The multicooker market is flooded with big names like Instant Pot and Ninja, so you may be wondering whether this lesser-known brand is worth a shot. However, with the best-selling Pressure King Pro under their belt, Drew & Cole are quickly building a name for themselves when it comes to electric pressure cookers and multicookers.
See: the best slow cookers
The Cleverchef Pro is a very affordable multicooker that comes in two sizes, I reviewed the 4.8 litre model which is ideal for four-person recipes but there’s also a 5.7 litre model which is better for larger households. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up too much space, and offers the same functions as most other multicookers.
Ideal Home rated: 4 out of 5 stars
Reasons to buy:
- Compact size
- Pre-set programs make it easy to figure out cook times and settings
- Non-stick inner pot
- Plenty of recipes available on the app
- Keep warm function
- Great size for a 4-person household
- Intuitive to use
Reasons to avoid:
- Steaming results were unpredictable
- Accessories have to be washed by hand
Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro Multicooker
- Power: 1000W
- Capacity: 4.8 L
- Pre-sets: 50 pre-set cooking programs
- Cooking functions: Pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sauté, sous vide, multicook
- Weight: 5kg
- Size: 34.1 x 36.2 x 34 cm
- Included: Stainless steel basket, stainless steel trivet, aluminium inner pot
The Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro comes in a surprisingly neat box, it’s easy to lift and remove it from the box. I was pleased to see very little plastic packaging, the majority is easily recyclable cardboard with just a few plastic bags.
The Cleverchef is a compact multicooker that doesn’t feel too big and cumbersome like some other brands. The charcoal exterior has an uncluttered control panel that consists of just one dial and a back button, giving it a neat and streamlined appearance and it’s certainly better looking than other multicookers I’ve reviewed.
The lid slots effortlessly into place and there’s a padlock symbol to indicate when it’s in the locked or unlocked position. While the lid isn’t hinged, it does have an integrated tab that slots into the back of the cooker, this holds the lid so you don’t have to put it on the counter if you don’t want to. On top, the pressure valve can easily be switched between the closed and release positions, but for safety it’s advisable to use tongs or wear an oven glove when venting steam.
When not in use, the basket and trivet can be stored inside, even the power cord can be disconnected and popped inside for easy storage. The instruction manual is thorough, but doesn’t include any recipes, for these you’ll have to download the app or head to the website.
Cooking in the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro
When you switch on the Cleverchef, the main menu first prompts you to choose a cooking style from the following: pressure cook, slow cook, multicook, steam, sauté, sous vide, DIY and keep warm. Once you’ve chosen a cooking style, it then lists pre-set cooking programs by food type. Each pre-set program has a default time and temperature, but these can easily be adjusted if necessary and you can also add a delay timer at this stage.
All the pre-set programs are listed in the instruction manual, which details the default time and temperature as well as the available time or temperature range. So, if your particular food or recipe type isn’t listed, you can easily choose the program that most closely matches the time and temperature you think you need. I found the controls really intuitive to use.
While scrolling through the menus the display screen is illuminated blue, but when cooking or preheating, the display turns orange so you can see at a glance that it’s cooking, which is a nice feature.
Pressure cooking a curry in the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro
I picked the chicken madras recipe from the Drew & Cole app for my first meal. It utilises the sauté setting first to fry off the spices and the chicken. This is really easy, and not only did it mean I didn’t need to dirty a separate frying pan, but it kept all the flavours in the cooking pot. After sauteing and adding the rest of the ingredients, it’s just a case of putting the lid on and selecting the pressure cook function, followed by the curry chicken program.
The curry took just 24 minutes including the heat up time. I allowed the pressure to slow release for 15 minutes and then released the rest manually, which just requires flicking the pressure release switch so the steam can escape. The result was a fiery curry with very tender chicken, a great result for what felt like minimal effort. My only complaint would be that it was a little too runny, I’d have preferred it thicker, but having said that, you can just switch the sauté function back on and let it reduce further if you’re not too hungry to wait.
Pressure cooking rice in the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro
To go with the chicken madras, I made Indian spiced basmati rice, which is another recipe from the app. I emptied the curry into a saucepan so it was easy to keep warm while the rice cooked. Then I added the rice, water and spices to the clean pot, locking the lid into position with the pressure valve closed and selecting the pressure cook function. The recipe uses brown basmati and I selected the brown rice pre-set program which takes just 20 minutes, although there was an additional six minutes to heat up. Unlike when you’re cooking on the hob you can walk away and not worry about it boiling over or boiling dry, so it’s super convenient.
At the end of cooking I flicked the pressure release valve to the vent position so that the steam pressure released fast, it’s good to have it near an extractor fan during this stage due to the large amount of steam released. The finished rice was stickier than I’d usually expect for basmati rice, but cooked through and a perfect addition to the curry.
Baking a cake in the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro
While browsing the app for recipes I kept coming back to the Nutella brownie recipe and in the end, I couldn’t resist giving it a go. With just four ingredients, it’s a great recipe to make with kids. Once the ingredients are combined into a cake batter, the mixture gets tipped into the cooking pot. This recipe called for the Multicook function and then the ‘bake cake’ pre-set with the time adjusted to 30 minutes.
See also: the best stand mixers
I was sceptical about the results, not to mention how I’d get the finished cake out of the pot, however at the end of cooking the cake tipped out of the pot with ease. It was more of a cake than a brownie, so if I made it again, I’d definitely reduce the cook time. That said, it had a pleasant texture and while it wouldn’t win any awards at the local village fete, for a quick no-fuss cake, it’s not a bad option.
Steaming broccoli in the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro
This seemingly simple task was actually the trickiest of all the things I made in the Cleverchef Pro. The instruction manual says to fill with water up to the halfway line on the pot, then steam the broccoli in the basket on top of the trivet, but I had to reduce the amount of water as the steaming basket was sitting in it. There’s a broccoli steam pre-set which takes six minutes, although the total cook time including the pre-heat was 13 minutes. After this, the broccoli was still very hard and in the end, I put it on a further three times to get the broccoli steamed to the correct texture.
I knew something wasn’t right so tried again, but this time I added just 1cm of water to the bottom of the pot. I still had to run the broccoli steam program twice to get perfectly cooked al dente broccoli, but the result was much better with less water in the pot. So I’d say if you’re planning to steam with the Cleverchef Pro, you’ll have to be prepared to experiment to get the results you’re looking for.
I was disappointed that there was no mention in the instruction manual about whether the parts are dishwasher safe or not. Nevertheless, nothing was tricky to clean by hand, the cooking pot has a non-stick coating, and nothing stuck to it during my tests, so it was easy to clean as was the trivet and basket.
There’s a bit of fiddly cleaning to do around the pressure release valve to make sure it’s free of debris, but this is the same for most electric pressure cookers. The lid can be submerged in water for easy cleaning and the base doesn’t get dirty but is easy to wipe over should you need to.
Should you buy the Drew & Cole Cleverchef Pro?
While it’s not a brand that immediately springs to mind when you’re thinking about buying a multicooker, in use, I felt that the Cleverchef Pro cooked just as well as some of the other more premium models available and it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s missing any functionality. If you’re new to multi-cookers and electric pressure cookers, you’ll benefit from the pre-set programs that take the guesswork out of cooking lots of different foods. The pre-sets give you the confidence to use it more often by providing a starting cook time and temperature that you can adjust to suit your own preferences.
I enjoyed trying out recipes on the app and created some delicious meals using the various functions available and despite the difficulties I had when steaming broccoli, I think that given the affordable price tag, it’s a good choice.
About this review, and the reviewer
Helen McCue is a freelance contributor who trained as a Home Economist. After starting her career in the food industry, she moved into home appliance reviews, utilising her cooking skills and experience to put all kinds of products to the test, and over the years has reviewed hundreds of home and kitchen appliances for a variety of publications.
Having completely renovated her current house, Helen reviews kitchen appliances from her open plan kitchen at home in a beautiful Berkshire village. When she’s not working, Helen can be found enjoying the local countryside or dreaming about her next house renovation project.