As my favorite TV cook, Alton Brown, has said: “the only unitasker in the kitchen is the fire extinguisher”. In my kitchen I had a slow cooker, and a rice cooker, and no pressure cooker. Always short on space in our Hawaiian and Japanese kitchens, I thought that it would be great to replace these two appliances with one, and gain the benefits of a pressure cooker as well. The Insta Pot (An Amazon Best seller here ) had decent reviews online, in fact Serious Eats gave it the “best buy” rating. However they rated the Breville as the best. It’s more expensive at around $220 vs $120 (prices on both vary a lot due to sales), several features appealed to me on the Breville. Mainly the fully automatic operation with automatic venting and dual temp sensors for more accuracy. Given that there are only two of us , it is rare to fill an appliance to its max fill.
So far the Breville has been mostly positive. I haven’t been able to get perfct rice out of it yet, as I think the pressure isn’t the best way to cook it, the rice seems a little split. Taste is still fine, but the texture isn’t as good as our dedicated rice cooker. We are still trying different rices and waters, so this isn’t confirmed yet. *UPDATE*: By following some simple science and the instructions on this guys page, we were able to get great rice! We were using 1.5 or 1.25 water to rice as instructed in the Breville manual; however, there is next to no water loss due to evaporation in a pressure cooker! So using 1:1 rice to water, plus about 5-7 minutes at 10.5 PSI, we got rice nearly identical to our rice cooker. Cooked just right, not too mushy (1.5:1 water ratio ended up like porridge!). *End Update*
Pressure cooking: Of course the big bonus is that this device can do pressure cooking which is somthing that we have never had before. I have only 2 experience with a pressure cooked from when I was younger when my dad tried a stove top model to imitate KFC style fried chicken. It wasn’t a success and the pressure cooker sat at the back oif the cabinet for the net 20 years until it was donated to goodwill. The first thing I trie dto pressure cook was chickpeas for hummus. From dried this is normally a two day process, as the peas need to be soaked in water overnight and then cooked for ~40 minutes before heading to the food processor. In this the pressure cooked was a a great success.The hummus came out smooth and creamy,It only took a total of 40 minutes for cooking from dry with just water.I added some salt, garlic, and onions;But I don’t think it added much flavor after the cooking. This really was a time savings of an entire day,Leaving the beans to soak overnight takes a long time in preplanning.
The second item we tried to cook in the pressure cooker was chili,He came out quite well.In this recipe I used ground beef, onions, garlic, peppers, and spices, just like any normal chilli.The saute function was quite nice, and was able to brown the ground beef and onions.So overall there was only one pot used, with minimal cleanup as there’s no spattering on the counter due to the lid on the pressure cooker. I also added dried beans that chili before pressure cooking, and they came out soft and tender with some of the flavor of the sauces infused versus coming from a can where they’re just cooked with water.
We tried a pasta dish; however everything seemed a bit overcooked (on the veggie side). The pasta was well hydrated, but the broccoli and other veggies were destroyed and mushy. Although if you have someone with teeth problems this may be a bonus. We cooked Pasta, sauce, broccoli, goya , and tomatoes in the pressure cooker and cooked for 5 minutes at 10.5 PSI. Of course the cooking time is really closer to 25 minutes after the heat up and cool down, which explains the veggies. I think it would be fine for a pasta and sauce only dish.
Slow cooking: The slow cooker works as expected, it has two heat settings and fine timing control via the LCD screen. This device is a 100% replacement for our old slow cooker, and has better timing options to boot. The automatic switch into keep-warm after cooking on all setting is a nice feature to keep you food out of the danger zone without over cooking.
Conclusion: The Breville pressure/slow cooker is a great addition to your kitchen. We haven’t quite mastered the rice yet (we will update if we do), but the slow and pressure cooking functions are spot on and idiot proof. If you’ve liked this review please check out the many reviews and look to purchase on Amazon: Breville Slow fast cooker