T-Fal Balanced Living 3 in 1 Rice and Multi Cooker
This product combines a rice cooker, steamer and slow cooker in one. It looks like a large rice cooker, but also has a removable steam tray and a separate setting for slow cooking. If using the rice or steam setting, the T-Fal will automatically switch to “Keep Warm” once it is finished cooking, so your grains and veggies will stay toasty until you’re ready to eat them.
The ceramic non-stick pot is great for easy clean-up and the micro-pressure valve keeps liquids from flowing out and causing a mess — something that happened often with my old rice cooker.
I tested its three functions by making a big batch of wild rice, steaming broccoli and slow cooking a two-pound pumpkin for a pumpkin puree. This product is great if you want to save shelf or counter space. I gave away my old slow cooker and rice cooker using the T-Fal. Both were inexpensive and didn’t have any special features (such as a programmable timer or options to sear or sauté), so this new cooker far exceeded both of them.
Here are some helpful tips from my tinkering:
- Once you plug in the machine, it is either warming or cooking. I made the mistake of plugging it in while I was rinsing my rice and measuring my broth and realized that the pan was already hot! I recommend doing all your prep work for the recipe first, and only plugging in the machine when you’re ready to cook.
- In addition to having such a small capacity, the steamer tray is made of plastic. I am not a big fan of plastic, especially for heating or storing my food. That pretty much eliminates one of the three functions for me. (I use a silicone steamer in one of my large stockpots instead.)
- The slow cooker can only be set to about 200°F. I usually use the low-and-slow method, so this isn’t a problem for me, but if you use the “High” setting, you’ll have to adjust or tinker.
- Unlike the rice/steam setting, you have to manually switch from “Slow Cooking” to “Keep Warm.” There isn’t a countdown on this machine, so be sure to keep track of the time.
- You can’t multitask. If you like to have your rice ready at the same time as your stew, this isn’t the product for you. You would have to cook one and somehow keep it warm while you clean the pot and get the other cooking.
That being said, the T-Fal Balanced Living Rice and Multi Cooker is a versatile cooker that can complement the kitchen of just about anyone!