The Sunbeam VersaCook is 5 appliances in 1 – it can deep fry, saute, slow cook, steam … and it can also be used as a saucepan. So you don’t need so many separate pans, which means fewer dishes and more space in your cupboards.
The VersaCook has a non-stick cooking pan and a transparent lid so you can check your meal while it’s cooking. The pan has a large surface area which is great for searing large cuts of meat. It comes with a deep-frying basket (which can also be used to cook pasta) and 2 racks: the high rack is ideal for steaming and the low rack for roasting.
The slow cooker’s 6.5L capacity is big enough for a large family and you’ll still have leftovers to freeze. The deep-fryer has a 1.2kg capacity which would easily fit the equivalent of a 1kg bag of store-bought oven fries.
The VersaCook has a permanent filter on the lid which is designed to capture any cooking smells and any water or oil droplets.
We put the VersaCook through its versatility paces. We slow-cooked corned beef and chilli beef, sauteed meat, cooked rice, steamed broccoli and deep-fried chips.
We were impressed with the results. It did an excellent job of slow-cooking corned beef and chilli beef – both were cooked to perfection. And although the frypan took 5 minutes to heat, it cooked our 2 steaks perfectly. The steamer did a very good job of steaming the broccoli and it earned a perfect 10 for the hot chips. In the saucepan test, the rice was slightly mushy but there was no rice stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Ease of use
The digital display is large (although not very bright) and the labelling is clear. Programming a specific function can be confusing because you have to follow a set sequence. So you’ll probably need to refer to the instruction manual frequently, at least at first. There’s a timer that can be set from 10 minutes to 2 hours – and up to 9 hours when you’re using the slow cooker.
The cooking unit has large handles which are easy to grip; but the cooking pan only has a lip-type handle so it’s difficult to lift out with a load. The frying basket takes some patience to get in place.
The cooking pan has a Teflon non-stick coating that’s easy to clean. However, it’s also easy to scratch. The pan can be a little awkward to wash in a home sink – but both the pan and its glass lid are dishwasher safe. The stainless-steel finish will need some elbow grease to keep clean and the permanent filter needs to be cleaned regularly.
Like all bigger appliances, it’ll take up space in your kitchen. But at least all the accessories can be stored inside the unit.
If you’re in the market for a slow cooker, it’s worth looking at the Sunbeam VersaCook because it can sear and brown in the same pan (which saves time and dishes). The deep fryer is an added bonus for an occasional treat.
Sunbeam VersaCook Electronic Multi Cooker X5 MU2000