With the costs of energy on the increase, it is more important than ever to work out the most efficient way of cooking. So Slow cooker versus pressure cooker which is more energy efficient? In all honesty, the fact is both have a place in today’s modern kitchen but when it comes to the cost of cooking which is the cheapest?
Does saving energy while cooking really matter, though? According to the Yale Environment Review, cooking uses 20% of your typical total energy use, meaning energy-efficient cooking really adds up.
How Do Pressure Cookers Work?
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. A pressure cooker uses hot steam and pressure to quickly cook food, such as dried beans, faster than conventional cooking methods. Pressure cooking is 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, really. 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.
How Do Slow Cookers Work?
Slow cookers, also called crock pots, are electric cookers that cook at a very low temperature. They are designed to cook gently on a low heat. It’s safe to leave it on for hours at a time, or even if you leave the house. They cook food low and slow at a fraction of the energy used in a traditional oven. I used to always use my slow cooker to cook chilli, soups and stews.
Which is cheaper to run?
Let’s start by saying that a traditional oven is always going to be the most costly way to cook, if you are just cooing one thing.
Research by CNET shows that a pressure cooker is the most cost-efficient way to cook generally as although it has a much higher energy pull than a slow cooker you use it for a much shorter time. However, as you can see both are massively cheaper as is an air fryer.
This is backed up by independent research carried out by Unconventional Connections.
Is there a place for Both in the Modern Kitchen?
Yes, there is room for both kitchen appliances. Both are brilliant for hands-off cooking providing the kind of food that tastes like you’ve been slaving over it all day. the only negative is space – do you have space for two appliances? If so then go for it.
I don’t have space for both
I have an Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Smart Cooker (bought in 2019) which is a multi-cooker and covers both pressure cooking and slow cooking, in fact, I much prefer slow cooking in it to my traditional crock pot as it has a seal, so you don’t get all those delicious cooking smells wafting around the house. I mean it is great for cooking a chili, but I don’t want to smell it all day!
Why Do I need an Instant Pot?
Pressure cooking can seem terrifying, I know this growing up my mum had one of those stovetop pressure cookers that sat on the stovetop. The type with a valve that she lifted off with a fork, but things have come a long way since then with the introduction of electric pressure cookers and multi-cookers as the lid is locked if there is pressure in the appliance. Yes the lid locks, which is transformational.
The Instant Pot is a single piece of kit that can perform several cooking functions, all of which will make your life easier. The main function is pressure cooking, which speeds up the cooking time of cheaper ingredients while adding more flavour than a slow cooker ever can. It also slow cooks, steams, cooks rice and sautés. You can not beat the convenience of a pressure cooker and I believe that this is the best pressure cooker you can get at the moment value for money wise.
What I love about my Instant Pot
- It cooks beans and pulses really well and they don’t go soggy like they sometimes do when slow cooked.
- It is multifunctional so can replace more than one device in your home.
- You can delay the cook time, so set it when you leave in the morning and will be ready when you get home (plus it has a keep warm function).
- It is really well insulated it keeps food really warm even after it has lost pressure.
- You can use the sauté function to fry onions or sear beef before pressure cooking them so one less pot to wash.
- It is inexpensive to run.
- Perfect rice all the time without a rice cooker.
What I am not so keen on
- The manual is a total waste of time (but check out the HIP site for loads of great pressure cooker recipes)!
- You need to make sure the washer is currently in place or the pressure cooker can fail to seal.
- The rubber washer can stain (especially with tomato recipes) and sometimes hold a smell, but I picked up three replacements from Amazon for next to nothing)
Where and When to Buy an Instant Pot
I got mine from Amazon and in all honesty, the Black Friday Sale or Prime Day Deals are the best time to purchase. You can get the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Smart Cooker, 5.7L one which is the same as mine for £89.99 now, but it will reduce in price. You can also pick up one with an air fryer lid, so you can quickly cook a chicken and have crispy skin too! If you really love the glass lid on a slow cooker you can buy one of those for your Instant pot too.
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Have you tried out an Instant Pot? We’d love to hear your experiences, and any recipe ideas, in the comments below. Please let us know if you’d like more Instant Pot recipes, too.