Looking for one of the best Instant Pot alternatives that won’t take up all of your kitchen surface? While it might feel like the world of multi-cookers, which combine pressure cooking and slow cooking in one device, only caters for families the size of the Waltons, we decided to take Lakeland’s Mini Multicooker for a spin, and see if slow cooking for one can be a viable option.
After all, why pay out for a blimp-sized machine when you don’t need to batch cook or perhaps don’t have a freezer? Lakeland’s Mini machine strips it back to the bare essentials in a small, compact model. Does it still deliver on convenience? Let’s find out.
Price and availability
The Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker is available to buy for £49.99 from the Lakeland website, as well as Amazon; it's currently only available in the UK, but that price works out at around $65 / AU$95 based on current conversion rates.
That's relatively cheap compared to the likes of the Crock-Pot CSC024 5.6L Digital Slow and Multi Cooker, which will set you back £119.99 / $155 / AU$225 – it is a lot bigger than the 1.8L Lakeland Mini though.
The mini multicooker has eight programs, but it’s not possible to sauté or sear with this pot, so you would need to start items like soups in a separate pan before bringing the ingredients together. It might not look like the slickest, but we like the white model and easy-to-read LED display.
We were excited by the promise of making cake in a multicooker, but Lakeland’s instructions recommend only using pre-mixed ingredients, and as the capacity is so small at 1.8L, only half a packet of cake mix at a time. Again, that needn’t be a bad thing if living alone, but it’s worth considering before purchase.
Whether you opt for the Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker 1.8L depends on the kind of food you’re making on a regular basis, and if a rice cooker is top on your list, this cooker achieves that, plus yoghurt, grains, casseroles and cake.
Be extra cautious with the capacity – it’s intended to hold the volume of food when cooked. The 1.8 liter (1.9 quarts) inner pot cooks up to 4 cups of food, and gets full quick.
This isn’t a slow cooker for a big family. We filled it beneath the maximum capacity level for cooking rice, and the vent overflowed, causing rice water to pour out onto the kitchen surface. It was admittedly worrying seeing steam and liquid escape from the model through overfilling it, but if you’re careful not to do that, it seems like a very safe model to use.
This cooker is efficient at cooking rice, porridge and quinoa quickly, and at the other end of the timing spectrum, it’s possible to set the ‘slow cook’ program to up to eight hours. We liked the fact the cooking times can be adjusted – this isn’t an option with many other cheaper models.
Despite the capacity concerns, this multicooker is incredibly easy to use and will fit into most kitchens (or kitchen cupboards when not in use). If you’re living alone or without a freezer, this would be a great machine for casseroles and stews without any waste.
Unlike cheaper slow cookers, this model has a ‘keep warm’ mode, which it switches into after the majority of its cooking programs (apart from the ‘yoghurt’ setting), meaning you could set a dish to slow cook and it would have it ready and warm for you after a day at work.
A non-stick cooking pot and inner lid are removable and can go straight in the washing up, making it easier to clean that the larger models we reviewed.
For the relatively low number of programmable options, the price quite high. However, considering the ‘keep warm’ and ‘slow cook’ modes can be adjusted, there’s more to play with here than models £10 to £20 cheaper.
The Lakeland Mini Multi Cooker 1.8L is a great multicooker for people living alone, and if you’re short on space. It can be easily packed away and stored and brought out when needed.
You won’t be able to batch cook with this model, but if rice, grains, yoghurt and porridge make up a big part of your diet, you’d get enough use out of it to justify the price.
There aren't that many programmable options when you consider the price, but it's cheaper than much of the competition; and with helpful 'keep warm' and 'slow cook' modes, it could be well worth choosing this multicooker over less expensive models.