Pressure Cooker vs. Slow Cooker: Which to Buy
When it comes to the battle of cooking appliances, nothing can be more intense than the rivalry between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. Obviously, one is faster and a newer innovation than the other. But is this enough to tip the balance in favor of the pressure cooker and start ditching the slow cooker? Are there any significant differences aside from the faster time needed to cook one’s delicious and sumptuous recipe? How about the flavors, energy-efficiency, and sheer kinds of meals that can be cooked? You’re in luck as we’re giving you a front-row view of the duel between these two venerable cooking appliances so you’ll be better informed in your buying decision.
When it comes to cooking pot roasts, stews, braised meats, stocks, soups, and porridge, one of the best on the planet is a slow cooker. It’s a great appliance for cooking one-pot meals. You can put all of your ingredients in the morning, turn it on, and go to work. By the time you arrive later in the evening, your meal is already done, slow-cooked just the way you like it.
There are now slow cookers that come with fully programmable cooking settings. You can easily set the temperature upon which your meal will be cooking as well as the length of time that it needs to be cooked. As soon as the meal is done cooking, depending on the programmed settings, the slow cooker will automatically go into its ‘Warm’ mode. This helps make sure that when you do finally dig in at the dinner table you’ll be treated to a really heart-warming treat. Some homeowners also use it to serve meals directly on their table. And if you’re into a catering business, it should be a great appliance to get.
Obviously, it’s not the best for those who are a bit apprehensive about leaving a cooking appliance fully operating while no one is home. There really is no issue about the energy-efficiency of modern slow cookers, except that you cannot deny the fact that the appliance is turned on for almost the whole day. Somehow, this will still show on the electric bill.
One good thing about some modern pressure cookers is that they already integrate a number of other functionalities such as that of a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and even a porridge cooker. But if you’re just going to look at the conventional pressure cooker, you will know instantly that this is for those who simply don’t have the time to wait for their meals to cook.
Imagine having braised whole chicken in just 40 minutes or so. Even if you come home late from work, about an hour is all you need to prepare and cook your dinner. There’s no need to wake up very early in the morning just so you can prepare everything before putting them into the appliance.
The secret is in the design of the appliance. With a really tight and secure lid, steam cannot escape from within the chamber of the cooker. This increases the pressure inside the chamber which can tenderize everything and reduce cooking times by as much as 67 percent.
There are two types of pressure cookers. The more traditional stovetop pressure cooker looks more like your ordinary pot but with the specially-designed, air-tight locking lid. These are perfect for searing meats since the heat inside the chamber can be easily increased by turning up the heat from the burner. Stovetop pressure cookers are also ideal for braising, boiling, and simmering since they usually have higher pressures than electric models.
On the other hand, electric pressure cookers offer optimum convenience since they come with highly-advanced technologies that allow for hands-free cooking by automatically regulating heat and pressure as well as depressurization. You can cook almost anything on an electric pressure cooker especially those that are designed as multi-cookers. Cook rice, porridge, soups, stocks, steamed vegetables and fish, pot roast, stews, braised meats, and many more.
Deciding which between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker to buy should be fairly easy. Given the fact that there are now pressure cookers that come fully integrated with a slow cooker and even rice cooker functionalities, it makes perfect sense to get an electric pressure cooker instead. You get not only the capabilities of a pressure cooker. You also get the benefits of other cooking appliances as well.
In addition to the fast cooking times and versatility of a pressure cooker, homeowners and professional chefs alike prefer the flavors of food that was cooked in such an appliance. The reason is quite simple. Since there is high pressure inside the cooking chamber, this pushes all the individual flavors and aromas of the different ingredients into the main ingredient such as meats. This gives the meal a more robust taste compared to one that is cooked in a slow cooker.
Another advantage of pressure cookers is that you don’t need to put in too much liquid into what you’re cooking to obtain the flavors that you require. In slow cookers, you will typically immerse your ingredients in stock. As you slowly cook your meal, the liquid will be reduced making it highly concentrated. Unfortunately, if your meal is supposed to be a bit dry, you’d still have to drain the liquid after cooking.
The only downside to the pressure cooker, of course, is the price. Imagine combining a variety of cooking methods into one convenient pot and integrate into the system a host of highly advanced technologies to make cooking a lot easier, effortless, and faster. These alone will surely net a really hefty price. As such, pressure cookers, especially the electronic ones, are not really for the average family who is working on a really tight budget. A slow cooker will be more appropriate in such a case.
If you have the budget for it, a pressure cooker is by far the better of the two cooking appliances. It is versatile, cooks fast, and very energy efficient. But if your concern is the hefty price tag, then a slow cooker should be fine.