Slow Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker – What’s the Difference?

Slow Cooker. Pressure Cooker. Crock-Pot. What’s the difference, and should you own them all?

Start by asking yourself: what’s your cooking personality? Are you a plan-now-and-reap-rewards-later chef, or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-let’s-get-this-done-at-this-very-minute type of cook?

Slow Cooker versus Pressure Cooker

Your answer will help determine which cooking tool you’ll use most. More than likely your cooking personality will be influenced by the amount of time you have and how confident you are in your culinary skills. So while you may eventually own every type of appliance, it makes sense to start with the device you’re likely to use, and love, the most.

What Is a Slow Cooker and Why Do I Need One?

Slow Cooker

 

For those of us who love sticking to a plan, a slow cooker is our best friend. A slow cooker is a large electrical cooking device that cooks food very slowly.

Here are 4 reasons to own a slow cooker:

  1. Versatility of Recipes
    I know many of you are thinking that this piece of cookware limits you to sloppy stews, but in fact there are several different foods you can cook in it. From lasagna to pudding, there’s not much the slow cooker cannot do. For inspiration I’ll generally browse pinterest or go to allrecipes.com, which is a great resource for me.
  2. Not Just for Meat Lovers
    Are you a vegetarian, do you have one in your family, or are you a fan of Meatless Mondays? Well, meat eaters and vegetarians alike can enjoy the cost savings and convenience a slow cooker brings. There are plenty of recipes that will satisfy a vegetarian’s taste!
  3. Allows for Prep-and-Go Meals for a Busy Life
    Like many of you, I’m a busy person but still love having “real” meals. Because I work full time, go to school after work, and try to keep an active social life, I often have very little time to come home after work and make dinner. And eating out all the time doesn’t work for my pocketbook. So what’s left? Scrounging through the cabinets for snacks? (Peanut butter, banana, and raisins for dinner anyone?) The solution is easy: I make a big batch of something Sunday night and wake up to cooked food Monday morning!
  4. Easy to Use for Beginner Cooks
    The great thing about a slow cooker is you don’t have to be a Gordon Ramsay-level chef to make something absolutely delicious. It’s amazing, and if you’re ok with planning your meals, grocery shopping accordingly then give slow cookers a try!

Summary: Slow Cooker Advantages

  • Prep-and-go meals
  • Very versatile for both meat- and vegetable-based dishes
  • Safe and easy!

Summary: Slow Cooker Disadvantages

  • Not good for last-minute meals
  • Requires more preparation and planning
  • Uses More energy than pressure cooker

What Are Crock Pots?

More than likely you’ve heard the word “Crock-Pot” tossed around and you may be wondering what that is exactly. Is a Crock Pot a slow cooker?  Perhaps a slang word for someone who has lost their mind? Well if you guessed slow cooker then you’re right…well partially. A Crock-Pot is actually a specific brand of a slow cooker, but has a unique feature that most other slow cookers don’t have.

While slow cookers generally heat from the bottom a Crock-Pot heats from the bottom and sides of the device.  Aside from this, there is not much difference and I believe that you can choose a slow cooker based on reviews, price, or any other factors important to you.

So, let’s move onto pressure cookers, which are vastly different.

What Are Pressure Cookers and How Do They Work?

Pressure Cooker

Finally, for those of you that just want to get your food fast, let me introduce you to the pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is a sealed pot that uses steam to build pressure and cook fast.

It does two amazing things. First it raises the boiling point of water in the pot, and second it raises the pressure forcing liquid into the food.

Four reasons to own a pressure cooker:

  1. Quick Cooking
    This device is best used for foods that tend to take a lot of time to cook. Meats, roasts, stews, and beans are some of the main things that can be cooked using the pressure cooker and generally have a long cook time. Using a pressure cooker cuts the cook time by 25-50% and allows you to move onto your next task!
  2. Last Minute Cooking
    When I was a kid, my mother swore by the pressure cooker to cook the traditional South American meals she made for us at home. She liked to choose meals based on her mood and so didn’t always plan ahead. Most of the dishes she cooked involved either lentils or beans and since she wasn’t a fan of canned foods she always bought the legumes dry. If you’re familiar with bagged beans you know that they have to soak for several hours before being cooked, which can take a lot of time. A pressure cooker, on the other hand, cooks them in no time. That was a boon when my mom was scrambling to put dinner on the table after work.
  3. Energy Efficient Device
    Want to save money on your energy bill? Using a pressure cooker is one of the most energy-efficient ways to cook a meal, and can save you money if you opt to use it over traditional cookware. You can save an estimated 70% on energy costs which will make you and your wallet happy!
  4. Pressure Cooking Will Save Vitamins in Vegetables
    Trying to eat more veggies? Not only will you be able to quickly cook them in your pressure cooker, but a pressure cooker preserves the good stuff inside your vegetables that make them so healthy.

A Word of Caution on Pressure Cooking Safety

The pressure cookers of today are a lot safer than older models, but it’s still important to exercise caution. I can still remember a time when my mother wasn’t paying attention and a stew exploded all over the ceiling. If you’re reading this, sorry mom! No worries, everyone was ok and we all had a laugh about it, but this is just a warning to check (and re-check) your pressure cooker to make sure it is free of cracks or other defects! With great pressure cooking power comes great cooking responsibility!

Summary: Pressure Cooker Advantages

  • Quick cook times put food on the table faster
  • Energy efficiency helps save even more money
  • Nutrients and vitamins are preserved

Summary: Pressure Cooking Disadvantages

  • Have to pay more attention to device
  • Steeper learning curve
  • Higher chance of scorching food

Your Verdict: So there you have it. Now you know what a Crock Pot is, and the difference between slow cookers and pressure cookers. After reading a description of these machines, you probably have a good sense of which one you’ll use the most (although we won’t stop you from owning one of each)!

cooker_chart

Now let’s get cookin’! Looking for some new kitchen tools to tackle your next culinary feat? Check out our cookware page for all your kitchen basics!

Author: Dianna

Dianna originally hails from North Carolina and is a proud alum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Go Heels! Skilled at finding deals on everything from clothing to travel, she uses these super powers to help the BLINQ eCommerce team. When she isn't at BLINQ you can find her perfecting her salsa moves.

31 thoughts on “Slow Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker – What’s the Difference?

  1. Holly Thomas

    I won a very nice pressure cooker and I am trying to get up enough nerve to use it.

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      What is making you unsure about using it? Newer pressure cookers tend to be much safer than older models and it’s a great way to make the food you want , super fast!

      Reply
  2. Lisa Garland

    I bought a slow cooker months ago and have yet to use it!! Thanks for the tips and showing the difference between the slow cooker and pressure cooker!!

    Reply
  3. Marthalynn

    I love both my pressure cooker and my slow cooker! And you’re right, they are very different in the ways that they cook, but boy do they both make dinner much easier to get to the table. I just started using a pressure cooker a couple of years ago and I can’t believe I waited so long. The old-fashioned “fear” of using them just isn’t applicable with the safety of today’s pressure cookers!

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      Marthalynn, I’m glad you think so too! I’d be lost without these kitchen tools. I do need to use my pressure cooker a little more, but I am a huge advocate of slow cookers. I definitely love leaving the food there and forgetting it. Being welcomed home to an already made dinner is nice too!

      Reply
  4. Amber Ludwig

    So interesting!! I never knew the difference!! I do love my slow cooker but will totally admit that Ive forgotten to start it early enough and we’ve had to wait pretty long for dinner to be done!! A pressure cooker sounds right up my alley!!

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      Amber, I’ve definitely been there before. That’s why I like having both in the kitchen!

      Reply
  5. Lauryn R

    I have have actually never used a pressure cooker before, so this was a very informative post for me! I use my slow cooker all of the time though. I had no idea that pressure cookers are quicker and save more vitamins in veggies, how awesome! I guess I need to invest in one soon!

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      I’m all about keeping the nutrition in my food so using a pressure cooker is a great way to do that. Thanks for reading, Lauryn!

      Reply
  6. Natalie

    Thank you for finally detailing the differences between these two appliances!

    Reply
  7. Sally Gearhart

    I have never tried using a pressure cooker yet! I havve always been afraid of them. I’ve just never had any experience with them but maybe one day I will at least try 🙂

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      Sally, you definitely should! I know when I first tried a pressure cooker I was a bit shy with it, but whenever I’m in a jam it really does come in handy.

      Reply
  8. Linda Manns Linneman

    Thank you for sharing this great information. I really love using both

    Reply
  9. Dianna Davis

    I have tried the pressure cooker only a couple times, I just am so scare something aweful will happen,I have heard so many stories. I realize they have a newer one ou that is so much more safer,but I don’t have it.

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      Dianna, it’s so rare to see another person with my same name (especially spelled the same way). I understand your hesitation, but maybe experiment with it slowly or read up a little more about it. Do you have any specific questions about pressure cookers?

      Reply
  10. terry myers

    I am a wait kind of cook I do not trust myself with a pressure cooker I could hurt myself

    Reply
  11. Jo-Ann Brightman

    Thank you for explaining the differences between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker. Right now I would probably use a pressure cooker more and I like the idea of cooking dried beans more quickly.

    Reply
  12. Julie Lundstrom

    I never have used a pressure cooker but this gives me some ideas on things to make with it.

    Reply
  13. lisa

    I like using a slow cooker because I’m not a good cook and a bit flighty. When I do cook, I sometimes forget about it until the smoke alarm goes off. I’ve never tried a pressure cooker.

    Reply
  14. Jerry Marquardt

    Thank you for providing the differences upon a pressure cooker and a slow cooker. Your excellent review shows the perfect cooker for the different plates you can make.

    Reply
  15. Germaine Harrison

    I have never used a preasure cooker before but I really want to use one now.

    Reply
  16. Ashley Busse

    I couldn’t live without my slow cooker! I’ve never used a pressure cooker!

    Reply
  17. Rishad

    Great article, Dianna!

    Thanks for explaining the differences between these three devices, especially the difference between a Crock-Pot and a slow cooker (I thought one was just a brand name – didn’t know about the “all-around heat” factor.) I’ve only ever bought the Crock-Pot brand anyways, and I find them fantastic for the low-and-slow cooking method.

    I’ve been using pressure cookers too for quite some time now, and I actually prefer the whistling, wheezing, and whooshing types myself. I’ve only ever had *one* accident with one, and yes – dinner ended up on the ceiling 😀 But as you wrote, today’s pressure cookers are a lot safer than Grandma’s, with vacuum seals, pressure gaskets, and the like.

    I use them both, given the situation 🙂

    Reply
  18. Donna Ryder

    Your idea of putting dinner in overnight is great and something I certainly never thought of. Wish that had dawned on me years ago when time was a serious premium. Those were the days when my Pressure Cooker was a busy mothers best friend.

    I absolutely love all of the wonderful suggestions your company provides. Certainly that fun and helpful approach to sales makes you unique. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Dianna Post author

      Thank you, Donna! We’re glad you enjoyed the article. Let us know if there is anything you’d like us to cover about kitchen tips, that we haven’t already.

      Reply

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