Why you should have a multi-purpose cooker

The cooker can cook a variety of dishes such as rice, stews, baking  and frying.  PHOTO/Promise Twinamukye.

What you need to know:

The multi-purpose cooker can cook a variety of meals, quicker, effortlessly and safer, without compromising the quality or taste of the food.

As the name suggests, a multi-purpose cooker is a gadget with multiple cooking options. It has the capacity to do all of the things that a rice cooker, pressure cooker and slow cooker can do. Just one appliance can have six, 10 or even 14 preset functions so purchasing depends on how many dishes one can make and how much one is willing to spend.

How it works

The appliance comes with individual buttons for each dish it is able to cook. After doing the necessary prepping and putting your contents in the pan, for example rice, you close the cooker, and press the rice button and the cooking will start. When it is ready, it turns off and one can put in the next dish they want to cook.

“Some meals take longer than others. The manufacturer matched the temperature to the estimated it takes to cook different meals and infused them in the menu buttons. Ground nuts need lower heat and take longer to cook, so the heat for ground nut sauce will not be the same heat as that of beef stew or baking a cake,” Davidson Bagambagye, the proprietor of @2fumbe says.

One downside, however, that comes with cooking different meals using one pot is mixing food flavours. This can be prevented by carefully cleaning the inside pan and lid after every dish.

“Flavours can sneak and linger in the cooker’s lid, but if you clean thoroughly, you might be able to get rid of them. Another option is getting multiple lids, to change for each dish,’’ he says.

It is also very flexible; a user can switch from the automated pre-settings to manual by adjusting the time and temperature they want for the dish they are going to make.

What to keep in mind before buying a multi-purpose cooker


One’s budget greatly determines what the brand, size they will be able to buy. There are different features and functions that will determine how much the appliance will cost. According to Bagambagye, the more functions the cooker has, the higher the price.

The quality of the pan in the cooker, he adds, also determines the price. This is because pans are made from different materials. While some pans have a small layer of non-stick coating, others have a heavier coating making them more durable in maintenance than others. Those with a small layer of nonstick coating wears off after some time and one remains with the regular aluminum pan, which may be harder to clean.


“Some brands are more expensive than others. However, this should not inform your decision to buy as not all popular brands may have what you are looking for,” Bagambagye says.

He adds that one should focus on what the cooker can do no matter what brand it is.


Different cookers come with different pan sizes. Depending on how many people one cooks for more often, the size will matter. The bigger the size, the more portions of food the cooker can make. Sizes range from five up to eight litres.


The multipurpose cooker ranges from Shs200, 000 to Shs800, 000 depending on the size and of the pan and the number of pre-set functions on it. From online shops, these range from Shs190, 000 to Shs2.7m. The different brands include; Instant Pot, Lucid, Sonifer, Saachi, Panasonic, and Blume Life, among others. Put simply, multi-cookers combine multiple kitchen appliances in one, from slow cookers to pressure cookers and air fryers.

According to goodhousekeeping.com, the capabilities of each multi-cooker will vary though, so decide on your priorities before you buy. Here are some of the main features to look for.

Air fryer: Replicating frying but without the oil, this is perfect for classics such as chicken and chips.

Slow cooker: Cooking slowly over a longer period, this is ideal for stews and soups and is one of the most common multi-cooker features – every machine on our list has this capability.

Pressure cooker: Using steam to cook, this will have risottos, casseroles and more ready in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the hours it takes to slow cook.

Roasting: Useful if you often run out of oven space when cooking your Sunday roast, you can quickly and easily prepre and cook vegetables.

Baking: Make cakes without turning on your oven. Some can even bake bread.

Steaming: A healthy way to cook vegetables, this locks in important nutrients.

Rice cooker: If rice is a household staple, this will make achieving that desirable fluffy texture a doddle.


The cooker is able to give one many functions in one from cooking rice to making stew, to baking or frying and some making yoghurt.

It saves space in the kitchen since it works for many things.

Because every heat is contained in the cooker, it uses less electricity units thus saving one money.

The pressure cooker on the appliance is way safer than the traditional pressure cooker because unless the electric one locks, it cannot switch on.

It also comes in handy especially for people who do not know how to cook as many dishes since every button is automatic and the temperature and time are pre-set.

Other features include sauté, sous vide (putting your food in a vacuum-packed bag and cooking under water) and even sterilisation. Some multi-cookers can also be bulky and come with multiple lids, so make sure you have got enough room to store them.