REVIEW: MUELLER ULTRA POT (FOR HIGH ELEVATION)

When looking for an electric multicooker, I first purchased the Mueller Ultra Pot. I already had the Mueller Single Serve Coffee Maker, and I liked it, so their Ultra Pot seemed like it would be a good choice. It had great reviews on Amazon, it was less expensive than Costco’s Instant Pot model at the time, AND it included some accessories that the Instant Pot did not include; a steamer basket, a glass lid to use with the non-pressure functions, and an extra sealing ring. It also included a 2-year warranty. This multi-cooker would be a great choice for people at lower elevations, mainly because of the reasons I first chose it. However, after getting it into my home and using it for about a week, I discovered some issues with it that were not optimal for my use at 9,000’ elevation.

PRESSURE COOKING
This just isn’t the right pressure cooker for this elevation. The Mueller has HIGH and LOW pressure settings. I discovered after purchase that the HIGH setting is only 7.25-8.7 psi, and LOW is 4.35-5.8 psi. These values are found in the User Manual, and I have adjusted them to psi from the KPa values listed there. “High Pressure” (50-60KPa) and“Low Pressure” (30-40KPa) Since most recipes and the times listed in them are geared toward using an Instant Pot at sea level, I’d have to make a lot of adjustments to use the Mueller.

The Instant Pots run at roughly 11 psi for their HIGH and 7 psi for LOW pressure settings. The chart below shows that I’d have to add about 27% more time to all Instant Pot recipes to make them work. I’ve rounded off many of these values.

Mueller Ultra (MU) Instant Pot Ultra         (IPU)         Difference % Difference Add to Recipe
HIGH: ~8 psi HIGH: ~11 psi MU is 3 psi lower MU runs at ~73% of IPU 27% more time
LOW: ~5 psi LOW: ~7 psi MU is 2 psi lower MU runs at ~71% of IPU 28% more time

 

In addition to the additional time I already need add for cooking at 9,000 ft altitude this difference in pressure requires more math (and more time) for every recipe. I’m already adjusting recipes for this elevation by adding 35% more time, and with the lower pressure on the MU vs. the IPU, I would need to add about 60% time to the recipe to compensate for the lower pressure used with the Mueller (35% for altitude, 25% for lower pressure). Too much math and planning, every time I’d want to use it.

SLOW COOKING
The SLOW COOK function has only one setting, apparently pretty high. I tried the SLOW COOK function on the Mueller for something and it stayed at a strong, full boil the entire time. I often prefer a low simmer, which most cookers would do on a “low” setting. This is an altitude issue for me, where water boils at about 195.5°F. If I were at a lower altitude, the one setting for SLOW COOK might not be a problem.

SAUTÉ
The SAUTÉ function also has only one temperature; it stays pretty hot. Many things were burning on the edges before they were cooking on the inside, such as onions.

STEAM
The STEAM function was really no different from the manual PRESSURE cook function. I’d rather steam things without pressure. It was pretty easy to steam things by using the SAUTÉ function with water at the bottom of the pot and placing things on the trivet, which was included. I saw no reason for a STEAM function that was no different from any other PRESSURE choice.

USER MANUAL
Some of the instructions in the User Manual for the Mueller Ultra were confusing or absent. Many of the programs include “Modes”, listed as LOW-NORMAL-MORE. These are not explained anywhere in the manual, nor how to adjust for these amounts. Apparently, they correlate to times, such as less time, normal or more time, as shown on a chart in the manual. Correct me if I’m wrong. When you choose a function, such as “Rice”, keep pressing the function button and it will toggle through all three of these modes to allow you to choose.

There was a “condensation cup” included in the box, but no instruction as to how to put it on the pot. I figured it out.

Additionally, there was nothing in the manual about high altitude cooking. At 9,000 feet elevation I am always keen to check this out. Other web resources indicate that you should add 5% cooking time for each 1,000 feet above 2,000. (At 9,000 feet it is suggested that I add 35% more time.) This will still greatly reduce the cooking times for our altitude.

WHO SHOULD BUY THE MUELLER ULTRA POT
All that being said, this is still a very nice and economical cooker, and if I were at a lower altitude I would not have most of these issues. Owners of this unit should keep in mind that they may need to add more time to Instant Pot recipes to compensate for lower pressure. It was a great deal, with several included accessories: clear lid for slow cooking, steamer basket, trivet, extra silicone gasket.

**For more information, please read the post: USING INSTANT POTS AT HIGH ELEVATION .

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