Our executive editor Hana Asbrink tried the Mealthy MultiPot and CrispLid that turns your electric pressure cooker into an air fryer. Here’s what she thought.
Spoiler alert: When I started this story, it was going to be about the Instant Pot competitor you never heard of. Even as Instant Pot mania has gripped the cooking world over the past few years, the Mealthy MultiPot ($95 to $125) has been chugging along, slowly gaining fans and distinguishing itself as a worthy alternative to the big dog of the pressure cooking world. And—despite being someone who’s not a devotee of pressure cookers—I found the Mealthy to be a winning alternative for anyone who’s looking to step up from Instant Pots.
But for die-hard Instant Pot fans, I also found a great add-on that doesn’t require you to walk away from your baby: The Mealthy CrispLid. This $60 add-on works with 6- and 8-quart Mealthy and Instant Pot pressure cookers, effectively transforming them into air fryers. So for anyone who’s been hemming and hawing over whether an Instant Pot (or similar multicooker gadget) and/or air fryer is right for you, take heart: You can now have the best of both worlds.
Special offer: Use code CHOWHOUND10 for $10 off your total of $59.95 and up at Mealthy.com.
First, the lowdown on me and my cooking habits. I’m an avid home cook. I work in food and have a penchant for kitchen tools and gadgets, but I’m definitely not looking to acquire any more new ones (unless there are some solid arguments I simply cannot refute). I work during the week, so any long-simmering or braised dishes are cooked over the weekends, and then usually enjoyed over the ensuing days. I don’t mind the traditional method of cooking something low and slow in a Dutch oven or cocotte—on a stovetop, in the oven—as long as I know I have enough time to tend to it.
But in recent years especially, it’s been harder to shield myself from all of the Instant Pot coverage permeating the food space. Whether it’s actual product reviews, or cookbooks and recipes to service the Instant Pot-laden customer, it’s truly hard to pass a winter without the promise of fall-off-the-bone short ribs, tender beans (from dry!), or deeply flavorful bone broth in just a fraction of the time.
Similarly, the rise in popularity of the air fryer in home kitchens has also been hard to ignore. Fried chicken, whether actually fried in oil or baked to mimic frying, is a true culinary weakness of mine, and I welcome any opportunity to get in on some wing action. Of course you can air fry a lot more than just chicken wings, but let’s be honest: I’d be in it for the promise of fast, greaseless drumettes and wingettes.
Knowing the above, as well as my inclination not to have another gadget in my small New York City apartment, I couldn’t resist taking the Mealthy MultiPot for a spin myself when the company offered one to test—especially since it came with a very convenient CrispLid, which essentially transforms any 6- or 8-quart electric pressure cooker into a veritable air fryer. Surely, my life would improve (chicken wings, duh) and I’d get oodles of time back, thanks to the new efficiencies afforded to me.
What Is the Mealthy?
The Mealthy’s official name is the Mealthy MultiPot 9-in-1 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker. It features 14 pre-set pressure cooking programs and 9-in-1 cooking functionalities, and a helpful progress indicator (a huge plus when time is of the essence). For both 6- and 8-quart models, you also get a slew of accessories included in the price (currently $94.95 for the 6-quart MultiPot and $124.95 for the 8-quart MultiPot). This is not the case for the Instant Pot, which you would have to purchase accessories for separately. Here’s a more detailed run-down of what you get:
- 14 one-touch cooking programs: poultry, meat/stew, bean/chili, soup, sauté/simmer, cake, rice, multigrain, porridge, steam, slow cook, keep warm, yogurt, and pressure cook (manual setting)
- 9 “appliance” functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté pan, steamer, cake maker, egg maker, yogurt maker, and a warmer
- Accessories included: an extra gasket (handy to keep sweet foods from taking on savory odors), steam basket, 4-cm raised trivet, 2 silicone mitts, ladle, rice paddle, rice measuring cup, and recipe book
- The lid, stainless steel cooking pot, steam basket, and trivet are all dishwasher-safe and 100% BPA-free.
What Did I Cook in the Mealthy?
Over the course of a couple of weeks, my family and I enjoyed everything from butter chicken to carnitas and barbacoa, both with rice. And yes, the carnitas and barbacoa were each cooked simultaneously in the same pot as the rice. This method is known as Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking in electric pressure cooker parlance. (Thank you, trivet!) The butter chicken, made with boneless chicken thighs, cooked in about 20 to 25 minutes; the carnitas and barbacoa were each ready in about 45 minutes. These were all significant trims in time, had I cooked everything on a traditional stovetop (and in the case of carnitas, stovetop plus oven).
What Is the Mealthy CrispLid?
The Mealthy’s nifty air fryer-transforming CrispLid ($59.95) is pretty darn innovative. Not only does it work on Mealthy’s own MultiPot models, but it’s made to fit any 6- or 8-quart electric pressure cooker (yes, that includes the Instant Pot). The lid is made of tempered glass, so you can see your food while it’s cooking. The CrispLid comes with a raised trivet, fryer basket, stainless steel tongs, and a heat-resistant silicone mat to rest your lid on. A recipe book is also included if you want to get going right away. All accessories are dishwasher-safe and 100% BPA-free.
What Did I Cook with the Mealthy CrispLid?
Wings (uncut, and then cut into wingettes and drumettes), sweet potato fries. Cut wing parts cooked in about 20 to 25 minutes; the “fries” in just under 20. I recommend using wings that are cut into the separate wingette and drumette pieces, due to limited space (the tray holds about a pound, usually a single package of wings) and for more surface area for browning. I prefer my wings done until they’re a darker golden brown (so, closer to 25 minutes); but you have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.
There’s no doubt, both Mealthy MultiPot and CrispLid are time-savers. The MultiPot, like its competitors, easily handles tough cuts of meat in what seems like a blink of an eye. Cooking for a crowd (especially with the upcoming holidays) would be a snap in even the smaller 6-quart model. I did love that all the attachments were included, requiring no further effort on my part. I can definitely see why Instant Pot and electric pressure cooker enthusiasm has reached fever pitch. I can’t wait to dive in and really put the Mealthy through its paces this winter making all manner of bone broths, stews, chilis, and more.
As for the CrispLid: If you’re an Instant Pot owner contemplating an air fryer, but can’t justify the extra countertop space, the CrispLid is truly the perfect solution for you. The downside is that the tray can only accommodate small portions (just a pound of wings at a time, which is approximately one serving in my home). But if you want to cook in larger batches, consider investing in the $15 CrispLid Deep Basket.
If you are looking to save on counter space with this complementary duo, I would wholly recommend the Mealthy with the accompanying CrispLid. It doesn’t hurt that the Mealthy customer service team is super. I was a bit skeptical about the number of overwhelmingly positive reviews on both Mealthy‘s site and Amazon, but I can totally see why after my little road test.
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Header image courtesy of Mealthy