Thinking of investing in a rice cooker or a slow cooker? Unsure of which is better for your needs? Look no further!
I’ve made this easy-to-follow guide outlining the highlights of a rice cooker and slow cooker so you know you’ll decide on the perfect appliance suited to your cooking. Let the rice cooker vs slow cooker battle commence!
Table of Contents
- Is a rice cooker a multi-purpose appliance?
- What makes a rice cooker so good?
- How to use a rice cooker as a slow cooker
- What is the actual difference between a rice cooker and a slow cooker?
- The most recommended slow cookers
- Which of the two is better for you?
- Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker – Both Are Good!
Is a rice cooker a multi-purpose appliance?
Rice cookers are a fantastic appliance for cooking white and brown rice, most other grains, a whole chicken, or even a one pot meal.
While you might think that rice cookers and slow cookers have many different functions, the opposite is actually true.
Both products are very similar. Though their heat functions are different, some of the more modern rice cooker models truly can carry out the same functions as a slow cooker.
So, it depends on the model, but many rice cookers can also act as a slow cooker. For some models, you can even cook a whole meal!
If you’re looking for more information, I have a separate blog post on how rice cookers work, so check it out!
The most recommended rice cooker models
I’ve gone through all the reviews for the best rice cookers and, in order to make sure you’re getting the best value, I’ve chosen a midrange model and a top-of-the-range model. Both products will work as both a rice cooker and a slow cooker and has amazing capabilities to cook rice.
Midrange rice cooker
This Yum Asia Rice Cooker is a fantastic stepping stone to cooking food (and of course cook rice) with a rice cooker. It has inner markings on the bowl in order to measure the water levels and can cook 600g of uncooked rice.
The rice cooker has a steaming feature, which means you can make one-pot meals, steamed vegetables, meat, or dumplings both as a stand-alone steamer or while cooking rice!
The slow cook feature for this rice cooker is perfect for slow cooking meats, steaming vegetables, casseroles, and hearty soups.
Once the cooking cycle is finished, the rice cooker will even automatically switch to the keep warm setting, ensuring your food doesn’t overcook!
Top of the range rice cooker
If you already love using rice cookers and want to step up your game, then this product is the one for you.
This Zojirushi rice cooker has the advanced fuzzy logic rice cooker technology, which utilizes a triple heater method. The induction heating method ensures that the entire pan is converted into a heat source, as opposed to a coil which guarantees the whole pot is being cooked evenly.
The evenly distributed heat thanks to induction prevents the undistributed cooking you might find with a heated coil. Heated coil rice cookers may cause occasional browning of the rice at the bottom of the pan while undercooking the rice at the top!
Zojirushi rice cookers also come with a with a very smart feature called ‘micom’, or ‘micro-computerized’. This will detect temperature changes and prevents human errors. Like a personal assistant, it will automatically adjust its settings to ensure the rice comes out almost perfect!
This also has the measuring levels for water and rice on the inside of the bowl. This rice cooker can even be used to bake bread!
What makes a rice cooker so good?
Rice cookers are great kitchen appliances not only for cooking rice but also for a variety of different grain. Did you know, it can even cook oatmeal! It is also great for making steamed vegetables and depending on the model, you can cook whole meals.
But what makes a rice cooker so easy to use is the ‘set and forget’ idea behind it. Once you’ve programmed your rice cooker, you can go about doing other things and not need to think about it!
This is great for people who have a lot on their plate, like busy moms or hectic professionals!
How to use a rice cooker as a slow cooker
In order to use your rice cooker as a slow cooker, it must have a keep warm setting. If you already have one that doesn’t have a keep warm setting, you can buy it here!
This setting is needed to work as a slow cooker because this is what will cook the food as a slow cooker. In order to explain how easy it is to use a rice cooker as a slow cooker, I’m going to use this very simple but delicious recipe!
Slow cooked BBQ pork belly
- 300g pork belly
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 1 diced onion
- 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- Lime juice
- 1.5 cups of water
Recipe: Slow cooked BBQ pork belly
- Prepare pork
Turn on the rice cooker to hot, and dice the pork belly. Braise the pork in the rice cooker until slightly browned.
- Add ingredients
Add ginger, onion, and water to the pork and let cook for an hour.
- Add other ingredients
Remove the onions and ginger. Add the BBQ sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar mix and cover
Let cook for another hour.
And that’s it! A rice cooker will work really well as a slow cooker. It is so easy to do, you just add the ingredients and let the rice cooker take care of the rest of the work!
This is such a tasty dish and will really impress your family or guests, while you can take care of the entertaining!
What is the actual difference between a rice cooker and a slow cooker?
While I’ve gone through all the similarities between the two appliances, I haven’t yet spoken about their differences!
The main difference between a slow cooker and rice cooker is the way in which the two appliances differ is the type of heat that is used.
Rice cookers work by using a high heat to quickly boil off the water in order to cook the rice, then reverting to a lower heat setting. This keeps the dish warm once the rice has been cooked.
By comparison, a slow cooker utilizes a lower heat, and cooks the food slowly, allowing the meat to tenderize and so the flavor is locked. This makes slow cooking so popular because of the amazing results.
You may notice that some of the cheaper types of rice cookers don’t have a variable heat setting, and this is why – the method of heat used is different.
These cheaper models have just one heat setting so that it will automatically switch to keep warm once the water has boiled.
But with some of the more expensive models, they will allow you do change the heat setting, which means the more expensive versions can in fact double as a slow cooker.
These rice cookers will have either the new fuzzy-logic technology, micro-chip technology, or even induction heat which have started to emerge on the market today.
The most recommended slow cookers
Here I will go through the most highly reviewed slow cookers at both midrange and top of the range level, with a brief overview of their key features.
Midrange slow cooker
As a generously sized programmable slow cooker, This Black and Decker slow cooker truly covers all bases. It has lid clips, making it excellent for easy transportation, and digital design, and will automatically switch to the ‘keep warm’ mode once the cooking cycle is complete.
This has a high, low, and keep warm mode but unlike the model below, it cannot be used on the oven top. It is an excellent midrange cooker and a fabulous product to get you started on your slow cooker journey.
The manual is easy to understand and even comes with some slow cooker recipes.
Top of the range slow cooker
All Clad is a very reputable American brand with over 50 years of experience. This All Clad slow cooker has fabulous features, with 3 settings – a high heat setting, low heat and keep warm keep warm setting, has a cook timer of up to 20 hours and a 6 hour warming feature, has dishwasher safe insert and lid, and easy to control display.
It can be used for browning as the removable insert can also be used on the stove if you desire.
Which of the two is better for you?
The answer to this comes down to your needs.
If you’re someone who cooks a lot of rice and grains, the rice cooker is fantastic.
While slow cookers have the ability to cook rice, rice is much better when cooked quickly at the beginning, otherwise it can lose its consistency and become a bit mushy.
If you spend a little more on a rice cooker, you really can get a dual function appliance that will make great rice, and also if you want to slow cook meat, they have the ability to do this. Some models can do both at the same time!
Rice cookers have become so versatile and truly can be used for just as much things as a slow cooker.
The difference lies in their heating capabilities. Rice cookers work by using a high heat to quickly boil off the water in order to cook the rice, then reverting to a lower heat setting. By comparison, a slow cooker utilizes a lower heat, and cooks the food slowly, allowing the meat to tenderize and so the flavor is locked.
Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker – Both Are Good!
As you can see, both products have excellent cooking capabilities. Choosing one will really depend on your needs.
If you are someone who cooks a lot of rice or whole grains, the rice cooker has better capabilities for slow cooking than the slow cooker has for cooking rice.
I hope this guide has sent you in the right direction, and whichever product you choose is the perfect kitchen appliance for your household!