Slow Cooker Vs Air Fryer: Which one do you need? Both slow cookers and air fryers have their respective purposes. The difference between them is just the type of cooking they do. Slow cookers are slow and cook meats until they are tender. Air fryers cook things to make them nice and crispy like a deep fryer.
Out of a slow cooker and an air fryer, the one with the most versatility would be the Air Fryer. The air fryer can be used for multiple purposes and can be considered more necessary in the kitchen than a slow cooker.
Depending on what kind of cooking you do you might decide one appliance is better than another. Slow cookers and air fryers each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s discuss what an air fryer and slow cooker are used for, their different cooking styles, and whether one is better than the other.
Slow Cookers or Air Fryers?
There are many reasons to have a slow cooker or an air fryer. They both have their pros and cons.
– Air Fryer
Using an air fryer is more like using a convection oven. It doesn’t take any oil but instead uses heated air to cook the food and make it crispy. It achieves this by using fans that move hot air at fast speeds around the basket. They are a convenient size for counters and are easy to use.
Air Fryer Pros
There are many pros to using an air fryer. You can make food that is fried without using a bunch of oil, which makes the meal healthier.
Here are a few pros to using an air fryer.
Easy To Clean
The design of the air fryer makes it very easy to clean. If you don’t want foods to stick you can spray the basket with cooking oil. The basket is easy to remove and can be cleaned with a soft brush and dish soap.
Easy To Use
Air fryers are simple to use. Just place your food inside, select a setting, and sit back and wait. Most air fryers come with presets, so it can be as easy as just pressing a button.
Make Healthier Meals
Oil isn’t a big factor when it comes to air frying. The most you’ll need is a spritz in the basket to prevent sticking. This small amount won’t absorb into your food, making less fat than traditional deep fryers.
Don’t Take Up too Much Space
Most air fryers are about the same size as a coffee pot. They have a sleek design to fit in perfectly with your kitchen so you can leave them on the counter. By having it easily accessible it becomes more convenient to use.
Air Fryer Cons
Although air fryers seem like the perfect kitchen gadget and everyone has one, doesn’t mean there aren’t cons to them.
Here are a few downsides to the air fryer.
The initial cost of the air fryer can be expensive. If you’re looking at the aesthetically pleasing models, then the price is even higher. If you’re looking for a larger size then the price goes up as well.
Too Small for Larger Families
Most air fryers aren’t made for larger families. This can be frustrating when you need to make quite a bit of food. Generally, air fryers are intended to make smaller amounts of food quickly. They are convenient and quick but don’t accommodate a lot of people.
May Burn or Dry Out Food
Every air fryer is different, and therefore, a recipe that worked for one may not work for another. Air fryers may take quite a bit of experimentation before you can have your favorite meals made right.
Short Power Cable
One downside is that whatever counter you place the air fryer on, you better make sure there is a power plug close by. The power cable on air fryers is short and doesn’t leave much space for them to move around.
Too Many Options
There are so many options out there when it comes to air fryers. Picking the perfect one for your kitchen may be overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
– Slow Cookers
Slow cookers work by using lower temperatures and cooking for long periods. They are the perfect kitchen appliance for taking tough meats and making them tender. If you want a meal after work or just being away from the house for the day you can set up your meal and leave.
Slow Cooker Pros
There are many pros to having a slow cooker. If you’re a busy person that enjoys homemade meals, you can easily set up a slow cooker to have a meal for later. Here are a few pros to having a slow cooker in your home.
Hands Off Cooking
With slow cookers, you can prepare your meal in the morning or the night before and leave it to cook without interruption. Slow cookers are designed to be left unattended while they cook for hours.
Since slow cookers are cooking for hours they bring out the full flavors of a meal. The low heat allows for the ingredients to combine and create a delicious and full-bodied meal.
The low temperatures combined with longer cooking times allow tough meats to become tender. You can save money with slow cookers when you buy tougher cuts of meat. The moisture of the slow cooker seeps into the meat and makes it fall apart or fall off the bone.
Slow Cookers require fresh produce for the best results. By using fresh produce you get the most from your meal. Slow cookers are also well-known for retaining the nutrients and the vitamins in foods. Anything that cooks out of the vegetables or meat drips back into the meal in the broth.
Slow Cooker Cons
There are many cons to using a slow cooker. Although they may be great for creating healthy meals, they require quite a bit of preparation. Slow cookers are also considered a “one-trick pony” when it comes to cooking. Here are a few cons to using a slow cooker.
Unlike the air fryer, slow cookers are meant to cook slowly. It’s in their name. If you want to cook something quickly then you can’t use the slow cooker for it. The lower heats are meant to cook meats through until they are tender, and for meals to be ready much later if you’re away.
Can’t Cook Everything
There are some recipes out there that the slow cooker can’t cook. Some ingredients need to be added to the slow cooker later in the cooking time or cooked separately. Rice, pasta, and dairy need to be added near the end or cooked separately.
Mistakes are Harsh
There is very little room for making mistakes with a slow cooker. The longer cook times make it almost impossible to fix an error that was made at the beginning. Planning ahead and making sure you follow your recipe will reduce mistakes.
The liquid in a slow cooker becomes condensation on the lid. This extra liquid can leak down into the food and water it down. This is caused by excess liquid in the cooker.
When working with fresh herbs or strong spices they may overpower the meal if left to cook for hours. This can be prevented by adding them later in the cooking or after the meal is finished. Slow cookers bring out flavors, and this can cause those fresh herbs and strong spices to get even stronger and more flavorful during cooking.
Similarities and Differences
When it comes to slow cookers and air fryers they have a couple of similarities and many differences. They have different styles to them and provide a unique function. Each one has its purpose in the kitchen. Here are a few of the main similarities and differences.
There are two main similarities between a slow cooker and an air fryer.
- Space they take up on the countertop
- Make healthy meals with little to no oil
They both take up around the same amount of space when used. Also don’t require added oil to cook, which makes meals much healthier. And they share the same goal of making cooking much easier for busy people who want a delicious and hot meal.
The differences are a lot more noticeable than the similarities. They also require a bit more detail, so here are the main differences between the two.
The air fryer uses about 1500 watts of power with each use. Whereas the slow cooker only uses about 300 to 400 watts each use. Although the air fryer is being used for shorter periods, the slow cooker wins in energy efficiency.
Slow cookers are meant to create hearty meals cooked for hours. Air fryers are great for creating crunchy snacks without excess oil. Slow cookers are meant to cook hearty and full meals, and air fryers are meant for quick foods.
Air fryers win on the versatility front. They can create several different foods. Slow cookers are considered to be good for one type of food with little variation.
Slow cookers win on price. You can get a decent slow cooker for fairly cheap. If you try to get an air fryer for a cheaper price you’ll get exactly what you paid for. The cheaper air fryers are at the bottom of the market and are not of very good quality.
Many kitchen appliances are becoming more complicated with more buttons. Air fryers have plenty of buttons that need to be navigated through to figure out how to use them. Slow cookers on the other hand are very simple with their three-dial system. There are programmable slow cookers, but they are mainly counters that count down a meal’s cook time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an Air Fryer be Used as a Slow Cooker?
There are several brands out there that have multiple functions. Hamilton Beach brand has a combination product that has both an air fryer and a slow cooker in one product. However, a normal air fryer can be adjusted to slow-cook foods, just not quite the same as a slow cooker.
Can I Cook Soup in an Air Fryer?
You can cook soup in an air fryer. You will need an oven-safe dish. Place your soup in the dish and cover with foil. Follow your air fryer’s instruction manual and cook the soup. The recommended temperature is 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook until the soup is warmed through.
Do Air Fryers Destroy Nutrients?
All types of cooking deplete the nutrients of foods in some way. Cooking with an air fryer, however, is one of the cooking methods that keep nutrients well. The quickness and how the air fryer cooks contribute to how well the nutrients stay in the food.
Can Raw Meat be Cooked in an Air Fryer?
Yes, raw meats can go into the air fryer. They reach high temperatures quickly and cook raw meat well. The high heat makes the meats safe when they are properly cooked in the air fryer. Remember to follow the instructions for your specific model.
The air fryer has much more versatility than the slow cooker does, which makes it a bit more useful in the kitchen. Each appliance has its strengths and weaknesses, and which one you get depends on your needs. If you want a hot meal at the end of the day then a slow cooker is the better choice, but if you want something quick the air fryer is better.
Your cooking needs will determine which kitchen appliance is best for you. But overall, the air fryer is capable of doing more work in the kitchen.