Pressure Cooker vs. Slow Cooker - Which is Right for You?

pressure cooker vs. slow cooker debate

"Pressure cooker vs. slow cooker." That seems to be question on a lot of people’s minds. So, which is right for you? Deciding which device to buy or use may seem like the debate of the century, and while both are beneficial for different reasons, it’s not financially logical to invest in both. So we’re just going to run down through the benefits for both to help you identify your next favorite kitchen tool.

What’s great about Pressure Cookers?

  • They prepare meals that normally would take hours, and they lower your cooking time to an hour or less in most cases.
  • They are great for tenderizing meat. The high pressure and trapped steam forces liquid into the food, resulting in a faster cook time and loosening tough meats.
  • If you live in high altitude areas, you may notice that the pressure of the air can affect your normal cooking times. Using a pressure cooker normalizes that and performs just the same no matter the altitude.

What’s great about Slow Cookers?

  • They extend the cooking period by several hours so that you don’t have to tend to your stove while you’re away.
  • They also tenderize meat as it sits in broth for a long period of time, allowing it to marinade for hours.

What’s the timing for preparing with these appliances?

While both have vastly different completion times that cater to your needs, the prep times are pretty much exactly the same. The slow cooker extends cooking traditional vegetable and beef dishes in a matter of 8 or so hours, and no one has to tend to it. While the pressure cooker minimizes cooking time to about 50 minutes to an hour, it requires someone to keep an eye on the process for some time. The pressure cooker takes about 15 minutes or so to pressurize, 15-20 minutes to cook, and an additional 20 or so minutes to allow the pressure to drop naturally.

pressure cooker vs. slow cooker display

What we noticed about the dishes prepared in each

In terms of performance, we noticed that while they came close to being equal, pressure cookers efficiently tenderized the meat and cooked it fully while the slow cooker actually overcooked the meat and dried it out a little in some cases. While this may be due to human error, there is a high risk of this occurring with a slow cooker since, well, it’s cooking for several hours.

However, since the ingredients sat in the pot for many, many hours in the slow cooker, we did notice that the flavors have extracted into the gravy/broth and had a richer taste.

The Ultimate Verdict?

Pressure cookers are great for those quick meals. Need a heavy dish prepared in an hour or less? Pressurize it to speedy completion.

Slow cookers are great to extend cooking times for those days when you’ll be away from the stove. Are you a working adult who just can’t stand eating fast food daily? Plop a few ingredients into the pot, plug the device in, and let it simmer and cook your meals for 6-8 hours so that you can come home to a full meal.

At the end of the day, you should invest in the tool that caters to your timing needs. But if it comes down to the actual taste and flavors, the pressure cooker has a slight advantage for maintaining the delectable flavors and keeping the meats from overcooking.

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