Back in the day, a pressure cooker was a weighty contraption that sat on top of the hob hissing menacingly. Now, they’re sleek digital machines that offer a huge number of options for time-pressed cooks, whether you’re looking to feed a family or just batch cook for yourself for the week. Even in the last few years, their functionality has improved, with various models now able to offer one-touch programmes that do everything from sterilising baby bottles to steaming vegetables, baking cakes and even cooking food in the same way that some high end restaurants do, using the sous-vide method.
A non-stick bowl adds to the fuss-free design so clear-up is as straightforward as prep.
Multi-cookers are ideal for anyone with limited kitchen space — you might not be able to find cupboard room for a yoghurt maker, rice cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan and more… but if you can find space for a multi-cooker, it can do it all. For many, part of the appeal is the one pan cooking. You put the cooker onto sauté function and brown off your onions and garlic, then you add the rest of the ingredients for your stew and set it to pressure cook. Just before it finishes, you can pop in a steaming rack and place your vegetables on there for a quick steam, before serving it all. Got someone who wants to eat later? No problem, the ‘keep warm’ function does exactly that. And, while it won’t do the washing up for you, if you opt for a model with a non-stick removable bowl, such as this one, even clearing up is fuss-free.
Fifteen different one-touch programmes make meal-making really simple.
Pressure cooking has been around for centuries and works using the principle that when under pressure, water boils at a higher temperature, helping to cook food faster. But this additional pressure also helps force liquid into food, again decreasing the cooking time, but also tenderising tougher cuts of meat very quickly. The Instant Pot brand should be credited with popularising the electric pressure cooker, which has become something of a modern day must-have for cooks of all ages, whether it’s younger people discovering the joys of pressure cooking for the first time, or those who have previously used stove-top versions welcoming a fuss-free modern incarnation. This model has a number of programmes that make cooking everything from ribs to yoghurt a breeze, and even has a sterilising programme so you can pasteurise milk, and sterilise jam jars or baby bottles.
For Kitchen Obsessives
Multiple modes plus 24-hour delay start and 24-hour keep warm functions elevate this pot.
While most multicookers offer manual settings as well as the one-touch programmes, meaning you can decide whether to cook at low or high pressure, and at a lower or higher pressure, the most advanced — such as this one — have a boil function that lets you to set a constant temperature between 30C and 120C, allowing you to cook using the sous vide technique, where vacuum-packed food is boiled in a bag at a consistent temperature. Much loved by professional chefs, this almost fool-proof cooking method takes out the guesswork and produces intensely flavoured, perfectly cooked meat and fish.