As you know many electric pressure cookers also include slow cooking as a function so it doesn't suprise me when people are curious how similar these two cooking methods are.
For instance both slow cooking and pressure cooking are both good at tenderizing meats.
Both are also good at hands free cooking in a closed environment. Both are also good ways to prepare one-pot meals.
So what's the difference anyway?
what's the difference between Slow Cooking and Pressure Cooking
The main similarities mentioned above are just about the only main similarities between pressure cooking and slow cooking.
Pressure cookers can kill bacteria and preserve foods while slow cookers cannot.
Yes, both pressure cookers and slow cookers offer a viable alternative to the more typical methods of stovetop cooking, but the types of foods and meals that you can prepare with these two, as well as the way they each work, is surprisingly different!
Let's take a look at some of the most important distinctions between pressure cooking and slow cooking, so that you can make an optimally informed decision about which appliance is right for your home kitchen and best meets your culinary needs!
The Benefits of Pressure Cookers
As the name would suggest, the key feature of a pressure cooker is, well, pressure! A pressure cooker is a tightly sealed container which doesn’t allow steam to escape from within it. As the liquid inside boils and evaporates, more steam is created, and—with nowhere to escape to—the pressure begins to rise significantly.
The benefits of this high-pressure environment are great. The key ones to keep in mind are that cooking with a pressure cooker is faster, more energy efficient, and retains more of your food’s natural nutritional content than most other methods of food preparation.
To use a pressure cooker, you only need to add a small amount of liquid alongside whatever food is being cooked. This means that important vitamins and minerals which may be water-soluble are not submerged in water in the same way that they would be during the boiling process, and so they keep hold of all of that healthy goodness!
The Benefits of Slow Cookers
When compared to the impressive technology behind the process of pressure cooking, slow cookers seem a little more mundane and self-explanatory. It’s cooking, but slowly and at low temps!
However, you shouldn’t discount them quite yet! Slow cookers can be a fantastic, hassle-free way to prepare a meal simply and in a short amount of time, before allowing it to cook itself to perfection ready to be served whenever the time is right.
Slow cookers (also known as crockpots) are designed to simmer food slowly thought a multi-hour period. Some recipes like venison roast, may suggest that you cook for as long as eight or ten hours, and so if you’re just looking for a quick and easy bite to eat a slow cooker isn’t your best bet.
That said, the trick to slow cooking is to plan ahead. If you can work out the timing correctly based on what you’ll be doing that day, you can prepare and chuck-in several ingredients, turn it on, walk away, and come back at dinner time to find them transmogrified into a delectable stew. There’s nothing quite like it!
The hallmark of slow cooked food is tenderness. Meat falls off the bone, vegetables burst with flavor. It’s a great, hearty culinary experience.
So is Pressure Cooking Better than Slow Cooking?
While slow cookers and pressure cookers share some basic similarities, their specific functions separate them quite distinctly from each other, and they are best-suited to radically different cooking tasks.
Both offer a fantastic, healthy, and efficient option to traditional cooking methods, and each typically provides a one-pot solution for feeding an entire family or group of guests with just one cooking vessel. Think of the time saved washing-up!
If you’re looking to cook quickly and to prepare a variety of dishes nutritiously, effectively, and in a timely manner, then a pressure cooker is a must have item. It is the more versatile appliance of the two, with slow cooked recipes tending more towards casseroles, stews, and soups.
Can I use my pressure cooker as a slow cooker?
Yes! In fact, most electric pressure cookers double as really great slow cookers too.
You just need to learn how to use the slow cooker setting and you can enjoy both worlds 🙂
At the end of the day, pressure cookers and slow cookers are designed to carry out different jobs, and each does its job extremely well. You may well find out that having both is the only real solution to this comparison, and that’s never a bad thing!