Versatile and easy to use, the Cuisinart Cook In lets you grill, cook or steam. It’s this multipurpose use that means that Cook In is more likely to be used, and its large cooking area makes it easy to cater for large numbers.
If you’re happy with your oven and hob space, you may find this product a little redundant and may prefer to buy a griddle pan and steamer basket instead.
- Simple to use
- Good results
- Large cooking area
- Handles can get liquid in them
- Manual’s suggested cooking times are long
- Cooking optionsYou can cook casseroles (or other dishes with a sauce), sear, grill and steam.
All too often kitchen gadgets serve a single purpose and end up sitting in a cupboard. Not so with the Cuisinart Cook In, which is a steamer, casserole cooker and grill all-in-one. It has a relatively large cooking surface, is easy to store and generally cooks well.
Cleaning up can be slightly difficult, with mess getting into the handles, and the controls on the front could be a little clearer.
Design and features
- Steamer, grill and deep dish
- Basic heat control on front
- Quite compact to store
The Cuisinart Cook In consists of a rectangular base with heating elements that you drop the provided accessories onto. Relatively compact, this product is easy to store, yet offers a good cooking space.
In the box, you get a deep cooking pan for searing food and cooking casseroles and other dishes with sauces.
This pan also takes the drop-in stainless steel steaming tray, used when you fill the water level to the steamer mark on the pan.
A glass lid sits on top of the pan, and has a vent to allow steam to escape. This lid shouldn’t be used when you use the grill plate, which should be attached directly to the base without the main pan in the way.
Handily, the main pan has its own handles, so you can move a dish directly from the Cook In to the table, without having to decant your meal into an alternative serving dish.
On the front is a simple dial, which gives you a level of control between Low and High. This corresponds to a cooking temperature of between 90C and 220C. It would be handy if these figures were printed on the control dial.
An LED shows you when the Cuisinart Cook In has reached temperature and is ready to cook. That makes this machine easy to get started with.
For cleaning up, the base can only be wiped down, but the other components are top-rack dishwasher safe. You can also wash them by hand. My only issue is that the main pan is a little hard to empty for cleaning. As I poured out the remains of a casserole, the liquid ran into the handles on the side, and I needed a fair amount of rinsing under a tap to clean them out.
- Be wary of the cooking times in the manual
- Large cooking area
- Casseroles may need topping up with water
It takes up to 10 minutes for the Cuisinart Cook In to warm up to temperature, which is pretty quick, especially when compared with an oven. To test it out, I ran it through a few different tests.
First, I started with steaming some green beans. Looking at the manual, Cuisinart says that the cooking time for this is “15 – 17 minutes”. This would result in a soggy mess, and washed out beans devoid of all colour.
Beans only need between four and seven minutes, in general, depending on how you like them and how many you’re cooking. I found that four minutes for my pack of thin trimmed green beans was more than enough, leaving them with good colour and a nice crunch.
Next, I cooked some sausages on the grill plate. This has plenty of room, and doesn’t get overly hot. That is, the Cook In is hot enough to cook on but cool enough that it’s quite hard to burn your food. That’s similar to the Domo Teppanyaki XXL. My sausages came out spot on.
Finally, I cooked a beef casserole in the main pan. I started off by searing the meat and onions before adding herbs, spices and water into the mix. Thanks to the size of the pan, I could have cooked a much larger casserole, big enough for at least eight people.
The manual recommends cooking casseroles on the Medium setting, but be careful and monitor what’s going on. As the Cook In heats from the bottom, like using a saucepan, you can end up with the liquid evaporating and the remaining sauce congealing and burning.
I found that I had to top up with water a few times during the three-hour cooking process, and opted for a slightly lower heat to keep the food simmering without losing too much liquid. The result was a rich and thick sauce, with tender beef.
Should you buy it?
If you need more cooking space in your kitchen or aren’t happy with some of your appliances, this is a convenient way to add extra cooking options.
If you’re happy with your hob space, oven and griddle pan, you may be better off adding a dedicated steamer or steamer basket rather than a new appliance.
Used properly, the Cuisinart Cook In can steam, grill and cook well. I urge you to keep an eye on the food as it cooks and be careful of the suggested cooking times and temperature selections mentioned in the manual.
With its large size, the Cook In can cater for larger groups, yet it’s easy to store and relatively easy to clean at the end. Whether or not it’s for you, will depend. If you’re happy with the hob space and oven that you have, you’re probably better off with a griddle pan, steamer basket and casserole dish.
If you need a bit more cooking space in your kitchen, then this multi-function device works out well, increasing the cooking options you have, particularly when you need to cook more items. That said, if it’s just the extra cooking surface you need, the Domo Teppayaki XXL is a better choice.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every cooker we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main cooker for the review period
We test according to features, which can include steaming vegetables, cooking chips, making a casserole and grilling meat. We use the same tests for the same features on each device.
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Via the provided accessories, you can steam, sear, grill, cook and simmer.
Yes, you can place the accessories on the top shelf; the main unit should be wiped clean.