CLEVELAND — If that Instant Pot you were so excited about a few years ago is now collecting dust, Consumer Reports can help reignite the spark just in time for Valentine’s Day recipes. CR experts share the best ways to use an Instant Pot. Or maybe it’s time for a new love affair with a different countertop appliance.
Instant pots, or multi-cookers, are meant to make life—and cooking—easier. So the best way to use them is to stick to what they do best. Think about tough cuts of meats, beans, stews, soups, and curries. Those are great in these small kitchen appliances.
CR’s tests look at how well multi-cookers pressure-cook pork ribs, slow-cook chili, and steam rice and vegetables, and how well they keep food warm. The Zavor LUX LCD - ZSELL02 for $159 earns top scores in all of those tests, and it’s easy to use and clean.
But maybe the spark is gone for good and it’s time for something new, like an air fryer/toaster oven combo. It’s a toaster oven in size but has air frying capability, and what’s nice is that it combines two small kitchen appliances that a lot of people love into one device.
The best of the bunch is the Breville Smart Oven Air Convection BOV900BSSUSC for $400. The Breville offers many different functions, including convection, dehydration, and air frying. And its baking results, ease of use, and roominess may make it worth the splurge.
For less money, the Cuisinart TOA60 cost $140 to $200. It’s just so-so for baking and toasting but excels at reheating, it’s easy to use and clean, and turns out crispy fries and wings.
CR says many multi-cookers also have a yogurt function, which is a great way to make your own homemade version at a fraction of the cost. You can also make yogurt without all the extra sugar you’ll find in many store-bought versions.
Rekindling the small-appliance flame may help you prepare many more delicious meals this Valentine’s Day and beyond.