Slow Cookers vs. Rice Cookers: Does Slow and Steady Always Win the Race?

Most of us have a staggering amount of kitchen gadgets that originally advertised themselves as, “the best and only, multipurpose, time-saving, nutrition-guaranteeing, space-conserving appliance you’ll ever need.” However, after the initial novelty has worn off, these appliances usually end up decorating the walls of our garages, cupboards, closets, or any other space that we assign to the “I’ll just put this here for now” items. That being said, rice cookers and slow cookers are the two appliances that tend not face that particular fate. Both appliances are considered to be household must-have’s yet they couldn’t be more different. Rice cookers are designed for speed, mainly used to cook a variety of grains, and are relatively simple machines. Slow cookers are designed to provide long-term, evenly distributed heat which simmers the food items over many hours. So which one is right for you?

Rice Cookers

Rice cookers generally come in two different styles. The first being a very rudimentary, simple design that turns itself off once the water has reached a boiling point which indicates that the rice has absorbed the appropriate amount of water. Other models come with microprocessors and a variety of different sensors that are designed to accommodate for different varieties of rice, cooking times, and cooking methods. Rice cookers can also be used to cook a number of different grains including lentils, porridge, congee, quinoa, millet, and oats. Further, the more complex model can be used to make dishes such as macaronic and cheese, beans, soup, hummus, tapioca pudding, boiled eggs, and some have even claimed to make a pork roast using their rice cooker. Lastly, most rice cookers come with a separate steaming tray so you can steam your vegetables along with making your rice.

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Slow Cookers

Slow cookers are a breed of appliance that harken back to ancient cooking methods. Originally built to imitate cooking that was done on a dying community fire, the crockpot or slow cooker provided a way to cook meals with gentle heat over the period of many hours. Most slow cookers are made of a ceramic or porcelain container and glass lid which sit inside an electrical element that plugs into the wall. They usually have at least two different types of heat functions although most come with low, high, and ‘keep warm’ settings. Slow cookers are designed to be used for meals such as soups, roasts, chilies, stews, and a variety of other dishes that lend themselves to slow and consistent temperatures. Slow cookers are especially useful when it comes to tougher, cheaper cuts of meat whose connective tissues are broken down over the constant exposure to heat.

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Slow Cookers vs. Rice Cookers

The problem with comparing slow cookers and rice cookers is that the two appliances have completely different functions. People tend to use one or the other or they use them in tandem to expedite the cooking process. Those who use most of their oven elements while cooking will benefit from a rice cooker as it saves on space. A rice cooker is a good choice for people who just want a quick and easy way to cook rice and veggies. Also, being small and relatively cheap make them a good choice for students, single people, or a couple trying to save some time and money. Conversely, slow cookers have the advantage of being able to do entire meals while unattended. You can dump all of your ingredients into the slow cooker, press a button, leave for work, and come home to a finished meal that’s ready to serve. Most slow cookers also are of a size that can cook entire chickens, pork roasts, chuck and round cuts of beef, briskets, and family sized soups, stews, and chillies. Slow cookers also save space by freeing up your oven so that you can bake a loaf of garlic bread or any other side dish that you might want to accompany your main meal.

Best Japanese Rice Cooker Bottom Line

Overall, it seems that rice cookers and slow cookers both have their benefits. Both are space and time savers, relatively inexpensive, require little effort and attention, are portable, and help save money on electricity. So choosing the one that is right for you comes down to personal preference and lifestyle. Are you just looking for a small gadget to help make a few serving of rice and vegetables for a quick bite in? Or are you looking for an appliance capable of cooking an entire meal while at work that you can serve your family at 5:00pm? That’s a choice you need to make.

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Slow Cookers vs. Rice Cookers: Does Slow and Steady Always Win the Race?

time to read: 3 min