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Game Day Cook-off: Multi-Pot vs Air Fryer

January 28, 2019
8 min. read

Every now and then, new appliances and technologies surface, claiming to make our lives easier, simpler, or more stress-free. Two such appliances in the cooking sphere have been buzzing in recent years: multi-cookers and air fryers. But what exactly do these appliances do? And do they really live up to the hype?

We took a closer look at these two devices, and even pitted them against each other in the spirit of friendly competition. We enlisted a few bloggers to create original recipes using one of the two devices, all through the lens of “game day recipes.” After all, isn’t there a “Big Game” taking place in a few weeks?

If you’ve been curious about these devices and how they compare to one another in terms of functionality, read through the below summaries, then let us know which you think is the true winner.

All About Multi-Cookers

You’ve likely heard much chatter about these all-in-one devices over the past few years, but they’ve actually been around for quite some time. The pressure cooker, which is the primary function of most multi-cookers, has been around in its modern form since the 1920s, with even more antiquated designs dating back to the late 1600s. Pressure cookers have gone through many stages of innovation over the decades, from stovetop to electric varieties plus many added features along the way.

The newest “version” of the pressure cooker is the electric multi-cooker, which also promises to offer a host of other functions including searing/sautéing, slow cooking, and even (on some models) a low heat yogurt-making function. While some of these cooking modes may require alterations, the device generally works by tightly sealing the cooking pot which pressurizes the pot, traps in steam, and raises the boiling point of water, allowing for food to cook faster.

A great benefit of multi-cookers is that, since they offer so many different methods of cooking, they may be able to replace other single-purpose devices such as rice cookers or slow cookers. This is especially useful for those with small kitchens or minimal storage space.

Multi-Cooker Pros and Cons



1. Much faster cooking time; especially compared to some cooking methods such as braising or slow-cooking 1. Cook slightly slower (lower psi) than stovetop pressure cookers. Temperature also varies on different models so may require trial and error.
2. Great for braising, steaming, tenderizing meats, and cooking dry beans, rice, or risotto. Especially useful for soups and stocks, stews, and chili. 2. Not great for crispy/crunchy foods and some veggies (anything you don’t want steamed). Also not recommended for noodles, pasta, or oatmeal (foods that expand while cooking).
3. Convenient all-in-one appliance; may be able to replace other devices. Can be used to cook rice, make yogurt, etc. 3. May not be able to exactly mimic other single-purpose appliances (e.g., rice cooker), but comes close with some trial and error.
4. Most models are easy to use; can “set it and forget it” unlike the stovetop variety. 4. High-pressure environment of device causes a potential safety hazard. Take caution when releasing the steam valve, and always read safety precautions from manufacturer.


In summary: Multi-cookers are great for their wide variety of functions and cooking methods. They limit the need for other specialty cooking appliances.

What Can I Cook With My Multi-Cooker?

Check out what some bloggers made with their multi-pots recently for our Game Day Recipes campaign and giveaway!

Instant Pot BBQ Brisket Sliders by 365 Days of Slow Cooking

The pressure cooking function of a multi-pot is similar to traditional braising, making it perfect for making tender and juicy beef brisket. This blogger first uses the sauté feature of her multi-pot to brown the beef, then deglazes the pot, adds her additional ingredients and covers for 60-70 minutes of pressure cooking. The finished brisket is then sliced or shredded and served with BBQ sauce on Martin’s Dinner Potato Rolls!

Try the recipe:

Instant Pot Brats with Peppers and Onions by Flour on my Face

Arlene of Flour on My Face has found the key to making tender and flavorful brats using her multi-cooker. First she uses the sauté function to sear the brats in some butter until they are brown on all sides. Then she adds sliced bell peppers, onions, and some seasoning, and sautés for a few minutes before finishing off in the sealed pressure cooker for five minutes (plus the amount of time for the steam to release). What a quick and easy meal (served on Martin’s Long Rolls, of course)!

Try the recipe:

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders by A Night Owl Blog

Preparing Buffalo pulled chicken in a multi-cooker is a breeze! This blogger makes it by placing 3-4 chicken breasts in the pot along with some seasoning, honey, buffalo sauce, and butter. Then she cooks at high pressure for 10 minutes, plus 10 more minutes to release the steam. Then she shreds the chicken and bakes on toasted Martin’s Party Potato Rolls for a few more minutes to meld together the flavors. Yum!

Try the recipe:

Instant Pot Korean Beef Sliders by Dinner at the Zoo

This blogger first sautés cubes of seasoned beef in her multi-pot, then adds her sauce ingredients and cooks for 45 minutes on the high pressure setting. Meanwhile she throws together a quick pickle recipe using thinly sliced cucumbers, red onions, rice vinegar, sugar, and cilantro which she lets marinates for a few minutes before serving atop the shredded beef on Martin’s 12 Sliced Potato Rolls.

Watch the recipe video:

All About Air Fryers

In contrast to the multi/pressure-cooker, the air fryer is a much newer invention, having only been around since 2010. Air fryers are essentially what their name describes; while not actually “fryers” in the typical sense of the word, they work similar to convection ovens using a small fan that circulates super-heated air to cook food from the outside in so that it achieves a crispy consistency and golden-brown appearance. (This reaction is called the Maillard Effect.)

Air fryers’ primary claim to fame is that they tend to be a much healthier cooking method than traditional deep-frying. Food cooked in these devices usually do need a thin layer of cooking spray or oil in order for the super-heated air to crisp up the food, but this is still drastically less oil (up to 70 or 80%!) than the amount usually used for deep-frying.

If you frequently enjoy fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken, or frozen snack foods, the air fryer may be a great healthy alternative cooking method for you to try. In addition to fried foods, some models of air fryers claim to be great for cooking other foods such as cakes, muffins, or quiche!

Air Fryer Pros and Cons



1. Fast method of cooking; get crispy food in less time than traditional baking 1. Generally small capacity; may need to cook food in batches if cooking for a crowd
2. Much healthier than traditional deep-frying method. Still need to add a bit of oil, but nowhere near as much as traditional frying. 2. Does not completely mimic the taste/texture of traditional deep frying, but comes close with many foods especially if looking for a healthier option.
3. Great for French fries, chicken, fish, steak, burgers, frozen snack foods, potato or veggie chips; even works with some pastries and baked goods. 3. Not great with fresh veggies, greens, or foods that easily dry out; not recommended for foods coated with liquid batter or loose seasoning/breading that can clog up the machine.


In summary: Consider using an air fryer as a healthier alternative the next time you are looking to cook fried or crispy foods.

What Can I Cook With My Air Fryer?

Check out what some bloggers made with their air fryers recently for our Game Day Recipes campaign and giveaway!

Air Fryer Stuffed Cheeseburger Sliders by Big Bear’s Wife

This blogger used her air fryer to make mini burger sliders stuffed with cheese! Her tip for serving for a party: stuff and season the patties ahead of time, then cook (in batches) as guests start to arrive. You can keep the cooked patties warm in the oven if you have a lot of guests. Serve on Martin’s Party Potato Rolls with your choice of toppings or condiments.

Try the recipe:

Air Fryer Spicy Meatball Subs by Southern Made Simple

The author of Southern Made Simple created homemade meatballs in her air fryer by combining ground beef, egg, and seasonings with breadcrumbs made from Martin’s Potatobred Stuffing, then air frying in batches, and transferring to a warm skillet to coat with smoky-sweet Memphis style BBQ sauce. Serve on Martin’s Hoagies Rolls with a side or coleslaw for the ultimate game day meal.

Try the recipe:

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Sandwiches by Plated Cravings

An air fryer is the ideal device for this blogger’s fried chicken! Julia marinates halved chicken breasts in buttermilk, then dredges in a flour-panko-spice mixture to ensure they maintain the perfect balance of moistness and crunch after being air fried. She serves the finished air fryer fried chicken on Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls with homemade slaw and her signature sauce.

Try the recipe:

Air Fried Grilled Cheese Bombs by The Cookie Rookie

This blogger uses crust-less Martin’s Old-Fashioned Real Butter Bread and cubes of cheddar cheese to make grilled cheese “bombs” in her air fryer. She brushes the wrapped sandwich bundles with herb-butter, then air fries for a quick 6 minutes until warm and gooey. What a great snack for a Game Day party!

Watch the recipe video:


Do you own either of these appliances? What’s your favorite recipe to cook with them? Let us know in the comments section below!



You’ve read the facts. You’ve seen the recipes. What’s your verdict? Are you Team Multi-Pot or Team Air Fryer?

Check out our Multi-Pot Vs. Air Fryer Contest at the link below and be sure to vote for your favorite appliance and/or collection of recipes. If your “team” gets the most votes, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Ninja Foodi (a 2-in-1 multi-cooker and air fryer)!

Good luck! May the best cooking appliance win!

Vote Here:


For more Game Day recipes, visit

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