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The multi-talented KitchenAid Multi-Cooker

Appliance lives up to many of its claims in Consumer Reports' tests

Published: April 21, 2015 12:45 PM

KitchenAid’s Multi-Cooker resembles a slow cooker but is so much more thanks to a variety of pre-programmed settings and an optional stirrer that frees you up. Stir-intensive dishes like risotto and caramelized onions should require less attention, and dishes from low-temperature yogurt to high-temperature meats (for searing) can be made in the Multi-Cooker. But how good is it? Here’s what the experts at Consumer Reports found when they put the KitchenAid Multi-Cooker to the test.

KitchenAid claims

We paid $400 for the 4-quart KitchenAid Multi-Cooker KMC4241 and an optional Stir Tower KST4054 accessory.  KitchenAid claims it, “delivers consistent culinary results with more than 10 cooking methods for amazing versatility.” Pre-programmed settings are sauté, sear, soup, yogurt, risotto, rice, boil/steam, simmer, keep warm (up to 24 hours), and slow cook low and high. “With EvenHeat technology it constantly monitors the temperature of the cooking pot from 110°F to 450°F for precise temperature control. The digital display shows step-by-step instructions, temperature, and timer for up to 12 hours of cooking.”
 

The look

A souped-up slow cooker with handles and a clear tempered glass lid, the KitchenAid Multi-cooker comes in stainless, candy apple red, and black. No need to hide it—it’s attractive enough to keep on the counter. The 4-quart metal pot insert has a nonstick coating, handles, and pour spout and comes with a dual-purpose steam basket and roasting rack.

How it works

While it’s similar to a slow cooker, the Multi-Cooker’s added settings let you cook as you would on your range-top and the optional 5-mode Stir Tower mixes and stirs ingredients, preventing burning and sticking and offering hands-free cooking, although you still have to keep an eye on it.

KitchenAid Multi-Cooker with Stir Tower

How we tested

We followed the recipes from the recipe e-book that called for use of the Stir Tower, making yogurt and cooking risotto, Cajun sausage, and Kung Pao chicken. We also made other foods to try the settings with and without the Stir Tower. We caramelized onions and cooked chili, ham, grits, and even roasted chicken.  We made lentil soup using the programmed multi-step mode,  using it to sauté the vegetables, bring stock to a boil, simmer, and then keep the soup warm. For most recipes we also prepared them on the range-top to compare results and ease of use.

What we found

Very flexible and easy to use, the KitchenAid Multi-Cooker delivered comparable or even better results than the range-top for all of the recipes we tested on both, and offers settings that we couldn’t reproduce, namely the yogurt setting. The caramelized onions were especially delicious and cooked without any assistance using the Stir Tower.

Need to know

It’s a little noisy, especially at higher speeds, and capacity is a bit small so it works better with smaller recipe amounts. The KitchenAid Multi-Cooker is slower than a range-top since it only uses up to 700 watts, but it heats up relatively quickly because the pot insert is lightweight and recipe amounts are small.
 
Using the Multi-Cooker at 110°F is only for the yogurt setting and with the manual temperature mode you can only choose between 165°F and 450°F in 5° increments—unfortunate because its good temperature control could have allowed it to be used for sous-vide cooking but that often calls for temperatures below 165°. When using the Stir Tower we found that sometimes the ingredients slid along the bottom of the pot instead of being stirred, and using the side-scraper blade often worsened stirring for larger amounts.
 
The KitchenAid Multi-Cooker just might be the right gift for the person who likes to cook (hint: Mother’s Day is May 10th). We also recently tested the Ronco Ready Grill and the Philips Digital Airfryer. For more on these countertop appliances see “Should you clear the counter for this grill and fryer?” Next up? We’ll tell you what we found when we tested the $54 Stirio Hands-Free Stirrer. And if you have questions or comments e-mail me at kjaneway@consumer.org.
 
—Kimberly Janeway


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