June 4

Sous Vide VS Slow Cooker | Guide to Features & Cooking Time vs Taste


Author: Gisele Perez
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You have heard of sous vide and slow cooker, two popular cooking methods. While both involve cooking food at low temperatures for a prolonged period of time, they differ in their approach and end results.

If you're considering investing in one of these appliances, it's essential to understand their differences.

Sous vide vs slow cooker: We’ll be exploring the key differences between sous vide and slow cooker to help you make an informed decision about which method is best suited to your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Though a slow cooker and sous vide are known for producing delicious and tender meals, they differ in many ways.
  • Sous vide allows for precise temperature control, while a slow cooker does not.
  • A slow cooker is more versatile since it can cook everything, while sous vide is ideal for certain types of food.
  • Slow cookers are simple appliances and easy to use, while sous vide requires knowledge of the technique, the use of sous vide bags and vacuum sealing.
  • A slow cooker cooks food using moisture, while sous vide cooks food using a temperature-controlled water bath.

What is Sous Vide?

Sous vide cooking is a method of cooking food in a precisely controlled water bath, typically using a sous vide machine. The food is placed in sous vide bags, which are then immersed in the water bath at a constant temperature for an extended period of time.

Sous Vide Cookers Have Precise Temperature Control

This method allows the food to be cooked evenly and at a consistent temperature, resulting in tender, juicy, and flavorful dishes. Sous vide cooking is often used for proteins like sous vide steaks and chicken, but can also be used for vegetables, eggs, and even desserts.

Delivers Evenly Cooked Food

Sous vide cooking technique has gained popularity in recent years among professional chefs and home cooks alike due to its ability to deliver consistent and high-quality results.

Sous vide equipment

What is a Slow Cooker?

A slow cooker, also known as a crock pot, is a kitchen appliance that allows for slow, low-temperature cooking of a wide variety of dishes.

It typically consists of an inner pot, often made of ceramic, porcelain, or stainless steel that sits on an electric heating element and is surrounded by a heat-retaining outer casing.

Modern Slow Cookers Have Time and Temperature Settings

Most slow cookers can be set to various temperature settings and come equipped with a timer, allowing for precise control over the cooking process.

Allows Slow Cooking

 Because of their gentle cooking method, slow cookers are ideal for making stews, soups, and other dishes that require long, slow simmering to fully develop their flavors.

Food in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker: Sous Vide: Which is better?

1. Temperature Control

One of the most significant advantages of the sous vide method is its precise temperature control. Sous vide cooking involves cooking food in a temperature-controlled sous vide bath, which ensures that the food is cooked evenly and consistently.

Temperature Can Vary With a Slow Cooker

This is not possible with a slow cooker. Slow cookers cook food using moisture, which means that the temperature can vary, and the food may not cook evenly.

Therefore, if cooking food at your desired temperature is essential for your cooking needs, then sous vide cooker would be the better option.

2. Versatility

When it comes to versatility, slow cookers are the clear winner. Slow cookers are ideal for cooking a variety of dishes, from stews to roasts, while sous vide cookers are better suited for certain types of food, such as meat, fish, and vegetables.

Therefore, if you are looking for an all-purpose cooking appliance, then a slow cooker would be a better option than a sous vide cooker.

3. Ease of Use

Slow cookers are simple appliances that are easy to use. All you need to do is put the ingredients in the pot, turn it on, and let it cook for several hours. Sous vide machines, on the other hand, require more skill and knowledge.

Sous Vide Requires Specialized Equipment

Sous vide cooking involves using sous vide bags and a sous vide vacuum sealer, which may be unfamiliar to some home cooks.

Additionally, the temperature control requires more attention and precision. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy and straightforward cooking appliance, then a slow cooker would be the better option.

4. Cooking Method

A Slow Cooker Cooks food slowly with Moisture

The method of cooking used in both sous vide and slow cooking is another significant difference between the two. A slow cooker uses moisture to cook food, which means that the food is slowly cooked in its juices over an extended period.

Sous Vide Cooks Food in a Temperature-Controlled Water Bath

Sous vide cooking, on the other hand, involves cooking food in a temperature-controlled water bath, which ensures that the food is cooked evenly and consistently.

This method is ideal for both tough and delicate foods, such as meat, fish, and vegetables that require precise cooking temperatures to avoid overcooking.

Images of meals prepared in two different ways

Is Sous Vide Better Than Slow Cooker?

Cooking sous vide allows for exact temperature control, but it may not be as versatile as slow cooking. Slow cookers are simple appliances that are easy to use, but they may not produce the same level of precision as sous vide cooking.

The choice between sous vide and crock pot depends on your cooking needs and preferences.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide is a cooking technique that results in perfectly cooked meals with enhanced flavors and textures, however, it has some disadvantages.

Longer Cooking Times

One major drawback is the longer cooking times compared to traditional cooking methods, as the sous vide bath needs time to heat up and maintain a consistent temperature.

Requires Special Equipment

Another drawback is that it requires special equipment like a sous vide machine or sous vide circulator, sous vide container, a vacuum sealer, and even bags. Additionally, the cooking time is usually longer than traditional methods.

Meat in bags for sous vide cooking

Why Is Sous Vide Better?

  • Sous vide is better because it preserves the natural flavors, texture, and nutrients of the food.
  • It ensures consistent cooking and eliminates the risk of overcooking or undercooking.
  • Sous vide allows for hands-free cooking, freeing up time for other tasks.
  • It is a healthier cooking method since it doesn't require added fats or oils.

About the author

Gisele Perez

When not giving in-home, hands-on cooking classes, or developing recipes, Gisele "cooks" wonderful posts for us. She writes about various topics related to cooking appliances and cooking methods.


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