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Slow Cookers vs. Pressure Cookers: What's the Difference?

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Chances are, you have a slow cooker or pressure cooker somewhere in your house. You may be able to tell the difference between the two appliances based on their looks alone, but when it comes to distinguishing between the functions either machine provides, you may be drawing a blank.

Both appliances are ideal for cooking a one-pot meal - including stews, soups and pastas - but they offer completely different functions and require a separate set of cooking knowledge. If you're trying to decide which one is best suited to cook the recipe of your choosing, be sure to understand the basic differences between the two.

Pressure Cookers: Quick and Powerful
Unlike slow cookers, which take hours to prepare one dish, pressure cookers can thoroughly cook meals in minutes. According to The Kitchn, pressure cookers use steam to quickly heat foods. Ingredients are sealed within the machine, which gradually builds steam and cooks food through high amounts of pressure. This method is conducive to quick cooking, as liquids and solids blend more easily in the locked environment.

While the appliance can make dishes in a dash, The Kitchn noted that it's best left to those with a great deal of cooking expertise. Since the lid cannot be removed during the process, you can't monitor the progress of your dish without ruining the integrity of your meal. Those who are well-versed cooking with these tools learn best practices over time, but they are not recommended for novice chefs.

Slow Cookers: Slow and Steady
Although slow cookers take a considerably longer time to prepare dishes, they offer convenience and ease-of-use not provided by pressure cookers. These appliances allow foods to simmer throughout the day, using low temperatures to consistently heat ingredients for hours. Good Housekeeping reported that slow cookers are the ideal choice for those who prefer not having to stay actively involved in the kitchen. Unlike pressure cookers, slow cookers can be turned on and left for hours on end. Meals prepared with this appliance take anywhere from four to 10 hours to prepare, whereas those made in the pressure cooker can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes to complete.

Good Housekeeping reported that another major difference may be your food's texture, which could vary based on the appliance you use. Since pressure cookers use steam and water to blend ingredients, foods can come out a bit soggier than those that were prepared in the slow cooker. 



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