Pressure Cookers, Multi Cookers and Slow Cookers, oh my! | A buying guide to small cookers

June 28th, 2017

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Pressure cookers, slow cookers and multicookers

It’s cold and wet, and the ‘typical’ Aussie attire has dramatically changed from thongs and shorts to boots and oversized scarves. During this time of year, dinner usually consists of hearty meals that feel warm and comforting with every spoonful.  They tend to be filling, and packed with vegetables and protein.

It’s one thing to talk about delicious winter warmers, but to create them on a daily basis, now that’s something else.

Thanks to innovation and changing times, kitchen appliances have come a long way. Notably, small kitchen appliances.

Slow cookers, pressure cookers, and handy multi-cookers. For years these compact electric appliances have provided us with cooking convenience, but which option is better, and why?

Electric Pressure Cookers

Electric pressure cookers give a new meaning to the words ‘fast food.’ Close down the food ordering app, and steer clear of drive-thrus, because when there’s a pressure cooker in the building, dinner will be ready faster that you can have a pizza delivered.

Money savers

Not only do pressure cookers help cut down cooking times by up to 70 percent, but they also help save money on your grocery bills. These handy little appliances work amazingly with cheaper cuts of meat. Transforming them from tough pieces to tender bits, for a flavoursome meal. Using a pressure cooker also helps you cut down on your carbon footprint*, as they work more quickly and efficiently than most standard ovens.

*compared to standard conventional oven and stovetop cooking methods

Convenient functions

As the days get shorter and our To Do lists get longer, we’ve all come to love the words convenience and easy. Big manufacturing brands know this, and this is why most electric pressure cookers these days host a beneficial amount of smart features and functions that’ll make cooking as convenient and as simple as possible. From a simmer and saute function, to programmable timers and menus, electric pressure cookers have come a long way since those rattling, stove-top splattering pressure cookers you find at your Grandma’s.

Nutritional dishes made easy

With more and more people choosing to eat organically, it only makes sense we prepare our foods in a way we don’t lose a significant portion of their nutritional value. Pressure cooking uses superheated, pressurised steam to help food retain its beautiful, natural flavours. Meats stay juicy, vegetables remain vibrant in colour, and overall flavours intensify- put down the salt!    

It’s not all butterflies and unicorns

Just take it from the girls and guys on MKR. Pressure cooking isn’t always pretty!

A pressure cooker lid acts as a lock and creates a tight seal. The cooking liquids inside, then boil and create steam. A lot of steam. The pressure inside the cooker increases as more steam is created. As this is all happening, the cooking liquids should have reached boiling point at about 120°C, making the contents of the cooker quite dangerous. It is important to follow all safety instructions supplied with your appliance before you start cooking.

Electric Slow Cookers

Electric slow cookers work similar to a pot on a stove.  Heat is transferred from the base (usually created by bottom heating elements) up towards the internal crock pot. The heat then spreads to the sides (although, some electric slow cookers feature side or wrap around heating elements). Thanks to the surrounding heat, the food inside the pot cooks beautifully and evenly.

What are the advantages?

The benefits are very similar to those of a pressure cooker, with a few added extras. Besides the obvious melt in your mouth creations, and healthier, nutrient-filled dishes; there’s a lot more to get excited about over slow cookers!  

Hassle-free operation

Another great benefit of a slow cooker is that the food within the pot doesn’t require any stirring. In fact, you don’t even have to watch it!

Simply pop all your ingredients into the appliance before you leave for work in the morning, and then be welcomed home by the beautiful aroma of perfectly cooked stew or curry. It’s even recommended not to lift the lid during cooking as it enables the heat to escape. This is why most slow cookers come supplied with glass lids.  

Lower temperatures for better tasting food

Slow cookers usually have three heat settings. A high, a medium, and a low setting. And although there are three settings to choose from, the chance of burning your food is minimal thanks to the low, even temperature. Cooking at a lower temperature ensures that not only is the meat thoroughly cooked and nutritious, but also extracts maximum flavour, even from cheaper cuts, as the meat is tenderised in the cooker liquid. Much the same as the process of making a good meat stock, the bones/meat should be first brought to a boil for a period to ensure harmful bacteria is removed. If you are creating a soup or broth, the meat should be covered with water. Otherwise, you may find that the contents will burn or dry out during cooking.

No oven? No problem!

Supplied with most slow cookers is a standard electrical plug and lead, which means all you need is a standard powerpoint. From the campervan to the camping grounds, thanks to the compact design and portability of these machines, you can pretty much use them anywhere! They also don’t radiate heat like stovetops and ovens, giving you added comfort when cooking during the hotter months.  


Multi-cookers help replace multiple appliances around your kitchen by combining different cooking methods. From pressure cooking and slow cooking to yoghurt making and rice creating, multi-cookers can do it all!

Besides replacing a lot of your kitchen’s bulky mess, multi-cookers provide an array of benefits that help turn these little guys into culinary masters.

Versatile space savers

When you say goodbye to multiple small cooking appliances and hello to a multi-cooker, you’re also welcoming the convenience of complete versatility into your home. A slow cooker can only slow cook, a rice maker can only create rice dishes, and a yoghurt maker, well, you get what I’m saying.  With the help of a multi-cooker, both large-crowd entertaining and small family dinners can be taken care of with complete ease.

Succulent meals in half the time

Like pressure cookers, multi-cookers give you the ability to cut cooking times in half (excluding the use of the slow cook option). By combining steam and pressure, tough cuts of beef can be tenderised in 20 minutes, while complete homemade dishes can be made in as little has half an hour- say goodbye to ready-made frozen meals!

Healthier cooking

Multi-cookers are a healthier cooking option, compared to conventional cooking methods. It could be because foods retain a higher level of minerals and vitamins when cooked this way, or because less added fats and oils are needed.

Convenient functions and features

Like its cousin the pressure cooker, multi-cookers also feature a broad range of features that make it even easy to prepare delicious meals. From keep warm options to fully programmable menus, these handy little machines help turn you into a master chef.

Which one is for me?

While all three appliances are very similar to one another, they all, of course, have different benefits and features that suit different people and households.

Families with plenty of different palates to satisfy

If this sounds like your home, then a multi-cooker should be your helping hand in the kitchen. With its versatility, portability and faster cooking options, this handy appliance will help prepare a number of dishes for even the biggest of families.

Busy singles and couples

When slaving over the stove for hours is the last thing on your mind, then perhaps a pressure cooker can help save the day. With faster cooking times and smooth operation, these helpful little kitchen hands take the stress out of dinner time.

Retirees and stay at home families   

When time isn’t an issue, but convenience is still sought after, then your go to appliance should be a slow cooker. With its incredibly easy to use controls and minimal human interaction, cooking delicious meals has never been easier.

Shop a wide range of small cooking appliances at Australia’s own Appliances Online. When you’re looking for the right appliance for your home, whether its a fridge for your kitchen, a dryer for your laundry, or a BBQ for your backyard, the Appliances Online legends are here to help, 24/7. Just contact us on 1300 000 500 and let us guide you through the process of choosing an amazing appliance that’s just right for you.

All the way from the land of the flightless bird, Krissy brings a part of New Zealand culture to the Appliances Online content team. And although she is adamant she does not say 'fush and chups', she can't deny her continuous use of the term 'sweet as' and her ongoing argument with her team on the correct name for jandals (thongs). One thing is for certain, however, her passion for her kiwi slang is matched with her love for sharing news, hacks and buying tips for all things appliances! Krissy's favourite appliance is the Tefal Cook4Me multi cooker, as she believes it's ok to let an appliance do all the work for you.

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