Breville Fast Slow Pro™ Pressure Cooker Review
This pressure cooker releases pressure by itself and lets you select the cooking time, pressure, opening method and whether you want to keep-warm right at the start of the cooking process. So you just need to show up to open and serve dinner – no more fiddling or tiddling with valves. The Fast Slow Pro is a leap forward from their previous model (the Fast Slow Cooker) but it’s not without its kinks.
While most electric pressure cookers only have a sensor in the base to measure pressure, this one also has a temperature sensor in the lid. Together, these sensors give the cook a complete picture of what is going on inside and adds extra safety as well.
Let’s get to it…
Pressure Cooker Review: Breville Fast Slow Pro™ BPR700BSS
Features: (5 out of 5 stars)
The Fast Slow Pro offers:
- 7 in 1 Multi-cooker – Pressure cooker, Slow cooker, Steamer, with ability to Saute’, Sear, Reduce and keep-warm.
- 8 pressure settings – pressure settings range from 1.5psi to 12 psi
- Ceramic-lined Inner Pot – PTFE and PFOA free ceramic coating with textured base
- 2 sensors – one at the top to measure the air/steam temperature and one at the base monitor the ingredients for more accurate pressure and temperature control
- Hands-free steam release- the cooker has three ways to release pressure by itself: Auto Quick (Normal pressure release); Auto Pulse (Slow Normal pressure release) and Natural.
- Adjustable Modes – some cooking functions can be adjusted including two Slow Cook settings HI (203°F or 95°C), LO (194°F or 90°C); three Saute settings HI (334°F or 168°C), MED (302°F or 150°C), LO (266°F or 130°C); three reduce settings HI (266°F or 130°C), MED (239°F or 115°C), LO (221°F or 105°C)
- Hinged Lid – lid remains attached but can be un-mounted for cleaning
- 21 Pre-set Cooking Programs – 11 Pressure Cooking pre-set programs with recommended pressure, cooking time opening method at the touch of a button (Vegetables, Rice, Risotto, Soup, Stock, Beans, Poultry, Meat Bone-in-meat, Chili & Stew and Dessert) + 1 Custom program where the cook can set the time, pressure and opening method; 8 Slow Cooking programs with recommended times and temperatures (Soup, Stock, Beans, Poultry, Meat, Bone-in-meat, Chili & Stew and Dessert) + 1 Custom program where the cook can set the time and temperature.
- Altitude Adjustment – adjusts the settings (cooking time) based on the altitude of your current location. Altitude can be adjusted from 250m to 1,999m (820ft to 6558ft). The pressure cooker should not be used at altitudes above 2,000m (6561ft).
- Color changing LCD Screen – Large visual cues to let you know what the cooker is doing. The display panel is BLUE when the cooker is on and being programmed; and, ORANGE when a cooking program has been engaged or releasing steam
Safety: (4.9 out of 5 stars)
This pressure cooker is impressively safe. Since it has two sensors (one in the lid and one in the base) it monitors and adjusts quickly to over-pressure or overheating. If something should go wrong there are two more back-up systems to ensure that pressure is released safely: the secondary safety valve, and the collapsing gasket. But I did run across a couple of issues, which I detail at the end of this section.
Here ‘s an overview of the safety features:
- Primary Safety Release Valve – The valve in the lid will release pressure if the internal pressure exceeds 15.95psi or 110kpa
- Secondary Safety Valve – Should the primary pressure regulating valve fail, the excess pressure pushes through the nub on the lid when the internal pressure exceeds 17.4psi or 120kpa.
- Valve cover – Small basket that prevents food from blocking the main pressure valve.
- Locking Lid – Mechanical lock that prevents the lid from being opened when the contents are under pressure – even without electricity.
- Lid Position Sensor- monitors whether the lidis in an unsafe zone for pressure cooking.
- Collapsing Gasket – Silicone gasket engineered to safely relieve pressure below a critical level and to act as a failsafe if all other apertures are blocked, without causing damage to the unit or the surroundings.
- Steam Temperature Sensor – monitors the temperature at the top of the enclosure to allow precise and accurate control of the pressure within the vessel temperature and ensures that it remains in a safe range.
- Vessel Temperature Sensor – monitors the rate of heating at the bottom of the vessel to optimize efficiency
- Thermal Fuses – protects the electronics from over-heating above a critical safety limit
Hinged lid could scald right-handers
The placement of the lid can be inconvenient before pressure cooking and troublesome after pressure cooking. Right-handed cooks may unwittingly bump their hand on the inside of the very hot lid when serving food (read more about this in the Performance section under “The hinged lid”).
No lid detection during Slow Cooking
Although the Slow Cooking instructions indicate to “Close the lid but do not lock it” if you accidentally do lock it the “lid detection” sensor doesn’t realize that the lid is in the wrong position.
Performance: (4.5 of 5 stars)
I really love the automatic pressure release feature that this cooker offers. You can fully program it at the beginning of cooking (pressure, time, opening method and keep-warm) and there’s no need to attend to the cooker until the food is really ready without having to fiddle with the valve. Unless.. you’re planning to slow cook- then you must fiddle.
The ceramic insert – with little grooves to increase the surface area- works beautifully in “Sear” and “Saute'” modes. Ceramic coating is my next most favorite everyday cooking surface – after stainless steel, of course.
Knowing what’s going on inside the cooker during the cooking process is handy. But, the minimum liquid requirement isn’t obvious – Breville defines it in their own “special” way which is pretty darn confusing – even to a professional!
The automated cooking programs I tested (“Risotto”, “Soup”) worked flawlessly; but, getting to the “Custom” mode, the program I use most often, is not easy.
Most frustrating are two obvious design flaws in the placement of the buttons and hinged lid. One less obvious flaw changes the functionality of a button during use (see Pressure Release). Let’s get into the details…
Breville wanted to make it clear when the pressure cooker is operating so the display can be one of three colors: “Off” to indicate nothing’s going on, “Blue” to indicate the cooker is on and ready for you to choose a program and “Orange” to indicate that one of the programs are engaged and/or the cooker is either building pressure, cooking or losing pressure.
The buttons.. don’t push the BIG one!
The front of the Breville Fast Slow Pro is spare with just a few “twist and push” buttons. Most of the functionality is chosen from the screen and you navigate twisting these buttons and then pushing to select something. BUT the organization and location of the three major buttons is awkward. The first large button on the left is one of the least significant on the control panel. And, of course, all of the important functions are located in the smaller, second button on the right. Instinct always has me reaching for the big button – even after a month of using this pressure cooker – and when nothing happens I finally reach for the second, smaller, correct button.
I really don’t know what happened here – this is not typical of Breville products. I’ve used their smart oven to do broiling for my in-store U.S. pressure cooker demos and the most important button on that appliance is first.
The hinged lid – I loved it, then I hated it
One of the unique features of this pressure cooker is the hinged lid. When I first got the pressure cooker I thought it was a great idea because I’m always trying to figure out where to put down a hot, drippy pressure cooker lid. It hinges to the right, so I thought, great! But actually no… not great! The problem with the lid hinging to the right happens before and after pressure cooking. When I’m sauteing or browning ingredients my hand is always bumping into the lid. Then, when serving a soup or stew, for example, I’m holding the ladle or spoon the right hand and it’s very awkward to serve when you’re constantly bumping onto the hot lid.
Now, between the lid and the buttons feeling like they’re on the wrong side (for a right-handed person), I’m starting to wonder if someone made a mirror image of the pressure cooker Breville intended to make.
The mystery of the minimum liquid requirement
Another thing that isn’t very clear to me about this pressure cooker is it’s minimum liquid requirement. Both the manual and Breville say that the cooker must contain “minimum 1 quart combined food and liquid”. This is just not the standard way most pressure cookers address their minimum requirements. That’s because it could mean 1 pound of beans with a tablespoon of water or it could mean a quart of water with one bean – one of these is not going to work. I pressed Breville several times for clarification on this and eventually got this answer…
If there is NOTHING in the bowl besides the water, e.g. if you wanted to pressurize the unit to test out the steam release features, then you should use 1 quart of water.
If there is food in the bowl or on the steamer rack then 1 cup is sufficient, assuming the quantity of food is enough to meet the 1 quart minimum. Recipes in the included recipe book that utilize the steamer rack call for 1 cup of water. If you had a very small amount of food, e.g. a single beet, then I’d recommend 2 cups.
I was still confused, so this cooker gets another ding for further confusing the cook about exactly how much of what should be used where.
I just started using the “generic” electric pressure cooker minimum requirement of 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) and it worked. Mystery solved!
OK, let’s get to the programs..
This is a non-pressure program designed for steaming foods.
Saute’, Sear & Reduce
All three of these programs should be used with the lid open. The pressure cooker heats-up quickly and evenly to saute in just 4 minutes and lets you choose three temperatures. What is really nice is that if you want to turn down the temperature, it’s as simple as twisting knob- just as you might when using a cooktop.
A couple of the temperatures in these three functions use the same temperature (Saute LO and Reduce HI), so I wish that all of these options could be in one function and have more options twisting the knob to adjust temperature in finer detail.
The base of the inner-pot is waffled giving more surface area for a nice sear. I know some readers get concerned when they see indentations or ridges in the base of a cooker – don’t worry, it cleans-up well.
The ceramic coating really shows off its cooking properties here. Using “Sear” the Fast Slow Pro browns meat beautifully – unlike any non-stick insert I’ve ever seen!
Vegetables, Rice, Risotto, Soup Stock, Beans, Poultry, Meat, Bone-in Meat, Chili & Stew, Dessert
This cooker has 11 preset pressure cooking programs to cover the most common dishes. Each of these programs has a pre-set time, pressure and release method. For example, the “Vegetables” is set to cook at 7.5psi for 5 minutes and open with the Auto Pulse while “Meat” is set to cook at 12psi (the max) for 40 minutes and open the cooker with Natural release – which is right in line with my recommendation for meat opening methods. But these programs are not set in stone. Once you have chosen the cook can still twist the Temp (Pressure) and Time knobs to quickly make adjustments to either of those settings.
I was a little weary about some of the recommendations, but after writing to Breville’s U.S. Test Kitchen manager, who personally tested and adjusted all of the programs and pressures for U.S. cooks (and ingredients) I dove in and tried my perfect pressure cooker risotto using their program. The risotto was flawless.
On another night I just dumped random vegetables, a few potatoes and some stock and ran the “Soup” program – that went very well, too.
I wasn’t able to test all of the programs, but if someone who is reading this has, please share your experience in the comments.
Truth be told, I almost never use the manufacturer’s recommended programs. I usually already know the time, pressure and release I want to use with a recipe so the Custom program gets the most use with this pressure cooker too. Unfortunately, I have to do lots of scrolling (twisting) past all of the other programs to get to it. BUT, the really nice thing about creating a custom program is that next time you turn on the pressure cooker, the Fast Slow Pro remembers it. So, when you finally get there you don’t have to start from zero and can choose to pressure cook anywhere from 1.5-12psi for 1 minute to 2 hours, using selecting any opening method. Half a ding – the memory is convenient but this program is unnecessarily complicated to reach.
Although it’s laudable that the “pressure cook” menu lands first on “Vegetables” in my experience that is not the most oftenly pressure cooked food.
The most endearing part of this pressure cooker is that it releases pressure all by itself. It can do this in three ways, which are programmable at the beginning of the cooking time.
I made a little video to show you how it releases pressure in case you are as intrigued as I was when I first heard about this function.
If you need to get the cooker open quickly all you need to do is press-and-hold the “Release” button in the front for about three seconds and that will activate the valve for three minutes. If all the steam is not out, you’ll need to press-and-hold, again, to complete the venting process (or you can just set twist the valve on the lid open using your hand).
If you change your mind about the opening method while the cooker is running- during cooking the button changes functionality from “choosing” a pressure release to “doing” a pressure release. I originally thought that I couldn’t change the opening method while the cooker was running until Breville explained how to do it: Push the “Release” button once (it will release a puff of steam) and watch for the text “Steam Release” on the screen to start blinking. At this point, move the selector (the SMALL knob) to choose another opening method, and then push it to set.
Right before it releases pressure the cooker does a few chiming beeps and a spurt of steam from the valve to warn the cook and then it goes about releasing pressure according to the chosen program. The pressure is released in three ways:
- Auto-Quick release (equivalent to Normal) is straightforward, the valve goes up and pressure is released . This takes about 3 minutes.
- Auto Pulse (equivalent to Slow Normal) releases pressure in short bursts with vary in their distance according to the pressure left in the cooker (more on this below) . This release takes about 8-10 minutes.
- Natural release is a joy compared to all other pressure cookers (electric or otherwise) in that when all of the pressure has been let out of the cooker, the Fast Slow Pro will do a friendly chime to let you know it’s ready. Nice! Natural release takes around 15-20 minutes to complete.
During the entire pressure-release process the LCD display will illustrate the remaining pressure inside the cooker, so you can follow the progress visually.
Let me describe the Auto-pulse release in detail because Breville optimized it to release the most steam without frothing the liquid inside the pot. I used it to release pressure of a notoriously frothy split pea soup without incident! What is fascinating about this release is that releases happen more frequently as the pressure lowers. The pulses start 18 seconds apart to release steam at full pressure, then when the contents are down to 5psi the releases accelerate to once every 10 seconds and, finally, when the pressure is down to 2.2 psi steam is released every 8 seconds.
I was a disappointed that the 10-min Natural release was not included. It’s a pressure release method that has been around for at least 20 years (via Lorna Sass and Jill Nussinow) and is particularly fantastic for completing rice and grain cooking. Half a ding to Breville for not researching commonly used opening methods more carefully for this key feature.
This pressure cooker gives you the ability to enable or disable this feature at any time during the cooking process at the push of a button. This feature has its own button and it’s useful if you’re not going to be ready when the pressure cooker is finished. It’s also handy to disable during programming, if you’re generally forgetful (like me). With other electrics I serve dinner and sit down to eat it with the family and only much later do I realize that keep-warm was going the whole time drying out leftovers.
The Fast Slow Pro lets you slow cook at low and high heat. I noticed that some reviews online to see what they said about this function. One said that you could not slow cook without the lid – I did not find this to be true. All of the slow cooking programs will run with the lid open or closed (you can also place your own 8″ glass lid or ceramic plate if you prefer).
But the drawback, especially to those not familiar with pressure cooking, is that if you’re going to use the cooker’s built-in lid the valve has to be opened manually “to the open position, facing away from the lid knob.” There are no actual indicators, arrows or icons on the lid to show the cook what the “open” position is.
Breville has not implemented the automatic valve control in the Slow Cooking mode. Instead, they ask the cook to manually open the valve. In my opinion, this is an unnecessary step given that this cooker already has the ability to already open it by itself.. it should.
Clean-up: (4.75 out of 5 stars)
Almost everything can go in the dishwasher so that’s easy clean-up. But the body of the cooker is frustratingly fingerprint and streak-prone.
- Inner pot is dishwasher safe – though they say hand-washing will prolong the ceramic coating’s life
- Lid is removable and dishwasher safe (top rack)
- Gasket is removable and dishwasher safe (top rack)
- Condensation cup is dishwasher safe (top rack), logo may come off
- Wide moat around inner-pot is easy to access and clean
- Hand wash pressure release valve, valve cover, sealing-nut that secure the lid onto the cooker
The outside body of the pressure cooker is Breville’s standard brushed stainless steel and, unfortunately, it shows every fingerprint, smudge and spill. Trying to wipe it with a microfiber cloth and some warm water and light detergent was fruitless. I asked Breville how to make the pressure cooker body look nice again and they recommended I clean the outside with stainless steel polish.
Isn’t the whole point of a pressure cooker to save you time? Now I have to polish this thing, too?!?
Other electrics have identical brushed stainless steel covers that are finger-print resistant. I really feel Breville should have chosen a higher quality cover for a pressure cooker that is 95% stainless steel.
High-quality stainless steel steamer basket and, wire rack and recipe booklet. I don’t usually get excited about accessories the come with a pressure cooker – but the steamer basket for this pressure cooker is pretty darn awesome. It feels sturdy and solid and it does its job very well. I wish they sold it separately so that I could get all of my readers (with any pressure cooker) to buy it! The rack is your standard stainless steel wire and although it feels flimsy and precious it has survived being tossed around in my “accessories cupboard” unscathed. It neatly stores into the steamer basket, too, so it doesn’t take too much room.
The recipe booklet is BEAUTIFUL and includes 30 recipes – 25 have instructions for either slow or pressure cooking, 14 are pressure cooker only and 1 is only for the slow cooker.
- 1100W Heating Element
- Available Sizes:6L (6.34qt)
- Floating valve with (70-80kpa) 10.1-11.6 PSI working pressure
- Maximum Cooking Temperature measured at high pressure: 115.8°C (240°F)
- 1100 Watt
- Cord Length: 27.5″ (70cm)
- Internal Dimensions: opening of liner 8.5″ (21.5cm), internal base of liner 7.5″ (19cm); Height of liner 6.5″ (16.4cm) ; Exterior Dimensions: 15.3″ (39cm) wide (includes handles) and 9.8″ (25cm high); Weight: 16.1 lbs , liner 22oz (622g).
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- Designed in Australia, Made in China
- Breville Fast Slow Pro Instruction Manual
- Manufacturer Website: Breville
- Recipes and articles on this website featuring the Breville pressure cooker
Conclusion and Score:
The Breville Fast Slow Pro is a another step forward in automated cooking. The automation is impressive but it’s not used consistently through all of the features.
This is a visually striking cooker that you won’t have to hide in the kitchen but that beauty is fleeting and high-maintenance.
I love that the automatic release, but what impressed me the most is that the few automated programs I tried (with their pre-selected time, pressure and opening) worked while the other programs use the proper release for the type of food being cooked. For example, they use “Natural Release” for meat which I felt, until now, that I was the only one recommending this.
My enthusiasm was dampened by the awkward location of the lid and buttons. There is no “electric pressure cooker usability standard” but I think that some of these issues could have been sussed out by the manufacturer with more thorough testing.
The Fast Slow Pro is a valid kitchen helper that makes the pressure cooking and releasing process entirely hands-free.
NOTE: This review was fact-checked by Breville USA’s Test Kitchen Manager and Australian engineering team prior to publication.
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In the interest of full disclosure, we would like to note that: The pressure cooker was sent to Hip Pressure Cooking by the manufacturer at no cost. Our relationship with the manufacturer, or lack thereof, does not affect the outcome of the review.