Dutch Oven and slow cooker both produce healthy, nourished, and fresh cooking. A Dutch oven is convenient for its fast cooking and heat-retaining capacity, while chefs appreciate a slow cooker for its time saving and all ingredients in one-pot cooking.
But before judging both of them, you need to find out the basic differences between them. Let’s figure out which one is the most appropriate.
What Is a Dutch Oven?
We all know the beneficial power of cast iron as cookware. It will surely give you better cooking pleasure than a slow cooker. The main difference lies in the material.
A slow cooker is made of porcelain or ceramic, while you will get a Dutch oven made of cast iron. According to popular belief, A Dutch oven consists of a wide, shallow pot with a tight top to maintain temperature. A Dutch oven also has a robust wall and base to keep the pot’s internal temperature steady.
Besides, you will get an easy lifting facility as a Dutch oven has a handle on both sides of the pot. Browning or roasting, baking or braising, you can do anything in a blink of time. The advantage of a Dutch Oven is it gets slowly and evenly heated.
What Is a Slow Cooker (Crock-Pot)?
A slow cooker is also commonly known as Crock-pot. A Dutch oven can be used for slow cooking but for bringing perfection slow cooker is there for us. A slow cooker is a type of cooker with heating elements run by electricity.
So, a slow cooker will let you use it without an oven or stovetop. You can use it by plugging it into an electrical socket. Cooking is easy in a slow cooker as you just need to set the heat and duration, and it will do the rest. This flexibility and convenience make it one of the best user-friendly cookware.
A slow cooker is a mainly non-metallic cookware made of porcelain or ceramic. A slow cooker gained popularity in the US in 1940 when women started working outside of their houses. It gives the convenience of setting the time duration. So you can let the dish cook in the morning and enjoy the food at dinner after coming from the office.
Dutch Oven Vs. Slow Cooker & Crock Pot: Comparison Table
Dutch oven or slow cooker! We often get into confusion between this two. Let’s check a comparison to see who gets the champion trophy in your eyes:
|Dutch Oven||Slow Cooker & Crock Pot|
|Material||It is made of cast iron mainly. There is a 98% raw iron and 2% carbon mixture in the cast iron material.||A slow cooker has a metal enclosure that consists of either cast Aluminum or stoneware|
|Sources of heat||Any types of heat source are okay with Dutch Ovens that are seasoned. But in the case of Enamel Dutch Oven, you can use it in different kinds of stovetops and ovens.||It must be plugged into an outlet and placed on a flat, non-combustible countertop.|
|Heat retention Capacity||The heat retention capacity of a Dutch oven is high||The heat retention capacity of a Slow Cooker & Crock Pot is comparatively low|
|Temperature||The temperature of the Dutch Oven can reach up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.||Cooks for several hours at a low temperature, and the temperature remains between 170 and 280 degree|
|Durability||Seasoned cast iron is built to last a generation and even beyond. The lifespan of enamel cast iron is relatively short.||Fittings will not last indefinitely. Electrical devices will stay for as long as necessary. You’ll probably need an electrical component.|
|Capacity||A Dutch oven has the capacity starting from 1 quart to 13 quarts. So you can easily serve a small family as well as large party.||The size of a slow cooker is extend up to 7 quart which is enough for serving a family of 4|
Can You Substitute a Dutch Oven for a Slow Cooker?
A Dutch Oven and a slow cooker are cooking appliances. These well-known kitchen appliances can prepare and similarly cook the same recipe. So, you can substitute a Dutch Oven for a Slow Cooker.
But there is, the main difference that you will find in the heat applied to the cookware while cooking. In both machines, you can make the same recipes, except that the slow cooker’s insert must be able to tolerate a range of heat sources.
Any type of heat source is okay with a Dutch oven. You have to keep in mind the material of which it is seasoning. But in the case of a slow cooker, you need a plug-in to an electric source as its main source of power is electricity.
Why You Might Buy a Slow Cooker Instead of a Dutch Oven?
I have experienced both Slow Cooker and Dutch Oven. Both of them are very useful and friends of bad days.
When I have a lot of time, I prefer a slow cooker in my free days. Because it has a time-setting quality, sometimes I put all the ingredients in and leave my meal to cook while I am away. So, a slow cooker is my friend when I have ingredients in an organized manner and a lot of time preparing meals.
A Dutch oven is versatile in nature. I can prepare my meal anytime, anywhere with this as it can cope with any heat source. I will go for fast cooking with a Dutch Oven on my disorganized days.
In a Dutch oven, you will enjoy versatility, but the cooker needs to be attended. If you prepare a meal that requires hours to cook, you have to sit beside the Dutch oven and attend to the cooking. But in the case of a slow cooker, it will never require your attendance. Most of the work will be done by it, and you just need to mix up the ingredients and set the time. So, cooking is not adventurous or tricky with a slow cooker.
While cooking brisket, lamb shoulder, or beef chuck, a person becomes intimidated by the kitchen. If the meats are inexpensive, it becomes more difficult to prepare a delicious meal from it. In this case, a slow cooker is a lifesaver. As it cooks for a longer time, the meat gets a long time to soften up.
A slow cooker is not only good for cooking; it is also less likely to face an accident with a slow cooker. As the cooking is done with lower heat intensity, your food is safe from burning. Your kitchen is also safe from occurring any fire incident.
Energy consumption is sacred work to save our mother earth. A slow cooker will help you save energy as it requires a significantly lower amount of heat from the source. A solar panel of 1-2 kilowatt can make your whole meal by a slow cooker.
A slow cooker will also give the facility of easy cleaning. You won’t need more than one pot to make roast or meat. So there is nothing much to clean.
|Pros of a slow cooker||Cons of a slow cooker|
|Cooking doesn’t need much assistance||Browning or sealing requires separate pans as a slow cooker is not much heated|
|It is more power saving as requires less heat||There is a likelihood of getting electrical short circuit|
|Maintenance is easy in a slow cooker||Slow cooker doesn’t reduce water from meal.|
Why Not to Buy a Slow Cooker Instead of a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven is always my number one preference. If you are a foodie and like to prepare many dishes for yourself, you will definitely keep in mind about time. So, there are some points when choosing a Dutch Oven rather than buying a slow cooker.
Let’s have a look on those:
Heat and Food Nutrition Retention:
A slow cooker has a less heavy lid that doesn’t make the heat stay for a long time. That’s why food is cooked slowly.
But in the case of a Dutch Oven, the lid is made of cast iron and heavy in nature. Heat cannot escape easily from a Dutch oven letting the food fully cooked easily and quickly.
Retaining food nutrition is also an issue in a slow cooker. Along with stem, heat and nutrients value goes away in a slow cooker as the lid cannot hold them too long. But in a Dutch oven, stay tuned with your food nutrition value.
Power Supply Risk factor in the Slow Cooker:
A slow cooker is convenient as you can leave it for cooking while you are not at home. But the problem is there might be some power outage in your area while you are not at home. It may ruin your food as you cannot guarantee the power outage fact. Besides, as the cooker is run by electricity, a short circuit or accident can cause severe damage to you and your house.
Health Issues in the Slow Cooker:
The lower heat can pose some health risks in the slow cooker. This risk is higher while cooking beans. Because of having carbohydrate-binding, bean requires a high temperature to cook. This binding is not good for health.
In a Dutch oven, the higher temperature destroys it, but in a slow cooker, the health issue is significantly higher due to lower heat.
A Dutch oven is much wanted due to its versatility. You can use it wherever you want with any heating source. But in the case of a slow cooker, you will need an electric supply. During the power outage, you will not be able to cook either. Besides, it is quite hard to attend a big party with a slow cooker due to its lower capacity. You will feel relief with a Dutch oven due to its larger capacity.
|Pros of a Dutch Oven||Cons of a Dutch Oven|
|Go with multiple sources of heat and has the ability to sauté, roast and brown||Need assistance all time|
|Can afford larger family due to its higher capacity||Sometimes excess heat can deform the taste of the meal|
|No electrical connection is required and easy to maintain||More energy is required as temperature is high|
Slow Cooker vs. Dutch Oven – The Beef Test
When it is Sunday, it’s time to enjoy a Beef roast. It will be an excellent method to determine which one works better roast a beef slice in a Dutch oven or a slow cooker.
The intensity of heat and temperature and the time required to prepare the roast are a matter of concern while designing a Sunday Roast.
There are 3 things that you need to consider when you are testing with a beef.
Time and Heat
The Dutch oven is versatile in nature. You can put it everywhere on multiple heat sources. The Dutch oven is capable enough to roast the beef slice within 4 hours. But in the case of a slow cooker, it is like a daydream to complete it within 4 hours due to low heat and temperature. Even testing will require a lot of periods to complete the beef roast by a slow cooker
People say that hunger is met with eyes first. Half of the hunger is met by the look of the delicious food. With a Dutch Oven, you can enjoy the saying. The Dutch oven easily surpasses the slow cooker in this instance. The beef appears delicious, crunchy, and tasty after cooking in the Dutch oven. In the case of the slow cooker, the meat seems insipid and bland, even uncooked.
Meat has a tougher consistency of fiber that requires slow heat to meltdown. The Dutch Oven also win in this part. The meat cooked with a Dutch Oven is soft and easy to eat with a fork. But a meat cooked with a slow cooker needs some effort to eat.
Is a Dutch Oven a Slow Cooker Alternative?
A Dutch Oven is versatile and convenient to use. A slow cooker is also suitable. Both of them have some advantages and disadvantages. You can use a Dutch oven as an alternative to a slow cooker when you want to save time with a quick-cooking. You can make the identical recipes in both machines, with the caveat that the slow cooker’s insert must be able to withstand a variety of heat sources.
Why Is Cooking in A Dutch Oven Better?
A Dutch Oven is a better option for cooking due to its heat-retaining capacity. The cast iron used in a Dutch Oven can retain heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is evenly distributed to all sides of the cooker and food. Besides, a Dutch Oven has a heavy lid that lets the steam and moisture retention and food nutrition value.
So, with a Dutch oven cooking, you will get fresh, yummy, and healthy food to eat. Here is a heat comparison chart that will let you the difference in heat, temperature, and cooking time between a slow cooker and Dutch Oven.
It’s time to make the final decision. Both of them are good company for cooking. You also have the testing result of cooking in both pots.
But I must say food is an emotion and equipment to meet hunger and get energy. A slow cooker may give you relief in your busy days, but a Dutch Oven will always give you the best delicious and crispy meal full of nutritional value. Nothing matters more rather than the taste and easy process of cooking.
So, I will go for the Dutch Oven if I choose one. Hope you will do the same.