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Rice Cooker vs Slow Cooker | Appliance Comparison Guide

Rice Cooker vs_Slow Cooker comparison

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If you’re looking for kitchen appliances that allow you to cook your meals with little to no supervision, a rice cooker and a slow cooker are some of the best options that come to mind.

However, these appliances have different uses; hence, the rice cooker vs slow cooker debate. And to help you make the right purchasing decision, we’ve explored the slow cooker vs rice cooker debate in-depth.

So let’s find out the differences between a rice cooker and a slow cooker.

What Are the Main Differences Between A Rice Cooker and A Slow Cooker?

The main difference between a rice cooker and a slow cooker is how quickly they cook food.

A rice cooker uses intense heat to cook recipes very fast and bring food to a rapid boil in 40 minutes to 1 hour. While a slow cooker uses low, even heat to cook meals over a longer period, say a whole day.

To better know which of these appliances will cater more to your cooking needs, let’s discuss them individually.

What is a rice cooker? A rice cooker is a kitchen appliance that uses intense steam to rapidly cook rice, vegetables, and mostly Asian foods: this cooking method yields fluffy grains and perfectly steamed veggies and fish.

Typically, it takes around 1 hour (usually less than 2 hours) to boil food in a rice cooker. But it can cook some grains for 20 minutes.

The cooker has sensors that regulate the cooking temperature, and after boiling the food, the rice cooker then keeps it warm till you’re ready to serve.

Also, many rice cookers come with steamer baskets for steaming poultry and seafood: hence, a rice cooker is also called a steamer.

What is a slow cooker? A slow cooker (sometimes, referred to as a crock pot) is an appliance for cooking food slowly over an extended period.

This cooking method is great for savory dishes (such as stew) as it yields more flavorful results. The extended cooking period softens the recipe’s proteins so the flavors can seep into the ingredients.

Slow cookers can cook food for 4 to 10 hours. So if you’re going out or have little time to cook, you can load your slow cooker and set it to cook before leaving the house, so you can return home to a delicious dinner.

Also, the meals tend to be more nutritious as the low temperature doesn’t negatively impact the food’s nutrients.

A Crock Pot comes with three cooking settings based on heating temperature: the low heat cooks meals at 200 degrees F, and the high heat setting is around 300 degrees F. The medium (or warm) heat setting then lies between 200 and 300 degrees F. This feature gives you more control over your cooking as you can set the time and temperature for cooking your food.

The lowest setting of 200 degrees F may seem high but it’s a safe cooking temperature. Heating food below 140 degrees F may encourage the growth of bacteria in your food.

Another top feature of slow cookers is that regardless of their size, they can prepare appetizers like fudge for large crowds.

That said, the difference between a slow cooker and a Crock pot is that a slow cooker refers to appliances that cook food over an extended period using low heat. While Crockpot is a brand name for a slow cooker.

Secondly, slow cookers have their heating element at their bottom (underneath the pot) while a Crock Pot has its heating elements at its bottom as well as its sides; hence a Crock pot heats up faster than a slow cooker.

What are the advantages of a rice cooker over a slow cooker?

The advantages of a rice cooker, when compared to a slow cooker, are that it’s a fast cooker that’s great for cooking rice, vegetables, and other grains.

Fast cooking appliance

When compared to a slow cooker, a rice cooker generates high heat for cooking items very fast.

As opposed to a slow cooker that cooks food in 4 to 10 hours, it takes around 40 minutes and 2 hours for a rice cooker to finish cooking a meal. So this is the cooker you rely on when you make a last-minute decision to prep a few cups of rice.

Great for cooking rice

When compared to cooking with a slow cooker, a rice cooker is great for cooking rice and grains.

Rice cookers are designed to cook all types of rice including brown rice to yield perfect results so that within 40 minutes, your rice will be ready to serve.

Also, with its warm feature, your rice can stay warm till whenever you’re ready to dish dinner or lunch.

Easier to use

Rice cookers make it easy to cook rice at home as even beginners can cook the perfect plate of rice.

For some models, you only need to measure your ingredients, put them in the cooker, and push a button, so your meal will be served in less than an hour. For some other models, you’ll set the timer, and after cooking, it’ll keep your rice warm till you’re ready to dine.

Master at cooking grains

While a rice cooker was originally designed to cook rice, modern rice cookers come with programming options for cooking other types of whole grains such as quinoa, barley, beans, and white berries.

It can also cook oatmeal and vegetables like lentils. Some models also come with a steamer basket for steaming poultry, seafood, meat, dumplings, cheese, macaroni, and hearty soups.

And the good thing is that you can cook your rice and steam your veggies simultaneously.

Cheaper cost

When compared to a slow cooker, a rice cooker is cheaper. The price for a rice cooker ranges between $20 and $300, while a slow cooker costs around $50 and $350. This is because slow cookers are more versatile than rice cookers.

slow cooker and rice cooker comparison

What are the advantages of a slow cooker over a rice cooker?

The advantages of a slow cooker, when compared to a rice cooker, are that it’s a flexible appliance that allows you to cook a variety of food without being physically present in the kitchen.

Fuss-free cooking

When compared to a rice cooker, a slow cooker takes away the hassle of hanging around your kitchen all day to cook.

While it takes a long time to cook, it saves you time as you’ll have more time to attend to other tasks instead of checking or stirring ingredients.

If your household is a busy one that returns home late, tired, and unable to wait for a couple of hours to cook, the slow cooker will serve you best. You can set your Crock pot right before leaving home to cook for up to 8 hours and return to a sumptuous, flavorful meal.

Also, you can set your slow cooker to simmer your pot roast, soup, or any other meal all through the night so you and your family can wake up to a pot of warm breakfast.

Versatile appliance

As opposed to rice cookers that are made chiefly for cooking rice, slow cookers offer better versatility as they can cook a wider variety of food.

Unless you cook rice often, you may not reap the full benefits of owning a rice cooker. A Crock pot allows you to simmer soup, meat, casserole, pot roast, and more, including the meals you can cook in a rice cooker.. And if you’re looking for new slow cooker recipes to try out, there are tons of them you can have fun trying out.

Flexibility

Unlike rice cookers, slow cookers come with more preset functions to help you set the right time and temperature settings for your cooking.

The settings go beyond just choosing to cook at high or low settings, there are now more programmable options to ensure none of your meals get overcooked. And you can set the Crock pot to keep your food warm till you’re ready to serve.

Great for entertaining guests

Slow cookers help you entertain your guests in two ways.

First, you can entertain your guests with your presence: since slow cookers can cook by themselves while you attend to other things, you can spend more time away from the kitchen talking and playing games with your guests.

Secondly, you can prepare appetizers for a large number of people like during family gatherings or parties.

Which One is more Usable in the Kitchen between A Rice Cooker and A Slow Cooker?

A slow cooker is more versatile than a rice cooker in the kitchen, and it’ll serve you better. This is because slow cookers can prepare more recipes than a rice cooker.

Rice cookers, on the other hand, are originally designed to cook rice, and unless you cook rice once or more times every week, you won’t have real use for your rice cooker. Also, there are not many rice recipes to cook.

And if you’re asking, “Is a rice cooker the same as a slow cooker?” The answer is ‘No,’ they’re different appliances.

A rice cooker is an appliance that cooks rice and other grains in under an hour using high heat while a slow cooker is an appliance that cooks, stews, and braises food (meat, poultry, dumplings, seafood, and a variety of Asian recipes) using low heat within 4 to 8 hours.

What foods can you cook in a rice cooker?

While rice cookers are best suited to cooking rice, they can cook a variety of meals;

  • All types of rice
  • Lentils
  • Grains: beans
  • Steamed veggies:
  • Dumplings
  • Fish
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Risotto
  • Chicken
  • Porridge

We’ve compiled the other different uses of rice cookers here.

What foods can you cook in a slow cooker?

You can cook the following foods in a slow cooker;

  • Pot roast
  • Cake
  • Meat
  • Chili
  • Stew
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Casserole
  • Chicken
  • Curry
  • Mac ‘n’ Cheese
  • Meatballs
  • Potatoes
  • Spaghetti Bolognese

Added to the numerous Crock pot recipes, the list is inexhaustive.

Can a rice cooker and a slow cooker be paired together?

Yes, you can use a rice cooker and a slow cooker in your kitchen.

Rice cookers are great for quickly cooking rice at optimum high heat to yield the perfect fluffy results while slow cookers are designed to simmer foods for a long time to yield more delicious and flavorful results.

What are the instances where you can use a rice cooker and a slow cooker together?

Before leaving for work in the morning, you can set your slow cooker to simmer your stew for up to 8 hours, so you can return home to a properly-cooked, delicious stew. And when you return home, you can quickly use your rice cooker to boil rice in under 1 hour.

Not sure how to use your rice cooker? Here’s how to use a rice cooker.

What are the instances where a rice cooker and a slow cooker should never be used together?

Having both a rice cooker and a slow cooker won’t be worthwhile if you don’t cook rice often – at least once a week. Despite rice cookers being able to prepare several dishes, the real reason for a rice cooker is to prepare rice.

Also, if you’re uncomfortable leaving an appliance working while you’re out of the house, a slow cooker is probably not for you.

Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker comparison

What to Consider when Buying A Rice Cooker and A Slow Cooker?

When buying a rice cooker or a slow cooker, here are the most important factors you should consider.

What type of cooker should I get?

There are three types of rice cookers; conventional, smart, and combo rice cookers

Conventional rice cookers have basic settings that makes them easy to use. They’re also the most popular and affordable rice cookers you can find.

Smart rice cookers use artificial intelligence to cook your rice to perfection. They also come with a variety of presets for different types of rice. These units are usually expensive.

And finally, combo rice cookers are rice cookers that can also work as steamers, slow cookers, or pressure cookers. These units have various functions and save countertop space as they can replace other appliances in your kitchen.

And if you’re choosing a slow cooker, there are two types; manual and programmable slow cookers.

Manual slow cookers don’t have timers, so you’ll have to set your desired cooking condition by choosing between the low, medium, or high settings. And you’ll also have to manually switch to the ‘Keep Warm’ feature for these models.

Programmable slow cookers have digital timers and electronic controls that let you set the cooking time. They also automatically switch to the ‘Keep Warm’ feature when the set time is up.

What is the right size and capacity for me?

If you’re a couple or you cook for a family of 3, a rice cooker with 4 liters will suffice. And if you cook for 3 to 5 people, go for a model with 5 liters. A 6- to 8-liter model will be great if you cook rice for six or more people.

For couples looking to buy a slow cooker, a 1- to 3-quart unit will be great. If you cook for a family of four, a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker will be enough. And if you cook for 5 or more people, a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker will cook a single serving.

What is the right price for a cooker?

If you cook rice once a week, a model that costs around $30 will suffice. But if you cook rice more often, you may want to go for a more quality mid-priced model as the cheaper ones will break down easily with multiple use.

On the other hand, you can get a cheap manual slow cooker for around $50. But these units can only perform basic functions and come with few settings. If you need more automation and convenience, a programmable slow cooker will be great for you.

What Are the Best Brands for Rice Cookers?

The five best brands making the best rice cookers are Aroma, Zojirushi, Hamilton Becker, Panasonic, and Black and Decker.

Aroma

Aroma has some of the bestselling rice cookers on Amazon. In addition to being rice cookers, many of their units function as slow cookers or steamers; this makes them versatile in cooking a wide range of meals. They’re also affordable.

Zojirushi

Zojirushi is one of the top brands making the best high-end rice cookers. Despite the prices their customers pay for these units, they give the units lots of 5-star ratings for their reliability and versatility in cooking a variety of rice and grains.

Hamilton Becker

Hamilton Beach is also known for making some of the best countertop appliances. And their rice cookers have lots of positive reviews for ease of use, cleaning, and versatility.

Panasonic

If you’re looking for some of the best smart rice cookers, Panasonic, the electronics giant is your best bet. Their rice cookers are very efficient and durable. They’re described as great value for money.

Black and Decker

Black and Decker is one of the reputable brands making mid-priced rice cookers. Their products are easy to use and clean. They’re also very efficient at cooking rice to the perfect fluffy texture.

What Are the Best Brands for Slow Cookers?

The five best brands making the best slow cookers are Black and Decker, Hamilton Beach, DeLonghi, Kalorik, and Crock Pot.

 

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