Pressure Cooker vs. Slow Cooker: Which One Is Right for You?

Pressure cookers and slow cookers seem similar, but they are actually very different methods of cooking food. A pressure cooker uses hot steam and pressure to quickly cook food, such as dried beans, faster than conventional cooking methods. Slow cookers use lower temperatures and longer cooking times to slowly cook food, such as meat and stews.

Both the pressure cooker and the slow cooker have their advantages in the kitchen, and there are even some appliances that combine both pressure cooking and slow cooking in the same machine like the Nesco 3-in-1 Digital Pressure Cooker.

Pressure Cooker Fagor

Pressure Cookers

Pressure cookers are commonly associated with dramatically reducing rice cooking times but it is easy to make a multitude of dishes like dulce de leche by pressure cooking condensed milk, roasting garlic, and even homemade bread! The science behind a pressure cooker is simple. Less liquid is used for steaming or boiling combined with a shorter cook time than when using an ordinary saucepan keeping your meal vitamin and mineral rich. Like most anything in the kitchen, get creative and before you know it your new favorite recipe might be pressure cooked rosemary risotto or red wine braised beef shank.

In addition to cooking ready-to-eat foods, pressure cookers are also essential for the home canning enthusiast. Without a pressure cooker, it is difficult to get canned fruits or vegetables heated to a high enough temperature to prevent the dangerous growth of botulism. With the safety and efficiency of a pressure cooker, it is easy to make and store batches of canned tomatoes, canned beans or even canned strawberry jam. These kinds of healthy homemade treats save you money and make for delightful gifts.

Slow Cookers

Ninja Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is almost the opposite of the pressure cooker. Instead of using fast, high heat to cook meals quickly, it uses slow, low heat to simmer meals over several hours or even over the course of a day. This makes a slow cooker an essential appliance for the busy professional. Simply add meats, vegetables and liquids in the morning, set the device on low and after a long day of work you’ll have a thick, hearty stew. Despite its low heat, a slow cooker is a perfectly safe way to cook roasts, chicken breasts and even ground beef.

Although slow cookers are often associated with soups and stews, there are thousands of slow cooker recipes you can choose from. It’s not just an appliance that cooks meat, it is entirely possible to cook a variety of delicious desserts in one, including a variety of breads and cakes.

Slow cooker bread recipes allow dough to rise as it slowly cooks, eliminating the knead and rise cycles involved in other bread recipes. Slow cooker cake recipes similarly cook flour, sugar, butter and other ingredients into a delicious, moist cake. Because the slow cooker keeps moisture locked in during cooking, slow cooker breads and cakes are usually rich, chewy and delectable.

Combination Pressure & Slow Cookers

Depending on how you may plan to use these appliances, you may prefer to get an appliance that can do both of these cooking techniques. They all range in features, but a three-in-one multi cooker typically offers multiple options: pressure cooking, slow cooking and special settings for cooking meat or warming leftovers.

Pressure Cooker

The three-in-one pressure cooker serves meals at home or is easy to take to the office party, family potluck or holiday party. With a combination pressure cooker and slow cooker, you have everything you need in a single appliance saving you cabinet space.

Essential Kitchen Appliances?

Whether you prefer a pressure cooker or a slow cooker, both of them are popular kitchen appliances that are essential for anyone that likes a home-cooked meal. These kinds of appliances have long been the home cook’s secret to save time from slaving over a hot stove for hours.

Simply prepare the ingredients, set the desired temperature and walk away. It will do all the work which frees you up from cleaning a huge sink full of pans and leaves you some extra time to do the finishing touches before your guests arrive.

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Jeff Flowers

About Author

Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.


  1. SHDCook says

    Hi Jeff, Thanks for the article. I got a pot that can do both pressure cooking and slow cooking from MEC cookware. These pots can actually be used for both types of cooking. They can be used for pressure cooking because the pot can lock steam inside by a process called ‘steam condensation’ and they can be used for slow cooking by setting the stove on low. These pots are made of 100% pure and all natural clay, which they claim are healthy and non toxic. I do all kinds of cooking in these pots and it turns out great without any fuss. I cook tougher meats and beans that may take few extra minutes, veggies and lentils may take less time. I love cooking in these pots.

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