Creating nutritious, tasty meals that are quick to prepare and leave minimal mess feels like a weekly task that I never quite manage to pull off — particularly on weekday evenings where time is precious. Not wanting to compromise on flavor or preparation time, I was easily drawn to the idea of a slow cooker.
The concept of chopping up vegetables and throwing them into one pot along with some protein and spices and letting it "do its thing" sounded like the perfect solution to all of my weekday meal prep woes — especially as someone with a small kitchen and limited countertop space. The fewer pots, pans, and trays that are needed to prepare a meal the better.
GreenPan Omni Cooker specifications
- Weight: 10.25 lbs / 4.65 kg
- Dimensions: H8.5” x W13.7” x L17.5”
- Temperature: 446°F / 230°C
- Power: 2,200 W
- Cost to run per hour: 33c / 75p
- Cooking modes: Stir-fry, sauce, soup,
- steam, summer, sear and saute, white rice, brown rice, grains, and warm.
- RRP: $229.89 / £200
- Color(s): 3 (black/stainless steel/colored coated steel)
- Material: Copper-plated iron, aluminum, aluminized plate
Gabrielle is a freelance contributor at Real Homes and a self-confessed foodie. After gaining a degree in English Literature, she started her journalism career at a women’s lifestyle publication and is no stranger to reviewing household gadgets and kitchen appliances.
Commuting into central London three days a week means she is often short on time and is keen to try any appliances that will reduce time spent on meal prep time without compromising on quality and flavor. Having had the recent misfortune of her oven breaking down, the GreenPan Omni Cooker has provided her a huge lifeline and has prompted her to become more creative (and less lazy) with putting together mid-week meals. She has been using the appliance for three weeks and will be keeping it for ongoing use.
Unboxing the GreenPan Omni Cooker
The GreenPan Omni Cooker comes in quite a large rectangular box. By no means is it too heavy to transport it from one room to another, but you probably wouldn’t enjoy the prospect of carrying it up several flights of stairs. Lifting the box wasn't an issue for me as it was delivered straight to my front door, but perhaps the addition of a handle wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Upon opening, I was pleased to find a mix of cardboard packaging and minimal use of plastic. Each part, including the glass lid, steamer rack, cast aluminum removal inner pan, and base unit, was wrapped well, but not excessively so. Inside the box was also an instruction manual, containing clear information and helpful cooking tips in an easily readable font.
At just 10.25lbs (4.65kg) in weight, the GreenPan Omni Cooker looks heavier than it actually is. Everything from the shiny chrome LCD display to the inner pan’s Thermolon Volt inner ceramic non-stick coating looks (and feels) high quality, as you might expect from a kitchen appliance at this price point. I went for the black version. But it also comes in stainless steel and color-coated steel options if black doesn’t quite fit in with your kitchen scheme.
First impressions of the GreenPan Omni Cooker
First, let's talk figures. The GreenPan Omni Cooker might be a little pricier than your average slow cooker, but that’s because it’s no run-of-the-mill slow cooker. In reality, it’s a 5.6-liter, multifunctional 10-in-1 appliance with preset programs that allow you to sear, sauté, stir fry, simmer, steam, and cook soups and sauces — basically almost any possible function you could ask for. What’s more, it also boasts an intuitive "smart system" which automatically sets the temperature when cooking meals, so minimal input is required.
As you might expect from a slow cooker-style appliance, it is perfect for whipping up hearty winter warmers, which are my absolute favorite dishes to create at home when the temperature drops a few degrees.
Better still, they also happen to be some of the most economical meals to put together, which has never been more important with rising living costs. In this review, I explore why the Green Pan Omni Cooker is one of the most versatile kitchen gadgets money can buy and put its sautéing, stewing, simmering, and steaming programs to the test.
Cooking chili con carne in the Omni Cooker
Chili con carne is one of my favorite meals, and I couldn't resist giving it a go in the Omni Cooker. It felt very novel to be able to sauté the vegetables in the pot itself rather than using a frying pan. However, the heat did get very high — much higher than I would typically use for sautéing — and the food started to brown a little too quickly for my liking. I swiftly reduced the heat by hitting the temperature button, followed by the "-" button on the LCD display, which reduced the heat by 50°F (10°C). Not being able to control the heat as you would do on a hob or stove made me feel a little uneasy.
Once it was time to add in the beef stock, I selected the simmer function and put it on medium heat (85 degrees) for four hours and could clearly see the countdown timer on the LCD display. I checked on it every hour, giving it a stir and making sure the stock hadn’t reduced too much. I don’t say this lightly, but this was the best chili con carne recipe I have ever made. The minced beef was perfectly tender, and the kidney beans were ever so soft. Every bite was melt-in-the-mouth! I can’t see myself ever going back to the quick method for this recipe.
I decided to use the warm function on the GreenPan Omni Cooker for one hour, and I was impressed with the results. My chili was kept at an edible temperature without tasting dry or overcooked.
Steaming broccoli in the Omni cooker
As well as cooking whole meals from scratch, the GreenPan Omni Cooker is also capable of steaming vegetables. I opted for tenderstem broccoli with olive oil, lemon, garlic, and pepper (as recommended in the instruction manual, which I placed on top of the steamer rack that is partly submerged in 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
This program automatically sets a 20-minute timer. While I was aware that it was unlikely to take that long to steam some broccoli, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how powerful the steam program was. In hindsight, eight minutes would have been more than adequate. After almost double that amount of time, my florets were looking a little bit sad for themselves.
Making chicken casserole in the Omni Cooker
Whenever I think of slow cooker recipes, chicken casserole always comes to mind, so it only felt fitting that I give this classic a go in the Omni Cooker. I went with a combination of chicken thighs, an onion, one leek, a few chopped carrots, some new potatoes, chicken stock, and a few teaspoons of vegetable gravy granules.
The chicken thighs seared very nicely in the pot, but once again, I felt a brief wave of panic at how hot the inner pan was getting and I adjusted the temperature. I put this dish on a four-hour simmer program on medium heat, as recommended in an online recipe, but in hindsight, it only really needed 3.5 hours. The end result was a delicious casserole with meat that fell off the bone. However, the sauce was in scarce supply, having reduced down more than expected during the cooking process. A lesson learned for next time.
Stewing pears in the Omni Cooker
As someone with a sweet tooth, I was excited to trial cooking a dessert in this slow cooker. I peeled four pears and placed them in the pot with a combination of maple syrup, brown sugar, ground ginger, butter, and water on a two-hour simmer program on low-medium heat.
Despite taking them out of the pot 30 minutes before the cooking time ended, they still turned a little softer than I would have liked. For this reason, I am inclined to stick with cooking this recipe using the traditional method.
How to clean the Omni Cooker
Fortunately, I have a deep and wide sink in my kitchen, which can easily accommodate the inner pot. However, I imagine it might be a struggle to do the same with smaller sinks. The good news is that the inner pot, glass lid, and steam rack are all dishwasher safe and the base unit is wipeable with a damp cloth.
I, however, preferring the good old fashioned warm water and washing up liquid combination, found it very easy to hand wash and wipe away any grease, residue, or burnt bits, which effortlessly glided off thanks to the non-stick coating, which also boasts a subtle sparkle that looks rather attractive.
How does the GreenPan Omni Cooker compare to other slow cookers?
There’s no denying that the Green Pan Omni Cooker is considerably more expensive than your average slow cooker. But given the variety of functions it offers, we would say it is definitely worth splashing the cash if you’re likely to use it on a regular basis.
If you already have a basic slow cooker and are looking for an upgrade, this is definitely the appliance for you. Gone are the days of having to sear and sauté meat and vegetables separately in a frying pan (something which put me off using slow cookers in the past). You really can do almost everything with this appliance, but just beware that if you live in a small apartment, it is going to take up a big chunk of your countertop space. If that’s going to be an issue for you, there are other multi-cookers on the market that aren’t quite as bulky as this one.
Should you buy the GreenPan Omni slow cooker?
The GreenPan Omni Cooker is a powerful appliance and is not to be underestimated. I consider myself to be quite an intuitive cook, but there were a few occasions where I got caught out and ended up with slightly overcooked food. I am, however, confident that once I become more familiar with its settings, its power is going to be a huge asset and will help reduce "manual" cooking times, particularly when searing, sautéing, and steaming foods.
Admittedly, I am unlikely to use the GreenPan Omni Cooker on a daily basis due to the fact that, more often than not, I only cook for myself. As much as I adore this appliance, at $229.89 / £200 it is a pricey purchase if you’re not going to use it at least a few times a week. That being said, this appliance would be absolutely perfect for families or larger households who want to make regular tasty midweek meals easier and save money by making their ingredients stretch a bit further.