Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cooker – Which Appliance Is Best?

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Pressure cookers and slow cookers are two of the most popular home kitchen appliances. However, if you’re short on space, or on a tight budget then you might consider choosing one over the other.

Pressure cookers are more versatile than slow cookers making them the better appliance. However, appliances such as an Instant Pot offer the ability to pressure cook, slow cook and more in a single appliance, which makes them a favourite among many home cooks.

Ultimately, a pressure cooker uses the pressure created by steam to cook foods quickly. Meanwhile, a slow cooker uses low heat over an extended period of time to cook foods slowly.

However, if you’re looking to stick to a traditional pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot and still undecided on whether a pressure cooker or slow cooker might be best then there’s a couple of things you’ll want to consider.

What Is A Pressure Cooker?

You can purchase electrical or stove-top pressure cookers, and while both cook the food using a different form the way in which the appliance works is relatively the same.

That’s because pressure cookers have an air-tight sealed lid that, once the heat rises inside – it’s impossible to take off until it cools back down.

The liquid inside of the pressure cooker whether it be present in the food and ingredients or added separately then turns into steam that infuses back into the food cooking it under high pressure.

What Can You Cook In A Pressure Cooker?

Pressure cookers work with a variety of different foods, including but not limited to;

  • Beans
  • Stews
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Lentils
  • Artichokes
  • Squash
  • Soups
  • Potatoes
  • Chicken

What Is A Slow Cooker?

Slow cookers are electric cookers that cook food at a very low temperature. Given this, it’s often safe to leave a slow cooker on for hours through the night, or even if you leave the house.

What Can You Cook In A Slow Cooker?

Slow cookers can cook a variety of different foods, including but not limited to;

  • Beans
  • Beef
  • Stews
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Soup
  • Squash
  • Bread
  • Lamb
  • Desserts

Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker – Which Is Best?

Below I’ve gone ahead and broken down both pressure cookers and slow cookers based on what might be important to you from a kitchen appliance;

Versatility

The majority of pressure cookers are incredibly versatile and allow for other cooking, baking and cleaning techniques such as; sterilizing, canning, boiling, braising and poaching.

While there are hundreds of slow cooker recipe books and thousands of slow cooker recipes, that’s exactly all you can do with a slow cooker, cook slowly.

However, with a slow cooker, you are able to open the lid and add additional ingredients as you cook. This means that if you need to cook meat for six hours but veggies for two you can do that, all in one pot.

This isn’t possible with a pressure cooker as once the lid is locked you can’t open it without depressurizing. Requiring you to cook different ingredients multiple different times/ways.

Cooking Speed

Meals in a pressure cooker take on average 70% less time when compared to an oven and a stove, and therefore are the better appliance if you’re looking for quick, healthy, homecooked meals.

Unsurprisingly, slow cookers cook food slowly on low heat over an extended period of time. This often requires you to be incredibly prepared and organised in getting dinner into the slow cooker early morning for dinner that evening.

Running Costs

The running costs of a pressure cooker or slow cooker are going to depend on two key factors; the length of time the appliance is used, and its size.

Larger pressure cookers and slow cookers will cost more to run when compared to smaller models, however, in the vast majority of situations, both appliances are cheaper to run than other kitchen appliances such as an oven.

This is despite the fact that a slow cooker often requires upwards of four hours to cook a meal.

Initial Appliance Cost

Pressure cookers cost between $30 and $300 in price depending on the manufacturer and the way in which the pressure cooker works.

You’ll generally find that stovetop pressure cookers are cheaper than electrical pressure cookers as they are a specially formed pan whereas electrical pressure cookers have electrical components inside making them more expensive.

Slow cookers cost between $30 and $150 depending on the size and the manufacturer. You’ll generally find that slow cookers with a larger capacity cost more money compared to smaller ones with premium brands such as Crock-Pot costing more than the likes of Hamilton Beach.

Easiest To Use

A slow cooker is a relatively easy appliance to because it cooks food on low heat and can be monitored throughout the cooking duration by removing the lid.

A pressure cooker, on the other hand, requires a learning curve and sadly due to the structure and the way in which a pressure cooker works you’re unable to see if it’s actually working or whether your food is ready during the cooking process.

This makes a slow cooker more popular for first-time cooks and students who are moving out to live on their own for the first time.

Cleaning

Both pressure cookers and slow cookers come with an interior pot which means that there’s only one pot to clean.

Slow cooker owners can even take this minimal cleaning effort a step further by using slow cooker pot liners which are single-use and can be disposed of after use, therefore, requiring no cleaning up after cooking.

With both appliances, however, it is important to safely wipe down the exterior on a regular basis to avoid any bacteria buildup over time.

Healthiest

Cooking in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker is relatively healthy (provided the food you put inside is healthy).

However, because slow cookers rely on low heat the chances of nutrient destruction are significantly lower when compared to a pressure cooker.