We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What are the Benefits of Slow Cookers?

Have you ever wondered exactly what’s the point of using a slow cooker? What can you cook in them? Are they better than other appliances? We’ll tackle all your questions here.

Slow cooker on counter with vegetables

Is a slow cooker a safe way to cook food?

Slow cookers are considered a very safe way to cook food. They’re designed to cook at a low temperature, typically between 170°F and 280°F, for a long time. This is a high enough temperature to cook away food contamination, if there is any.

You can even leave them unattended for a long time – which is one of the points of using them, for many people. You can start a dish before you leave for work and it’ll be ready when you get home, for example.

How does a slow cooker work?

As mentioned above, a slow cooker is for cooking food at low temperatures for an extended amount of time. What distinguishes the slow cooker from most kitchen appliances is that the lid seals in the heat and moisture. 

Slow cookers have heating element that transfer heat to the ceramic pot that holds the food being cooked. The ceramic pot is retains heat and distributes it evenly, allowing the food to cook slowly without burning or sticking to the pot. 

The Benefits of Using a Slow Cooker

The low temperature and sealed-in moisture also help to tenderize meat and meld the flavor ingredients all together. It’s a very convenient way to make a one-dish meal or do batch cooking. Meal prep and cleanup are both easy, with most everything being in just the one pot.

Slow cookers also consume less energy than ovens, which can lower your utility bills. And they are probably the only really good way to transport food and keep it warm at the same time. This is why they’re such a favorite at pot lucks.

What are the disadvantages of a slow cooker?

First, they really are slow. Using a slow cooker takes about 4-12 hours, so you have to plan in advance and get organized. So they aren’t ideal for spontaneous cooks (pressure cookers may be a better choice).

Second, every ingredient in the recipe is going to get cooked to the same level of heat, which isn’t great for every recipe. But there’s an easy solution: choose a slow cooker with a browning feature. This lets you brown or saute meat on the stove top before adding the rest of the ingredients, and makes your slow cooker much more versatile.

Third, they take up some space. Be sure you know where you are going to put yours before deciding whether to get one – or how big a model to get.

Slow cookers vs dutch ovens

You can get very similar results from slow cookers and Dutch ovens. They both seal in heat and moisture and cook evenly. 

Dutch ovens are essentially deep cast iron pots with lids. They cook on a stove top or in an oven, so they’re more flexible than a slow cooker, which is basically an electrically heated pot. Dutch ovens are better for browning and sauteing – although, again, a slow cooker with a browning feature makes a big difference.

Chefs will tell you the Dutch oven is far superior for flavor. But it’s also more expensive. And less portable.

The Dutch oven is great for excellent cooking. The slow cooker is great for convenient and portable cooking. Although I have to say, I’ve had some amazing dishes at pot lucks from slow cookers. 

Slow cookers vs. Pressure Cookers

They’re both good appliances. Which one you’re going to prefer comes down to your style of cooking and the sort of meals you like to prepare. Many people have both, and use the best tool for whatever they’re cooking at the moment.

And you can get an appliance that acts as both a slow cooker and pressure cooker, and then some. The Ninja Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL is a good example.

Pressure cookers use high heat and cook food quickly under pressure. They’re great at cooking most of the foods slow cookers aren’t so good at. And they’re essential for canning food. 

Both are very convenient, but in different ways. The pressure cooker can make a dish very quickly, which is a time saver for busy people. But you can’t really leave it completely unattended, for safety reasons.

The slow cooker takes longer, but it cooks unattended, and that can also be very convenient for busy people. The pressure cooker is probably better for someone who doesn’t like to plan meals in advance.

What can you cook in a slow cooker?

Slow cookers do a great job with soups, stews, casseroles, and even desserts. Here’s a list of some slow cooker recipes to give you an idea:

What cannot be cooked in a slow cooker?

You can cook just about anything in a slow cooker, but some dishes are much trickier than others. For example, it’s easy to overcook seafood and turn it into rubber. Many herbs lose their flavor with slow cooking.

Be very careful with rice, pasta and grain like couscous, because they tend to turn into mush. Crispy ingredients like bacon will come out soggy. And dairy products can curdle.

Some people will give you recipes that call for frozen meats, but you have to follow them to the letter. Otherwise you can end up with under-cooked meat.

Also avoid any ingredient that needs high heat to cook quickly. 


Slow cookers aren’t for everybody, but they are terrific for those who love them. They take time and planning, but are a great choice for bulk cooks, pot luck cooking and households that enjoy slow-cooked recipes.