Slow Cookers Pressure Cookers And Dutch Ovens: How They Cook
A good traditional chicken stock is made by simmering chicken carcasses and aromatics in water on the stovetop for several hours. A couple of years ago, I ran a few quick tests to determine whether or not stock could successfully be made in a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. From my own experience, I was fairly certain that the pressure cooker would produce a superior stock, while the slow cooker would produce a thinner, less flavorful one, but I was surprised by the degree to which this was true. The difference between the stock made in a Dutch oven or pressure cooker and the stock made in a slow cooker was like night and day. This experiment was a good start, but I decided that to really get to the bottom of this, a lot more serious testing was in order.
Slow cookers, pressure cookers, and Dutch ovens are all used for moist-heat cooking techniquesbraising, simmering, and stewing. But there are fundamental differences in the way that they heat, which can affect the outcome. To test out exactly what these differences are and how they impact flavor, I made batches of my All-American Beef Stew, my Slow-Cooked Red Sauce, my Split Pea and Ham Soup, and Daniel’s Basic Chicken Stock, and compared the results directly, side by side.
When testing, I used five different tools: a Breville countertop electric pressure cooker a Kuhn Rikon stovetop pressure cooker a Presto stovetop pressure cooker a Le Creuset Dutch oven and an All-Clad slow cooker.
Best Pressure Cooker: Instant Pot Lux 6
No low-pressure setting
Instant Pot is one of the most popular electric pressure cooker brands on the market, and this 6-quart model is one of its best sellers. It has buttons for multiple functions: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté/browning, yogurt maker, steamer, and warmer. It can cook at high or low pressure and has three sauté temperatures for versatility.
The cooking insert is stainless steel, so its dishwasher safe but not nonstick. The included rack can be used for steaming or for easy removal of larger foods from the cooking insert.
The automatic keep-warm feature can hold cooked food at a safe temperature for up to 10 hours, and the manual keep-warm feature can hold food for almost 100 hours. If you want to start the cooking at a later time, you can set a delayed start for up to 24 hours.
This model is also available in 5- and 8-quart models.
Size: 6 quarts | Interior Surface: Stainless steel | Pressure Settings: High | Wattage: 1,000 watts | Weight: 14.57 pounds | Dimensions: 13 x 12.6 x 12.2 inches
Keeps some food warm for up to 24 hours
Can delay start time by 24 hours
Allows custom cooking times
Doesnt pressure cook
Size: 8 quarts | Interior Surface: Stainless steel | Slow-Cook Settings: High and low | Wattage: 1,500 watts | Weight: 12.8 pounds | Dimensions: 16.7 x 11.6 x 11.3 inches
How To Use Instant Pot As Slow Cooker
Here are the steps you need to follow when you want to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker:
As you can see, its not complicated. Still, it may take a few tries before you discover the perfect settings for your preferences. Also, I recommend trying various recipes, to understand the differences between types of foods and cooking times. To start with, you can try the Instant Pot venison roast or the Instant Pot ropa vieja. You can make the recipes both ways, using slow cooking or pressure cooking.
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Can You Put Frozen Meat In A Slow Cooker Or Pressure Cooker
To keep nasty bacteria from moving in, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against putting frozen meat directly into a slow cooker. Defrosting all ingredients first also helps them to cook evenly and completely in the time given in a recipe.
Thin cuts of frozen meat, like steak, chops, and stew meat, can go straight into a pressure cooker, but they should be covered completely with liquid so that the pieces fully cookand dont be surprised if it takes far longer for the cooker to build pressure.
How To Use Slow Cooker Liners
Here is the simple step by step on how to use slow cooker liners
Step 1. Line the pot
Open the liner in the pot, evening it out vertically and horizontally. Tip: Avoid tucking the liner into the heating element section of the slow cooker as you dont want it in direct contact with the surface temperature, which may exceed 400 °F.
Step 2. Add the food
Add your ingredients to the pot with the liner in place. That is, place the food on top of the liner.
Step 3. Cover the contents
Put the lid on the pot ensuring a good seal. Optional: Stand the excess liner up around the lid to avoid steam from under the lid dripping down.
Step 4. Relax
After letting the slow cooker cool, simply lift out the liner and dispose of it in the garbage. Liners are not reuseable. And, there you have effortless clean up!
Theres no scrubbing.
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Instant Pot Vs Slow Cooker
Theres also a heat source at the bottom of the Instant Pot. But a ceramic inner pot will not hold heat in its walls for a very long time . Also, the heat is generated by the steam trapped in the pot, which is great for quick cooking, but not so great for slow cooking.
Heat is distributed unevenly during cooking, which results in uneven textures and a slight change in taste. Therefore, professional chefs and foodies may know you cheated and used an Instant Pot instead of a traditional slow cooker.
The difference is likely to be incomprehensible to you and me. Therefore, we find the Instant Pot to be a great option for slow cooker recipes.
How Do You Fix Tough Meat In A Slow Cooker
A slow cookers long, low heat can tenderize lean cuts of meat, and a few tricks make it easy to fix tough pieces. Plenty of liquid in the pot keeps meat from drying out, and acidic ingredients, like tomato or vinegar-based sauces, help tenderize. Really tough meat can be marinated overnight in the refrigerator for bonus tenderizing. Once you put the lid on the cooker, keep it on. The condensation it collects helps food stay moist. Although low and slow are the rules of the game, letting the meat sit too long in the cooker can toughen it.
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Other Concerns: Safety And Energy
Over on , I’ll often suggest that any slow cooker recipe will come out better if you make the exact same recipe in a Dutch oven with the lid slightly cracked, placed on a rack in a 225°F oven for the day, instead of cooking it in a slow cooker. This is okay for a weekend, when you’re around the house, but what about on weekdays? Surely it can’t be safe, right?
Let’s be clear about one thing here: Leaving any piece of cooking equipment on for the day, unattended, is a risk, and the National Fire Protection Association recommends against it, whether it’s an oven or a slow cooker. Unattended cooking is by far the most common cause of kitchen fires, accounting for 34% of them.
But given that you’re going to assume that risk and leave one cooking device on for the day, are ovens actually more dangerous than slow cookers?
I read through a very detailed annual report from the NFPA to shed a bit of light on the matter. According to that report, ovens account for about 13% of fires overall, while slow cookers account for only 4%. That said, your odds of starting an oven fire greatly increase when you leave the oven unattended at high temperatures, as opposed to the 200 to 225°F you’d use when slow-cooking or braising.
Instant Pot Accessory Sets
I dont recommend those sets that have a lot of different things in them. Unless you honestly know what each piece does, what you need it for, and think youll use it. They seem super overpriced and not useful to me!
Ive been given a couple sets to try, and it just seems like each piece is low quality. I asked one company what makes their kit products different than the rest and he said, honestly, we all get them from the same factory so its just whatever mix of tools people put together.
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Can You Use Slow Cooker Liners In A Pressure Cooker
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Many people avoid using plastic items with their food because some plastics contain BPA , a chemical that can seep into food and have negative health consequences. Crock-Pot brand liners are BPA-free.
can you use roasting bags in slow cookers? C or microwave ovens and slow cookers. They retain the moisture and flavour of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. The remaining juices can be used to make gravy. The Extra-Large size can also be used in slow cookers as a slow cooker liner.
Beside above, can oven bags go in pressure cooker?
Yes you can, but I would use an old pillow case instead of an oven bag. An oven bag traps air that is a pour conductor of heat where a pillow case will give more even heating of the casing. The same thing is true with a large Myco-Bag thats been over stuffed with substrate.
What can I use instead of a crockpot liner?
Simply grab some cooking spray and spray it all over the sides and bottom of your crock pot. Or, if you dont have a spray, grab some vegetable oil, put it on a paper towel, and wipe the crockpot yourself.
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Our Instant Pot Pick: Instant Pot 10
The bestselling Instant Pot model is our favorite, because it has plenty of bells and whistles without being too complicated for beginners to use. It comes with all the usual Instant Pot features plus new settings like sterilize and sous vide, to indulge your inner chef. The six-quart size is large but not so big it will hog your counter, the inner pot is dishwasher safe and while its more expensive than other models, it also comes with enough features to make the price worth it.
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A Quick Note On Pressure Cooker Type
Over on the Cooking Issues blog, Dave Arnold has noted that results can vary greatly depending on the type of pressure cooker you use. See, older models of pressure cookers have what’s called a “jiggler”: a weight that sits on top of a steam vent. As pressure in the pot builds up, that steam pushes up on the weight harder and harder, until it finally lifts it just enough to vent a bit of steam out, releasing pressure and allowing the jiggler to settle back down. This happens at quite a rapid rate, leading to the weight “jiggling” up and down . What this means is that in an old-school pressure cooker equipped with a jiggler, the liquid inside actually simmers slowly as pressure builds and is released. This leads to cloudier broths and stocks, and soups and stews with ingredients that tend to fall apart a little more.
The results are pretty drastically different. See the batches of chicken stock here:
Here’s what’s in each cup:
- A) Stock cooked in a spring-valve stovetop pressure cooker
- B) Stock cooked in an electric pressure cooker
- C) Stock cooked in an older stovetop pressure cooker with a jiggler
- D) Stock cooked on the stovetop in a Dutch oven
- E) Stock cooked in a slow cooker
You can see an obvious difference in the color of these stocks. What you can’t see is the flavor, which, to a large degree, correlated with color. Batches A and B were by far the most flavorful, with the best body. Batches C and D were next , trailed by batch E, at a distant fifth.
What Is A Slow Cooker
Lets start with what is a slow cooker. A slow cooker is an appliance that simmers food at very low heats for a long period of time. The thing that makes a slow cooker distinct from all the other methods of preparing food is that slow cookers can cook food at a much lower temperature than other appliances. You may also know slow cookers by the name Crock-Pot, this is a trading name owned by Sunbeam Products. Slow cookers are typically used because the low heat that they operate at can allow typically tough, chewy foods to become tender, and melt-in-the-mouth.
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How To Use Your Instant Pot To Slow Cook
Instant Pots slow cook function works differently than a stand-alone slow cooker. Here I will explain how to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker.
PIN FOR LATER
Ill keep it real with you. I came to the conclusion that while the Instant Pot is great at cooking things fast, if I want to cook low & slow Ill use an actual slow cooker. But I also happen to have 6 slow cookers so I dont need to use my Instant Pot to slow cook. I understand thats not the case for everyone . Have you ever tried to slow cook a beef roast in your Instant Pot only for the roast to be undercooked & the potatoes and vegetables hard? Youre not alone. Its happened to me too. Trust me, when used properly, you can successfully use your Instant Pot to slow cook.
What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’ Instant Pot Vs Slow Cooker
Instant pot or slow cooker? What’s the best way to make easy, delicious meals for the whole family? We help you find answers to this question here to spice up your dinner while taking the stress out of cooking.
*This article contains affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you anything, but if you click on the link and buy something, we’ll earn a small commission to help our writing team create more great articles.*
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Instant Pots Cook Things Rather Quickly Using Pressure And Steam
In simple terms, this appliance works by using steam to create pressure. To use an Instant Pot, you place food in the appliance’s stainless steel cooking pot and add at least one cup of liquid to it. The appliance then heats the liquid until it boils and becomes steam. When the steam is unable to be released from the pot, that steam generates pressure, which helps to cook the food inside of the pot.
The time it takes for a dish to cook in an Instant Pot depends on the recipe, the method you’re using to cook, and how much food you’re making. But since the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, foods typically cook at a much faster rate than they might in a slow cooker, so you might want to keep a closer eye on your food.
Overall, the Instant Pot boasts that it cooks food in about 70% less time than if you were to use conventional cooking methods. According to the Instant Pot website, the appliance can cook a lot of foods in less than 30 minutes. For example, as per the site, you can cook fresh asparagus in one to two minutes or wild rice in 20 to 25 minutes, although the serving sizes of these dishes are not specified.
Instant Pot Cheesecake Pan
This is the smartest pan on the market for cheesecake. I researched high and low to find something like this, because I wanted a push pan that was not difficult to remove from the Instant Pot.
Many recipes will tell you to make a makeshift sling out of foil, but you dont have to talk to many people with broken slings and dropped cheesecakes to know it is NOT worth it.
I didnt want a springform pan, because Ive been figuratively burned by them before #leakingbatter
Personally, the push pans are a better choice to me long term pan since there are less moving parts/hinges to break.
- Pros: Extremely good quality! It truly feels super heavy and nice. It cooked well and the bottom didnt warp.
- Cons: Not a ton of extra uses
- BUY HERE
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The Quick Way: Pro Tip For Converting From Instant Pot Recipes To Slow Cooker
I try to keep in mind that not everything is meant to be cooked in the crockpot. The same goes for the Instant Pot. Make sure that the recipe you are trying to convert is suitable for the crockpot.
Now for the good stuff: the cheaters path to quickly converting slow cooker recipes.
Find a similar crockpot recipe and use that as a base for your temperature and cooking time base.
A great example is cooking something like my Instant Pot Lasagna. Although my recipe is a healthier alternative you can use a regular crockpot lasagna recipe as a guide for how to layer the lasagna and how long to cook it for.
Add At Least 1 Cup Of Liquid:
In a slow cooker, the process takes long enough that in many cases, meat can release its natural juices, and thats enough to keep it from drying out. Not so with the Instant Pot! If your slow cooker recipe doesn’t have at least 1 cup of liquid, make sure to add some. Usually, broth is a good solution for that, but water can work, too. Or if your recipe already has liquid in it, like the can of chicken broth in our Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew recipe, then youre good to go.
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