VitaClay Rice Cooker & Multicooker Review

Article by About Chef Austin Chef Austin 


 

Cooking in clay pots has been around since ancient time and now it’s coming back to your kitchen. VitaClay’s is changing the slow cooking game, by making a fast-slow cooker. You can get faster results and acquire a depth of flavor from organic clay that you can’t get with any other cooking method.

Hey it's Chef Austin and we’re going to review VitaClay multicookers. VitaClay has brought the ancient tradition of cooking in clay to your kitchen. Their clay cookers can cook in half the time of slow cookers and create deeper flavors then pressure cooking. VitaClay makes machines perfect for slow cooking, white rice, brown rice, soups, stews, and even yogurt. We tested a gamut of recipes in the VitaClay and Instant Pot for a taste-test comparison to see who makes a tastier dish. 

 

Everything you need to know about VitaClay

  • Organic Zisha Clay - Organic unglazed clay cooking vessel. It contains no lead, no aluminum and no non-stick chemicals. Tested by 3rd party labs to test for purity
  • Cook in 1/2 the time as a Slow Cooker/Crock-pot - Dual-lid design traps in steam to speed up slow-cooking and concentrate flavors. Cut slow cooker recipe times in half
  • Naturally Seasons Your Food Clay transfers subtle earthy tones and brings out natural flavors of the food your cooking. No other cooking method can give you the flavor that clay can
  • Perfect Rice Cooker - White or brown rice is cooked perfectly with even heat distribution from clay. The porous breathable nature of unglazed clay creates a fluffy, soft, unforgettable rice.  
  • Yogurt at Home - Experience how yogurt should taste, with no added sugar or preservatives. Use the yogurt function to easily incubate your own creamy yogurt
 

VitaClay Smart Organic MultiCooker


 

Vitaclay Smart MultiCooker

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Design & Construction

Let's talk about the Heart of VitaClay, their clay cooking vessel.

China is known for fine clay, the Zisha clay is considered to be the best raw material for making chemical-free teapots and crocks in the world. This is what VitaClay has sourced for their multi-cookers. Zisha clay cooking pots are unglazed, contain no lead, no aluminum and no non-stick chemicals. VitaClay's clay cooking pots are is tested by 3rd party labs both pre- and post-production to ensure safety and purity of their clay pots. 

Vitaclay Clay Pot

Organic clay from Zisha, China is sturdy and feels smooth to the touch. Naturally non-stick and chemical free.


The clay pot in your VitaClay is excellent at heat distribution, that means even heat for evenly cooked food. The multi-cooker system includes one clay pot and lid. The clay fits into the multi-cooker which has functions for white rice, brown rice, slow cooking for stew and soup, and yogurt. You can also program cooking times up to 5 hours with start delay and warming features which allows you to put in your work day, and then return home to a fully-cooked healthy meal. 

The Vitaclay has a dual-lid system. The clay pot lid sits on top of the clay pot, then the lid of the cooker creates a seal around the clay lid. The dual-lid system traps in steam - this makes the VitaClay cook up to four times faster than traditional slow cookers/crock-pots. Trapping in that steam can also concentrate flavor that would typically escape in a slow cooker. The cooker's lid does not create an air-tight seal like a pressure cooker, there is a vent at the top to keep in a safe amount of steam within the cooker. 

For our testing, we used the 3.2qt model as a middle of the road size. Vitaclay offers many configurations ranging from the 2qt Yogurt Maker / Slow Cooker all the way to their huge clay Stock Pot at 6.5qt.


Test Drive

We made three recipes for the gamut of things the VitaClay makes best. We tested jasmine rice,  (my favorite French beef stew), and yogurt from scratch. For a comparison, we made the same recipes in the Instant Pot multi-cooker. 

Vitaclay Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon - my favorite French beef stew. Beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and carrots.


Loading our clay pot with food and setting the cooker to start cooking was simplistic with the clearly labeled buttons. We had no issues setting the VitaClay to start cooking rice, yogurt or to slow cook. There's no learning curve to start cooking in clay with the Vitaclay. 

We felt the cooking times for the rice settings were appropriate and properly cooked the rice. We easily set our cook time manually for our yogurt we made and the French beef stew. The VitaClay will beep and alert you to let you know when your food is ready. It will go into a "warm" mode to keep your food heated until you are ready to eat.

Vitaclay includes a small metal hook designed to remove the hot clay lid when your food is done cooking. This is the only out-of-the-ordinary task we had to when using cooking, We had no complaints in the overall user experience from start to finish. The Vitaclay makes it easy to cook in organic clay at home and provides a well-polished user experience when it comes to everyday use. 


Taste Test

Because it’s unglazed clay, that is actually going to give your food another layer of flavor. Clay transfers subtle earthy tones and creates distinctive textures that you just can’t get from other methods or cookers.

We made a batch of Jasmine rice in both our VitaClay and Instant Pot. Both cooked the rice, but the VitaClay rice had a better flavor and texture. The rice tasted more rice-y if that makes sense, as if the clay naturally seasoned the rice with an earthy salt. It was also fluffier, each grain was distinct and not mushy. The Instant Pots rice was more wet, possibly weighted down by the steam, and not as distinctly flavored. 

Vitaclay MultiCooker Cooking Rice

Rice is so fluffy and tender. The grains are individual and not mushy. The clay transfers a subtle earthiness to the rice.

The VitaClay model we were using also has a Yogurt making functions. We made the same recipe yogurt in the Instant Pot and VitaClay to see how big a difference there really would be. We made a honey-vanilla yogurt from scratch with New England CheeseMaking Supplies' Sweet Yogurt Cultures. After incubating for eight hours, both yogurts looked thick and creamy. After doing a side-by-side taste test, both yogurts were sweet and silky, but I have to say, the VitaClay’s yogurt finished with a enjoyable tangy-ness that was missing from the Instant Pot’s yogurt, even though it was the same recipe. It’s those subtle differences is what VitaClay adds and can turn a recipe from great to amazing.

Chef Austin's Protip: Unglazed clay is naturally seasoned by the food you cook in it. This can create complex flavors for your meals, however, if you plan on cooking lighter tasting foods like yogurt, VitaClay recommends using a separate dedicated clay pot so you don't end up with a savory yogurt! 

The VitaClay is also going to out-perform your slow cooker. The sealed environment can cut down slow cooker recipes by half! We made my favorite French recipe beef bourguignon and just after two hours I had tender chunks of beef soaked in the red wine gravy. We also made a batch in the Instant Pot using the pressure cooking function. The Instant Pot did cook faster in 1 hour, but the beef and vegetables were much mushier compared to the VitaClay. 

In all of the test we performed, I feel like the VitaClay's food tasted better every single time. The rice especially was great; the fluffiness and flavor is something I can't even recreate on the stove top because of the clay pot seasons delicate foods like rice so perfectly and naturally. 

 Vitaclay Multicooker Line-Up

The whole Vitaclay family, a size and shape for every situation.

 

Chef Austin's Final Thoughts

VitaClay is changing the slow cooking game by making a fast-slow cooker. You can get faster results and acquire a depth of flavor from organic clay that you can’t get with any other cooking method. I love using my VitaClay as my dedicated rice cooker - the results are unmatched with the perfect fluffy texture and earthy flavor the clay gives it. A lot of my favorite meals are slow cooked, and the VitaClay makes an excellent slow cooker that cooks these recipes in half the time. No more 8 hours of waiting for my roast beef or one-pot chicken taco bowls. Best of all I know that my body is safe when cooking in the organic zisha clay, no leaching chemicals into my food while cooking. VitaClay has replaced my slow cooker at home and I'm always excited to try new recipes to see how clay can make my food better.     


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About Chef Austin

About the Author: 

Chef Austin Merath is Everything Kitchen's Culinary Wizard, Kitchen-Gadget Reviewer, and New-Product Tester. He studied under chefs in College of the Ozarks' Culinary Program. It's his job to make sure you choose the kitchen tools that are right for you by testing the best we have to offer. When not cooking, Austin is tinkering with computers or exploring the Ozarks with his wife Amy. Click here for his full bio.

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