The Cuisinart Cook In could be the one appliance you need to achieve all your summer cooking without an oven, stove or even BBQ. It's multi-functional without being confusing, and is very easy to clean.
Storage is easy
Gets quite hot
No specific temperature controls
Pre-heat takes a little while
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The Cuisinart Cook In is quite an innovative little appliance. It's designed to steam cook, grill, and slow cook, and can easily be used in the place of a griddle pan or saucepan. If you're reluctant to turn on the oven during the summer months, or like me you live in a home without a garden but don't want to miss out on the joys of home BBQs, I highly recommend it.
With one dial to control the Cuisinart Cook In, which can be fine-tuned to hit just about any heat, this is the kind of device that is perfect for those who have been interested in buying one of the best multi-cookers but find the idea of pressure cooking or complex controls a little overwhelming. It only has one control, with a light that shows when it's come up to heat, and it can also get pretty hot to replicate stovetop grilling.
I put the Cuisinart Cook In to the test in this Cuisinart Cook In review to see how it held up on all potential uses. Long story short: I really liked it. In fact, I think it's going to become my new go-to slow cooker, and I'd never make shakshouka another way again.
Cuisinart Cook In: specs
- Temperature range: 90˚C to 220˚C
- Warranty: 3-year guarantee
- Comes with: Glass lid, steaming rack, cooking dish, grilling plate
- Dimensions: 49.6 x 46 x 32 cm
Getting set up with the Cuisinart Cook In
Every Cuisinart product I've tried has been very well packaged. The Cook In is no different, and I was pleased to see that the whole device stacks together in one piece to reduce the amount of clutter you'll need to store.
Included with the Cook In is a grilling plate, a slow cooking dish, a steaming rack, and a glass lid. The lid has a plastic handle and a vent to allow steam to escape from the cooking bowl while slow cooking.
The cooking bowl has plastic handles attached, and the cooking unit itself also comes with handles to make the Cook In easy to move. One thing I really enjoyed when testing the Cuisinart Cook In was that you can simply lift your cooking attachment straight away from the unit without having to screw it into place. However, be aware that you will need to let it cool down after doing this as it stays hot for a long time.
To turn it on, simply turn the dial on the front right of the unit. It claims to go from 90˚C to 220˚C but is only marked Low, Medium and High. Luckily you can control the heat levels quite precisely because the dial turns continuously, but it takes some time to adjust to this and understand what the heat will be for different settings.
Making shakshouka in the Cuisinart Cook In
The Cuisinart Cook In offers the perks of all-in-one pans or dishes. One of my favourite dishes for this is a classic shakshouka, which requires cooking off peppers and onions before simmering with tomatoes, and then cracking eggs on top to achieve a jammy yolk that's perfect for dipping.
I cooked all of the different steps for this dish in the Cook In to see how versatile this multi-cooker is. I ramped the heat up to its maximum heat setting and then stir-fried my veggies for a few minutes.
Cuisinart claims that the Cuisinart Cook In takes 6 minutes to heat up, and I'd concur with this. It took about five minutes for my onions to start sizzling, so definitely not as speedy as a frying pan on the hob, but still not bad. A red light showed when the machine was heating, and once the heat was reached the green light on the front of the device lit up.
Once ready, I added some tinned tomatoes and allowed to simmer for about 20 minutes before cracking my eggs into grooves on the top of the stew, and adding the glass lid on top to allow these to steam-cook.
I cook this dish quite a lot, especially on the weekend when I have more time for brunching. The Cuisinart Cook In is now my new favourite way of doing this, because it's perfectly sizes to make generous servings (three, at least, could fit into the cooking bowl) and unlike a lot of the best slow cookers I've tried, the steam lid allows moisture to escape in a way that's a lot more similar to a classic saucepan, meaning you're not left with trapped-in moisture and a runny sauce.
Making stew in the Cuisinart Cook In
A stew is the perfect recipe to use when testing a slow cooker, and for the Cuisinart Cook In I decided to make an Iranian dish called ghormeh sabzi. This involves searing the lamb before adding onions, garlic and spices, and then adding stock and turning the heat down to simmer with leek and spinach.
The Cuisinart Cook In allowed me to sear the meat by turning the temperature up to high, and then lowering it to switch to a slow cooker.
After a few hours of simmering the lamb was pull-apart in texture, and I was able to add my tin of kidney beans and some preserved lemons to finish the dish off. This one-pot dish turned out to be really delicious, and very hearty.
A lot of slow cookers allow you to sear meat in the pan before returning to slow cook in the pot, but very few come with the power to sear and slow cook without having to use a hob. This makes the Cook In ideal for those who may not have a hob.
Grilling in the Cuisinart Cook In
One day I decided to make an aubergine parmigiana with a side of grilled chicken, which gave me ample opportunity to test out the Cuisinart Cook In's grilling plate.
I first allowed it to pre-heat for a few minutes while I padded my aubergine dry, and then put them on the grilling plate with a drizzle of oil.
The size of the grilling plate is pretty decent, with enough space for six slices of aubergine. I'd predict that it has enough space to cook four large burgers, or upwards of six hot dogs for those who want the best BBQ alternative if they don't have a garden.
The aubergine slices did take a bit longer to brown than if I'd used a cast iron skillet, but it did a good job and once I had a bit of a production line going I was able to get through a lot of aubergine in about 20 minutes.
It was the same story with the chicken. I butterflied chicken breasts and seasoned them before adding to sear on the grilling plate. Again, it took longer than if I'd done it in a pan but it was still quite a speedy process.
I was worried that leaving the heat on high for long periods of time might damage my wooden kitchen island worktop, but when I moved the Cook In the island was only a little warm, with no damage.
I particularly enjoyed that despite the non-stick cooking surface the chicken was still able to brown and go crisp in places, and the grill lines did leave a classic BBQ-style marking on my slices.
You could also add the lid if you wanted to cook your food a little quicker, because the heat won't escape from the grilling plates.
Aside from the recipes above I've used the Cuisinart Cook In to cook rice, steam vegetables, and cook fish. The steaming rack is especially useful if you want to cook rice under your fish.
The cleaning process is very easy. The removable parts can go in the dishwasher, and the unit itself stays very clean without much fingerprint marking. It wipes clean very easily and is also easy to store because all of the attachments slot togther.
Should you buy the Cuisinart Cook In?
I'm a big fan of the Cuisinart Cook In for one-pot meals. It's a great slow cooker with the ability to do a whole lot more. With a rack for steaming and a plate for grilling, you can easily replace your hob and oven with this one machine, and while it lacks the power of a full hob, it's significantly more powerful than the average slow cooker.
Cleaning is very easy and I also enjoy how the machine slots together for easy storage. I do wish it heated up a little faster, but the Cuisinart Cook In is an appliance I'll definitely hang onto for my future stews and shakshouka.
About this review, and our reviewer
Millie Fender heads up all things small appliances at Future. There’s nothing she loves more than testing out the latest and greatest cooking gadgets, for indoor and outdoor use, from toasters to air fryers. She reviewed the Cuisinart Cook In from her own kitchen, testing it rigorously for a month before writing this review.
Millie lives in South London and is constantly squeezing more appliances into her modest kitchen. If it makes it onto the kitchen counters full time, you know an appliance is worth the hype.
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Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Ideal Home. She joined Ideal Home as an Ecommerce Editor in 2021, covering all of the site's small appliance and cookware shopping content. Millie formerly worked at Top Ten Reviews, another Future site, where she produced review and buying guides across a range of home products, from fridges to blenders. As Head of Reviews, her job is to test all the wackiest product launches, whether they're air fryers, bread makers, or juicers, and give you her honest experience.
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