Pressure cookers and crock pots are both popular cooking appliances in today’s modern homes. However, they offer very different uses and benefits, and they also have different weaknesses. Which one is better for you? See the comparisons between pressure cooker vs crock pot below to find out.
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Pressure Cooker Overview
In general, there are three characteristics that are commonly associated with a pressure cooker. First, a pressure cooker cooks food by using steam at high pressure. Second, a pressure cooker cooks at a high temperature level. Third, a pressure cooker is convenient for cooking quickly in a short time. See also: Pressure Cooker vs Steamer.
Although pressure cooking has been performed since a long time ago, the industrial revolution has upgraded the appliances to become more advanced. The most common models are stovetop pressure cookers, but there are now electric pressure cookers as well. Modern pressure cookers are really durable and often equipped with additional features, such as temperature adjustment and timer.
For both stovetop and electric models, the basic mechanism is the same. You need to put a small amount of liquid along with the food. A pressure cooker cooks by increasing the internal temperature level past the boiling point, hence turning the liquid into steam which increases the internal pressure. The heated steam can get absorbed into the food and distribute the heat inside the food. So, both the heated steam and increased pressure make the food get cooked quickly.
Pressure Cooker Pros
There are several distinctive advantages of a pressure cooker vs crock pot. First of all, a pressure cooker is very fast and efficient. It can cook much more quickly and thoroughly than other cooking methods. In general, a pressure cooker only takes one-third of the time needed by conventional cooking methods like baking, frying, and boiling. So, a pressure cooker can be an excellent choice if you are looking for a cooking appliance that can save your time.
Additionally, due to the reduced cooking time, a pressure cooker is generally more energy-efficient. A stovetop model generally consumes less gas than conventional methods. An electric model also consumes less electricity than microwaves and other electric cookware devices. Also, a pressure cooker uses significantly less water than boiling.
By the way, it is possible to cook multiple kinds of foods at once in a pressure cooker. This is definitely very practical and convenient, and you can make your cooking routine even more streamlined. Note that pressure cooking is suitable for a wide range of foods, such as vegetable, grains, beans, meat, and fish – there are just a few exceptions such as pasta, noodles, oatmeal, cereals, and cranberries.
Finally, pressure cooking always cooks food at higher temperature and pressure levels than boiling. In other words, it may be more effective than boiling when processing foods which require high amounts of heat for killing microbes and toxins.
Pressure Cooker Cons
There are some weaknesses of a pressure cooker vs crock pot. First of all, a pressure cooker uses extreme pressure levels inside it, so it is dangerous if used inappropriately. This may also mean that a pressure cooker does not allow unattended cooking. Make sure that you follow the usage instructions to avoid any accident.
A pressure cooker often has many separate parts and a considerable weight. So, it is a little more difficult to clean and maintain. It is also generally more expensive than other kitchen appliances.
Crock Pot Overview
Pressure cookers and crock pots are almost entirely different things. They offer very different features and benefits. With a crock pot, there are also three common characteristics. First, a crock pot uses some water or broth to cook, as it is designed to simmer food. Second, a crock pot cooks food slowly in a steady temperature range. Third, a crock pot is useful for unattended cooking for certain meals, especially meats, soups, stews, and pot roasts.
Slow cookers, also known as crock pots, have become a staple cooking appliance in many homes for decades. They were first introduced in the ‘50s, and they have become very popular due to the ease of use and convenience. According to Wikipedia, the term “crock pot” is actually a trademark of Sunbeam Products, but this term has been used synonymously with slow cookers by many people.
To use a crock pot, simply put the food in the container along with the required amount of liquid. The liquid is important because the crock pot relies on the liquid to cook. The food needs to be fully submerged by the liquid. After it is turned on, the crock pot increases the temperature to a certain level. Once the liquid has reached the desired level, the temperature may be automatically lowered a little and then maintained for several hours.
The liquid will get absorbed into the food while bringing heat and extracting flavors. That’s why a crock pot can make flavors rich and meats so tender. Typically, a crock pot requires 6 – 8 hours to cook, but some recipes may take shorter time.
Crock Pot Pros
The first advantage of a crock pot is that it can cook for multiple hours and switch to the ‘warming mode’ automatically, allowing unattended cooking. Cooking with a crock pot has virtually zero risk of overcooking or burning. This is very beneficial for busy people; you can start cooking meats or stews at night or before going to work, so that they can be ready by the morning or by the time you arrive at home.
The next distinctive advantage of a crock pot is that it is really great for cooking meats, especially the tough ones. Slow cooking with a crock pot can make meats very tender while retaining the flavors. Meals that use various herbs and spices can also benefit from slow cooking because of the extended time to extract the flavors.
Finally, a crock pot consumes less electricity than most other electric kitchen appliances. It will not significantly increase your electricity bill. A crock pot is generally easy to clean and maintain, too.
Crock Pot Cons
A crock pot also has some disadvantages. First, it is not suitable for all kinds of food. It is only suitable for meals that are normally cooked with water or liquid. You can’t use it for other meals. It is also not suitable for grains, such as rice and barley.
Second, a crock pot is very susceptible to power outage. It cooks slowly, so in the event of a power outage, there is a risk that the crock pot hasn’t finished cooking. This is especially bad for unattended cooking, as you won’t know whether the crock pot has finished cooking or not.
Finally, a crock pot is not able to deactivate enzymes and toxins in vegetables and beans quickly enough. So, for cooking vegetables and beans, you have to blanch them first before putting them in a crock pot. This is to kill and deactivate their enzymes and toxins.
Pressure Cooker vs Crock Pot
|Pressure Cooker||Crock Pot|
|- Uses a small amount of liquid to cook with hot steam at high pressure||- Needs more liquid to cover the food, cooks with hot liquid at a steady temperature|
|- Cooks very quickly||- Cooks slowly over multiple hours, suitable for unattended cooking|
|- Suitable for various foods except pasta, noodles, oatmeal, cereals, and cranberries||- Only suitable for some meals, such as meats, soups, stews, and pot roasts|
|- More difficult to clean and maintain||- Easier to clean and maintain|
|- Less susceptible to power outage||- Very susceptible to power outage|
As you can see, a pressure cooker vs crock pot has very different benefits and weaknesses. A pressure cooker is generally more recommended, as it is suitable for various foods and it can cook very quickly. It is also less susceptible to power outage. However, a crock pot may be a great choice for cooking meats, soups, stews, and pot roasts, and for unattended cooking.