Consumer Reports tests best pressure cookers for summer meals

Fans have been flocking to the Instant Pot for a few years, but now there's a new generation of these pressure cooking multi-cookers and they're not just for preparing cold weather comfort foods.

Consumer Reports cooked up a storm to see which models can take the pressure off of your summer entertaining and also simmer, sizzle and steam the best.

Pressure cooking ribs will help to tenderize them. When they're done in the cooker, pop them on the grill to sear and smoke.

Need deviled eggs for a crowd? No problem because pressure cooked eggs are simple to peel. But which device can tackle your whole "summer barbecue"?

"First there was Instant Pot and then along came all these other multi-cookers, which can cost like from $70 to $250 a pop. So that's why we set out to learn how they perform," said Perry Santanachote, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Consumer Reports tested multi-cookers - checking out features like steaming, sauteing, slow-cooking and pressure cooking - by making port ribs, chili with dried beans, lots of vegetables and white rice.

Five models got excellent ratings for pressure cooking, and a few had some special talents.

The Breville Fast Slow Pro stood out for slow-cooking, so it would be perfect for making tender baked beans. It also got high marks for steaming, every BBQ needs something a little healthy. The Breville's lid doesn't lock in steam mode, so you can peek in and avoid mushy veggies.

The six quart Instant Pot Max has a sous vide feature that will turn out moist meats and fish. It did a very good job making rice.

The Ninja Foodi OP302 has a crisping lid, after pressure cooking a chicken, testers browned it nicely. It also works as an air fryer and you can even roast corn on the cob on it.

As for dessert, a multi-cooker can even finish your summer BBQ with a cheesecake, all without turning on your oven.

Consumer Reports has this tip, the silicone ring that seals the lid on multi-cookers can retain the odors of whatever you cook. So to keep the scent of curry away from your cheesecake, consider keeping a second ring just for sweets on hand. It's also a good idea to dry the lid ring-side-up.
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