When it comes to cooking food, there are two kitchen appliances that stand out for their unique features: slow cookers and thermal pots. But Slow Cooker Vs Thermal Pot, which one is better for one person?
These culinary tools offer distinct advantages and cater to different needs, making meal preparation a breeze.
Let’s explore their benefits, functions, and considerations to help you make an informed decision.
Slow cookers are true workhorses in the kitchen, providing a wide range of options when it comes to meal versatility. With the ability to simmer ingredients for extended periods at low temperatures, they transform tough cuts of meat into tender delicacies and infuse flavors effortlessly. If you’re a busy individual craving a hot, ready-to-eat meal at the end of the day, a slow cooker is your ultimate companion.
On the other hand, thermal pots excel in portability and convenience. Unlike slow cookers, they require no extra energy once the contents are heated. Simply bring your ingredients to a boil and transfer them to the outer thermal wrap, where the insulating properties keep the food piping hot for hours. This makes thermal pots perfect for those who desire a meal on the go, whether it’s a nourishing soup or a delectable stew.
Choosing Between a Slow Cooker vs a Thermal Pot
Choosing between a thermal pot and a slow cooker depends on your needs. Thermal pots can’t cook meaty or chunky meals. They can only cook more liquid-based meals like curries, gravies, or soups. Slow cookers can cook an entire meal during the day.
If you want to take hot soups often, or you camp quite a bit then thermal pots are a great choice. If you want to make whole meals with little effort then you’ll want to go with the slow cooker.
How a Thermal Pot Works
A thermal cooker works by trapping heat inside to continue to cook. This requires that you take out the inner pot and boil your contents before placing it into the inner thermal lining.
Foods must be boiled, or reach a temperature of 203 degrees Fahrenheit before being placed inside. The heat trapped inside is what cooks the food the rest of the way and is considered safe for up to 12 hours.
How a Slow Cooker Works
Slow cookers require electricity to run, but they are very low energy. Heating plates in the bottom heat up and that heat travels up around the pot to cook food evenly.
The hot plates stay at lower temperatures to cook the meal all day without burning it. A lid is required to trap moisture inside the pot and that brings the meal to a simmer throughout the cooking time.
Pros and Cons of the Thermal Pot vs Slow Cooker
The thermal pot is limited in what it can do, but there are many pros to using one. There are also many disadvantages to using one. Here we’ll take a closer look to see how thermal pots are useful, and how they are not.
Pros of the Thermal Pot
There are many pros to using a thermal pot. Here are a few of the big advantages of using one.
Thermal pots don’t need to be plugged in, so they don’t require electricity. The contents of the pot do need to boil, but you can do this over a fire if you’re camping. The energy the thermal pot takes to boil in the house is around the same energy usage as a slow cooker, which is around 1,000 to 2,000 watts of power.
Since the thermal pot doesn’t need to be plugged in all day there isn’t that slight chance of it catching fire. Unlike pressure cookers, thermal pots don’t build up pressure, so there are no issues with the pot possibly exploding. If the factory recommendations are followed, then food is safe to eat.
Foods Made Best in the Thermal Pot
Although the type of foods that can be made in a thermal pot is limited, there are a few that it makes well, and are convenient to take with you.
- Pulled Pork
Easy to Clean
The inner pot of the thermal pot is dishwasher safe and easy to clean. The outer pot will need a good wipe down when dirty, but should never be submerged in water.
Can’t Mess Up Food Inside
After you boil your meal and place it inside you can leave it alone. Since the thermal pot isn’t receiving any additional heat the food inside can’t burn. It also stays moist inside the pot unless you open the lid too early.
Thermal Pots are easy to take with you anywhere. If you’re off the grid, or out camping then you can easily use a gas cooker or a fire to heat the inner pot to boiling and make your meal. It is a convenient take-anywhere cook anywhere style appliance.
Cons of a Thermal Pot
There are many reasons for not wanting to use a thermal pot. It may not meet your needs for cooking. Here are a few cons of the thermal pot.
Thermal pots can be more expensive than other kitchen appliances. You can find a slow cooker for relatively cheap and have a good product, but with thermal cookers, you’re going to spend a little more.
Have to be Precise
To have safe foods cooking in the thermal pot you have to get them to a safe temperature. If they don’t reach at least 203 degrees Farenheight then the food will cool too quickly. If the food reaches unsafe temperatures then food poisoning bacteria may grow inside the pot.
Thermal pots can only cook limited types of foods. They aren’t good for cooking anything raw, and they can’t cook chunks of meat.
Not Sealed Perfectly
Unfortunately, although thermal pots are great for travel they don’t seal up perfectly. They can leak if you tip them over. They have to sit up and if traveling they have to be secure so they don’t spill.
Pros and Cons of the Slow Cooker
Slow cookers have been around for a long time, since at least the 1940s, so they have been tested over and over. There are many pros and cons to using them.
Pros of the Slow Cooker
The slow cooker has many pros to using it. They save on time and cook prep times and you have a hot meal after a long day. You don’t even need liquid in them. The slow cooker is great for a busy person.
Slow cooking requires fresh produce to create the best meal. By using fresh ingredients with no additives you can make a delicious and healthy meal within hours. This also prevents you from ordering out all the time if you’re a busy person.
Slow cooking allows you to place all your ingredients inside the pot and walk away. Slow cookers are designed to cook at low temperatures for long periods. You can start a meal in the morning and then have it later in the evening without needing to keep an eye on it.
Lower temperatures allow the flavors to distribute through a meal properly over time. The flavors also come out fully when food is cooked for longer periods. Slow cookers combine the various characteristics of each ingredient and create a full and flavorful meal.
The moisture inside the slow cooker is absorbed into tougher meats making them soft and tender. It’s recommended that you buy cheaper meats because of the slow cooker’s ability to make them tender and juicy.
Easy to Learn
Slow cooking is quite easy to learn. If you’re an absolute beginner there are easy recipes that have 5 ingredients or less that help you learn. Everything just gets put into the pot and cooked on the desired setting, high or low.
Cut on Costs
Slow cookers use less electricity which cuts the costs of cooking. Fresh ingredients are also cheaper to buy than constantly eating out all the time. Slow cookers can cook in bulk, which means you can have a few days worth of leftovers ready to eat.
Easy to Clean
A majority of slow cooker pots are dishwasher safe. Once you remove the meal inside you can simply place the pot in the dishwasher. You can also hand wash it if you don’t want to waste the space in your dishwasher.
There are many different sizes and shapes when it comes to slow cookers. There are sizes for any amount of cooking you want to do. The smallest slow cookers can be used to cook for one to two people and the largest can feed a crowd.
Slow cookers have three settings, and one of them is the warm function. This allows you to keep food warm, without cooking the meal, until you’re ready to serve. Many programmable slow cookers switch to slow automatically after the cooking time, so if you’re late, your meal isn’t overcooked.
Prep time for slow cooking can take about 20 minutes. After prepping your meal and adding it to the slow cooker you’re done until the meal is ready. This saves you time because you don’t have to keep a watch on your cooking. You can walk away and do what you’d like until the meal is finished.
Cons of the Slow Cooker
Although slow cookers have many advantages there are also many disadvantages to using them. These things need to be considered when choosing to use a slow cooker or not.
Some spices are stronger than others, and if they cook for long times they get stronger. These stronger flavors can overpower the meal and ruin it. To avoid this issue try adding the stronger flavors either after the meal is done cooking or just a little before.
Can’t Use Every Recipe
There are recipes out there that aren’t ideal for slow cooking. There may be some recipes out there where you need to cook ingredients in a different pan before adding them to the slow cooker. This increases your prep time, and if you don’t have that extra time you may not be able to cook that recipe.
As the name implies slow cookers are slow when it comes to cooking a meal. You won’t get a quick meal from a slow cooker. The fastest recipes out there have to cook for about 3 hours, which is still a considerable wait.
Mistakes Can’t be Fixed
If you make a mistake during preparation there will be nothing you can do. The meal will already be cooked by the time you realize what happened. Slow cooking requires quite a bit of planning to get the best meal you can.
Slow cookers produce condensation that builds on the lid. This extra liquid can drip down into the meal and dilute the flavors. This can be prevented by adding less liquid at the beginning. Also, remember that fatty meat and hard vegetables like carrots add extra liquid while cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Slow Cookers the Same as Thermal Cookers?
No, slow cookers and thermal cookers are not the same. They both slowly cook the meals inside them, but slow cookers are plugged in and give continual heat all day. The thermal cooker relies on thermal heat from the inner pot to slowly cook the meal.
Are Thermal Cookers Good?
They are considered one of the best slow cooker-style appliances on the market. It can retain heat for more than 6 hours. It can also be used for cold items as well. Placing ice cream inside the inner pot, freezing the inner pot for a few hours, and then placing the inner pot back in the thermal outer pot keeps it cold and frozen on the go for hours.
Can Thermal Cookers be Used on Induction Stoves?
Thermal cookers are suitable for any type of cooking hob. As long as the inner pot is brought to a boil then the food will slowly cook inside the thermal cooker.
So, slow cooker vs Thermal pot, which one is better for one person? It depends on your needs.
Slow cookers, however, have more versatility in what you can cook. For a single person who wants a hot meal at the end of the day, slow cookers are the best option.