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"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Are Slow Cookers Efficient

author
Brent Mccoy
• Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
• 9 min read

The first is due to the slow cooker being an incredibly convenient appliance in the kitchen, and the second is because they have been touted as energy- efficient and cost-effective. For those who are trying to save money or those who are on a tight budget, reducing energy costs is alluring.

slow cooker efficient energy cookers saving money electricity use much cooking does
(Source: kitchencookings.com)

Contents

Unlike conventional ovens, a Crock Pot is energy efficient because it is designed to maintain a steady and continuous heat, while stoves, on the other hand, cycle their burners on and off as heat is needed. Beyond this, modern Crock Pots are built with an in-temperature sensor for meats and will switch the device to warm mode once the desired temperature is reached.

This feature saves you energy consumption by not cooking the meal longer than necessary. Of course, the higher the setting and the larger the Crock Pot, the more electricity is needed to power it.

When comparing a slow cooker versus a stove top in regard to energy efficiency, it can be difficult to know which one wins out. To cook the same meal in a slow cooker, you’re going to need to run it for much longer than 30-60 minutes.

The best way to find out if your slow cooker is more energy efficient than your stove top is to look at the number of amps being drawn from both or compare your electricity bill. Let’s say you pay twelve cents per kWh to run your stove top and slow cooker, a stove top at 1500 watts is going to cost you $0.18/h while a slow cooker at 250 watts is going to cost you $0.03/h.

An oven that is run for 8 hours a day at 1500 watts is going to cost you, $525.66 a year. If you are looking for a Crock Pot that saves you money by being energy efficient, this one solves a common problem with slow cookers ; your meal only takes six hours to cook but you will be gone for eight.

buffet cooker slow triple pot server aluminum stick non food
(Source: www.ebay.com)

It comes with a low, high, and warm setting that reaches about 210 degrees with a maximum wattage of 240. The only con associated with it is some users have stated that it cooks too hot on the lowest setting.

This slow cooker is perfect for someone who wants to set it and forget it without worrying about whether they will come back to a destroyed meal. Coming in at only 275 watts, the Hamilton Beach 6-Quart uses smart technology to allow you to cook a recipe to the desired cooking time or specific temperature with an automatic switch to keep warm when done.

The main thing that you want to keep in mind when choosing a slow cooker specifically for its energy-saving capabilities, is to look for an energy seal or look at the total amount of watts being consumed. Slow cooking originally gained popularity in the 1970s and some 30 years later sales of slow cookers were on the rise again.

Over the last decade, we’ve seen slow cookers revival with the emergence of a range of newer appliances such as manual, digital, and portable. Considering you can easily choose an appliance based on your specific needs at an affordable rate and a myriad of recipes for what to cook in it, let’s see what its advantages are compared to the traditional electrical oven.

Stove washing, on the other hand, takes around 2 hours, according to expert Codon oven cleaning technicians. It’s hardly a coincidence that the slow cooker was first introduced at a time when more and more women were getting jobs and leaving the housewife occupation.

slow crock energy crockpot cooker efficient cooking solar oven
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

This device allowed them to simply add the ingredients in it, let it do its magic all day and come back home from work to a hot meal. And this function of the slow cooker is still a major advantage today when busy lifestyles and the myriad of eat-out, take-out, and drive-in options are a reason and excuse to skip the cooking part.

Unlike in the oven, where high temperatures can both break down the nutrients in food and create unhealthy chemical compounds, cooking on low temperature allows each ingredient to preserve its nutrients and prevents the production of dangerous chemicals. The slow cooker is the best way to turn stew meat and dried beans into melt-in-your mouth goodness but if you want to add delicate ingredients like sweet peppers, zucchini, asparagus and chicken breasts, or hydrated vegetables such as tomatoes, you risk ending up with a soupy consistency even when the recipe wasn’t intended as soup.

However, electric ovens maintain temperature by switching their elements on and off, often being on for only about one fourth of the actual cooking time. The heating elements in slow cookers, on the other hand, stay on continuously, and considering the fact that they are used on high for at least twice the amount of time as an electric oven, the difference in energy usage will probably not be significant.

For environmentally conscious consumers, choosing low-impact cooking methods can be one way of reducing a home's energy use and therefore its carbon footprint. Choosing between electrical devices is a relatively straightforward matter of comparing their respective wattage and cooking time.

Each kilowatt hour is equivalent to 3,413 Btu's (see References 1), providing a basis for comparing a gas stove with electric devices such as your slow cooker. In testing at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, one modern and one 1970s-vintage slow cooker were monitored during their cooking time.

energy pot cooker instant vs efficient crock slow which efficiency constellation uses
(Source: blog.constellation.com)

Total energy usage can be calculated by multiplying the wattage by your recipe's cooking time. Meals such as stews and braises that might otherwise be prepared in a slow -cooker can be simmered on a stove top burner or in a low-temperature oven with equally good results.

Gas stoves generate carbon monoxide while they're in use, so it's necessary to keep your range hood turned on throughout the cooking time for safety's sake. This adds to the stove's total energy usage, as do its electronic igniters and other features.

We used to turn to our slow cooker only when we were cooking for company or making a big batch of stew meant to last for several meals (our favorite model holds 6 quarts). Half featured digital programmable timers; the rest had manual controls that can’t be programmed.

One model lets you brown food right in the pot rather than in a separate pan and doubles as a rice and risotto cooker. Slow cookers are designed to cook food gently over a long period of time.

Such low-and- slow cooking turns tough meats tender and succulent and produces flavorful sauces and stews. A good slow cooker should also produce perfect results on both low and high settings, and in recipes with lots of sauce or very little.

(Source: www.azproductguide.com)

For our first test, we made chicken thighs in a hearty tomato sauce, a recipe that has plenty of liquid and cooks on high for 3 to 4 hours. The other models produced juicy chicken in nice thick, chunky sauces.

Next we made smothered steaks for two, which braise for 4 to 5 hours on the high setting with a moderate amount of liquid. Pushing our slow cookers to the max, we ran an extreme test: sweet-and-sour sticky ribs for two.

To help us understand these recipe test results, we recorded the temperature of each cooker while heating 2½ quarts of water for 6 hours, first on high and then on low. The best slow cookers reached 140 degrees quickly and then slowly climbed over a period of hours.

The great thing about a slow cooker is that you don’t even have to think about the temperature, the appliance itself does this for you. Available in a wipe-clean stainless steel design you can cook a whopping 7lb roast chicken or beef in this.

Although it’s called a slow cooker, the high setting will allow you to heat a hot dinner fairly quickly. Available in black the Hamilton Beach Extra-Large Portable Slow Cooker is the Uncluttered choice for its extra-large capacity.

slow cooker bella stainless steel kitchen cookers appliances
(Source: www.kmart.com)

We like the design which comes with a lockable lid so that wandering little fingers can’t get burned by touching the food whilst the slow cooker is in operation. The insert, or stoneware crock, and lid are dishwasher safe and easy-clean so there’s no chance of burnt food sticking to it.

The only thing we disliked was finding out that parts are not available, so should you need a new lid or handle, the entire model would need replacing. Hamilton Beach Portable 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is the second of three Hamilton Beach slow cookers we decided to review, this is the Uncluttered ‘temperature probe’ choice which, as the title predicts, comes with a temp probe which allows you to check the precise cooking temperature as your food warms, ensuring that you can check how your meat is doing as it warms through.

Temperature probes are accurate and offer the exact degree at which the food is cooking, and they work well with pressure cookers, toasters, toaster ovens, and even microwaves. The 6 quart, or 6 pounds, the capacity of this portable slow cooker is great for cooking meals for small gatherings and it’s light enough to be able to transport to parties and other locations so you might like to use it to cook all day then take to a friend or family later on.

Also, worth considering is that it has a power-cut auto system which, should you experience a brief power outage, it will remember its digital settings. The Elite Gourmet Slow Cooker is a sweet little appliance in stainless steel with a removable stoneware crock which, as well as the glass lid, is dishwasher safe with the exterior of the cooker being easily wiped clean after use.

The Uncluttered team chose Hamilton Beach Portable 7-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker as it promises to be easily portable due to it being lightweight for its size, and the lid latch helps to keep the food where it should be without risk of spills. The touchpad on the front display doesn’t have little delves that would make others difficult to clean so when you’re finished using this crock-pot, simply remove the inner and lid, pop those in the dishwasher or sink, and wipe the exterior of the slow cooker clean so it’s ready to store away.

cooker slow rice pressure energy electric programmable efficient cook steamer 5qt delay settings adjustable stainless steel start food
(Source: onlineappliancecenter.com)

You might find that you like the fact this can be transported safely but, like with anything that uses electricity to heat it, do resist moving it when it’s hot. The Elite Gourmet 2QT slow cooker is a sweet looking appliance in red which will compliment any kitchen decor.

Simply pop your ingredients into the cooker after preheating it, set on low if you plan to cook for the whole day or high if you prefer a slightly quicker meal in approximately half a day. Due to its size it is a portable device and the design includes cool-touch handles should you need to move it while it’s still hot.

At the very affordable price, Elite Gourmet MST-250XW still cooks delicious and flavorful meals for one and you might like its sleek white design which retains a clean refreshing look in your kitchen. It is wipe clean and the internal crock and glass lid are dishwasher safe.

We found it was also good for cooking side dishes for entertaining, and of course, it is lightweight enough, with cool-touch handles, to transport. You might like that the power cord is coiled so it retracts enough when plugged in so that it doesn’t get in your way.

The Uncluttered choice for the premium pick is the All-Clad SD700450 Programmable model which has a digital display that’s easy to use. It heats evenly without burning, and we like the fact that the total timing option can be set for up to 26 hours.

thermal cooker pot thermo energy efficient slow reduction
(Source: reductionrevolution.com.au)

You may be concerned that the handles are metal, but we did find that they weren’t too hot to touch even in operation. The black ceramic insert is removable as you would expect, which is great for lifting out for serving your meal at the table.

This model switches to warm mode at the end of the selected heat cycle. The rectangular design of Crock-Pot 3.5-Quart Casserole is something we often can’t find, as you will see in our review list the majority of slow cookers are oval or round, so we found this one to be great for bake-style cooking for even things like lasagna and desserts.

Whilst it isn’t the least expensive option, it’s a good size and easy to clean and store. The Uncluttered team enjoyed reviewing Crackpot 2.5-Quart Mini Casserole Crock as one of only two slow cookers in our list with a quirky exterior design in blue and white which sets off quite nicely when placed on a surface, and it’s small enough to be neatly stored when not in use.

Even though this 2 1/2 QT slow cooker is small and built for one-pot meals or side dishes, it works well and the mainly white color doesn’t appear to stain although with all appliances it is important to clean it immediately after use (of course when it has cooled down).

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Sources
1 airfryerbro.com - https://airfryerbro.com/how-economical-energy-efficient-are-air-fryers/
2 www.homecookingtech.com - https://www.homecookingtech.com/are-air-fryers-energy-efficient/
3 blog.constellation.com - https://blog.constellation.com/2019/11/04/air-fryers-benefit-your-health-and-cut-energy-costs/