Helpful appliances in the kitchen can make preparing your meals just a little bit easier. Whether you’re planning a pre workout meal or looking to find ways to make home cooked meals easier, slow cookers and pressure cookers are great options.
Here’s my quick pressure cooker beef and Guinness stew recipe.
Pressure cookers and slow cookers are two of the most popular small appliances to have in the kitchen for even cooking and simple preparation. But, what one is the better option for you? Let’s look at some of the common uses and pros and cons of each appliance…
WHAT ARE PRESSURE COOKERS GOOD FOR?
The beauty of both pressure cookers and slow cookers is that they make your clean-up about as simple as it can get by cooking your meals in one pot. But there are important differences to note between the appliances, and the one that works the best for you will boil down to (pun intended!) the type of foods you like to cook the most and the speed of meal preparation that works for your family.
Check out my pressure cooker lamb shank recipe here.
A pressure cooker, as the name suggests, cooks food rapidly with a tremendous amount of pressure that builds up within the cooker. The special lid creates an airtight seal that allows pressure to build from steam, which, in turn, cooks the food. You don’t need much liquid, so there aren’t any excess fats, like oils and butter, needed to cook the food.
Pros of the Pressure Cooker
- These cookers can whip up some delicious meals rapidly. They’re especially handy for casseroles and rice-based meals for a one-pot dish.
- Pressure cookers can evenly cook just about anything, from a roast chicken or steak to noodles and beans.
- You can cook things that don’t require much liquid, since the cooker creates its own liquid from steam.
Cons of the Pressure Cooker
- Pressure cookers can be dangerous. Older models have had manufacturer flaws that have caused pressure cookers to explode or malfunction in some way. A safe, modern appliance is essential.
- Cooking times can take a little while to perfect. You’ll need to play around with a pressure cooker to learn the best cooking times for different foods.
WHAT ARE SLOW COOKERS GOOD FOR?
Slow cookers are one of the best small appliances for cooking healthy, homemade meals. In fact, cooking foods in a slow cooker has been linked to an increased nutritional profile for family meals, cutting out unnecessary processed foods and ingredients by giving you more control over your meal preparation.
In addition to their potential health benefits, slow cookers are known for their thorough cooking of foods that can cook in liquid. The slow, simmering cook of these appliances tenderises food while cooking them over several hours, usually between six and eight. Many slow cookers even switch to a warming setting automatically after cooking completes to keep food warm for several hours longer.
Pros of the Slow Cooker
- Slow cookers can make cheaper meats taste more expensive by giving them some extra tenderness through the slow cooking process.
- Since foods simmer in the slow cooker for several hours, you can get a tremendous amount of flavor that you might not see from a pressure cooker or oven.
- Slow cookers work best with foods that have liquid, like stews, soups, or gravies.
- These cookers work on somewhat of a “set-it-and-forget-it” approach, as they don’t need much interference besides an occasional stirring to cook food thoroughly.
Cons of the Slow Cooker
- You won’t get your meal cooked fast, which can be a drawback for busy families.
- Slow cookers won’t work well for foods that you don’t want to cook in liquids.
So what do you think? Which type of appliance would be best for you and your family? Personally, I have both a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. The pressure cooker is great for quickly cooking in the evening and I love to use my slow cooker at this time of year to keep mulled wine warm when guests come over. Let me know if you have either cooker and what you like to use it for in the comments below.