Slow cooker or Crockpot has been my favorite go-to kitchen appliance over the years.
With the ample amount of experience, I have in using the different models, I finally decided to share my comprehensive knowledge of it through this article.
I am pretty sure that you will get a well-balanced view of different types of slow cookers after you read through till the end.
Slow cooker types can be classified on a broader scale as follows:
1- On the basis of shapes
You are sure about the type of food you going to cook, as it is important in choosing the shape of a slow cooker.
Generally, it is of oval, rectangular or round in shape.
Just for your easy reference, let us know the different foods that can be prepared in different shapes.
Soups, casseroles, side dishes, and stews can be cooked on round-shaped slow cookers.
Small fish, roasts and big sized meat cuts like ribs can be used on oval-shaped slow cookers.
Rectangular-shaped slow cookers have a good depth and are suitable for meats of large size.
2- On the basis of size
The size of the slow-cookers varies from ½ quart – 8 quarts.
Mini slow cooker: Having a quart-size ranging from ½ to 2 quarts fits in this category and is ideal to serve one or two persons.
It occupies only a small space.
Medium-sized slow cooker: Having a quart-size of 3 to 4 falls in this category and can serve 3 to 4 people.
This is ideal for making appetizers.
Large-sized slow-cooker: Slow cookers of size 5 to 6 quarts are used to cook for a people of more than four.
Considerably, meat and other ingredients can be cooked to make a complete meal in this.
Extra-large sized slow-cooker: If you have a big family or a group of guests visiting you, then this 7 to 8 quarts size slow cooker is the best fit for your needs.
Large cuts of meat or even a whole chicken can be cooked in this effectively and you can serve all at once.
3- On the basis of materials
Each and every material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
So they exhibit the same properties on the items manufactured. Let us look into one by one.
Ceramic Slow cookers: This type of slow cooker is very heavy and you can use it only on microwave and oven.
It’s not suitable to place it on the stove.
Metal Slow Cookers: You cannot use Oval/Rectangular shape metal slow cookers on microwave and the heating pattern is not uniform as it heats only the bottom of the pot.
Aluminum Slow Cookers: This is a very costly slow cooker compared to the previous two types, mainly due to the multiple advantages you can get from this.
Non-sticky surface and uniform heating ensure the meal is cooked fine. This can be used in the stovetop and oven. You cannot use this on a microwave.
4- On the basis of controls
Convenience has become the norm nowadays and I am sure you too would prefer it.
But still, it is my duty to tell you about these types in this.
Basic Slow cooker: This is the old type of slow cooker without many automatic features like the new ones.
They have simple “on”, “off”, “high”, “low” and “medium” buttons to function. Manual intervention is needed much in this type.
This model is not the “set and forget” type of appliance.
Programmable Slow Cooker: This type of slow cooker makes of the latest digital technology and comes with a digital display showing the right time and temperature to adjust perfectly.
The sensors implemented in this automatically changes to “Keep Warm” mode once the cooking is completed.
These are the fast-moving slow cookers in the current market scenario.
Is A Slow Cooker and The Crock-Pot the Same?
Many times, you would have heard in the same room, one says “My slow cooker is great” and the other person will say “My crock-pot is amazing” and you may wonder whether these two things are different or not?
If you ask them the difference between the two, they would say both are the same but used interchangeably. But, that is not the case actually.
To put it in an easy way, every crock-pot is a slow cooker but not every slow cooker is a crock-pot.
You may now ask yourself how?
The terminology “Slow cooker” means the type of kitchen appliance while the word “Crock-pot” refers to the name of the brand that manufactures the slow-cooker.
Even though all slow cookers follow the basic working conditions, it is better to follow the instructions given in the operating manual as it may differ slightly from brand to brand.
Can You Use A Crock-Pot Instead of a Slow Cooker?
The Crock-pot has a broad ceramic insert with the heating elements covering all sides as well as the bottom.
This set-up ensures even distribution of heat.
The heat is produced continuously to maintain the right temperature rather than the usual on and off setting.
The three common heat settings are high, low, and warm.
Newer models have advanced timer controls to switch to warm after the heating time is over.
In a slow cooker, the heating element is mostly situated in the bottom, unlike the crock-pot where the heating element covers all the sides.
In this case, you have to stir at regular intervals so that the content in the cooker won’t get sticky.
The heating process is done on a rotational basis like on and off every few minutes till the cooking is done or a slow cooker is turned off.
To put it in a nutshell, it’s not much worth pondering whether to use a crock-pot or slow cooker.
Barring some few differences, the basic outlay is the same in all the brands that manufacture slow cookers.
Hope, I have covered all the points that I would like to share with you, from my personal experience and in case if I left any or you have a different view to share, you can drop in your comments.