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CookingPal Multo Review: An All-in-One Appliance for Your Smart Kitchen

CookingPal's Multo is a multipurpose kitchen appliance that weighs, chops, blends, sautes, kneads, steams and cooks. Is it a smart splurge for your kitchen?

8.0

CookingPal Multo

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Like

  • Performs many prep and cook functions
  • Could replace some kitchen appliances
  • Makes cooking easier

Don't Like

  • Doesn't perform all tasks as well as a dedicated appliance
  • Quite pricey

CookingPal's Multo is a multifunctional prep-and-cook kitchen appliance for the modern home cook. It's a splurge for sure at $999, but its prepping functions include cutting, chopping, grinding, kneading, grating and weighing your food. The cooking functions include sauteing, steaming, boiling, mixing and emulsifying. It also has two self-cleaning modes.

The Multo is made up of several parts. The main unit has suction cup feet to sit securely on your countertop. The 3-quart mixing bowl has a multipurpose blade inside and a locking lid (with a removable handle that doubles as a measuring cup). There are no controls on the Multo itself; rather, it comes with a dedicated tablet called a Smart Kitchen Hub that controls everything. It also comes with a number of accessories, including a butterfly whisk, simmering basket, spatula and two steamer trays. 

The CookingPal Multo on a kitchen counter with all of the included accessories: Smart Kitchen hub, simmer basket, spatula, butterfly whisk, and 3-piece steamer set
Karen Schiff Freeman/CNET

Theoretically, it could replace your food processor, scale, steamer, kneading machine, slow cooker, mixer, blender, rice cooker, yogurt maker, electric kettle, frying pan, egg cooker and sous-vide cooker. But can it really? How does it perform in an actual kitchen? After spending some time with it, I've found that it does perform the functions it says it will, though generally not quite as well as a dedicated appliance would. I've enjoyed using it a great deal and could see myself getting tons of use out of one. However, the Multo's $999 price tag makes it tough to recommend to everyone.

Read moreThe Kitchen Gadgets and Tech Trends You Should Expect in 2023

CookingPal Multo has a unique design

The CookingPal Multo is quite heavy and has suction cups on the bottom which keep the appliance stable on your countertop. But it also makes it harder to move around, and it's not the sort of device you can easily pop in and out of a cabinet. Rather, it feels like it's designed to be a permanent resident on your countertop, so keep that in mind when making a buying decision.

Setup was easy, there's really no assembly involved. Just plop the mixing bowl onto the main unit and push the blade into place inside the bowl. Then you fire up the included Smart Kitchen Hub (which comes with its own stand and charging cable) and connect it to your home's Wi-Fi and to the Multo. 

The Multo's lid has a removable handle that is also a measuring cup. It's vented, so steam can escape while cooking. The Multo won't work without the lid locked properly and securely in place. If you want to see what's happening inside, you can remove the handle/measuring cup, but you cannot remove the lid while the Multo is in action.

The Multo comes with a number of accessories. The simmering basket allows you to boil food such as potatoes or pasta. When done cooking, just remove the basket and it acts as a colander as well. The cleverly designed spatula has a tiny hook on it to grasp the simmering basket's handle so you don't have to risk a burn to pull it out. The spatula has a disc around its neck so you can rest it on the counter and avoid food drips. A butterfly whisk accessory presses into place on top of the blade. Finally, a three-piece steamer set (two trays and a lid) allows you to steam veggies and other items, double-decker style.

The CookingPal Multo's Smart Kitchen Hub sits on a kitchen counter. It's a stand-up tablet that acts as a control center for the smart multi-cooker.

The Multo's tablet offers step-by-step recipe guidance as you cook.

Karen Freeman/CNET

CookingPal Multo has features galore

First of all, it's important to emphasize that the Multo is wholly controlled by the Smart Kitchen Hub. The Multo cannot do a thing without it. The hub is about the size of an iPad Mini or a Kindle tablet. It works well, though it does disconnect from Wi-Fi pretty regularly. Whether that's because of the hub or my Wi-Fi, I can't say, though it was easy enough to reconnect when needed. You can charge the hub via the USB-A port on the back of the Multo's main unit or on your wall.

You'll need to set up a free account, which gives you access to all of CookingPal's guided recipes, both on the hub and in the CookingPal app on your smartphone. Your Multo purchase entitles you to free access for life, and new guided recipes are being added all the time. There are dozens (maybe hundreds) of guided recipes available so far, and they are just what they sound like. You get step-by-step instructions that make cooking easy, even for an inexperienced chef. If you don't want to do a guided recipe, you can use the hub to choose from a number of independent functions.

You can also weigh your ingredients right in the Multo's mixing bowl, which is a really smart feature and similar to that of GE's newest stand mixers, which impressed us at CES 2023. Just zero the scale and put your food item in. The precise weight shows up immediately. The blade can chop, cut, grind or knead, depending on the speed you set it for, and you can add the butterfly whisk to whip up liquids as needed. The blade can also spin in the opposite direction to stir food while it cooks. The mixing bowl is more than just a mixing bowl, of course. Your food cooks right inside. Remove the measuring cup from the lid to saute, or put it on to cook. 

Another Multo feature is the self-cleaning mode. There are two default options: Quick Wash, which is 30 seconds, and Deep Clean, which is three minutes. You can adjust the time if you'd prefer it to run longer or shorter. The cleaning mode isn't magic. You add water and dish soap and the Multo heats and blends it at high speed. It works great for most messes; a quick rinse after running a cleaning cycle and you're done. However, I found that sometimes the saute mode caused some food to burn at bottom of the Multo, even when I followed a guided recipe carefully. The Deep Clean didn't remove that burnt food in my testing. After running a cleaning cycle, I still had to scrub off the burnt food manually, which isn't easy given that you're maneuvering under the blade.

You can also follow CookingPal on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for recipe ideas and more helpful info on using the machine. When you purchase a Multo, you're also given the option of a free Multo cooking lesson, which I highly recommend.

How does the CookingPal Multo perform?

I tried out a bunch of recipes to put the Multo through its paces. I do eat a mostly plant-based diet, so I didn't make any meat dishes. While I'm a foodie that loves to try interesting new cuisines from around the world, I consider myself only a competent cook. I know my way around a kitchen and managed to raise three kids (who, incidentally, went on to become more enthusiastic cooks than I am) on mostly home-cooked and nutritious meals. But I get bored quickly, and I don't want to spend more time or energy cooking than I need to in order to get a delicious meal on the table. I think that makes me the target market for a Multo, though I'd say that a less-experienced cook would also benefit from the device.

Here's what I made using the Multo and how it went. 

Vegan pasta alfredo with mushroom and spinach

I started with a Multo cooking lesson, courtesy of CookingPal's Chef Jamie. That was a ton of fun, and he gave me a good introduction to the Multo. We made Vegan Pasta Alfredo with Mushroom and Spinach together. Here, the Multo acts as a cooking pot, food processor, mixer and saucepan. 

I didn't think this was a fantastic dish, but I hesitate to judge it too harshly given that I left out two of the major ingredients: mushrooms, because I'm not a fan, and white miso, because my local grocery store was out. It might have been a bit better with all of that in it. Plus, I'm not vegan and I do eat cheese, so I also think it would be better with parmesan added. The dish was fine, good enough to eat what I made, but not a dish I'd rush to make again. 

Perhaps the bigger question is, was it better or easier for having made it in the Multo, or are you better off making it the traditional way? The Multo did save me a couple of steps. I only had to peel the garlic and peel and quarter the onion, rather than chopping them up. The Multo chopped them, sauteed them, mixed in the other ingredients, and cooked the sauce. I could also have done all that in a pan, but it was certainly easier in the Multo. 

Bread rolls from dough made in CookingPal Multo on a cooling rack

Bread rolls from dough made in CookingPal Multo

Karen Freeman/CNET

A couple of things to note: Sauteing in the Multo doesn't brown food as a saucepan might. Also, a bit of sauce did burn to the bottom of the Multo, making it difficult to clean (it would have been easy otherwise). And the recipe had me cook the pasta right in the Multo, but I wouldn't do that again; I think it tastes better when I cook pasta in a pot as usual. 

Making bread from scratch

I made bread dough from a recipe I already had rather than with a CookingPal recipe, because I wanted to try out the Multo's manual modes. Here, the Multo was my food processor and mixer. I wanted some oat flour, so first I used the chop function to turn oatmeal into flour. Then I added the rest of my ingredients and used the stir function to make the dough. It all worked perfectly. There's always a bit of effort to get dough out from underneath the blade, but it was fine. Cleanup was super easy; this time the clean function did a great job. All I had to do was rinse the mixing bowl and lid after the cleaning cycle. 

Parmesan risotto

Next I tried a basic parmesan risotto from CookingPal called White Risotto. The Multo served as my chopper/food processor and saute pan. My risotto standards are high: I recently traveled to Northern Italy where risotto is king, and even took a cooking class where we made authentic risotto. In addition, my youngest child's specialty dish is risotto. So I've eaten some excellent risotto, but rarely cook it myself. The necessary standing over the stove and stirring constantly for the entire cook time doesn't appeal to me. 

I've gotta say, the Multo made it easy for me to cook a risotto I absolutely loved. This recipe is definitely more involved than just "dump in all the ingredients and hit start," but I didn't have to stand there and stir for 20 minutes like you do when you're making it the traditional way. During each cycle (chop, saute, then cook) I cleaned up the dishes I'd made so far, so cleanup at the end was quick. I'd be excited to try other Multo risotto recipes like pumpkin risotto and asparagus risotto.

Lentil soup 

Lentil Soup made in CookingPal Multo topped with roasted veggies

Lentil Soup made in CookingPal Multo

Karen Freeman/CNET

We were recently snowed in, and there's not much that's better on a day like that than a warm soup. So, I made CookingPal's simply named Lentil Soup, which is actually a spicy Indian-style recipe. The Multo acted as my chopper/food processor, saute pan and cooking pot. The process was easy and the results delicious. I followed the guided recipe, which meant peeling and rough-cutting the veggies and tossing them into the Multo for chopping. I added spices and put the Multo in saute mode. Finally, I added the lentils and broth and hit the start button, which set the Multo to cook for 45 minutes. I stepped away from the Multo as my house filled with delicious, spicy fragrance. While the soup was cooking, I roasted some veggies (not in the Multo) to toss in when it was done. This recipe is a keeper for sure, and one that I'd be making it on repeat all winter.

Should you buy the CookingPal Multo?

CookingPal makes some big claims about the Multo to justify its hefty price tag. Technically speaking, the Multo does perform the actions of a food processor, scale, steamer, kneading machine, slow cooker, mixer, blender, rice cooker, yogurt maker, electric kettle, frying pan, egg cooker and sous-vide cooker. And it does fully replace the need to own many of those, depending on how you might use them. However, a dedicated food processor or high-end mixer will do much more than the Multo can with the many accessories and attachments you can use with those appliances. Notably, the Multo does not have a pressure cooker function so it can't replace your Instant Pot. And of course, the Multo can in no way fully replace a good frying pan. Cleanup is quite easy with the Multo's cleaning mode (basically heating and blending dish soap plus water at high speed) unless you manage to burn food to the bottom during cooking, which will require a bit of scrubbing to clean.

The Smart Kitchen Hub is an interesting choice. Not having any controls on the Multo itself means you need even more counter space for the tablet hub, and you'll need to deal with a Wi-Fi connection that disconnects itself from time to time. One reason CookingPal went with a tablet is that the brand envisions it becoming a literal smart kitchen hub with multiple appliances connected. In fact, at CES 2023, CookingPal introduced a new pressure cooker. With two devices connected to a single hub, this approach starts to make more sense. Additionally, you could take the hub with you out of the house and monitor your food remotely.

The Multo's closest competitor is the Thermomix TM6 (we reviewed the Thermomix TM5 in 2016.) The Multo's advantages over the TM6 are remote access (via the Smart Kitchen Hub), free smartphone app, free recipe subscription, larger bowl and smaller price tag. Other multiuse appliances like the Instant Pot aren't really in the same category, either in terms of features or price.

The bottom line is that I love the CookingPal Multo and I could see myself getting lots of use out of it. However, I'm not sure that any of its features quite justify the hefty price tag.