Slow cooking had already started long before the first slow cooker was invented in the 1940s. This is a method of cooking that uses low heat to cook any dish for longer periods of time.
This cooking style is best for individuals working around the clock and contains many benefits such as convenience and nutrition.
Slow cookers are undoubtedly the best kitchen appliance in slow cooking, but what if you don’t have any and don’t have the budget to purchase one? What other alternatives can you use to slow cook aside from a slow cooker?
Here are some alternatives that you can use instead of a slow cooker. Learn how to live without one and have the best slow cooking journey ever!
What can I use instead of a slow cooker: Slow cooker alternatives
In this guide, we have gathered every alternative that we can find to start your slow cooking journey without a slow cooker. Start finding these alternatives in your kitchen and prepare your cookbook. Gather ingredients and have fun in slow cooking.
The first one on the list is the handy dandy oven. Ovens are commonly used in the baking industry, and there are several types you can purchase in the market. It may either use electricity or gas in cooking food. In some cases, it can also be utilized in slow cooking. As such, if you use an oven as an alternative, you need to prepare it beforehand.
Below are the steps in slow cooking using an oven:
- In preparing the oven for slow cooking, preheat it first to 160 degrees Celsius to ensure a good start. While pre-heating it, gather the ingredients of the dish recipe that you want to slow cook. Get a Dutch oven with a lid on it to make it a container for the ingredients. This will serve as the slow cooker’s pot rather than using a real one.
Tips: Do remember that slow cooking in an oven is different from using a slow cooker since the oven can make your meal drier. Adjust the liquids whenever possible to get better results in slow cooking.
- Now, for the cooking times, you need to adjust the cooking time when you use an oven for slow cooking. If your slow cooker can slow cook a meal in 8 hours in a low heat setting, your oven can cook it faster in just 3 hours. Moreover, if the recipe can be done in 4 hours using a high heat setting, the oven can cook it in just 2 hours.
All you have to do is subtract five hours if it is done in low heat and subtract 2 hours when in high heat.
Tips: Below are the slow cooker to oven time conversions.
|Low (Slow Cooker Time)||High (Slow Cooker Time)||Oven Time|
|4 hours||1 hour||15 minutes|
|5 hours||2 hours||30 minutes|
|6 hours||3 hours||1 hour|
|7 hours||4 hours||2 hours|
|8 hours||5 hours||3 hours|
|9 hours||6 hours||4 hours|
- After preparing the ingredients and calculating the time for them to be cooked. Put the pot inside the oven and start slow cooking. Remember that an oven cooks food at a high setting, so there is a probability that it can burn food inside. That’s why you need to check your dish every now and then to have the best meal.
Tips: You may use a thermometer to check the ingredients inside. Insert it into the meat or vegetable’s main portions and ensure that it has gone to the desired temperature to properly cook it.
- When it is finally cooked. Get it out from the oven and serve while it’s hot.
Tips: Use hand gloves to get the pot out from the oven. The oven uses a high temperature, and you can be prone to burning from it.
The next alternative is using sous vide. Using sous vide in slow cooking will give you better results, such as a more flavorful dish or a juicier one. Vacuuming the ingredients will enhance the taste and flavor of your meal which a slow cooker cannot do. It can also give you full control over using the temperature, making it ideal to have consistent heat when slow cooking. Aside from that, storing sous vide is much easier, and it handles very complicated foods, which makes it more flexible.
Below are the steps in slow cooking using sous vide:
- Gather the ingredients first, and vacuum packs them inside a sous vide container. You may also include your homemade seasonings such as salt, butter, and herbs. This will further enhance the dish’s flavor that you want to make.
- Set the sous to vide stick to the desired temperature according to the recipe you are making.
- Put the vacuum-sealed ingredients inside the sous vide and let it float in the water.
- Wait until it becomes cooked thoroughly; serve it afterward.
Normally, slow cookers are designed for slow cooking, but a stove is designed overall. This means that every recipe in a cookbook can be cooked using a stove; thus, slow cooking recipes can also be done by this. If you plan to slow cook large cuts of meat, better braise it using a stovetop to get a better flavor and aroma.
Below are the steps in slow cooking using a stove:
- Using a stovetop in slow cooking is as easy as doing it traditionally. Gather ingredients from your recipe book and get a stockpot. Stockpots are designed to be cooked via direct heat.
- First, brown the meat to make it tender, then add liquid and more seasonings as you desire. If you want to put vegetables, place them last.
- Set your stove and let the ingredients boil. After which, decrease the heat to let it simmer for over 30-50 minutes. You need to check it every time or ideally every 20 minutes.
- After checking now and then, turn off the stove, place the dish inside a bowl, and let it cool before serving.
In general, the purpose of a rice cooker is to cook rice, but in some ways, it can be used for slow cooking if there are no other alternatives to be used for your cooking. A rice cooker may do the job well; however, it uses more electricity, thus higher electrical costs. Just ensure that your rice cooker has a setting that can cook food and not just warm them
Below are the steps in slow cooking using a rice cooker:
- Prepare the ingredients and place them inside the rice cooker. Place every ingredient evenly to have a consistent temperature. Include some spices and seasoning as you desire.
- Set the rice cooker and turn it on to cook. Wait for the rice cooker to go up until it reaches the boiling point temperature.
- Once the boiling point has been reached, change the setting to warm. Leave it there for an hour or so as written from the cookbook. You can just also check the ingredients inside by peeking through the lid.
- Turn up the heat now and then to ensure consistent cooking since a rice cooker has cooking cycles to heat up. Remember not to open the lid because the heat will go down, making it longer to cook.
- Once the cooking has been done and thoroughly checked the meal, serve it with condiments and side dishes.
Aside from using a Dutch Oven Pot to slow cook, a casserole dish can also be used as an alternative. However, it must be covered with tin foil to ensure that the temperature will cover and cook all the ingredients inside.
Slow cooking using a casserole dish has the same process as using a Dutch Oven. Refer to the steps mentioned above upon doing so.
Is it better to use an alternative in slow cooking rather than a slow cooker?
If you have no other choice, choosing an alternative will save you. But if you have a slow cooker lying on your countertop, that will be the best option. Slow cookers are very well-designed for slow cooking, and there are new models today that can be used as a multi-cooker, such as the ones from the best slow cooker America’s Test Kitchen.
Whether you use a slow cooker or an alternative, you will still get a delicious meal. It depends upon how you set things up and how to utilize every alternative to slow cook appropriately. Slow cookers are best for convenient cooking, while the alternatives give you more flexibility.
Utilizing both options can have its benefits, and it is up to you whether to choose any one of them. But if you have no other choice since you don’t have a slow cooker with you, using a Dutch oven and slow cook it on a stovetop will get you going. Start from there and explore the benefits of using it.