There are a lot of options out there when it comes to the best multi cookers. And while certain brand names, such as Instant Pot and Ninja, often pop to the top of search results, the Cukoo brand is not to be overlooked.
This appliance brand makes high-quality rice steamers and breadmakers and has recently added a reasonably priced six-quart multi cooker to their product line that goes head-to-head with the leading brands.
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: price and availability
The six-quart Cuckoo multi cooker costs $119 in the US. It is not yet available in the UK or Australia, but is widely available in Asia.
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: design
The overall design of this multi cooker is familiar if you’ve used competitors’ models. The machine has a cylindrical electrical outer housing with a stainless steel inner cooking pot and a large plastic lid that screws tightly closed. It also comes with a few handy accessories: a wire steaming rack, two plastic cooking utensils that won’t damage the stainless steel pot, and a rice measuring cup.
The machine is smaller and lighter than other six-quart multi cookers, weighing 11.7 pounds empty and measuring 13.4 x 12.7 x 12.7 inches. This is a benefit for small kitchens low on storage space.
The interface is easy to read and clearly labeled with the nine cooking functions. Rather than a touch screen, which is common on other pressure cookers, this appliance is controlled with a large rotating knob on the front.
There are also four buttons: settings, which allows you to toggle between manual warming, auto-clean, and a delay timer; Select; Start; and Cancel. The control panel took a bit of getting used to, but with a bit of practice and playing around, it’s easy enough to get the hang of.
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: functionality
This multi-cooker has eight built-in cooking functions plus a combo function.
The eight one-button functions are:
All of these default settings can be overridden or paused.
The ninth button on the interface is Combo, which is a handy innovation that allows you to add a recipe with the Saute/Sear function, then transition to a different function, such as pressure cooking.
This is a typical flow for pressure cooker recipes, so having a multi-cooker that times things out for you can both streamline a recipe and reduce room for errors.
The other handy feature of this device is the clean setting. This setting cleans the inner cooking pot without a dishwasher. All you need is water and baking soda or vinegar (not both). The pot will heat the solution to remove any stuck-on food and sanitize the inner pot.
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: performance
I tested the Cuckoo multi cooker making a pureed butternut squash soup. The recipe called for sauteing onions, carrots and other aromatics first. I used the Combo function to first use saute on high. The pot heats up quickly, and the onion was nice and soft after about 5 minutes. After adding the butternut and broth, I transitioned to pressure cooking on high for 8 minutes.
The pot took about 10 minutes to reach pressure (this is all dependent on the amount of liquid in the pot and how warm it is before you start pressure cooking). Once at pressure, the cooking time started counting down on the digital screen. And when the timer finished, the machine beeped (not discretely) several times. I switched the pressure valve to venting to release the steam before rotating and removing the lid.
The contents of the pot was piping hot and my butternut was fully cooked through and ready for pureeing. And the great part was that after taking my immersion blender to the soup, I could keep it warm right in the pot until dinner time. Minimal clean-up!
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: verdict
Despite a bit of clunkiness figuring out the control panel and dial at first, this is a hard-working and highly functional pressure cooker. The size is great for households of four to six people, and the smaller dimensions make it easier to store than bulkier models. There are also some smart features that you won’t find in other options, including a cleaning mode and a combo mode for recipes that require sauteing and pressure cooking. The appliance is also a great value for its price point.
Cuckoo CMC-ZSN601F 8-in-1 Pressure Cooker review: also consider
If you’re looking for a great pressure cooker available in Australia and the UK, the 6.3-quart pressure cooker from Sage is a great option.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more feature-rich pressure cooker that also offers an air-fryer functionality, the Ninja Foodi has it all.