multi-cooker for the pasta.
Fill your multi-cooker with water and use the Boil or Steam setting for 20 minutes to boil the water. Add your pasta afterwards and cook for 8 minutes. Drain your pasta and toss it into the sauce. Add your garnish and serve.
Your multi-cooker also doubles as a pressure cooker which means that you can easily make pot roast. To start, chop your roast beef into 1-pound pieces and coat them with your seasoning of choice. Using the Saute function on your multi-cooker, brown each piece of beef on every side. Then, cook your onions and garlic in the multi-cooker. Deglaze your multi-cooker before placing your roast into the multi-cooker for about 1 hour on High Pressure. Once it is tender, you can use the quick-release and add in your vegetables. Let the multi-cooker cook the vegetables at full pressure for 15 minutes before using the quick-release again. Transfer the pot roast and vegetables onto a dish and serve.
The multi-cooker can also be used as a rice cooker. Rinse your rice in water until it runs clear or under running tap water for about 30 seconds. If your multi-cooker has a Rice or Risotto setting, add 1 cup of rice into the multi-cooker with 1 ½ cups of water and use that setting on Low Pressure for about 6 minutes.
If your multi-cooker does not have this setting, after placing your rice and water into your appliance, cook the rice at High Pressure for 3 minutes and then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork afterwards and serve.
A multi-cooker is also an appliance used to make risotto. Use the Risotto setting on your multi-cooker to melt your butter in olive oil before cooking your mushrooms and shallots for 6 minutes to 8 minutes then transfer to a bowl. Add your rice and toast for about 1 minute before adding your wine and broth. Let it cook for about 7 minutes before adding the rest of your broth and close your multi-cooker to let the Risotto program finish. Afterwards, stir in the mushrooms and cheese before garnishing.
If you do not have the Risotto program available, use the Saute function to cook your mushrooms and shallots for about 6 minutes to 8 minutes before transferring to another bowl. Add the rice and toast for 2 minutes to 3 minutes before adding your broth. Use the Low Pressure setting and cook for 5 minutes before using the quick-release. Stir in your cheese and mushrooms, garnish and serve.
An alternative way to use the multi-cooker is as a soup maker. For a simple vegetable soup, simply make sure that all of your vegetables as washed and diced. Add them into the multi-cooker with water, salt, pepper, and other spices. Use the Soup setting and let the multi-cooker cook the soup for about 40 minutes.
The multi-cooker also works well as a vegetable steamer. Prepare all of your vegetables by cubing them then removing any seeds or skin. Pour water into your multi-cooker and place a steamer basket into your appliance. Place your vegetables into the steamer basket, close your multi-cooker, and use the Steam program. Select Vegetables and cook for 15 minutes.
You can make stew in the multi-cooker as well. Cube your meat and chop up your onions, garlic, and vegetables of choice. Put your ingredients into the multi-cooker and add in your wine and spices. Using the Stew program, set the cooking time to 2 hours. Transfer to a dish and serve.
The multi-cooker is alternatively used as a yogurt maker. Pour your milk into your multi-cooker and use the Yogurt function making sure that the display reads Boil. Once the cycle is complete, transfer the milk into a bowl and let it cook for about 1 hour or until it is 115°F (46°C). Whisk in your yogurt starter before transferring your mixture back into the multi-cooker. Use the Yogurt setting but this time on Normal for 8 hours. When your yogurt is ready and the cycle is complete, let it cool completely for 3 to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Consume within 2 weeks.
What are the common mistakes for usage of a multi-cooker?
As you are learning how to use a multi-cooker for the use cases above, there are some common mistakes that you will need to bear in mind and avoid such as:
- Adding too much liquid. Due to how multi-cookers are designed, there is less evaporation that occurs when food is cooked in the closed environment of the appliance compared to traditional stovetop cooking. When you add too much liquid into a dish, your meal can lack flavor.
- Cooking without any liquid. The minimum amount of liquid needed when you are using the multi-cooker is ½ a cup. Without making any steam, your food will cook unevenly and there is more risk of burning food.
- Disregarding the lid’s lock and seal. Whenever you are using the multi-cooker, make sure that the lock of the lid is securely in place. Also, if you see any steam escaping, you will have to check if the sealing ring is in place. If it is not, turn off your multi-cooker and carefully lift the lid. When it is not too hot, adjust the sealing ring as needed.
- Filling the multi-cooker to the brim. No matter what size your multi-cooker is, it is not designed to be completely packed with ingredients. If your multi-cooker is filled all the way, it can result in uneven and extremely lengthy cooking.
- Forgetting to adjust the cooking time. It takes the multi-cooker about 10 minutes to 15 minutes to heat up before being able to carry out a program so keep this in mind when you are cooking.
- Not deglazing the multi-cooker. You will need to deglaze your multi-cooker often especially if you use the Saute function. When you forget to deglaze the pot, your multi-cooker will alert you by displaying Burn.
- Using the wrong pressure release method. The natural release is recommended for when you are using the multi-cooker for meat, beans, soup, rice, and stew. As for the quick release method, use it for more delicate food like eggs, vegetables, and seafood.
- Washing multi-cooker parts scarcely.
Avoid these common appliance errors to take care of your multi-cooker and use it properly for your meals.
What is the history of usage of multi-cookers?
The slow cooker and crockpot in 1950s America and the Japanese rice cooker both evolved to be able to have Keep Warm functions and a timer which became the basis of what a multi-cooker is today. Then, the first electric pressure cooker was patented by Yong-Guan Wang, a Chinese scientist, in 1991.
The first multi-cooker which became a household name for the appliance debuted on Amazon and was called the Instant Pot. This multi-cooker is known as a 7-in-1 pressure cooker and can be used for various meals as shown in the use cases above.
Do the use cases of a multi-cooker change based on type?
Yes, the use cases of a multi-cooker change based on the type of multi-cooker you own. Not all multi-cookers are the same size which can limit the amount of food you can cook. Additionally, multi-cooker models have different wattages which can affect how quickly or slowly your ingredients will cook. Also, not all multi-cookers have the same programs and settings. Some can help you saute and keep food warm while others have specific programs for risotto or yogurt.
Which multi-cooker is best for pulled pork?
The best multi-cooker for pulled pork is one that has at least a 6-quart capacity and has the ability to cook food with High Pressure. A multi-cooker of this size is ideal for feeding 4 to 6 people. Also, a multi-cooker that has the High Pressure function can cook pulled pork in about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Does a multi-cooker have more use cases than a pressure cooker?
Yes, a multi-cooker has more use cases than a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is used to cook food by increasing the pressure and using high heat inside the pot. When thinking about a multi-cooker vs. Instant Pot, the multi-cooker wins because some models have programs that can include baking, broiling, dehydrating or air crisping food that a pressure cooker has not been designed to do. A multi-cooker is a pressure cooker but is also a rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, and fryer.
What are the other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to multi-cooker?
Other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to the multi-cooker are the:
- Pressure Cooker: A pressure cooker is a sealed appliance that acts as a chamber that traps steam. As ingredients are heated, steam is generated, and pressure increases which extracts flavor from food as it cooks.
- Rice Cooker: This kitchen appliance is used specifically for different rice varieties. Rice is cooked by boiling water which is then absorbed by the rice grains until tender and ready for consumption.
- Slow Cooker: A slow cooker is used moist heat to cook food over long periods of time and is made of a heating element, pot, and glass lid.
These kitchen tools may have use cases similar to a multi-cooker but have use cases specific to the appliance. You can learn more about the 5 uses of these 3 appliances here.