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Cuisinart MSC-400 3-In-1 Cook Central 4-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker, Brown/Saute, Steamer
- Enter your model number to make sure this fits.
- Extra-large blue backlit LCD display with easy-to-read time and temperature settings
- Glass lid with cool-touch handle for clear view and comfortable handling
- Steaming rack included
- Instruction Book
- Limited 3-year Warranty
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Color||Silver||Silver||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Metallic||Stainless Steel|
|Item Dimensions||16.5 x 10.5 x 8.7 in||16.5 x 14.2 x 11.8 in||17.5 x 10.5 x 10.8 in||15.1 x 9.4 x 14.8 in||16 x 10.25 x 16.13 in||10.5 x 14.5 x 10.5 in|
|Material Type||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Steel||Stainless Steel||Aluminum||Ceramic|
|Size||4-Quart||3.5 Quart||6-qt.||6 Quart||6 quart||4-Quart|
The Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker
Create one-pot meals your family will love with the Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker. Three fully programmable cooking functions let you sauté vegetables, brown meats and slow cook your favorite comfort foods right in the unit. Skip the stovetop with combination cooking -- brown your ingredients in the unit and then simply switch to the slow cook function. Use the Cook Central to prep any aspect of your favorite dish. Select the steam function to prepare stuffed artichokes to start a gourmet meal or to create a healthful vegetable medley side dish. The Cook Central can even do dessert. With numerous recipes to choose from in the included booklet, the opportunities are endless!
The Cook Central features Cuisinart’s brushed stainless steel housing and a 4-quart nonstick cooking pot that lets you brown or sauté directly in the unit. Once your meal is ready, the unit will automatically shift to Keep Warm mode so your meal is ready when you are. Serving your dish is easy -- just lift the pot out and take it to the table. Clean-up is a breeze with the Cook Central as the pot, steaming rack and glass lid are dishwasher-safe.
The first step to creating your meal with the Cook Central is selecting the cooking function.
Slow cooking is perfect for foods that require long, slow simmering, such as soups, stocks, stews, and dried beans. This function is also ideal when cooking tougher and less expensive cuts of meat like shoulder and pot roast. The Slow Cook function has three temperature settings -- High, Low, and Simmer. For recipes that need to cook longer, use the Simmer and Low settings. When starting a dish later in the day, select the High setting. A 24-hour timer and automatic Keep Warm mode ensure your food is ready to eat when you are.
Steaming is one of the healthiest methods of cooking. No butter or oil is required and fewer nutrients are lost in the steaming process. To steam anything from asparagus to shrimp, insert the included steaming rack and no more than 1 quart of water or other liquid in the cooking pot and cover with the lid. Once steaming is complete, carefully remove food from the pot with a spoon, fork or tongs and enjoy.
Use the Brown/Sauté function as you would a skillet or sauté pan on the stovetop for a variety of recipes. Prepare a quickly sautéed skillet dish or brown food right in the pot as the first step of your family's favorite slow cooker recipe. You can use this function to reheat foods as well. Just use Brown/Sauté at 350 degrees F and stir until all ingredients are warmed through.
Once you have chosen the cooking function that best fits your recipe, simply set the desired time and temperature, and then press Start.
Features and Benefits
Glass Lid with Handle
Check the progress of a dish without releasing heat.
Place in the up position to elevate ingredients for steaming.
Nonstick Aluminum 4-Quart Cooking Pot
Spreads heat evenly to perfectly brown and saute ingredients right in the unit.
All parts that come in contact with food are BPA free.
Programmable Control Panel
Cooking Function Buttons
Use to select Slow Cook, Brown/Sauté or Steam.
Use to set your desired cooking time, be it minutes or hours.
Use to set cooking temperatures up to 400 degrees F.
Use to start and stop cooking function.
Blue Backlit LCD Display
Side-by-side display shows cooking time and temperature.
Top customer reviews
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UPDATE: Yes - it is Made in China
UPDATE: No - you cannot use the insert on top of the stove nor in the oven. The insert has stay-cool handles made of hard plastic. The insert is aluminum, not ceramic, and is Teflon coated. I've had both type of inserts and definitely prefer the aluminum/Teflon insert - lighter weight & easier cleanup.
UPDATE: No - there is no delay timer of any sort. You cannot, for instance, set a timer to cook on high for 1 hour, then drop to low for 4 hours then drop to warm to keep the food at a safe temp. Nor can you set a delay timer to start cooking at a future time. The closest there is: you can select high, low, or simmer slow cook and set the number of hours up to 24. At the end of that time it will automatically down select to warm to stop "cooking" the food but keep it at a safe temp. Every time you open the lid, add 15-20 minutes to the recipe cooking time.
UPDATE: Slow cook temps are HIGH = 212 degrees, LOW = 200 degrees, SIMMER = 185 degrees, WARM = 165 degrees. Saute temps are: default is 350 degrees, programmable from 140 degrees to 400 degrees in 25 degree increments.
UPDATE: The entire instruction & recipe booklet is online at Cuisinart's web site in pdf format. Search for manual "MSC-600". I read the instructions and many of the recipes myself before I bought the unit.
UPDATE: Q: "Will this unit really "brown" meat well? (i.e., as in browning meat for a pot roast or browning beef chunks for stew?)". A: Yes, very well. See the saute temps elsewhere in my review. It has a large sort of oval shaped saute heating element underneath the insert which provides more than adequate heat for saute. However, if you put 5 pounds of stew beef in there all at once it is hard to brown it - just like a skillet but better temp control in increments of 25 degrees. Many of the recipes tell you to brown large quantities in shifts and remove the browned items before adding more - I use a left-to-right (raw-to-brown) rotation method to do that.
UPDATE: Do not cook chicken breasts in a slow cooker - it dries out the breasts. Read the manual. UPDATE Jan 2014: Contrary to what others here have told me here, I agree with Cuisinart, put the chicken breasts in the oven, not the slow cooker - better quality and faster.
UPDATE: After 13 months, here are my current observations as of January 2014:
I have not had the problems others have had with the electric panel on the front. I have had no odd things go wrong with the electronics of this item. So far so good.
I have not had the problems others have had with being unable to turn it back on once you turn it off. I have waited a few minutes to let it cool down first then start it back up like advised and have had no problems. I mean I wait maybe two minutes not 30 minutes. Not a problem for me.
This thing takes up space - lots of counter space and storage space. Wasn't a surprise though - I had visualized it with a tape measure and it is every bit as big as expected on the counter top for sure. But that's how you get the 6 quart capacity. UPDATE Jan 2014: Keep your old 3.5 quart ceramic crock pot for smaller meals, this 6 quart unit is too big for cooking 2-3 quarts of food (although the manual says "at least 1/3 full" it seems too big for 2 quarts of food to me).
I am a single guy who can't cook, doesn't like to cook, and I love this slow cooker. Years ago I had the standard 3.5 qt round 'crock pot'. Then branched out to the new stainless steel ones - 3 different sizes. Hated them, too hot to touch or move. Gave them all to Goodwill - including my old trusty ceramic one (sigh!). I missed my slow cooker so went on another slow cooker hunt. Decided on this one and I am very pleased with it.
I use this as a slow cooker for sure. But also use it to stir fry, saute, and sear/brown. Really like the fact that you can brown in this and immediately add the other ingredients for slow cooking. I like the depth of this to keep the grease from splattering around the kitchen as much. Even though it's just for one I like the capacity. Once I got this and started using it I got on Amazon and also ordered the Reditainers for fridge and freezer storage along with the freezer tape. I like having the digital temp on the front for very accurate temperatures. The low heat and high heat temps seem perfect to me on the slow cooker. The super hot stainless steel things I had before were either not hot enough (low) or way too hot (high). I think Cuisinart got this right on this model. Read the manual and understand the temps for high, low, simmer and warm and what they are for (and not for). Duh - read the manual!
So far I have made tomato soup (very rich/earthy flavor), hot and sour soup (OMG!), stuffed bell peppers (8 large or 10 small), chicken stir fry, steamed corn on the cob (4 full ears or 8-10 half ears), and a bunch of other stuff I don't remember.
From the Williams-Sonoma "Essentials of Slow Cooking" cookbook I also bought on Amazon, I have made: Beef Stroganoff(!), Italian Braised Short Ribs, Pot Roast w/ veges, Belgian Beef Stew, Asian Braised Short Ribs(!), and Chicken Mole (disaster, tossed this one). I intend to try Jambalaya in it and do something with Mahi Mahi steaks as well but I haven't tried any seafood in it yet. UPDATE Jan 2014: Yep, it makes great Jambalaya. Internet search "Crock-Pot Solutions" for perfect pre-mix quantities for this 6 quart unit. I recommend the Jambalaya and Chicken & Dumplings mixes.
Ooops: If you fill the thing full it will overflow once it reaches temperature. You must leave space for it to expand - do not under estimate this. Also, if you put it on saute to get the heat going it will very quickly overflow with a little explosive force as the expanding juices break the seal around the lid to escape - that was a mess to clean up all over the kitchen and had to take the bottom off the unit and clean the insides. One design flaw it seems - if it overflows the vents are wide open with no drip line design so it catches all the juices running down and takes them directly inside the unit. Dumb design - the vents need a drip line (flared vents) to prevent this. But I haven't made this mistake a second time. Do...not....over....fill! You can make up to 24 cups in this thing if you fill it to the max.
The 'loose' fitting lid is NOT a problem. Steam goes to the top, drips down the lid and creates a seal all the way around the top of the unit where the lid sits. The 'loose' fitting lid works perfectly.
Although the lid and the insert are dish washer safe, the lid is simply too big for the dish washer, let alone the pot. I use the dishwasher for everything - except for this. It's simply much easier to just wash it by hand and put it in the dry rack. It cleans very easily because of the Teflon and is much lighter to hold than the ceramic inserts were.
I have had no problem with the Teflon coming off or bubbling - I have no scratches yet. I use wooden spoons to stir and move things around, and carefully use metal prongs to turn meat over. But I have been very careful to not scratch it so far. I also follow the instructions and do NOT put the insert in the oven nor on a the stove top and my Teflon is not coming off nor is it bubbling anywhere. My Teflon looks like it the did the day I got it. I also do NOT run cold water into the insert when it is still hot.
I prefer my rice cooker/vege steamer for steaming veges other than corn. But I've purchased Risotto and plan to learn how to make it and plan to use this slow cooker on saute to do it. That way I can learn the exact digital temperature that works and repeat the success. Then expand to many different versions of Risotto. I like the digital read out since I don't have that innate cookers sense of temperature. You can up the temp in increments of 25 degrees for saute.
Read the instructions to understand how to use the digital panel - couple of things aren't intuitive but easy once you get the point.
Yes - I recommend this slow cooker and I have had and used many over the last 30 years. This slow cooker plus the Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooking cook book on Amazon makes me feel like I can cook. UPDATE Jan 2014: I haven't touched the Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooking cook book in 6 months.
Let's get the bad news out of the way. Like many others have posted about this and the similar MSC-400, despite how much tender loving care you give to the nonstick pot insert, it looks like it WILL bubble and flake over time. We babied ours, never using anything but soft silicon tools with it, and hand washing it with nonabrasive sponges, and cooked with it probably no more than 15 times since we purchased it 7 months ago. Yet the dreaded bubbling has shown up in at least three places, and one chunk of nonstick surface has flaked off. Really unacceptable quality control at Cuisinart (or whatever Chinese OEM makes their pots). In case anyone at the company is reading this: If you want to solve this issue once and for all, and build nothing but good will among your customers, strongly consider licensing the nonstick material Scanpan uses on their products -- the stuff seems to be both effective and indestructible -- put it on your cooker pots, and replace any that have died horribly premature deaths from the weak, fragile coating you're using today (in fact, sue the hell out of whomever manufactures the junk for you if it is not up to spec). Three stars off for such poor quality.
The good news is that -- other than the above -- this slow cooker is the finest out of several we've had, but in terms of design as well as practicality. That it can brown is an outstanding feature, and essential for many recipes. Better yet, it does it well, allowing different browning-range temperatures. While it takes a little while to warm up to its maximum of 400F, it's very effective at browning (not searing) meats and vegetables prior to braising. It also seems to have an ideal Low setting, and its programmable and stay-warm functions work excellently. We've used it only for soups, stews, and the like, and not for steaming, but its range of temperatures and well-enough fitting lid look like it would perform well for that.
This would have been a five-star review but for the poor quality of an essential component of this product. While a replacement pot is available (at some cost), we're debating whether to spend about $60 for another 6 months of use, or just call the entire thing a failure and send it to the landfill. Really sad that Cuisinart released something that would have been superlative, but for a serious quality issue. I think there's a way to correct the problem, if they're willing to do so.