Pros

  • compact, easy to lock lid, intuitive and easy to use, clear display panel, non-slip feet, budget-friendly, a good range of genuinely useful settings, safe lid under pressure

Cons

  • main bowl difficult to remove, hard to thoroughly clean lid, pot can retain odours, steam-release valve and steam hole on same switch

Crock Pot Express 12-in-1 CSC051 summary

Crock Pot is a brand well known for their high-quality slow cookers and this budget-friendly multi-cooker continues the pattern. This 12-in-1 model comes with settings for slow cooking, pressure cooking, soup, yogurt and more. The 5.6L capacity serves up to six people, making it a great choice for families, entertaining or meal prep.

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It's simple to use and control thanks to the generously sized digital display screen and large responsive buttons with accompanying text. The temperature and pressure levels can be set to high or low.

How easy is it to use?

This multi-cooker arrived securely packaged with two polystyrene inserts providing most of the support. All additional accessories were stored within the main bowl.

We usually expect multi-cookers to be fairly bulky, so this Crock Pot is a surprisingly tidy, nicely contained offering that takes up about as much surface space as a stand mixer. The main display sits clearly on the face and features large, clear text and an equally clear display screen, making this model a good choice for anyone who struggles with their eyesight.

The manual is clear and concise and includes a useful cooking table that details cooking times, temperature and prep information for a variety of ingredients. Assembling this multi-cooker is a relatively intuitive affair, in fact, it comes ready assembled, making it easy to see how everything fits together.

If you’ve got the space, it will sit tidily on the kitchen counter, otherwise it can be put in a cupboard and the accessories and plug removed and stored inside the main bowl.

It’s quiet when in use. When releasing pressure, which can often result in an uncomfortable screeching and whistling noise, it only produced a quiet, hushing sound. The pressure release function took around five minutes to complete, which was a little longer than other models we’ve tested, but it was notably controlled, so we didn’t mind waiting for it to finish.

We did feel a little nervous when releasing pressure as the valve and steam-release hole are on the same switch. To save our fingers, we used a wooden spoon. For safety though, this model keeps the lid locked when under pressure and will only unlock when all the pressure has been released.

Cleaning this multi-cooker is easy. The main bowl is non-stick, so nothing stuck on any of our tests, but for ease the bowl is also dishwasher safe. The lid is simple to clean, too, though we could smell some distinct lemony notes after our lemon drizzle cake test, even after cleaning.

Results

This model excelled on our pressure cooked beef stew test. It took just 20 minutes of cooking time (plus prep and sautéing) to produce a stew with super soft and tender meat. The celery had a good bite as this was very chunkily cut, but feel free to cut carrots a little thicker than normal as we cut ours a little small, resulting in them being very soft (we would have liked something with a little more bite).

To prep for this recipe, we used the sear/sauté function. We switched between the high and low setting to fully control the cooking of the vegetables, and the multi-cooker responded quickly.

We also cooked a chicken korma using the slow cooker setting. Although the chicken was fully cooked, it was a little dry but the gravy had an unctuous, thick consistency.

We also tried out the dessert setting by making BBC Good Food’s lemon drizzle cake. Unfortunately, the cake did not cook as expected, in fact, it was totally cooked on the bottom and raw on top. With no instructions in the manual or any recipes on the Crock Pot website, we had to abandon testing for this setting.

How sustainable is it?

The manual features all the relevant information we look for regarding recycling this model after use. For spare parts, the manual also includes a contact number and email address.

There was more plastic and polystyrene packaging than we’d have liked to have seen, so we hope Crock Pot make more sustainable choices moving forward.

Conclusion

This is a well-priced multi-cooker that gets the basics right. Its generous capacity but relatively small footprint makes it a great choice for couples and families alike. The controls are intuitive and all the settings are useful, though we struggled with the dessert setting. This is a great choice for first-time multi-cooker buyers.

Crock Pot Express 12-in-1 CSC051 specifications

Wattage: 1000W
Capacity: 5.6L
Number of settings: 12
Settings: meat/stew, beans/chili, rice/risotto, yogurt, slow cook, steam, poultry, dessert, soup, manual, brown/sauté, keep warm
Accessories included: plastic spoon, steam rack
Made in: China

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If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk.

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