One of the most common things that families and moms in particular, complain about when it comes to family life challenges; is the lack of time. Lack of time for the details. We are all living crazy, busy lifestyles that keep us on the go from morning until night. Being that this is today’s reality, who really has the time to cook a meal from scratch every night? Not many of us. And even if we do, it’s definitely not on a regular basis.
Despite this, most of us would still like to come home to a piping hot, delicious home cooked meal at night. The convenience of take away is great but nothing beats the health benefits of home cooking. So, what can we do to alleviate our workload a little bit? How can we still have healthy, home-cooked meals even though we don’t have the time required to make them? The answer lies in utilizing the best cook pots technology can offer us. Cook pots can not only save us time, but they allow families to have the food they crave with very little prep time. Perfect for our busy schedules!
Of course, you have many choices when it comes to an all in one cooker. There are pressure cookers, slow cookers and crock pots.
On the surface, they look quite similar but the way they work can actually be quite different. It’s important to know their differences so that you make the best choice for your cooking style and your family’s needs. So before running out to buy one, let’s take a look at the differences and similarities between these three options.
Basically, although we mention three distinct items; there really are only two. Pressure cookers and slow cookers. The biggest difference between them is actually fairly straightforward. Just like the names suggest, a slow cooker will cook slowly and a pressure cooker is under pressure and therefore the cook time is much faster. So how do crock pots fit in? Well, actually a crock pot is a slow cooker. It’s simply just a brand name that has become so commonplace that people tend to think it’s a completely different item. However, just like Kleenex is just a tissue and Frigidaire is really just a refrigerator, so is a crock pot nothing more than a slow cooker.
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Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cookers
Pressure cookers are pretty much like any other pot or pan you might have in your kitchen but with one small yet crucial exception. The lids on pressure cookers are designed to clamp tightly in place. They create an air tight seal that traps the steam inside the pot. Because the air can’t escape, the steam builds up and therefore creates pressure. This then raises the temperature and ensures that your food will cook up to seventy percent faster than it would on your stovetop. Speed is definitely an asset here as a pressure cooker can even cook frozen food.
Another great feature is that a pressure cooker uses steam to cook your food, therefore your food will remain moist. Some pressure cookers can be used on the stovetop -these would be the traditional kind however the newer models are available with electrical power cords and can be used on any counter top.
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Slow cookers on the other hand, cook food gently by simmering it for anywhere from four to ten hours. Unlike a pressure cooker, you cannot start with frozen food in a slow cooker and they are never used on the stovetop. All models of crock pots and slow cookers are used on the countertop with an electrical power outlet. All you need to do, is fill them up with the ingredients for your recipe, set the timer and plug it in. You can feel safe having food cook overnight or even when you are out of the house for the day.
One of the benefits of cooking your food long and slow is that it yields more tender and juicier meats. This makes slow cookers a great option for tenderizing cuts of meat that are typically cheaper and tougher. As well, slow cookers are very convenient because they can be used anywhere. No stove needed! All you need are your ingredients and an electrical outlet. Finally, after your food is cooked, you can transport it or keep it fresh in the pot inside your fridge. This makes the slow cooker a great option for a potluck or communal barbecue events. Simply carry the inside pot with you and bring your food wherever you go!
A handy tip to really make sure that your meats have the best flavor possible is to sear them before you use either a pressure cooker or a crock pot. Both pressure cookers and slow cookers don’t allow liquid to evaporate. This is important to note as you don’t want to add more liquid than necessary. As well, never fill your slow cooker or pressure cooker to more than two-thirds full.
These are just a few general tips but of course it is always best to read the instruction manual that comes with your cooker. Each brand and model can be slightly different.
Crock Pots vs Slow Cookers
The original Crock-Pot is different from other slow cookers because the inside container has heating elements along the sides and the bottom. However, both are the same in that they have a glass lid, a pot and a heating element. Slow cooker will generally have a metal pot while Crock-Pots will have a ceramic or porcelain interior.
Technically, both a Crock-Pot and other slow cookers are electric heating ovens. All have a ceramic or sometimes porcelain interior pot that fits inside the outer one and has a glass lid to trap the heat and moisture inside.
There are two settings; high and low for cooking and a “Keep Warm” setting for after cooking. Slow cookers cook a slower rate with a lower temperature.
Slow cookers are very safe ways to cook. With a long, slow cook time. Slow rising heat and a tightly covered container, they are one of the safest ways to cook. This is why you can put them on overnight or while you are away from the house.
Additionally, instead of fitting inside a container, the slow cooker pot will sit on a base that contains the heating element. Therefore, a slow cooker is lacking heat on the sides. Crock-Pots offer a full coverage heat while slow cookers are from the bottom up. However, the hot plate will have numbered settings between one and five, which is more varied than a crock pot. This can sometimes lead to burning the food at the bottom of the pot. For this reason, slow cookers require occasional stirring and because of the lifting of the lid to stir, additional time is required to cook. Slow cookers have a more uneven heating and are best for soups, stews and smaller foods. Larger items such as a roast would do better in a crock pot.
5 Tips for Properly Using a Pressure Cooker
- Steam is crucial to making a pressure cooker work properly. So, don’t let it out! If your steam is escaping then it means your pressure is too high. If this happens, simply lower the heat until it dissipates.
- Being eager is normal but don’t try to remove your pressure cooker’s lid too quickly. If you do then you’ll have to run the lid under cold water. Just be sure not to allow the water to seep into the valves.
- You must manage the heat. If you’re cooking on an electric burner, using two to make sure you prevent burning, is a great trick. If one is set to high and the other to low you can play with the temperature between both. Start cooking on the high burner then switch to the lower temperature once you’ve reached the right amount of pressure.
- Do you live in a high-altitude area? If yes, then this will actually cause you to alter your cooking times from the recommended ones. Higher altitudes mean extend cooking times in order to get the same result.
- Pressure cookers work very quickly, so don’t get distracted. It’s important to start timing your food as soon as you reach full pressure. This will prevent burning and over cooking.
4 Tips for Properly Using a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot
- Be sure to not raise the lid and peek at your food! That’s why there’s a glass lid to look through. Because even just lifting the lid for a few seconds can release heat and potentially add twenty minutes or more to your cook time.
- Dairy products don’t do well at high temperatures for long periods of time. If you add them too early they will curdle. So, if your recipe calls for dairy then be sure to add it in towards the end. Closer to the last few minutes as possible.
- Ground herbs are also picky about how long they are exposed to the heat. Adding them in the last thirty or forty-five minutes of cooking, will prevent them from becoming bitter.
- The inside of a slow cooker is ceramic. It’s important to never put your slow cooker’s ceramic insert immediately into cold water after cooking. The drastic temperature change may cause it to crack.
Top 3 Things to Consider When Deciding Between a Pressure Cooker and a Slow Cooker.
When it comes to buying a pressure cooker or a slow cooker; there are three important factors that you should consider.
- Which cooker better suits your needs
- Design and functionality of the cooker
- Price range
1. Which cooker better suits your needs?
After learning the differences between a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, determining which one best suit your needs, is really the first step. Do you want a pot that will cook quickly anything from fresh to frozen food? Do you prefer to set your meal in the morning and come home to a ready-made meal?
2. Design of the cooker
Design is about both the look of your cooker and its functionality. Do you prefer kitchen appliances that are stylish and fancy? Or perhaps modern? Is minimalism your thing? But it’s also more than this. Functionality is key. Where will you store it? In a drawer? Will it fit? On the stove top? Is it dishwasher safe? All of these questions are ones that will help guide you to the right choice for you.
3. Price range
Like in everything else, there are both low end to high end options when it comes to pressure cookers and slow cookers. As well, there is the question of how much will you use it? If you plan on using your cook pot multiple times per week, then perhaps splurging on a higher end model will be beneficial. If this is a once a year item, then maybe not.
Once you consider the options from all these angles, it is easier to figure out which one will be better for you and your family. However, the decisions don’t end there! Perhaps you are leaning towards a pressure cooker-you envision the speed and ease of whipping up a delicious meal made easy with a pressure cooker. Or maybe a slow cooker is more your style. Throw in the ingredients before you leave for work in the morning and don’t think about it until it’s time to eat at the end of the day.
Either way, your decision will be helped by the following list of the best rated pressure cookers, best rated slow cookers and best rated crock pots of 2019. May these reviews help you make the right decision for you and your family!
Top 10 best pressure cookers, slow cookers and crock pots of 2019
1. Mueller UltraPot 6Q Pressure Cooker Instant Crock 10 in 1 Hot Pot with German ThermaV Tech, Cook 2 Dishes at Once, BONUS Tempered Glass Lid incl, Saute, Steamer, Slow, Rice, Yogurt, Maker, Sterilizer
User reviews 4.6 out of 5 stars fro, 673 reviews on Amazon
- This cook pot is unlike many others on the market. Options to manually input cooking time or use the pre-programmed smart programs that are pre-set for various types of meals.
- Also has the option to cook two dishes at the same time. Comes with a bonus stainless steel steamer basket and other accessories.
2. ELECHOMES Electric Pressure Cooker 6 Qt with Stainless Steel Inner Pot 9-in-1 Crock Pot Multi-use Programmable Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Cake Maker, Sauté Steamer, Warmer, and Sterilizer
User reviews: 5.0 out of 5 stars from 23 reviews on Amazon
- This is a multifunctional pressure cooker that can replace nine kitchen appliances. With this option, you will no longer need individual pressure cooker, slow cooker, sauté pan, rice cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, egg cooker, steamer and warmer.
- With fourteen pre-set smart programs, this is a cooker that can do it all.
3. Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-Quart 7-in-1, One-Touch Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer with New Easy Seal Lid
User reviews: 4.1 out of 5 stars from 214 revies on Amazon
This is a cooker that is great for beginner pressure cooker users. An upgrade from the basic model but still user-friendly. It cooks fast and can replace up to seven kitchen appliances.
- Up to fourteen pre-set programs will help you to have delicious food on the table in no time at all.
User reviews 4.0 out of 5 stars from 73 reviews on Amazon
- A programmable slow cooker that serves eight people or more
- Digital countdown control lets you program cook times anywhere from 30 minutes up to 20 hours
- Platinum polished finish with soft grip chrome plated handles
- Dishwasher safe stoneware and glass lid for easy cleanup
- Automatically switches to Warm after cooking is complete, allowing you to serve at an ideal temperature
5. Crock-pot SCCPCCP350-SS Programmable Digital Casserole Crock Slow Cooker, 3.5 quart, Stainless Steel
User reviews: 4.2 out of 5 stars from 130 reviews
- A slow cooker with controls that allow you to program many recipes ranging from 30 minutes to 20 hours.
- Digital timer counts down cooking time
- Automatically shifts to warm setting when cook time is complete
- Secure and easy carrying system for easy transport
6. Simfonio Electric Pressure Cooker 8Qt – Simpot 10-in-1 Steamer Pot Rice Cooker Slow Cooker Egg Cooker Multi Cooker Yogurt Maker Cake Maker- Stainless Steel Hot Pot with Pressure Cooker Cookbook
User reviews 4.8 out of 5 stars from 247 reviews on Amazon
- The Safest Electric Pressure Cooker with 10 in 1 cooking programs.
- Simple to Use: The larger LCD panel with visual symbols and one-knob makes this very user-friendly.
7. COMFEE’ Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, Steamer, Stewpot, Sauté All in One (12 Digital Cooking Programs) Multi Cooker with 20 cups cooked rice (5.2Qt) Large Capacity. 24 Hours Preset & Instant Keep Warm
User reviews 4.4 out of 5 stars from 131 reviews on Amazon
- 12 different digital cooking programs
- Designed for large portions, perfect for family gatherings, parties and other large communal events.
User reviews: 3.7 out of 5 stars from 36 reviews on Amazon
- Large capacity smart cooker. 15 built in programs.
- Multiple ceramic inner pots that cook different foods.
9. IAIQ Premium 6 Quart Pressure Cooker with 13-in-1 Cook Modes Including Slow Cooker and Manual Electric Pressure Cooker | Stainless Steel
User reviews: 4.9 out of 5 stars from 146 reviews on Amazon
- This multi cooker replaces 7 appliances and is made from stainless steel. Easy to clean.
- A unique feature are the pre-set recipes and mobile app. Available for iOS and Android, this feature can change your meal time inspiration!
10. Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6 Quart, Deluxe Accessory kit, Recipes, Pressure Cook, Slow Cook, Rice Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Egg Cook, Sauté, Steamer, Copper
User reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars from 1183 reviews on Amazon
- 9 appliances in 1. 15 instant touch programs to choose from or manual input.
- Many accessories included such as a tempered glass lid, 2 egg racks/steaming trivets, ladle, rice paddle, cooking mitts, extra silicone sealing ring, stainless steel steaming basket, stainless steel inner cooking pot and a measuring cup.
No matter what your needs are, you’re bound to find something that suits your lifestyle and family meal time desires, within this list of pressure cookers and slow cookers. However, just remember that each come with their own advantages and unique features. The key to finding the right one is to evaluate what your needs are as a family and how a cook pot can best serve you. Pinpoint if it is a pressure cooker or a slow cooker or perhaps a Crock-Pot that is best for you. Evaluate the design and functionality of each. And finally, determine the best one in the price range that you feel comfortable with. Once you do all this, then you will have narrowed it down to the best cook pot for you! Remember, the goal is to make your life easier and your mealtimes enjoyable.