Best Multi Cooker Recipes

Multi cookers can have all different kinds of functions depending on their price point, however, they are essentially guaranteed to work as pressure cookers and slow cookers, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on. We’ll give you some handy tips for making the most of your multi cooker and also some tasty multi cooker recipes.

Understanding your multi cooker

Following other people’s recipes is all very well, but we suspect most people would probably like to have at least a basic idea of how their multi cooker works so that they can create their own recipes, or at least know how to use their multi cooker as a quick and convenient way to cook basic foods.

Multi cookers as pressure cookers

Pressure cooking is a great way, literally, to break down tough foods quickly. It can however, be a bit too much for more delicate foods. For example, it’s a great way to speed up the cooking time of something like potatoes, but is liable to destroy the likes of pasta. “In between” foods such as rice, grains and lentils can generally be cooked in a pressure cooker, but use a bit of caution and keep the cooking times short (you can always finish it off in a regular cooker) and/or stick to your multi-cookers default settings.

NB: When following a recipe meant for pressure cookers, remember that the cooking time starts from when the required pressure is reached. Thereafter, the idea is to keep the pressure the same throughout the cooking time, even if this means adjusting the heat. If you use a decent electric multi cooker, it will take care of this for you, but if you use an old-fashioned stove top pressure cooker then you will need to manage it yourself.

Pressure cooking is also a form of wet cooking, basically, it’s about using steam. This means that it’s only really suitable for cooking foods which are intended to have a wet consistency. For example, it’ll do a great job on curry but would be a terrible choice for cooking dahl. As a side note, because a pressure cooker is fully contained, a liquid does not evaporate the way it does in an open pan and hence does not reduce, so you may need to drain food or thicken a sauce at the end of cooking.

NB: Never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever try cooking with alcohol when using a pressure cooker, not even milder forms of alcohol like beer. This is a recipe for disaster in every sense of the phrase.

Continuing with the topic of liquid, as water turns into steam it expands, and you need to allow space in the bowl for it to do so. In other words, only fill your bowl to at most half of its stated capacity. On that note, if you use an electric multi cooker, you will have different options for releasing the pressure. If you use a stove top pressure cooker then you have the choice of turning off the heat letting the pressure drop naturally (so the food continues to cook) or putting the pan under a hot tap to end the cooking quickly.

As a rule of thumb, pressure cooking takes about a third of the time of regular cooking so that is a good guideline, however, the speed cooking means that a dish can quickly go from great to spoiled. Electric multi cookers have built-in timers and if you’re using a stove-top pressure cooker we’d strongly recommend using a proper timer, even if it’s just one on your phone, rather than just checking the clock or “cook’s instinct”.

In case you were wondering, the “Keep Warm” function you find on just about every multi-cooker only comes into play after the cooker has depressurized, so it won’t influence (i.e. extend) the length of time your multi cooker takes to perform a natural pressure release, but any time you apply heat to food you do cook it to some degree so in some cases you may want to turn off the Keep Hot function to ensure that the food only cooks for the designated time.

Last but by no means least, if food is robust enough to be cooked in a pressure cooker, it’s almost certainly robust enough to be frozen, which is one of the reasons people often use pressure cookers for “batch cooking” and freezing.

Multi Cooker

Multi cookers as slow cookers

There is much less in the way of physics behind slow cooking, it’s basically what it says on the pot, cooking very slowly, basically using time to do the work instead of heat. In a way, we suppose, you can think of it as the reverse of pressure cooking (which is using heat instead of time). Even though slow cooking is very low tech, it’s also very powerful and useful, especially if you’re a meat eater on a budget, because it means that you can buy the very cheapest cuts of meat (and toughest root vegetables) and cook them to be moist and tender.

Multi cookers as everything else

As previously mentioned, multi cookers are often advertised as having a variety of other functions, of which rice-cooking and yoghurt-making seem to be the most popular. Frankly, these are generally just presets for pressure cooking (e.g. rice-cooking) or slow cooking (e.g. yoghurt-making), so it’s hardly a disaster if you buy a multi cooker which doesn’t advertise these options, but they if they are avaiable they can be quite handy, especially when you’re new to using a multi cooker.

Getting started with your multi cooker

In all seriousness, start by reading the manual which comes with your multi cooker. Assuming you have bought one from a reputable brand, like the ones we suggest in our article, it will give you a decent, basic run-down on how to use your multi cooker and how to care for it so it lasts well.

Other than that, when you are taking your first steps in multi cooking, you probably want to stick either with basic foods, on their own, or with recipes. Then, once you get into the swing of it, you can start expanding your range, basically applying the same principles to cooking with a multi cooker as you do with regular cooking, in particular, you want to start with the foods which take the longest to cook and then add the foods which cook more quickly as you progress.

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Our favourite pressure-cooking hack

We’re going to skip on lectures about how to cook basic foods in a pressure cooker or a slow cooker essentially because we think most people can work it out themselves with some basic common sense, a little bit of trial and error and possibly a bit of help from the manual and/or the internet. We do, however, want to share our favourite pressure-cooking hack.

Easy-peel eggs

You need a steaming rack for this. Put your eggs on that and for a standard box of half-a-dozen eggs, add about 375ml cold water. Cook on low pressure for 6 to 12 minutes (depending on how hard you like your eggs), then quick-release the pressure and immediately put the eggs into a bowl of cold water. You can now store your eggs in the fridge for up to 5 days, knowing that when you want to use them, they will be super easy to peel.

Best Multi Cooker Recipes

Now on with the multi cooker recipes

In all honesty, when we say multi cooker recipes, we really mean recipes for the pressure cooker part of your multi cooker as this is the part which is likely to be new to you. We haven’t bothered including serving numbers, partly because they’re so subjective and partly because the standard way to use a pressure cooker is to batch cook as much food as it will hold and then use it up. All timings given are for electric pressure cookers, which count from the time they are powered up, you will need to adjust yourself for stove-top pressure cookers.

“BBQ” Pork Ribs & Bean Salad

BBQ Pork Ribs & Bean Salad

750g-1kilo baby back pork ribs
250ml prepared barbecue sauce
1 pinch salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into large dice
375ml water
190g dried cannellini beans, soaked, rinsed, and drained
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
170g fresh spinach

  • Separate the ribs, coat with the BBQ sauce, dust with salt and pepper and arrange in steamer basket. It’s fine if you have to stand them vertically.
  • Put the pressure cooker onto saute or use a separate pan to saute the onion until soft and then transfer to the pressure cooker with the water, beans and bay leaf, stir well and then put the steamer basket on top.
  • Book on high pressure for 23 to 25 minutes, then use 10-minute Natural release.
  • When the time is up, remove the steamer basket and set aside, then find and remove the bay leaf and mix in 1 teaspoon salt together with the garlic and spinach. Transfer the bean mixture into a casserole dish which is big enough to hold all the ribs on their sides, put the ribs on top of the beans and brush with the remaining BBQ sauce. Grill until the BBQ sauce is caramelized and then serve.
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Black Bean and Lentil Chilli

Black Bean and Lentil Chilli

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons powdered cumin
30g dried mushrooms
200g lentils, soaked and rinsed
400g dry black beans, soaked and rinsed
400g chopped tomatoes
1L water
2 tablespoons Worcester Sauce
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • Pre-heat the pressure cooker by pressing the “Brown” or “Saute'” program – meanwhile gather the ingredients and chop the carrots and onion.
  • Add the oil and onion to the bowl, followed by the spices, dried mushrooms, carrots, and chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
  • Add the lentils, black beans and water. Mix well.
  • Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure then open with Natural (10-minute) pressure release.
  • Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down.
  • Add the salt and Worcester sauce and mix well.
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Chickpea Minestrone Soup

Chickpea Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage
1 bay leaf
200g dry chickpeas, soaked
1.75L water
2 tablespoons tomato puree (passata)
1 cup pasta
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

  • Pre-heat pressure cooker, add a dash of olive oil and soften the onion, carrot and celery.
  • Add the herbs and stir well (for about a minute).
  • Add the chickpeas, 1L water and tomato puree.
  • Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Cook for 18 minutes at high pressure and then open the pressure cooker with the Natural (10-minute) pressure release. Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down.
  • Remove any herbs which are still “woody” (possibly the stems) and the bay leaf. Add the remaining (750ml) water and season with salt and pepper.
  • Either bring the contents of the pressure cooker to a boil, with the lid open (use the saute or brown button), add pasta and cook without pressure or just transfer to a pan, add the pasta and cook to taste.
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Cream-Free Broccolli Soup

Cream Free Brocolli Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, roughly chopped
500g broccoli divided into florets and stems and roughly chopped
3 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
1L vegetable stock
2 teaspoons salt (unless the stock is already salted)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
250ml whole milk (or nut milk for vegans)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

  • Pre-heat the pressure cooker (use the “Brown” or “Saute” programme)
  • Add the olive oil and onion and lightly brown.
  • Add the broccoli trimmings and stems (if any), potatoes and salt (if using).
  • Mix well and add the stock.
  • Add the broccoli florets (if any) to the top of the pile, resist the temptation to mix.
  • Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  • When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural (10-minute) release
  • Mix in the garlic, pour in the milk and add mustard to taste.
  • Blend and serve
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Chicken, Black Beans & Rice Burrito Bowl

Chicken, Black Beans & Rice Burrito Bowl

As a rule of thumb, you’d avoid putting boneless, skinless chicken breast in a pressure cooker, but here we’re quite happy to have them overcooked because it will make them easier to shred. Having said that, the fact that the breast is whole (meaning fairly thick) and sandwiched on top of the beans and below the bowl with the rice means that it will be somewhat protected.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast (about 450g of meat)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium yellow or green bell pepper, chopped
200g dried black beans, soaked overnight
750ml water
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded lettuce or cabbage
300g rice
1 lemon zested and juiced (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice)

  • Add the rice, lemon zest and half of the water to your inner bowl and set aside.
  • Pre-heat the pressure cooker, add the vegetable oil and brown the chicken on one side.
  • Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, black beans, herbs and spices, salt, bay leaf and the rest of the water.
  • Mix well.
  • Set the chicken breast, browned-side up on top of the bean and veggie mixture, put the steamer basket on top of the chicken and then place the inner bowl on top of the steamer basket.
  • Cook for 6 minutes at high pressure and then open the pressure cooker with the Natural (10-minute) release. Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down.
  • Remove the rice and place on a serving plate, sprinkle with lemon juice and fluff up.
  • Remove the chicken breast and shred the meat
  • Remove the bay leaf from the bean mixture, then add the shredded chicken back and mix well.
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Chickpea Curry

Chickpea Curry

We’ve used chana masala for this recipe and we think 2 tablespoons is ample for a fairly spicy curry. We’ve noticed that quite a few packets of chana masala call for more spice for the same quantity of chickpeas and if you’re really sure you like your food hot you can add extra, but otherwise we’d start with the smaller amount, you can always make it hotter another time if you want.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chana masala (or other spice mix to taste)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
250ml dried chickpeas, soaked
750ml water
400g chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
375ml brown rice

  • Add the rice and water to the inner bowl, set aside.
  • Preheat the pressure cooker, add the oil and onion and saute until it starts to caramelize.
  • Add the chana masala, garlic, and ginger and saute for about 30 more seconds.
  • Add one third of the water (250ml) plus the chickpeas and tomato concentrate and mix well.
  • Set the steamer basket on top of the curry and set the inner bowl on top of that.
  • Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure then open with the Natural (10-minute) pressure release.
  • Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down.
  • Lift out the rice and put onto plates. Add the salt to the curry, mix and serve.
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Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion,roughly diced
700g ground beef or lamb
2 large carrots, roughly diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (if using salt-free stock)
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
250ml stock, any kind
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
140g frozen peas

700g (or about 4 medium) potatoes, sliced into thick pieces (about 5cm)
125ml milk
½ teaspoon salt

  • Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add onion and saute until onion is soft.
  • Push the onion to one side of the bowl and drop in the ground meat- break it up with a spatula and brown it.
  • Add the carrots, tomato paste, Worcester Sauce (if using), salt, pepper, thyme and stock. Mix well.
    Put the potatoes into the steamer basket and place this on top of the meat.
    Cook for 12 minutes at high pressure and then open with the Normal (10-minute) release – release pressure
  • Preheat oven to 200C/GM6
  • Remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker
  • Remove the thyme sprig and add the frozen peas and apple cider vinegar to the meat mixture.
  • Mix well and leave uncovered while you mash the potatoes (with the milk and salt).
  • If you wish you can peel the potatoes before mashing, but you’ll lose a lot of the vitamins that way.
  • Pour the meat mixture into an oven-proof dish, 25x35cm would be good size, top with the mash and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of chopped butter. Bake until the potatoes have browned, usually about 20 minutes.
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Lentil Risotto

Lentil Risotto

***It is vital to soak the lentils beforehand, as this is what reduces their cooking time to match that of the rice.***

200g dry lentils, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 sprigs parsley, stems and leaves chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
200g Arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, lightly mashed
750ml vegetable stock

  • Optional – one medium potato – chopped into 1cm cubes
  • Pre-heat the pressure cooker, add the vegetable oil and saute the onion until it starts to go soft.
  • Add the celery and parsley and saute for about another minute.
  • Add the rice and garlic cloves mix well and saute until the mixture looks like small, evenly-sized pearls (about a minute).
  • Add the stock and strained lentils, plus the potato if using, mix well.
  • Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure and then open with the Normal (10-minute) release – release pressure
  • Mix well and serve immediately (with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil).
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Millet and Lentils with Mushrooms and Seasonal Vegetables

Millet and Lentils with Mushrooms and Seasonal Vegetables

Millet is quinoa without the marketing budget. You can use quinoa if you wish, in which case the recipe is the same except you cook for 6 minutes with Natural release. The sesame seeds and salt combination is basically a home-cooks take on Gomasio, which is widely used in Japanese cooking. It’s optional but does add a lovely flavour.

1 cup sliced leek or onion
40g thinly sliced shiitake or oyster mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
200g millet, rinsed
100g French green lentils, rinsed and picked over
550ml vegetable stock
400g vegetables of your choice cut into small pieces
50g chopped fresh herbs of your choice
Drizzle of lemon juice
(Ground, toasted) Sesame seeds and salt to taste.

  • Dry saute the leek/onion, mushrooms, and garlic 2 minutes. Add the millet and lentils and toast for 1 minute. Add the stock.
  • Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure then use Natural (10-minute) pressure release. Add the vegetables, replace the lid and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Check the millet, if it is bright yellow it is cooked through, if not, lock on the lid and let sit for another minute or two.
  • Stir, add the fresh herbs and transfer to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and sesame/salt mixture just before serving.
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Red Bean & Turkey Chilli

Red Bean & Turkey Chilli

We know this is our second chilli recipe, but it’s a really healthy option for meat eaters

1 tablespoon olive oil
750g – 1k turkey breast sliced into medium pieces (2 to 3 cm)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
340g dry red kidney beans, soaked
2 tablespoons tomato paste
200g chopped tomatoes
475ml stock (any kind)
1½ teaspoons salt (only if using salt-free stock)
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Parsley or fresh coriander for garnish (optional)

  • Pre-heat pressure cooker, add oil and brown the turkey pieces on two sides – working in batches if needed.
  • Remove the turkey pieces and set aside, in the empty pressure cooker add the onion and green pepper. Saute stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened.
  • Add the cumin and red pepper flakes and saute’ for another 30 seconds.
  • Return the browned turkey to the pot and add the thyme, beans, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and stock, stir well.
  • Cook for 25 minutes at high pressure and then use the Natural (10-minute) release method.
  • Mix-in the salt, white pepper and cumin powder and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until the desired consistency is reached. While this is happening, you might want to break up some of the pieces of turkey by pressing them against the side of the bowl.

NB: We’ve focused on one-pot meals because we thought that was what most people would want, but multi cookers can do so much more, including some really delicious desserts.

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