Sous Vide vs Slow Cooker Comparison
While some people like to get their food cooked in the shortest amount of time possible, some people like to take things slowly – the advantages of which are many. Let’s go over some pros and cons of the sous vide vs slow cooker methods.
These include allowing the food to cook in its own juices, making it soft and tender, which is most especially true for meats, such as beef, veal, pork, and chicken; letting the food cook in the most uniform manner with no burnt sides, which is a common feature in stove-top cooking; and most importantly, allowing you to get more of the food you cook, as the volume gets retained.
In order to achieve these desirable characteristics of food, either sous vide or slow cooker method of cooking is an ideal choice. Having said that, this article aims to juxtapose sous vide vs slow cooker means of cooking, and we’ll see what makes them similar, as well as the features of each that set them apart from each other.
When it comes to the sous vide vs slow cooker methods, they share a common thread when it comes to cooking duration. The cooking time for the produce of various kinds is relatively longer compared to other methods, such as stove top, grilling, or baking. What takes 10 minutes to cook on any of these methods may take as long as 4 hours using slow cooker or sous vide.
This is one of the key differences when it comes to comparing the slow cooker vs the sous vide. When you use a slow cooker, your food is placed inside a very thick ceramic pot that is placed above the heating element.
The temperature settings are not as accurate, however, given that most slow cookers or crock pots only have two to four heat settings. With sous vide cooking, you to put your food into sealed plastic bags and cook it via submerging the food in a body of hot water.
The temperature control is much more accurate with sous vide. You’ll select an exact temperature on your sous vide unit and one the water reaches the desired temp, you add your pouches of food. Sous vide recipes give you exact temperatures and cooking times for what you’re cooking.
Between sous vide vs slow cooker, most people have some experience with a slow cooker. Slow cookers are less expensive than sous vide units and they’ve been a common kitchen appliance for decades. The sous vide method, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated way of cooking things, and is still used more often in restaurants rather than in personal homes. While sous vide units for home use have become more affordable in the last several years, it takes more of an investment to get into sous vide cooking. You can pick up a slow cooker for around twenty dollars or less, while sous vide units are priced from about $60 to $150, depending on the desired features.
Quality and Taste
For those who have tried cooking on both the sous vide and the slow cooker (such as a Crock Pot), one of the things noticed is the difference between the end products.
The sous vide method of cooking guarantees more volume, and a much more even cooking from the outside to the inside part of the produce. This is because conventional slow cookers allow the juices to evaporate due to the higher temperatures, while the sous vide prevents this from happening.
Another difference, in terms of quality, would definitely have to be the fact that the chances of your food being overcooked with a slow cooker would be higher, especially for vegetables and other quick-cooking foods.
Because of this, most meats cooked in a slow cooker, while being cooked soft, could easily fall apart and turn out flaky after losing some volume. This fortunately does not happen when you cook food using the sous vide method, as the volume is largely retained.
Both cooking methods will give you great results. It just depends on what you’re looking for and what your budget is for equipment. Slow cookers are a great, inexpensive way to prepare meals. A case could be made that you can do more with a sous vide machine, however, since you have so much more control over precise temperatures, and you can cook items in separate pouches. It’ll take a bit more of an investment to get started in sous vide, since you’ll also need some additional items like a container to cook in and plastic pouches to put your food into.
Here are shopping lists for getting started in sous vide vs slow cooker methods so you can compare set up costs.
Plastic bags or pouches (you can also use regular ZipLoc bags)
Container for sous vide cooking