Slow-cooker recipes are supposed to be simple. Yet I've come across many dishes that require some sauteing or searing before you load up your slow cooker, which takes away much of the convenience, speed and general "set it and forget it" characteristics of using the appliance. The Breville Fast Slow Pro solves some of these problems with its ability to perform six functions in one appliance. The $250 countertop multicooker lets you sear meat before you slow cook it or saute veggies before you cook a chili, all in the same cooking vessel. These are convenient features for an enthusiastic home cook who hates a pile of dirty dishes. The appliance also addresses a cook's need for a speedy meal with its pressure-cook function, a powerful feature that produced plenty of succulent meat in less than an hour.
The Fast Slow Pro delivers a few frustrations along with its versatility. The lid is tricky to lock properly, especially when it's time to use the appliance as a pressure cooker. And the $250 price puts this multicooker on the high end of appliances like this that we've reviewed, such as the $70 Tim3 Machin3 and the $200 Ninja Cooking System. But the addition of good pressure cooking and a wide range of functions makes the Breville Fast Slow Pro a good product to invest in if you're looking to pare down your kitchen gadgets.
Versatile features hide beneath a finicky lid
The Breville Fast Slow Pro looks similar to other multicookers we've seen: a cylinder-shaped vessel with a removable cooking bowl and sturdy side handles. The cooking bowl has an easy-to-clean ceramic coating and comes with a removable steam basket and stainless steel rack for raising food above the cooking liquid. The lid contains a silicone gasket to properly seal the unit for pressure cooking, along a pressure release valve. There's a moat that surrounds the top of the Fast Slow Pro that collects condensation when you open the lid and sends it flowing into a removable cup, which is great for preventing a wet counter.
The appliance shows the six cooking options -- pressure cook, slow cook, steam, sear, saute and reduce -- on an LCD display. You select your settings with the three knobs and three buttons below the display. The pressure and slow cook settings have their own submenus that provide specific settings depending on the type of food you're cooking. For example, if you are using the pressure cooker, you can select from the following menu: vegetables, rice, risotto, soup, stock, beans, poultry, meat, bone-in meat, chili and stew, dessert and custom. This is really helpful if you're new to pressure or slow cooking and aren't sure how much time to give your meal. But if you are an expert, you can change the settings, including the amount of pressure, temperature and cook time.
Many of my frustrations with the Fast Slow Pro came from fiddling with the lid. You have to turn a knob to lock the lid, but this ended up loosening a nut that holds the lid in place and prevents you from properly sealing the lid for pressure cooking. I only discovered this problem after several attempts to pressure cook ended with the Fast Slow Pro telling me the lid was not sealed, even though I had it lowered and locked. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's frustrating when the Fast Slow Pro tells you there's a problem, but not how to fix it.