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Breville Fast Slow Pro review: A tricky lid slows down this versatile Breville multicooker

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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.

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7.7

Breville Fast Slow Pro

The Good

The Breville Fast Slow Pro is a versatile multi-cooker that performs well under many scenarios, including searing meat, slow cooking and pressure cooking.

The Bad

It's difficult to get a good seal on the lid when it's time to use the pressure cooker function. The Fast Slow Pro is $250, one of the pricier multicookers we've reviewed, but doesn't offer any app connectivity like similar products.

The Bottom Line

The Breville Fast Slow Pro is a solid all-in-one appliance that could replace some of your existing kitchen tools.

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.

What can't the Breville Fast Slow Pro do? (pictures)

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Versatile features hide beneath a finicky lid

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This cup collects condensation that drips when you open the lid of the Fast Slow Pro.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

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The control panel of the Fast Slow Pro is made up of three knobs and three buttons.

Chris Monroe/CNET

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.

The proof is in the pork shoulder

I cooked a variety of dishes in the Fast Slow Pro to test its different settings. Overall, the appliance cooked food well on a number of settings.

The Fast Slow Pro cooks food gently and to near perfection when it's on the slow-cook setting. I slow-cooked a whole chicken following the Fast Slow Pro's guide, which instructs users to add 3/4 cup of water to the cooking bowl along with the meat. I stuck with the default poultry setting for cooking on low for four hours. The bird came out tender and super-juicy, and its internal temperature when it was finished cooking was 167 degrees Fahrenheit, just two degrees above the recommended temperature for a safely cooked whole chicken. However, you can only slow cook food for a maximum of 12 hours, after which the cooker will stay on Keep Warm mode for a maximum of four hours. Those limitations ruined my plans for a super-long cook for a pork shoulder I put in the Fast Slow Pro before I left the CNET office one day. By the time I made it into the office the next morning, my meat had cooled to unsafe levels for eating.

The biggest boon for the Fast Slow Pro was the ability to sear the meat before I cooked it. After about 15 minutes of preheating, the cooker heated up enough to add a nice brown layer over another boneless piece of pork shoulder I tested. Because of the multifunctionality, I could keep the meat in the Fast Slow Pro and change the setting to finish the cooking. The Fast Slow Pro's searing performance was much better than Breville's Slow Cooker with EasySear.

The Fast Slow Pro's pressure cooker was great for cooking in a hurry. After I solved the issues with the seal on the lid, I was able to pressure-cook some boneless pork shoulder in just 40 minutes. In less than an hour, that meat was falling apart as I scooped it out of the Fast Slow Pro.

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The pork shoulder I pressure-cooked in the Fast Slow Pro was fork tender.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The rice setting on the pressure cooker was a bit of a letdown after such succulent meat. I followed the instruction manual and cooked three cups of brown rice in 4.5 cups of water. After letting it cook for the default 8 minutes, the rice came out a little too chewy.

Final thoughts

The Breville Fast Slow Pro does a little bit of everything, from reducing sauces to slow-cooking pork shoulder. The variety of settings, especially the pressure-cooking function, would make this a good addition to your home, especially if you want to downsize the number of kitchen appliances that are filling your cabinet. But if $250 isn't your bag, go for the $70 Tim3 Machin3, a machine that is primarily a rice cooker (the one task that gave the Fast Slow Pro some problems), but also has slow-cooking settings.

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7.7

Breville Fast Slow Pro

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Usability 6Performance 8