Anyone who visits our website regularly knows by now that we are big fans of slow-cookers. But we hear you thinking: another kitchen appliance in the house? Don’t I have enough of them yet? In order to decide whether you will actually use a slow cooker, you will have to weigh the disadvantages against the advantages. In this article, we will discuss the disadvantages of a slowcooker, or in other words: … reasons not to buy a slowcooker.
For those who are new to the world of slowcookers, we recommend reading our beginner’s guide first. After reading this guide, you will know what a slowcooker is and what you can do with it.
#1 Disadvantage: cooking with a slowcooker… takes a long time!
The name says it all: with a slow-cooker, you’ll spend about 6 to 8 hours before you can start eating. Slow cooking is an advantage because your meals have a more intense flavor and the nutrients are guaranteed. But every advantage comes with a disadvantage.
So making a quick bite is out of the question. This means you have to plan well in advance what you want to prepare. Are you someone who arranges everything last-minute? Then there is a chance you will use the slow cooker less often.
Preparing a meal in a slow-cooker means planning ahead. In most cases, you will have to decide the day before what you want to prepare and what ingredients to get for it. And that’s not for everyone.
Fortunately, we regularly share simple and delicious slow-cooker recipes. With a little planning you’ll be fine.
#2 Disadvantage: fixing mistakes? That is not in the cards
A slow-cooker leaves little room for error. Once you turn on the slow-cooker, you have little control over the outcome. Except for some salt, pepper or other spices, you can’t add any ingredients halfway through. This makes cooking with a slowcooker less flexible.
#3 Disadvantage: a watery outcome lurks
The inner pan on a slowcooker holds back all condensation, so no moisture is lost. The advantage of this is that the nutrients are not lost either, but it does mean that you have to fine-tune the water content to get the right texture. In practice, you will also often have to use some potato starch or something similar to thicken your meal a bit.
Because of this, vegetables with a lot of moisture are less suitable for a slow-cooker. To give you an example: a homemade tomato sauce from the slow-cooker will soon be too watery.
Tip: buy a slowcooker with a small steam opening (valve), so at least some of the condensation can escape.
#4 Disadvantage: it takes up space
A common objection to a slow-cooker is that it takes up extra space. And that’s true, especially in a small kitchen, a slow cooker can get in the way pretty quickly. If you use it a lot, this probably won’t be a problem. But if you’re not sure if you’re going to use a slow cooker and are already bumping up against space constraints, I would think carefully about whether you really need a slow cooker.
Do you like to cook, but don’t want to bring too much kitchen equipment into the house? Then a multicooker is a good solution. A multicooker offers different cooking programs (roasting, baking, slow cooking, high pressure cooking) that save you space and money.
#5 Disadvantage: searing or searing meat first
A slow cooker turns even the cheapest piece of meat into a nice tender piece of meat. That really is a big plus of a slow-cooker. But for a tender piece of meat, it is important that the moisture in the meat is not lost. One solution to this is to lightly fry the meat in a pan first. However, this takes more time and creates more dishes.
Fortunately, there are slow-cookers with a removable inner pan that you can also put on the fire. I would personally go for a slowcooker with a removable inner pan, though. That saves you dishes and is also easier to clean than a fixed pan.
#6 Disadvantage: uneven results
A piece of potato needs a longer cooking time than a piece of pork. Chances are that certain ingredients are cooked and others are not. This makes certain dishes or recipes better suited for the slow-cooker than others. In some cases, you have to add ingredients with a shorter cooking time halfway through (which, of course, is not really ideal).
#7 Disadvantage: less suitable for fish dishes
Many types of fish fall apart after 6 to 8 hours of cooking. You want to maintain the texture in fish dishes, and so you can’t do that with most types of fish. Still, there are some fish dishes that work well in the slow-cooker:
- recipe 1
- recipe 2
- recipe 3
#8 Disadvantage: less suitable for legumes
Do you cook legumes regularly? It is important that you put them on the stove for a while first. This is because legumes contain toxic particles that you only lose with high temperatures. In a slow-cooker, legumes are not heated enough, so you must first “pre-cook” them on the stove.
For cooking beans or legumes, we recommend a pressure cooker. That’s the fastest way and then you don’t have to worry about the toxic particles.
#9 Disadvantage: well not exactly versatile
A slow-cooker is anything but versatile. It offers only one way of cooking and that is slow-cooking. Do you also like to bake, fry, deep fry or steam? Then a multicooker might suit you better.
#10 Disadvantage: little cooking fun!
A slow-cooker is above all practical, convenient and time-saving. Perfect for people with busy lives. But less suitable for true cooking enthusiasts.
Discussion: is cooking with a slow cooker healthy or not?
Not everyone agrees that a slow-cooker is healthy. Research shows that many vitamins and enzymes are also lost because the food is simmering for a longer time. But basically the same is true when you leave a dish on the stove for a long time or when you cook the food with high temperatures.
The advantages: why buy a slow cooker?
There are plenty of reasons to buy a slow cooker
- For meat dishes: deliciously tender meat!
- Frying is not possible
- No need to stand around. The slow cooker does it all!
- Nutrients preserved: healthy way of cooking
- Flavors remain intact because the food cooks at a low temperature.
To best help you decide whether or not you need a slowcooker, here are 10 reasons why you should buy one.
Conclusion: is a slowcooker for you?
Don’t be tempted by the pros and cons. A slowcooker can only be a success if you are prepared / able to plan your meals ahead. If you have to figure out in the morning what you want to eat in the evening, then you are actually already too late. Finally, we recommend that you check if slow-cooker recipes are your thing: after all, not all ingredients / recipes are suitable for a slow-cooker.
Is a slowcooker for you? Then check out the best slowcookers of 2021.