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Pressure cooker or slow cooker?

I have limited kitchen space and was thinking of getting a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. I'm new to both items so I'm curious - What gets used more in your home?

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  1. I have a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, and several slow cookers. I couldn't do without any of them. However, Fagor makes a 3-1 that has all three gizmos in one unit! I have heard good reports.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jane917

      If the Fagor 3-in-1 really does work well for all three functions, it should find a spot in many kitchens, even (or especially?) where space is tight.

      It could even be something of a kitchen-in-a-pot in a place without a stove, but with electricity.

    2. I am a huge pressure cooking proponent and couldn't likely live without mine very long. Well, I guess that I could if I had to. You can make grains and beans in the pressure cooker so fast and easily it's amazing.

      I tell people that if you are a person who can think ahead about what you want to make, a slow cooker is probably fine for you but I like spur of the moment cooking so prefer the pressure cooker. Also, the flavor that comes out of the pressure cooker is incredible.

      I just got a Vita Clay rice cooker to check out and it seems like an alternative that might work for you. It is a faster slow cooker that is programmable and more.

      I have used the Fagor 3-in-1 and since I do not like non-stick interior in my products, I prefer the clay rice cooker that also cooks soup, stew, etc. Clay is a natural material that works wonders. But my first choice -- my Fagor stainless steel stove top pressure cooker in any size.

      1. For me, it's definitely the pressure cooker. I use it at least once a week, and generally more. By contrast, if my slow cooker should suddenly vanish from the storage closet, it would be months (or perhaps even years) before I noticed. In my opinion, the pressure cooker is better suited to the kinds of foods I prepare most often, including vegetables, pasta, grains, beans, and poultry. You don't need to use another pan for initial browning or sauteeing; and without the pressure lid, the cooker can be used as a regular pot. Best of all, it virtually eliminates the need for advance planning: I can come home after a long workday and turn out a decent meal in a short time, even if I start with frozen ingredients. All that being said, I know that many people have good reason to be devoted to their slow cookers, and I certainly won't try to talk them out if it!

        1. Anything that can be made in a slow cooker can be made in your oven. You just can't "set it and forget it."

          Conversely, there is no substitute for a pressure cooker. Its great for grains, beans, tough proteins, etc. I never use it for vegetables or quick-cook proteins like chicken. Veggies will be cooked and on the table in a pot of boiling water or a microwave before a pressure cooker gets up to speed.

          4 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              C. Hamster, I personally agree that there's no substitute for a pressure cooker; but I suppose one could argue that, just as with a slow cooker, anything you can make in a pressure cooker, you can make in the oven or on the stovetop--it'll just take longer. I also agree that for many vegetables and quick-cooking proteins, the microwave or ordinary stovetop cooking is just fine. However, I really like the PC for steaming root vegetables, artichokes, corn on the cob, winter squash, whole heads of cauliflower ... and more. For some of these vegetables (such as beets and artichokes), the cooking time is much reduced; for others, the time savings is slight, but the flavors and colors seem brighter. As for chicken dishes, it depends; there's a meaningful time savings for some preparations (a whole bird, for example), and not much for others. And while I can't imagine using a PC for fresh fish, I've used it quite successfully for fish that was frozen solid when it went into the cooker--thus eliminating many hours of defrosting time.

              1. re: Miss Priss

                Thanks everyone - the pressure cooker it is. though something tells me that my big oval creuset dutch oven will get used less often.

                1. re: wysiwyg

                  Save your big oval DO for the winter... and PC in summer. Have fun!

            2. I think this is implied below, but ELECTRIC, counter-top pressure cookers such as the Fagor one described below are really fantastic appliances. I have a Nesco 3-in-1 that I've owned for only a few months, and I already can't remember how I dealt with the stovetop version. I think I've brought out the slow cooker once during that time, and I prefer how the pressure cooker does beans, I know

              5 Replies
              1. re: dmd_kc

                Electric pressure cookers are great because it is safer to use?

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  They are dead easy. You tell it to cook at low or high pressure for how long, press "start" and let it do its thing. Then you can quick- or slow-release, according to your recipe. No taking a hot pan to the sink to run water over the top, no watching the burner. I'd never go back to a stovetop model.

                  1. re: dmd_kc

                    Now that is a nice attribute of the electric PC. May have to consider that over my current PC.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Ha ha ha. Sorry. For a minute, I thought you were talking about personal computer (PC). I were thinking, what is scubadoo talking about. :)

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Pressure cooker best for me!!!!. Slow cooker Winter when I am thinking about simmering chicken for awhile such as chicken and dumplings or chili cooking half the day. . Summer, no way. With the new pressure cookers you do not have to really worry about water running over the edge of the pc at the sink. I just press the top of the Kuhn Rikon or Fissler to release all the pressure with a long handle wooden spoon and the lid can come off backing it off to you to be safe in less than a couple of minutes or so. Memorial Day I had ribs started in one pc, great northern beans, pot in pot, in another pc and finished in 7 minutes, then dumped corn on the cob in same pc after removing bowl of beans of course, and ribs out on the grill in less than an hour for smoking and basting. Within two hours all was ready for our meal on the patio with slaw, potato salad and tray of fresh vegetables. This meal would have taken me most of the day if I had not used my two pressure cookers.

              2. That’s akin to asking should I get a spatula or spoon, they both have a specific use and are not interchangeable.

                What it really comes down to how much of what you cook, and how often. If you want to start a meal before leaving the house in the morning slow cooker is for you, should you wish to make say… brisket, but don’t have two or three hours for it to cook, a pressure cooker is a better choice.

                The question is, which tool best suits your lifestyle?

                1. An odd choice! If I had to pick one, I would go with the slow cooker. It is nice to put the food in the morning and come home to something hot and delicious when you walk in the door in the evening.

                  I find a pressure cooker is a one-trick pony. That is, it cooks fast. I find the flavors, particularly of meats, to be flat. Maybe it's the high temperature, maybe it's just that the flavors don't have time to marry and concentrate, but I find something like a pot roast cooked in a pressure cooker to be delightfully tender and juicy, and mind-numbingly bland.

                  I guess I would make my decision based on what I thought was missing from my repertoire and pick the tool that will fill it best. Want more comfort food? Then a Crock Pot is for you. Need for legumes and whole grain your diet? Get a pressure cooker (or get a slow cooker and plan ahead.)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: MikeB3542

                    Seasonings and so on is what makes the difference. For my Great Northerns, I saute diced onion in bacon grease in the pc. . Then add seasons to chicken broth, pre soaked beans and chipped up ham frozen from the last ham I baked. Same as with the pot roast that is, different seasonings and additions to the pot. I have fresh herbs growing in pots-everything from rosemary, oregano, thyme on and on. My flower bed have red, green, yellow peppers and down to even chives, tomatoes etc. . If it isn't there, I use the dry seasonings. I doubt my doctor would be thrilled at the things I put into my pc but it makes it come out like been cooking for a few hours. At one time I was not happy with the bland taste either until I started experimenting with add ins. Slow cooker is great for me also. I have two-the older 7 quart All Clad and a smaller Crock Pot. The decision maker concerning the different cookware comes down to just what do I want to cook, how long I will be home that day and for how long do I want something cooking too. I agree with Mike too. I love comfort food. So plan ahead and get the type of cooker that you think you can use the most at first and add on later if you think you want to.

                    1. re: MikeB3542


                      Like usual, I agree with you. However, there is one exception. Microwave is a one tick pony, but a lot of people find it very important.

                      1. re: MikeB3542

                        I guess my experience has been the opposite. Maybe my slow cooker is too antiquated since it's the old crock with 2 settings.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          Ha! Both slow cookers and pressure cookers have pitfalls. The crock pot pitfall is that you end up with undifferentiated mush. Browning meat and being choosy about starches (rice, pasta, and russet potatoes are trouble) is a start. The pressure cooker pitfall is flat taste. My guess is that browning the meat and setting aside time after the cooker is opened to let things simmer and coming together.

                          As far as the microwave goes, our family has done fine without.

                        2. re: MikeB3542

                          From my perspective, it's the slow cooker that seems like a one-trick pony: it just cooks things slowly, and is therefore only suited to dishes that require slow cooking. (With which it does a wonderful job; no argument there.) The pressure cooker, on the other hand, allows you to quickly prepare things that normally require slow cooking--and things that don't, like steamed fresh vegetables. And maybe my taste buds are underdeveloped, but for the most part I don't find pressure-cooked food to be any less flavorful than the traditional kind, when properly seasoned. The exception is meat that has a lot of collagen; there, I'd agree that the slow cooker is superior, though for texture as much as for flavor. But of course, as people have noted, the choice between pressure cooker and slow cooker is mainly about what you like to eat, and how you like to schedule your time.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              A Dutch oven is a great idea!! I love stuffed peppers and sauce cooked in a Dutch oven slowly until sauce starts to thicken and peppers are tender. Many other recipes are delicious cooked in one also.

                              1. re: Tinker

                                I'm an odd duck in Chowhound; I heat the house through the Maine winter w/ wood. Before I leave for work in the morning, I can put a pot of whatever on the wood stove, bank the stove, go to work and come home to a pot of whatever, thanks to the forgiving nature of cast iron.

                        3. I've cooked for 50 years w/ pressure cookers (one of ours has pinto beans soaking in it right now.) and I've never used a "Crock Pot". 'Nuff said.

                          1. Ever heard of VitaClay? They have a rice/slow cooker with a clay pot in the middle instead of aluminum. The great thing about it is it's totally electronic and you can pre-set it just like a slow cooker, but it actually cooks twice as fast, because it uses "micro-pressure." So it's really like a slow cooker and a pressure cooker in one--without having to worry about the stove or oven (and setting the house on fire or burning your food). I've had my 6 cup for over 6 months and i love it--it makes food taste better. i use it for everything. it also comes with a recipe book, but you can use slow cooker recipes, just cut the times in half or quarter. (also makes perfect rice on the rice settings). website is www.vitaclaychef.com. hope that's helpful!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: wenandleah

                              If I did not have so many treasures, I might be tempted to try the large cooker. This really seems interesting as it cooks more rapidly. Keep us informed as to how it holds up over about a years time if you remember to. My rice cooker may be getting old enough to replace by then. Thanks for informing us about this neat cooker.

                            2. having recently downsized, i've also got limited counterspace. about 6 months ago i bought an electric west bend "6 in 1" device with these functions:

                              o pressure cook (high)
                              o pressure cook (low)
                              o rice maker
                              o brown
                              o steam
                              o slow cook

                              it not only lets you set the cooking time, but you can delay the start time, too. i'm using it a lot more than i thought i would, and have been quite happy so far.

                              1. Pressure cooker.

                                It can do most things a slow cooker can do but in a fraction of the time and you don't have to think ahead as much.

                                When my rice cooker died a half year or so ago, I had the choice of buying another rice cooker, or a slow cooker or pressure cooker (either electronic or stove-top style). Limited kitchen space, so could really only get one. After a week of research, I opted for a stove-top pressure cooker, which I also use to cook the husband's daily rice. The rice is fluffier and tastes better in a pressure cooker. Slow cookers are a great idea, but the pressure cooker does a better job. I didn't go with the electronic pressure cooker because they have a much higher failure rate than stove-top types at several times the price, so it wasn't a cost-effective choice for me. So the stove-top pressure cooker won and I have not regretted the choice even once since then. It gets daily use here. Actually, I'm thinking of getting another one, one size up, now that I'm in a bigger kitchen. Still don't want a slow cooker or rice cooker.

                                1. Well, investigate the Fagor three in one for sure! But I'd choose the PC. I use it more frequently than the slow cooker.

                                  1. In my home, slow cookers. I use them mostly for hot weather slow roasting and for winter soups. I like to turn pork loin into pulled pork for tacos (faux carnitas) by adding salsa and taco seasoning, I also do that with chicken. Ribs even make their way into it from time to time.

                                    But honestly? I could easily ditch all but the 2 quart, the one I use for Mexican pulled pork/chicken. Everything else could just as easily be done in other ways. I would NOT want to slow roast anything in my oven in summer.